E2 | An Intro to Fantasy and Some Flights | Our Top 5 Books

Updated: Apr 15


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For our second episode we're here to share our top five book choices! You're in for a range of Fantasy and SciFi novels, with a surprise splash of Historical Fiction. No spoilers (unless you have not read Harry Potter books 3 and 4, which are referenced in a couple discussions), so don't be afraid if you hear a title you haven't read! We're hoping to give you a feel for the novels we love, the series that have shaped our personal narratives, and the writers who fill our minds with fantasy.



This episode we were drinking:

  • Dalton: Wayne Gretzky #99; a Canadian whiskey with (supposedly) hints of English Toffee and Dark Chocolate.

  • Nelson: Devil Dog by ROAK Brewery; a smooth, high APV (8.3%) oatmeal stout.



The icebreaker question for this episode was posed by Dalton: Who is your favorite "mentor" character?

  • Nelson: Lupin, Harry Potter

  • Dalton: Kelsier, Mistborn

Leave a comment with your favorite mentor character!



Dalton's Number 5: Red Rising

Author: Pierce Brown

Series: Red Rising

Genre: Science Fiction

Magic System: Soft Technology

Narration: First Person Present Tense


A thrilling book full of suspense and phenomenal character development. Elements of a downcast character in a dystopian society, so if you like books such as The Hunger Games but with an adult focus, this may be a good fit for you. A great example of a flawed main character, dealing with elements of his own humanity and trauma, yet rising to the challenges set before him. Truly a book I will come back to for another (third) read, with maybe more after that.


Nelson's Number 5: A Storm of Swords

Author: George R. R. Martin

Series: Song of Ice and Fire

Genre: High Fantasy

Magic System: Soft Magic

Narration: Third Person Limited


Game of Thrones (formally known as The Song of Ice and Fire) Series is a very well-known story due to the famous HBO series. While all 6 seasons of the show (yes there are only 6, the last two don’t count) are fantastic, the books take it up a notch. This series is a tale of a brutal power struggle over a chair where no character is safe! This is the third book in the series and was told through some my favorite characters: Jon Snow, Danny, Arya, and Tyrion. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat for all 973 pages!


Dalton's Number 4: The Martian


Author: Andy Weir

Series: N/A

Genre: Science Fiction

Magic System: Hard Technology

Narration: Mixed First Person Past, Third Person Limited


The Martian is a fun and engaging exercise in survival on Mars. Specifically, in this case, by a stranded astronaut with a background in engineering, biology, and filter-less wit. I love the setting, love the dialog and problem solving, love that it is written so that anyone from any background can approach the book and understand and enjoy it. Highly recommend this book enjoyed as an audiobook or read with a partner.


Nelson's Number 4: Words of Radiance


Author: Brandon Sanderson

Series: Stormlight Archives

Genre: High Fantasy

Magic System: Hard Magic

Narration: Third Person Limited


This is a high fantasy novel that builds on the unique world Brandon Sanderson built in the first book of this series, The Way of Kings. This world is populated with spirits, called spren, that appear and react to people's emotions and the environment. Some characters bond with special intelligent spren called honorspren and they are granted magical powers from this bond. This series has multiple different interweaving story lines and the next book in the series is expected to be released this November! This will be the fourth out of the ten books that Mr. Sanderson has planned.


Dalton's Number 3: The Name of the Wind



Author: Patrick Rothfuss

Series: Kingkiller Chronicles

Genre: High Fantasy

Magic System: Hybrid Magic (or 2 separate systems, one hard one soft)

Narration: First Person Past Tense


I am so drawn to the power of words and Rothfuss' adept wielding of them in this series. It is potent, it is intoxicating, it grabs your attention from the first page an never lets go. This is the first of 3 books as Kvothe tells his story of his rise and fall from being one of the most powerful beings in the history of this epic world. I can't wait to lose myself in the final installment of this series!




Nelson's Number 3: Mistborn: The Final Empire


Author: Brandon Sanderson

Series: Mistborn

Genre: Fantasy

Magic System: Hard Magic

Narration: Third Person Limited


This book has potentially my favorite magic system in all of literature. In the Mistborn series there are mages that get their power by consuming different types of metal! Since this magical ability is genetic, the mages have produced a society where nonmagic people have been suppressed into slavery. Mistborn: The Final Empire follows two Mistborn who are working against the high class to overthrow their tyranny!



Dalton's Number 2: The Eight


Author: Katherine Neville

Series: N/A

Genre: Historic Fiction

Magic System: Soft Magic

Narration: Third Person Limited


If I had to design a book from the ground up that would be exactly what I would love to explore, The Eight would meet that description perfectly. Historical fiction set in 2 parallel timelines, both critical turning points in history, this book explores a soft magic system based on the repetition of the number 8 in music, natural sciences, and chess. Hits near the top of my list for personal nostaligia and a fantastic concept and setting.





Nelson's Number 2: Ender's Shadow


Author: Orson Scott Card

Series: The Shadow Series (Parallel Novel to Ender's Game)

Genre: Science Fiction

Magic System: Hard Technology

Narration: Third Person Limited


Before you read this book you need to read Ender's Game. Ender's Shadow is the exact same story as the epic tale of Ender's Game but told from a different character. Bean, who is the small, often overlooked, military genius provides the background perspective to a majority of the events that happen in Ender's Game. This book is so high on my list because it provides the opportunity to re-read a fantastic book and make it fell brand new!

Dalton's Number 1: Ender's Game

Author: Orson Scott Card

Series: Ender's Game Series

Genre: Science Fiction

Magic System: Hard Technology

Narration: Third Person Limited


I believe I have read this book more than any other and it continues to shape the ways I view strategy, understanding and besting and opponent, and leadership as a whole. Set in a future world where an alien race is repeatedly attacking humanity, Ender is identified as a child prodigy to lead humanities forces in the defense of our world. The story unfolds primarily from Ender's point of view, which the author uses to explore the nature of combat, leadership, and influence on others. It is a book I find myself returning to again and again, I cannot recommend it highly enough.


Nelson's Number 1: The Wise Man's Fear


Author: Patrick Rothfuss

Series: Kingkiller Chronicles

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Magic System: Hybrid Magic (or 2 separate systems, one hard one soft)

Narration: First Person Past Tense


Earlier in this post Dalton describes "The Name of The Wind" which is the first book in this Kingkiller Chronicles series. This book moves into day two of Kvothe telling his story and you get to learn more about the magic system and the god-like character! This series is a must read for any fantasy fan and when the third book comes out, you can bet I will be taking some vacation time from work in order to finish the series!


Thank you all for listening! Hopefully now you have a well rounded picture of the types of books we are going to be exploring as we continue developing content. In addition to your favorite "mentor" character, let us know which book you think is worthy to steal a spot on our list. Cheers!

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