“Recommend” or “talk about how much we both love them”. I am guessing the DCIB self-selected community has very similar fantasy book tastes, so if you say what your favorite series is, someone else is going to say “OMG, I love that series, so-and-so is my favorite character, it’s so great how her friendship with such-and-such is shown”. Because we all like Indian film, and most likely the things we like in it are the same things we like in books.
I’ve read a lot of fantasy from a variety of authors over the years, but here are some of my top favorite authors/series:
Fantasy world with a really complicated well thought out civilization at the center of it. She has multiple ethnic/religious groups worked out, a whole system of trade, laws, and rival countries that each of their own respective histories and ethnic/religious groups and so on. Also, of course, strong female characters as the protagonists. “Strong” in both senses, they tend to be very powerful (good fighters, have strong magic, like that), and also they are complicated interesting 3 dimensional female characters.
Part of why I like Indian films is that same complicated civilization feeling. When I watch a movie, I am all caught up in the emotions of the characters and stuff, but I also have the intellectual challenge of keeping track of the allusions to languages and historical moments and religions that I don’t know much about.
Starting books: Arrows of the Queen series, I think the first books she published, and the first ones I read. She also wrote a series of one off books set in Edwardian England, those are good starting points too if you want something more standalone with a similar complicated underlying concept. The first one of those even has a desi heroine, Serpant’s Shadow.
The sexy one! She also has an elaborate fantasy world, although not as complex as Lackey. Her biggest thing is flipping the way gender power works, especially related to sexy stuff. In her world, woman have more power and men are valued primarily for sexual pleasure and reproduction. It’s a lot more complicated than that, and it really works well as she has thought it out, but that’s the center piece of everything that makes her books special.
Jab Harry Met Sejal is basically an Anne Bishop story. The hero is sexy and dangerous and all those things, but the woman has the social power over him, and he is so extremely gentlemanly and protective that he is being eaten up inside by trying to protect her from himself. If you like that movie, you should check out Anne Bishop.
Starting books: I’d say start with her shorter less complicated books first, The Shadow Queen would be a good one. There will be some references you don’t understand, but it’s easier than going through her massive longer books waiting for the pay off. Or if you want to do the massive longer books, start with Daughter of the Blood.
This is the first fantasy author I read, her most popular series is really truly a children’s series. Nothing more adult than kissing happens, and nothing more violent than magic wands making people disappear into nothing. Real stories, with real humor, and fun characters, and a little world that everything happens in, but nothing that made me feel scared or uncomfortable when I was 9 years old. I wish there were more authors like this, who did true children’s stories without talking down to kids.
This is also why I like Indian films. Sometimes I want a world where everyone is generally nice, no one bleeds real blood, couples fall in love by saying “I am in love” and then having their first kiss, and it’s kind of a fairy tale. It’s happy, it’s safe, and nice.
Starting books: Her Enchanted Forest Chronicles, starting with Dealing with Dragons, are the ones I loved as a kid and still love. She also did 5 books set in Regency England (but with magic), that are also very kid-friendly and extremely fun and well-written, I suggest starting with Mairelon the Magician. DON’T READ her Lyra novels. They were her first books and are a bit rocky. Except for the one published last, The Raven Ring, which is a little more adult in a lot of ways but well-written.