One of the things I said I wasn’t going to do in this series is recommend really popular books. You’re not going to see Sanderson or Rothfuss or Martin on my list, because they’re doing fine without my attention, and the publishing houses behind them aren’t scratching their heads trying to decide if they should cancel those series.
However, the first book I’m going to recommend is from a very popular author, Daniel Abraham. Dan is half of the writing team that brings you The Expanse, and while that series is fine and good, I’d much rather he go back to writing stuff like The Long Price.
The magic system in TLP is fascinating. Mages called Poets are able to capture the essential essence of ideas and turn them into human-like servants. Most of the first book is about the relationship between one Poet and his servant, Seedless, and the way they can be manipulated simply because they’re human and fallible, despite being incredibly powerful.
The world building and character development drives the narrative. It’s cognitively dense fantasy, an epic that focuses on the individual, and includes some of the best writing of our generation. There are a dozen award winning and nominated fantasies that can’t hold a candle to TLP.
But it didn’t do that well the first time around. Happily the series is being rereleased in an omnibus format, so everyone can enjoy it in a single volume without scrambling to find the individual issues.
It’s the best fantasy series most folks have never heard of. You should read it.