What To Read While Waiting For Ghost Story?

Ghost Story is just a few months away, but for many of us the wait’s just unbearable. What’s a superfan to do?

Read something else, of course. I like my stuff pretty dark; so here’s what I’d recommend to fellow Jim fans looking in that direction, both by authors who I fully believe deserve a wider audience.

Harry Connolly’s Child of Fire: This is dark stuff (Changes dark, and maybe darker still), but so worth it. If you’re wondering what Harry’s adventures would look like in a more horror-inflected series where magic is an even surer route to pain, this is it. Jim Butcher has said that the writing here tells him he’s got to up his game, and you can see why. The plot is propulsive, the twists and turns are sharp, and the hero’s got some serious stuff darkening his door. This is part of the “Twenty Palaces” series, followed by Game of Cages and the upcoming Circle of Enemies.

While you’re at it, consider checking out Chuck Wendig’s collection of short stories, Irregular Creatures. Chuck runs an awesome, bizarre, profane writers’-advice blog over on Terrible Minds (good reading on its own!), and his e-collection of short stories here follows in that vein. He also has an upcoming novel about a vampire who returns to waking in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, Double Dead, which I’m betting will be up your alley as well.

So what are you reading while waiting on Ghost Story? Whose stuff would you recommend? Chime in in the comments, below! (Please avoid spoilers while making your recommendations!)

110 thoughts on “What To Read While Waiting For Ghost Story?”

  1. Read Brent Weeks’s Night Angel trilogy as well. It started out amazing but got steadily worse in my opinion. Overall I’d say it’s a pretty meh thing.

    I would recommend:
    Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
    First Law by Joe Abercrombie
    Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch (be wary though, third book is looong overdue due to personal problems)
    Dark Tower by Stephen King
    Amber Chronicles by Roger Zelazny
    Lord of Light, also by Zelazny

    If you don’t want just fantasy series:
    Old Man’s War series by John Scalzi
    Makers by Cory Doctorow

    1. Yeah, the whole First Law trilogy and its follow-on spin-offs live in a similar darkness space to Connolly’s Twenty Palaces series. I’m pretty sure if folks like one they’ll like the other. Thanks for the suggestions!

    2. Agree about the Night Angel trilogy. Thought the second book was still good but the third wrapped everything up too quickly. Still looking forward to his next series though. Have to get my hands on the Black Prism.

      Gentleman Bastards is way overdue plus it looks like he’s got another 4 books planned after that. Starting to look like it might take longer than the Dark Tower series.

      Alera Codex was also awesome.

      I’ve heard Game of Thrones is fantastic.

      Anything by Terry Pratchett is fun. Goofball fantasy satire.

  2. Whelp, I just finished rereading the Alera codex, and I’m currently steamrolling through just about everything Brian Sanderson has written. Loved Mistborn and am working on the new Wheel of Time book he finished.

  3. Kim Harrison the Hollows Series. She has a different and interesting approach to magic and the everafter.

    1. Kim Harrison: Hollows Series
      Kelly Armstrong: Otherworld Series
      Patricia Briggs: Mercy Thompson Series

      Different Fantasy feel but If you like politics and intrigue (this will keep you busy) George R.R. Martins Game of Thrones.

  4. So many good books to choose from, but my current recommendations would be the Felix Castor series by Mike Carey, darker than the Dresden Files but very good. Also am rereading Steven Brust’s series about Vlad Taltos, they’re good fun, and the latest book has jus come out. And Kate Griffin’s book A Madness of Angels is unusual but once you get into the story hard to put down. There are so many others I could say, but these are what I’ve found most recently.

    1. I second Kate Griffin’s Matthew Swift books. They’re about an urban sorcerer living in London. It starts with A Madness of Angels, in which Matthew Swift is resurrected as a “we” instead of “I”, and the next two books are The Midnight Mayor, and The Neon Court.

      They’re all fantastic, and although they’re a different style than the Dresden books, they still have that sort of…male lead who’s a bit funny in his ways, with a sidekick of a punkish female apprentice thing going on. And Matthew gets beaten on. A lot.

  5. I’ve been re-reading the Nightside books myself, by Simon R. Green – they’re shorter than the average Dresden Files book, and play a lot faster and looser with the in-universe rules, but it’s still an incredibly fun read (if you’ve got Mean Streets, the second story is a Nightside tale, and how I got hooked on the story). Also worth a read are Green’s Secret Histories novels and the first Ghost Finders novel, Ghost of a Chance. The former series is a magical spy novel series, as if someone spliced Dresden with James Bond, while the latter is a story about three ghost hunters examining strange doings in the London Underground (for this novel). Also, they all take place in a shared universe (as do most of his other works), and the Nightside and Secret Histories are especially connected stories, forming the backbone for this universe.
    If you don’t mind young adult reads (which are really good, and shouldn’t be discounted for having teens as their target audience), the Percy Jackson books are very fun, and for the most part highly accurate in their portrayal of Greek myths. He’s also started a sequel series, the Heroes of Olympus, and a side series in the same universe (but with an Egyptian focus), known as the Kane Chronicles. The latter two still only have one book a piece, but it’s a great set of books to read.

