After I dug myself out of the avalanche of recommendations that came in after my last blog post, I spent some time sorting them.
I started responding, and I realized two things: first, if I responded to all of them I would never get another book out. And second, that a lot of my responses were going to be "I read/watched/injected that already, and here's what I thought."
I like talking about fiction. I like it a lot. Way too much.
So to avoid getting trapped in that never-ending maze, I had to curb my comments. But I did read every single suggestion!
I probably spent more time doing that than I did reading fiction this week.
So that brings us to the cutthroat competition, and the incredible prizes I have in store.
Third place, the one who has earned a half-used Krispy Kreme coupon that I can't seem to locate at the moment: Way for recommending Steins;Gate.
You're only in third place because I've already played Steins;Gate, but you earn that coveted theoretical coupon because it's a great game. And also a really good anime.
Now, in second place are the hordes of people who recommended me something that I'm definitely going to read but haven't yet: He Who Fights With Monsters.
Pretty sure a million and one people recommended this. I haven't read it, but I will read it. I'm going to, I swear. With this many recommendations, it deserves my full attention.
Now, I don't have that many dragon eggs to go around, so I feel like we'll just split the one I do have into pieces and divide it evenly. Watch for a minuscule fragment of dragon shell to manifest mystically on your desk at some point in the next 4-6 astral weeks.
And first place, the winner of my R E S P E C T, and the person who gave the recommendation I actually took...
...was, unfortunately, not a blog comment.
A guy named Jon (or who CLAIMED to be named Jon...) messaged me and pitched me Star Odyssey on www.WuxiaWorld.com. Well, I read a lot on that website, so I tried that.
I really liked it. It's space fantasy, which I've long wanted to write myself, and it's a Chinese cultivation novel with a focus on one thing and one thing alone: fighting to get stronger.
That's it. Very straightforward and streamlined. Definitely my cup of tea.
Jon, you can pick up your wheelbarrow full of respect outside your nearest home depot.
Now for the HONORABLE MENTIONS!
Daniel Larman for recommending me 86: Eighty-Six on Crunchyroll! I haven't watched it yet, or you would have gotten that delicious Respect Wheelbarrow, but I absolutely will. And thank you for not recommending me an anime I've definitely already seen.
Speaking of which...
Everyone who recommended me anime gets a secondary mention here. You were all barking up the right tree, which I appreciate. And you recommended me some really great shows.
However, you also reminded me that I apparently need to talk more about anime, because other than Daniel's recommendation, I had seen...yes, I think every single other show recommended.
From about 2005-2013 or so, I watched literally everything that got animated. There were some shows I dropped here and there, but I at least gave everything the three-episode test.
Some might say I spent too much of my time on anime, but who had an anime-inspired book on the New York Times list last month? THIS GUY!
Let that be a lesson to you, young people: you're not "wasting time," you're doing research for your future career.
I've been much busier since then, what with books and all, so I have replaced watching every anime with reading every manga. It's a lot faster. These days I only watch the anime if I already know it's going to be good.
Like with Jujutsu Kaisen, which was indeed great. I've been reading since the first chapter was released, and as soon as Gojo appeared I knew I was along for the ride.
Josh S., for recommending The Black Company. I really love The Black Company, and I recommend anyone interested in bleak morally gray fiction to give the first collection a shot, if you haven't already. It's a classic for a reason.
Tiberius Arelius, for recommending Second Coming of Gluttony. It's in contention for my favorite web novel of all time. The main character changes over time and has a very distinct personality, the magic and system are consistent and fun to read, the characters are memorable...it's genuinely great.
The only warning I have when I recommend it to people is that it does contain some harem nonsense. But if you can't pick around harem nonsense like you're picking tomatoes out of a salad then I don't know how you watched much anime.
Zuben for recommending Kenshi. But not because I like Kenshi. AH-HA, TWIST! I used to have the most helpful negative review of Kenshi on the Steam store.
It's such a great concept, and I'm sure a great game, but I spent thirty hours pickaxing a rock in isometric top-down view with no clue of what to do and never got any indication of what I could or should do that would be fun.
I have no doubt that it is fun, because people have racked up thousands of hours in Kenshi. But that remains as one of my most vivid gaming experiences because I kept thinking "Everybody says you should push on...maybe a few more hours."
And by the end of it I was still like "No, I don't get it."
