What's The WORST Fantasy Novel You Have Ever Read?

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Shuggy
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What's The WORST Fantasy Novel You Have Ever Read?

Postby Shuggy » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:27 am

Mine has to be the infamous “Sword of Shannara” by Terry Brooks. A more disgusting, blatant, piece of plagiarism I have never read.

It’s basically LOTR with the names changed to protect the innocent. The story and plot is nigh-on identical to LOTR but with minor alterations along the lines of “delete: ‘Ring’, insert: ‘Sword’”. It’s THAT bad. Where JRR suggested that ‘Rings’ was set in our own pre-history, Brooks even goes as far as to hint that ‘Sword’ is set in our own distant future.

Obviously, if you’re familiar with LOTR, there are quite literally hardly any surprises in ‘Sword’, and nearly all of the characters in ‘Sword’ are near-enough directly based on characters from ‘Rings’ – story arcs and all.

The annoying thing is – I couldn’t put it down! Brooks is easy to read, I’ll give him that, but the thing that really kept me going was that I just had to see if it would get any worse! I needed to see just how far Brooks would go – and believe me he goes ALL the way!
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Re: What's The WORST Fantasy Novel You Have Ever Read?

Postby Niamh Sage » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:58 am

I have never managed to read it all the way through, but would like to make a plug for The Eye of Argon by Jim Theis.

So appalling it's almost good.

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Re: What's The WORST Fantasy Novel You Have Ever Read?

Postby TomCotton » Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:33 pm

I am currently slogging my way through the festering cess pool swamp otherwise known as The Worm Ouroboros. Ever have a toothache so bad that you dicided to take some pliers and rip the offending tooth out by the roots without using any anesthetic? That is what it is like reading this book. I have tried reading it over the past 40 years off and on but have never managed to get through it. The read this time is well past any previous mark achieved and it is still such a burden on my good will and mental health. People say it gets better as the book progresses, but it does not seem that way. It is just more of the same slogging anachronistic prose that takes away completely from the story. :roll:
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Re: What's The WORST Fantasy Novel You Have Ever Read?

Postby resoundingjoy » Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:08 pm

I never really managed to get into Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. This was a few years ago, but I think I got through volume seven or eight before finally giving up.

That was the first one that came to mind. I'll have to look over my reading journals and see what else I can pull out.

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Re: What's The WORST Fantasy Novel You Have Ever Read?

Postby margarath » Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:04 pm

I found WoT to be one of those things you have to slog your way through. I read about 1-7 or 8 in one go in the holidays some time, but it takes forever to read, and I found it a difficult one to dip in and out of so my interest petered out after that.

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Re: What's The WORST Fantasy Novel You Have Ever Read?

Postby J_Kale » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:39 pm

Read about half of the first book of WoT, misplaced the book and figured there was little point locating another copy given how much it'd cost to buy the lot at this point. It's another one that struck me as closely resembling LotR, at least in the first part of book 1.

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Re: What's The WORST Fantasy Novel You Have Ever Read?

Postby locksley » Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:59 pm

One of the Dragonlance (Preludes) books called 'Tanis, the Shadow Years' is definitely near the top of my 'worst books' list.
"He walked into mid-autumn, hearing nothing but the winds. One night as he sat before his fire, vaguely feeling the winds urge against his shape, he looked down and saw the starred harp in his hands ..." (Mckillip, The Riddle Master trilogy)

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Re: What's The WORST Fantasy Novel You Have Ever Read?

Postby Mingbearer » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:23 am

Dragonlance, in general, is not a patch on the Forgotten Realms.

And, as such, it has been renamed 'Danglonlance.'

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Re: What's The WORST Fantasy Novel You Have Ever Read?

Postby barkybree » Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:40 pm

I remember an ass-tastic book about D&D players who find themselves magically transported to a fantasy world where they were wizards and clerics and fighters and they had to find some dragon's lair to get back but they had to "wish" one of their friends back to life after he got burnt to a crisp so they decided to stay and they taught everyone how to build generators and ... ACK!! It was awful. I'm thankful I've forgotten the name of it ...

I belonged to a fantasy/sci-fi book club in the 80's. I read a lot of awful stuff. That's why I never read fantasy anymore. :P

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Re: What's The WORST Fantasy Novel You Have Ever Read?

Postby Azriel » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:07 pm

In recent years I have begun occasionally taking a break from heavier reading and venturing into young adult fantasy. Not surprisingly, not all the books labelled y/a are in fact for younger kids. A lot of fantasy ends up labelled as y/a because librarians are only recently realizing that just because a book has magic it doesn't mean it's a fairy tale.

Anyway, within y/a I've come across some truly excellent books, but also some real stinkers. A couple examples that stick out:

Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Though I should have known better than to expect good from a teen werewolf novel, I have to say I was actually surprised by how awful this one was. The writing was terrible and juvenile, the plot was laughable, and the book could easily have been written by a 12 year old. It was just embarrassing to read.

Blood and Chocolate by Anette Curtis Klaus
Another juvenile, ill-written, werewolf novel. I have read a lot of vampire novels, some were horrible, but some were really good. I was hoping to find the same with werewolves, but it seems they all are terrible. This one seemed like it *could* have been good with a slightly better plot and a real writer. I liked some of her ideas... but they were badly carried out. If anyone wants a real laugh, check out the movie based on the book.