    1. I really like the Nightside series. What I want to see is Harry Dresden visit the Nightside sometime. That would be one wild ride. Just two detectives teaming up to work a case, what could go wrong? Maybe during a timeslip, that has been known to happen on even good days in the Nightside, we can see what would happen when Harry Dresden comes to the oldest bar in the world and has drink with John Taylor P.I..

  6. I’m surprised that no-one has mentioned Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen. It´s an outstanding fantasy 10-book series that’s already finished! I say, if you’re going to spend your time reading a series while you wait, why not read that that’s completed? Give it a try; chances are you’ll like it.

    1. I second this, the Malazan Book of the Fallen is superb. Gardens of the Moon is the first in the 10 book series and you’re thrown in at the deep end. Erikson throws characters at you thick and fast which can be a little daunting but I urge you to stick with it.

  7. I have been devouring books of late. The last book I read that I highly recommend is Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews. This is the first of an ongoing series. I recently read two books by A. Lee Martinez, that were good if different. The two Martinez books I read were Monster and Gil’s All Fright Diner. Gil’s All Fright Diner features a Werewolf named Duke and a Vampire named Earl. Just two ‘good ole boys’ wearing overallls, well one of them does wear them, riding around in old truck. Until they stop at Gil’s, and get attacked by zombies. That is not a spoiler, it takes place in the first few pages. Then the story picks up the pace… 😉

    I also recently read Lamb by Christopher Moore. Not quite the same type of fictions as Dresden, I know, but I loved it. Very funny, in places at least. Lamb tells the Gospel according to Biff, Jesus’s childhood pal. Biff grew up with him and spent those 30 years lost from the Bible with Jesus.

    Just remembered two more books I read while waiting for the next Dresden to drop. I read the first two of The Whisperings Series by Linda Welch, Along Came a Demon and The Demon Hunters. Let’s just say Harry might wish this character around for Ghost Story. I say that because the main character of the series can see and talk with the Violently slain.

  8. I’m seeing a lot of credit go to Simon R. Green’s newer stuff, but almost none for his older works. If you can find it, the Hawk and Fischer novels (6 total, 8 if you want to argue in the forest kingdom novels) are dark fantasy/detective novels, set in an alternate universe that is pre-industrial revolution. His Deathstalker series is a good mix of fantasy and sci-fi, though a little long-winded at times. My first Simon Green novel was Blue Moon Rising, and it got me hooked on that author.

    For greek mythology with a twist, try the WebMage series by Kelly McCullough. This series (5 books total) fiddles with the idea of ancient greek mythology in the modern world, and has one of the coolest takes on magic I have ever encountered; using binary programming to create spells.

    If you have never read Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, go find, and then read, it. Right now.

    Finally, for something completely different, try out the Legacy of the Aldenata series by John Ringo (picture David Weber, except where Weber is a naval expert, Ringo is almost entirely Land-based warefare). It’s military sci-fi, nothing close to detective urban fantasy, but it is an incredible series none-the-less. That series starts with A Hymn Before Battle.

    1. I second your comment about Good Omens. Also, if you haven’t done so already check out Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. I had never read any of the Discworld series until a few weeks ago. My wife found the first of the series. I read it and now I am hooked.

  9. Steven Erikson – Malazan Book of the Fallen – Truly superb (comments above)

    Raymond E Feist – The Rift War Cycle
    A rather large series (just did a quick count on the bookshelf and I’ve got 24 books by Feist…and I’m missing a couple) that is split up into sub trilogies. The first book in the series, Magician (in the UK, I think it’s split in the US), introduces you to Pug who is the central character in most of the books. Classic epic fantasy.

    Robert Jordan – Wheel of Time
    Everyone should have read these books.

    Brandon Sanderson – Mistborn Trilogy
    I was introduced to Sanderson’s work as he is finishing up the Wheel of Time series due the untimely death of Robert Jordan. He’s doing a really good job with the WoT series so I decided to checkout some of his work. The Mistborn Trilogy has some really interesting characters and the abilities of the “Mistborn” are rather intriguing.

    I’ve just finished The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss which is a follow up to The Name of the Wind and thought they were both excellent and I’ll definitely be snapping up the next release.

    I’ve just ordered Child of Fire oh and I’m working my way through The Dresden Files for the second time, I just cant get enough.