So you definitely found something in that game that I didn't, but I want you to know that I really, really tried.
All the people who recommended the Red Rising series. I love that series. Initially, when it was a trilogy, I loved the first and second books, but wasn't a big fan of the third.
Now that there are more, I feel like the author has really fleshed out a lot of the characters and brought this mythic fantasy-esque scope to a sci-fi story, and I'm here for it.
Fragrant Bacon, for saying this: "Will usually takes the approach to others in his own genre: if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."
I also like to stay silent when I have mixed criticism, or really anything other than overwhelming praise. That's why I don't recommend things very often here. Even when I say five positive things and one thing that I think is a fair criticism, people tend to focus on that.
And I don't want to bring people negative attention. I want to bring them positive attention!
Anyone who told me to go outside and play:
6/10/2021 05:11:37 pm
I’ll have to check out Star Odyssey, it seems like. I just finished book two of “He who fights with monsters”, and the cliffhanger ending makes me about as angry with the author as John Bierce’s last book made me. Eagerly waiting for September when the next one comes out.
6/10/2021 06:22:43 pm
If you don't mind reading on Royal Road, I believe that the rest of the chapters are on there. You could wait for the more edited/polished version on kindle, BUT, you can read ahead on Royal Road.
6/10/2021 05:26:13 pm
I found "He Who Fights With Monsters." a fun read but it really gives of a this is my first book vibe.
The serpent of myre
6/10/2021 09:15:48 pm
Check out the beggining after the end.
6/12/2021 02:36:00 pm
I've read the 1st book and for some reason just couldn't get into it.
6/14/2021 09:35:10 am
I don't mind Legend of the Archmagus, but the main character annoys me greatly. He's constantly mumbling, and I find it very odd that someone who's lived as long as he supposedly lived never learned to speak clearly.
7/12/2021 11:31:00 pm
If you can get past first book it’s a decent read as the story progresses.
where did all of my raccoons go
6/10/2021 05:36:15 pm
“like you're picking tomatoes out of a salad”
6/10/2021 05:59:05 pm
I mean my suggestion of watching a guy test computer fans was pretty legit! Jk, I couldn't figure out an anime to reccomend. Ascendance of a Bookworm was good, but shoot I thought for sure you have already seen it! Glad you got something out of it, my dragon advances and Ghostwater shirts just showed up so I am going to be repping that Cradle hard next week!
6/10/2021 06:07:55 pm
So you've seen way of the househusband? The way the people react to Tatsu reminds me of Lindon. So scary and yet kinda adorable
6/10/2021 06:20:04 pm
I have a love/hate relationship with He Who Fights With Monsters.
6/10/2021 07:11:43 pm
I've read He Who Fights With Monsters and like Stephen above it's not one I'd recommend. It's not completely incomprehensible or awfully written but there's unnecessary content and the fundamental premise of a theoretically good guy with 'evil' powers isn't as nuanced or developed as it could or should be.
6/10/2021 07:39:25 pm
That’s a good summary of HWFWM. I did find the writing improved in the second book, and that’s what I’m hoping also happens with Boyce’s books (just started those this week, first one had cool premise but Jade is… whiplash-y characterization). Overall, room for improvement and it seems to be improving.
6/11/2021 01:58:56 am
Yes I'm familiar with Wong thanks. Sadly there's too much deviant content and obscene language in his System Apocalypse series for me to rate it highly. His Thousand Li series is clean if I recall correctly, but its extreme adherence to Buddhist\Confucian\whatever culture and values makes it an awkward fit with my tastes or somesuch. Will's Cradle is somehow both more imaginative and less ... I'm not sure foreign is the right word, perhaps incomprehensible? I'd need to reread Thousand Li again but I think there were some really weird things in it - hopping zombies maybe? Perhaps I'm just too Western in my mythology and fantasy preferences? :-)
6/11/2021 12:58:49 pm
For another Oz authors, check out Jay Kristoff or, for more traditional fantasy, Sara Douglass and Trudi Canavan. For a Kiwi, try Tasmyn Muir
6/10/2021 07:56:00 pm
You talk about loving anime and it's great that you've experienced most anything after 2005... but what about before that? Vampire Hunter D - from 1985 and then the second: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust - from 2001. Both great films. Anything to do with Ninja Scrolls, Rurouni Kenshin, and especially the movie "Bastard" are all some older favorites. Outlaw Star and Trigun are great series. I could dig out my collection and go in deep on this... been collecting since 2000.