As for more serious fantasy, I've not read that many truly bad books. I tend to only read books that are by authors I know, or which were recommended by people whose taste I trust.

Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind was pretty awful. I didn't realize how bad it was while I was reading it, but afterward as I thought about it I realized it was rather forgettable and unoriginal, and the very strange S/M digression in the middle was unnecessary and distracting.

I also remember Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay annoying me. Too much sex. It crossed the line from fantasy to ....well... fantasy. :p I don't mind sex in books, but too much detail, or too many times just distracts from the actual plot. (like in The Time Traveler's Wife.... good lord that was a lot of sex. The book should have been half that length.)
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Re: What's The WORST Fantasy Novel You Have Ever Read?

Postby locksley » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:06 am

Az, I agree 100% on 'Tigana'. ;)
"He walked into mid-autumn, hearing nothing but the winds. One night as he sat before his fire, vaguely feeling the winds urge against his shape, he looked down and saw the starred harp in his hands ..." (Mckillip, The Riddle Master trilogy)

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Re: What's The WORST Fantasy Novel You Have Ever Read?

Postby ElviraStarkeeper » Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:49 am

I have to add my voice to the people who dislike Wheel of Time. I got i think about three books in and then got disracted by somthing actually good, nd have never bothered to go back to it. I figure why force myself to read for fun when i have to force myself to read for school so much? It just goes ON. The original ideas that are buried beneath piles of LotR ripoffs and slight renaming of celtic and norse stories, are actually ok, but they are few, far between, and dragged out. How many times does the same character need to be described in a page? Do we have 5 second memories?
Also i despize almost all the characters, and the ones i dont despize we dont get to see enough of.
I've heard it improves as it progresses, but my dad says differently and we have been agreeing about books since i learned to read...
So basicly i think it could have had potential, but just got dragged out wayyyy to much.

I went on a rant... oops.

For downright absolute worst most horrible book though i think the darksword trilogy by maragret weis and tracy hickman was the most painful. Even less likable characters than wheel of time, and the writing seems very childish, and then all of a sudden it tries to be.. metaphysical or sci-fi or i dont even know what! Oh i hated it. A lot.
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Re: What's The WORST Fantasy Novel You Have Ever Read?

Postby Cassie » Thu Apr 22, 2010 6:49 pm

Ok I have to defend WoT :lol: Yes it's long, yes there's thousands of characters, yes he describes things WAY too much, yes everything is about boobs and their various sizes, but if you actually stick with it, read it slowly, and even re-read it again it gets better honestly. I've read all but the latest book 3 times now and this last time really got me understanding the characters better. I'm looking forward to the series actually having an ending though, especially with Jordan being RIP and all...
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Re: What's The WORST Fantasy Novel You Have Ever Read?

Postby Keith » Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:52 pm

Cassie wrote:Ok I have to defend WoT :lol: Yes it's long, yes there's thousands of characters, yes he describes things WAY too much, yes everything is about boobs and their various sizes, but if you actually stick with it, read it slowly, and even re-read it again it gets better honestly. I've read all but the latest book 3 times now and this last time really got me understanding the characters better. I'm looking forward to the series actually having an ending though, especially with Jordan being RIP and all...


I was OK with WoT until about book 7 or 8, when the number of subplots and minor characters just got out of control, to the point where each book covered hardly any time and hardly any major events happened because we had to see not only what Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene, Elayne et al were doing, but also Random Aes Sedai Nos. 701-847, people on the other side of the continent, random moronic nobles who still haven't cottoned on that the world's ending, etc. Book 9 wasn't too bad, book 10 was truly dire (the only good major plotline was Mat's, surprise surprise), book 11 was something of a return to form. I'm waiting till I can buy book 12 from a charity shop.

I've read a fair few bad fantasy books that got published, but for true mind-bending direness you have to look at stuff released through vanity presses. The So Bad It's Horrible/Literature page on TV Tropes led me to read extracts from ANTIGUA: The Land of Fairies Wizards and Heroes (Part 1). Here's a little sample:

Suddenly, there were black clouds in the sky. Everyone heard a loud noise coming from the sky and they all knew that Voltar the Dragon was coming. King Artor yelled out, "Daughters, Voltar comes! Get ready your weapons! The time has come for you to fulfill the prophecy!" Princess Sasha, Princess Trina, Princess Alexandra and Rebecca walked up ahead of the army and lined up together in a row. They looked like warriors! Rebecca was not afraid! She took a deep breath and got her weapon ready for the task that lay ahead. She understood the prophecy now and had faith in herself and the Princesses. They each pulled out their bows and prepared to kill the dragon. Fire came out of his nostrils and his mouth. Princess Alexandra handed each of the other girls one of the special arrows that they had gotten from the Queen of the Unicorns. All four of the girls pointed their bows up into the air and waited for Voltar to come nearer. Voltar let out such a loud noise that the ground shook! Then fire came right out of his nostrils. The Wizard Thandor held his mighty wand up toward the sky and yelled, "Mighty clouds of the sky, I call upon you to bring forth lightening to destroy the Dragon Voltar!" Large lightening bolts came out of the clouds toward Voltar. One lightening bolt struck Voltar and wounded him, but it didn't kill him!


ANTIGUA on Amazon.com, complete with incredulous reviews

More extracts on Google Books

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Cassie
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Re: What's The WORST Fantasy Novel You Have Ever Read?

Postby Cassie » Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:33 pm

Wow. That's......painful.
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