  10. While on a very differant slant, I would highly recommend either of E.E. Knight’s series…Vampire Earth has 9 books ready to go and they are almost as hard to put down as one of Jim’s.

  11. The Cal Leandros novels by Rob Thurman. If you took Harry Dresden, John Taylor, and Nikki Sixx you’d get Cal. A badass half-monster punk in New York who fights the forces of evil with his ninja brother, Niko and the one and only Robin Goodfellow. It’s just a fantastic series! Definately worth the read, especially while waiting for a new Dresden novel.

  12. Another series that I really enjoyed reading is S. M. Stirling’s Dies the Fire/The Change series. Dies the Fire was the original trilogy that so far has been followed by 4 more books that are currently published. Looks like another is coming this September and another is planned for next year.

  13. gotta agree with the simon green novels and i would add John Ringo’s Council War series. It starts with There Will be Dragons and it is great.

  14. I only read three fantasy authors (living): Butcher, Gaiman and Pratchett.
    In wait for Ghost Story, I just re-read American Gods (Gaiman), Neverwhere (Gaiman) and read the Tiffany Aching series by Pratchett (Only Discworld I hadn’t read as of yet).
    If you want to find a nice precursor to the current hard-boiled genre in fantasy, dig up Seabury Quinn’s Jules de Grandin occult detective stories. They’re tough to find, but a lot of fun.

    1. How could I have forgotten Terry Pratchett! This man not only tells a good story, keeps a series going, and keeps you entertained, he gives you a moral to think about long after the book is finished! The Nation may be a book for children, but…

  15. Definitely a solid recommendation. Twenty Palace has a similar feel to it. I’d also give John Hartness’ Black Knight Chronicles a read. They are short books, but well worth the read.

    Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey is another Butcher like series – er – series Butcher fans will enjoy.

  16. Ben Aaronovitch has two good books out in paperback… moon over soho is the most recent. Very good urban fantasy.

  17. Hi, this is the first time i’ve posted on http://www.jim-butcher.com. I am a big fan of The Dresden Files as well as Codex Alera. I’ve read “Child of Fire” and has started on “Game of Cages” and Harry Connolly’s Twenty Palaces series is defenantly worth checking out. Another urban fantasy/mystery novel I’m reading right now is Camille Bacon-Smith’s “Daemon Eyes” wich is set in modern day Philadelphia and revolves around a group of demonic detectives who take on cases involving supernatrual elements. Not as good as Dresden but so far very interesting. Very, very dark stuff.

    I’ve also started reading a science fiction mystery novel titled: KOP, by Warren Hammond wich is pretty good so far. It’s a very dark story that has the same feel as in “Blade Runner”. I’m only half-way through the book so far though. It’s about a corrupt cop who lives on the planet Lagarto and is assigned to a murder investigation of a military officer.

    If you want to sink your teeth into something a little different outside of urban fantasy there is a series of books I’m reading that I highly reckomend.
    The titles of the books are:
    “Kill Zone”
    “Dead Shot”
    “Clean Kill”
    “An Act of Treason”

    These books can best be described as sniper novels, with elemts of conspiracy thriller mixed in.
    Written by Gunnery Sgnt. Jack Coughling USMC (ret) and Donald A. Davis.

    The tradecraft about snipers and the thrilling story just kept me reading for hours at a time. The only other series I’ve felt this drawn into the story has been The Dresden Files.

    I also reckomend The Jason Bourne series originally penned by Robert Ludlum, now written under Ludlums name by Eric Van Lustbader. As well as the Bob Lee Swagger series written by Stephen Hunter.

    These are a few of the books I’m reading while waiting for “Ghost Story”.

    PS: May the wedding bells chime for Dresden and Murphy!

  18. Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch and the sequel Moon Over Soho. Hope to see a lot more of these. Mark Del Franco’s Connor Grey series just had it’s fifth book. John Levitt’s Dog Days novels are excellent, as well.

  19. John Meaney’s Bone Song and Black Blood, alternative universe whose technology runs on death energy.
    Tany Huff’s Enchantment Emporium, Canadian urban fantasy,
    P.C. Hodgell’s Kencyrath Novel, starts as a coming of age fantasy series but is simply good and survived to their third publisher,
    Everything from Martha Wells, too much time between books but a new one is coming out this year,
    The demon cycle books of Peter V.Brett,

  20. Can hardly wait for the next book ghost story!!
    But for now i’ve been reading Stacia Kane’s downside ghost series, which is a mix of magic, drugs, addiction and set in quite a dark alternate reality…couldnt put them down, nothing quite like these books, looking forward to the series hopefully carring on and on.
    I’m definately going to try most of the recommendations on here.

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