6/12/2021 07:04:26 pm
You have my sympathy then as that means you also probably saw Grave of Fireflies. I never had a movie leave me to sad to cry before.
6/14/2021 01:53:36 pm
I'm assuming you've seen Juuni Kokki (Twelve Kingdoms)?
7/15/2021 11:06:29 am
Would you consider (in your copious free time) posting the books people recommended that you had read and liked? Or other books you liked? Thanks!
6/10/2021 08:08:11 pm
If you are interested in what the kenshi experience is normally, here it is in a nutshell. Warning: It's a wild and horrifying ride not for the faint of heart.
6/10/2021 09:10:21 pm
Much as I like "He who fights monsters", especially as an Aussie, I prefer "Beware Chicken" and "Azarinth Healer".
6/28/2021 02:11:35 pm
Thanks for Recommending "Beware of Chicken" for whatever reason that name stuck out as I was browsing the comments. That has been a blast to read. Cudos to you sir!
6/11/2021 12:33:42 am
If you like space cultivation/fantasy, you can take a look at "Swallowed Star". It's slightly longer than your books though, about 8,000+ pages for Book 4 :) Took me every spare moment over two months to finish the series. Also, you might have to learn Chinese.
6/11/2021 03:28:53 am
Man, I loved Swallowed star. So cool to see Sci Fi cultivation novels. So few at ALL. Almost all Sci Fi stuff is dealing with weird Psi or Esper powers and or are mainly focussed on some kind of overarching issue in the world.
7/19/2021 09:58:07 pm
By author I Eat Tomatoes. I think his books are ok. my favorite from this author is Coiling Dragon.
6/11/2021 03:26:14 am
Anime, huh. If you haven't seen Kenichi the mightiest disciple, which I expect you to have done as it is glorious, I highly recommend it. Tl:dr martial arts, gangs, wimpy underdog MC becoming ultra chad martial master.
This is why I clearly don’t talk enough about anime, because I have seen every one of these.
6/12/2021 04:03:23 pm
I feel that Desert Punk was very popular, but maybe that was just my misconception. I didn't really like it very much either to be honest. Maybe it was just internet hype by a few people that warped my perception?
6/11/2021 07:04:38 am
Wow, Will. What can I say? You actually responded to the people who offered recommendations. Major respect, bro. It's so easy to ask for recommendations, but honestly, I see a post like that and normally I don't even bother respondong because I think, like, what's the point of trying to think up some unique or cool thing to offer. I'll never hear back. The fact that you wrote a blog post, demonstrating you took the time to read the suggestions and then even comment on a handful of them...that's legit man. Super cool. You continue to earn my support and admiration! (Now, I even forgive you for not liking Destiny 2. 🤪 )
6/11/2021 07:21:38 am
I enjoyed He Who Fights with Monsters, but thought Dungeon Crawler Carl (https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B08BKGYQXW/ref=ku_mi_rw_edp_ku) and See These Bones (https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YBVN74N/ref=ku_mi_rw_edp_ku) were both better written and a bit more interesting. The latter was actually really good and I only found it due to your last recommendations thread. Something to think about it for when you have more free time again.
6/14/2021 09:40:47 am
I find cultivation novels interesting, but I cannot stand incorporating video game elements, and the favored "person from other world who knows how to game the system and easy modes through everything" elements are... not my cup of tea, except Benjamin Kerei's Oh Great I was Reincarnated As A Farmer is hilarious.
6/14/2021 12:52:31 pm
I agree, just started book 2 of Dungeon Crawler Carl, (going to look into see these bones) and I would add the Systems of the Apocalypse series in a similar vein (link below). Its pretty interesting, and a lot of the fun with it is seeing how the main character uses his abilities in creative ways, with especially the second book bringing in some interesting world building. The author does have somewhat of a reputation for novels written without an end in mind, but I think these ones he's posting on Amazon seem a lot more planned out.
6/11/2021 07:37:20 am
I wonder if anyone recommended Vorkisigan saga
6/11/2021 07:41:16 am
You Know Who I Am Will, I'm Coming For You.
6/11/2021 12:54:51 pm
I'm glad you're picking up He Who Fights With Monsters, it will prepare you for our inevitable showdown.
I think I have a super power. Whenever I randomly go to your website and look at your blog, lo and behold, you posted that day. I recently started reading Manga too. It's amazing! So much faster than reading anime. Tokyo Revengers and Solo Leveling are awesome, and I'm confident you'd enjoy them. Thanks for the monthly post!
6/11/2021 06:50:53 pm
My first thought when reading Lindon's climb up the tower at the end of Wintersteel was that it felt like an homage to the end of Katanagatari. With how much anime you've watched, was that intentional?
6/12/2021 08:15:47 am
I missed this, but if you’re reading manga Ares was a great manga-only done by an American I think. Also the Breaker New Waves Manhwa.
6/12/2021 11:45:00 am
I've been reading the Spellmonger series, pretty good books, if you have the time to devote to 20 some odd very long books. Might move on to He Who Fights With Monsters once I'm finished, if Will doesn't have another book out by then.
7/1/2021 03:36:43 pm
Terry Mancour is an absolute genius and has written one of the most compelling series that I have read recently. His world building is unparalleled. For those that like the boy and his pet concept i would recommend Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall and if you want to deep dive into a prolific author (3 books a year) who does modern mage stuff check out RL King. For my part, I am 2/3 of the way through the Cradle series and am enjoying it immensely. Lots of wonderful stuff out there. Cheers.
6/13/2021 02:05:40 pm
A good game to try is control. Recently got rereleased with all dlc
6/13/2021 02:51:00 pm
Late to the party but i think: https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/40920/the-path-of-ascension is your jam. Super interesting cultivation novel but in Space with a fairly unique take. Plot driven but still with good character development.
6/14/2021 10:22:36 am
Will, if you don't get why people play Kenshi for hundreds of hours, watch this and you REALLY won't get it. But you should have a good laugh. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0QR0SvJ564
6/14/2021 04:25:37 pm
I think you should take the time to look at Michelle Sagara West. Her epic fantasy (The Hidden City, and The Sun Sword, are the easy jumping in points) is honestly on par or better than RJ/Tolkien. Her fantasy police procedural (Cast in…) is pulpier but also good. She has a bunch of shorter stuff she’s written and a backlog of however many words. If the words have to be recharged, I suspect she will inspire you.
6/14/2021 06:51:34 pm
I am currently reading the Pilgrim series by Harmon Cooper and really enjoying it. Not sure if anyone has recommended that yet, but its well worth the read!
6/15/2021 08:08:00 pm
quick recommendation to read:
6/15/2021 08:30:25 pm
So apparently not only do I love your series, but your taste in anime is spot on!
6/17/2021 10:49:27 am
Terry Mancour Spellmonger series. I can’t recommend it highly enough. The world building, deep dives into the political landscape, and the law itself are fantastic. He talks about adult relationships/sex in such real and funny without it feeling like a romance novel. If you haven’t read it already you should :) I really enjoyed your Cradle series as well, and I’m excited to see what comes next.
6/17/2021 01:47:49 pm
Wow I rlly need to start watching more anime. I’ve only seen the classics so I can only offer book recommendations. I recently reading some hplovecraft, and I love it. Ik it’s way off here but it’s still good. Otherwise “princesses bride,” movie and book, name of the wind 3 whenever the hell it comes out. Probs another overlord lifetime. For tv shows all the marvel ones, friends, how I met your mother, Lucifer ik you’d love if u haven’t seen it.
6/17/2021 06:55:47 pm
Ah, so if we need deeper cut anime recs, how about Planetes? It's usually described as something like "realistic, near future sci-fi about space garbagemen".
6/17/2021 10:53:10 pm
Wow I rlly need to start watching more anime. I’ve only seen the classics so I can only offer book recommendations. I recently reading some hplovecraft, and I love it. Ik it’s way off here but it’s still good. Otherwise “princesses bride,” movie and book, name of the wind 3 whenever the hell it comes out. Probs another overlord lifetime.
6/18/2021 09:06:12 am
Wow you guys still read books? I only read every book recommended here and became a fan of wills just to make this snide comment about reading
6/20/2021 05:22:30 pm
Star Odyssey is a 1979 Italian film directed by Alfonso Brescia. The film is also known as Space Odyssey, Metallica and Captive Planet in other video markets.
6/22/2021 12:43:38 pm
I see he who fights with monsters getting a lot of love here. I did not care for the writing style. No artistry in it. I think NPCs by Drew Hayes is so much better. Of course this is just my opinion.
6/26/2021 07:40:33 am
i completely agree. i checked it out since i have kindle unlimited and i found it unbearable.
6/23/2021 01:58:57 pm
From what I hear 86 was pretty bad. Some ambitions concept wise but bad execution. On the anime discord I hang out it got 3 worth watching votes, 6 meh votes, 5 not worth watching votes and one "Oh fuck oh christ this is horrid" vote^^
7/8/2021 12:34:44 pm
Ah and let me add The Last Ship in Suzhou. Honestly hard to judge it storywise at this point and it is slow going. But beautiful prose in xianxia is uncommon enough that it is worth mentioning.
6/27/2021 01:04:14 pm
So having scanned through this list and growing up on all the same stuff, I’d like to note a fairly large gap in categories for recommendation: Korean webtoons. It’s a relatively new platform compared to traditional Japanese manga and it’s optimized for phone and tablets. Typically all color, but still a weekly serial, and seemingly about 60-80% is adapted from light novels. The medium has made for some of my favorite visual stories. If you know all this already, sorry for mansplaining; here are some of my favorites, scattered across various platforms (some in the semi legal ad-strewn scanslation underworld, just search the title and keep your ad blocker up)
7/19/2021 10:14:13 pm
I absolutely love Peerless Dad. Omniscient Reader is really interesting as well. Also, don't miss out on 4 Cut Hero. This Korean manga leaves me wondering how can people make something that good.
6/28/2021 12:57:55 pm
Makes me wonder if anyone has recommended 'Defiance of the Fall'. If he likes wuxia and stuff that much, isnt it right his alley? Well, its not written from a chinese but some westerner, so maybe that got it disqualified? ^^
7/1/2021 07:18:28 am
Total tangent i was driving to work today and listened to watch me bleed by team fearless and immediately thought it was a perfect character score for Lindon.
7/7/2021 09:39:55 am
I read a good bit of stuff, I'm a big fan of misunderstanding??? comedy stuff lately.
A Willy Big Fan
7/7/2021 06:16:13 pm
Iron Prince: Warformed is amazing if you haven't read it.
A Willy Big Fan
7/7/2021 06:22:06 pm
Reidon Ward is quite similar to Lindon. Wait, I checked the website and found that you already read it. 🤦🤦♀️🤦♂️
A Willy Big Fan
7/7/2021 06:28:19 pm
If you liked the Iron Prince, A Testament of Steel and the Society of the Sword trilogy are excellent too. Same with the authors' other books...if anyone cares for fantasy and action.
7/10/2021 09:46:03 pm
I really loved the concept of He Who Fights With Monsters and I even got past the main character's "I'm an atheist so I'm obviously morally superior" attitude but as the story went on I just slowly grew to hate it and then, at the end, I just _nothing_ it. It evokes no feelings or interest whatsoever.
7/11/2021 08:43:52 pm
You have screwed us will, get us a book
7/12/2021 02:54:57 am
Anime - Berserk, Goblin Slayer, Requiem street (chinese) Im a spider so what, Rune soldier, gungrave.
7/12/2021 11:19:10 pm
I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned before, The Dragon Heart books by Kirill Klevanski is another cultivation series worth reading while waiting for Reaper release.
7/15/2021 07:13:58 pm
I simply cannot believe no one (that I noticed) listed Nicholas Eames book. Kings Of The Wyld. Laugh, cry, cheer, think…. when I think adventure, I think of this book.
7/19/2021 09:31:12 pm
Have you read Divine Throne of Primordial Blood? It's on wuxiaworld as well and written by Fate Zero. Also there is A World Worth Protecting by Er Gen. Not on wuxiaworld.
7/26/2021 07:38:43 am
Did you ever read Freaks' Squeele? It's a French comic book series and with a ton of action and comedy, definitely worth reading if you ever get the chance.
want to be like mike
8/30/2021 09:47:24 am
sorry up front for slightly off topic, but I saw a recommendation for a book a while back that was possible a MANGA but had Main character transported to a High School during Zombie apocalypse that was LITRPG'ish where he died over and over improving along the way. My kindle died and didn't get to finish and cant seam to locate the book. So maybe a download PDF style. I swear I saw it here but cant find it after trying every recommendation I've seen.
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