Jasper Fforde. Most famously did the Thursday Next series, which is pretty good (books have their own universe, crazy conspiracies happen), also started the Nursery Crimes series and the one-off Fifty Shades of Grey (no relation) which is awesome.
Terry Pratchett's Discworld series is a great Fantasy series, with an emphasis on humor and poking at fantasy cliches. It currently has four different... storylines (not sure if that's the word I'd use), but each book is stand alone.
They say a good one-of book in the series that's a good introduction to Discworld as a whole is Small Gods.
Personally, my favorite Discworld series is the City Watch. Start with "Guards! Guards!" The lead character hates the type of hero with the perfect golden armor and with a smile that goes "Ting!"
mangagirl1603Featured By OwnerJan 12, 2013Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Agreed. I'm very fond of the books too, although my favourite series is the 'Death' series. Hogfather's my favourite.
To the person who made the thread, he also writes rather loose parodies of famous books and plays and turns them into Discworld books. Some examples:
Maskerade- Phantom of the Opera parody Wyrd Sisters- MacBeth parody Lords and Ladies- Midsummer Night's Dream parody Night Watch- Supposedly a Les Miserables parody but I couldn't tell you that cause I haven't read Les Mis.
Not at all cliche and not exactly YA (it can be for any age range, though adult is probably strongly preferred due to some of the themes). I highly, highly recommend it. It's not a very well known book, but I guarantee that once you start reading, you won't be able to put it down!
SambevFeatured By OwnerDec 28, 2012Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well, I had the same question as you and got some good suggestions, so here's my suggestion: The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson. The book is very feminist, postmodern, a little steampunky without being too trendy, and it's very well written which is a plus for me.
There's one fantasy book that's way out of the ordinary: The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers. It looks like a kid's book because of the drawings in it, but it's actually surprisingly dark, and has a lot of pun-based humor. I would describe it as a mix between The Phantom Tollbooth and The Odyssey.
I would recommend virtually anything by Sheri S. Tepper or Tim Powers. Tepper (a scifi and fantasy writer) seems to favor female protagonists, Powers (mostly an Urban Fantasy and Historical Fiction writer) male. Both write interesting, believable characters and engaging plots. The Anubis Gates and The True Game Trilogy are some of my favorite books. Harder to find but very good is P.C. Hodgell's God Stalk and Dark of the Moon.
Over on the science end of the fiction spectrum, I also like David Brin, Larry Niven, John Varley and Harry Harrison. Ray Bradbury and Terry Prattchett are a given in any rec list, of course.
I'm not sure what you consider cliché storylines. One could argue that stories about friendship/brotherhood/freedom/self-discovery yadda yadda are all cliched... but I'm going to suggest Naomi Novik's Temeraire series. It's about the Napoleonic wars, only in an alternate universe, with dragons. [link]
It's definitely non-cliche, with many strong male characters. Sounds like this was practically written for you, as it has strong themes of brotherhood and friendship running throughout - absolutely no romantic subplot.
It has subverted undead and monster slaying, with much gore, as well as a sort of political (evil magical government) thing going on.
For urban Fantasy I can really recommend the Saga of Matthew Swift, written by Kate Griffin. Urban Magic in the London of today. Though it's rather dark urban fantasy.
Short summary: Matthew Swift, Sorcerer, got killed two years ago and is now revived by the Electric Blue Angels, the bits and bites of conversation flowing through the wires around the world.
The first book (A Madness of Angels) is about how he finds out why and by whom he was killed mostly. (more books of the series: The Midnight Mayor, The Neon Court, The Minority Council. Spin off 1: Stray Souls)
I was told that Dresten Files is pretty similar (dark urban fantasy too) and quite a few of my friends love that series. I got it here, but haven't started reading it yet.
Both series start with a massivly overpowered character, but their enemies will make them suffer non the less.
Funny how past predictions of the apocalypse(Hell unleashed on Earth) always seem more attractive than current predictions of the apocalypse(Idiots strapped to chairs living fantasy lives out in a virtual reality/greenscreen environment.). Just sayin'.
Though there is that one book... a theoretic thought-construct about what would happen if humans would vanish in this second, leaving the world as it is, just without humans. It's quite interesting to read, which parts of the electricity would give up first, what happens to the Subways, what plants grow first, what buildings take how long to collaps...
American Gods and Anansi Boys by Neil Gaimen sound right up your alley. You might like the latter a bit more, but the former is more detailed and a longer story overall. Definitely give either book a shot!
Hmm. Have you tried any of the newer Halo books? I know that Halo probably isn't your thing, but most if not all have what you are looking for. Only one cliche to speak of, and it has a woman character (not a lead character specifically) with a rather stoic attitude with a pretty messed up past. Even that is pushing it, because of her status and what she had been through, it isn't really even apparent that she even has a love interest...Other than that, things are pretty much golden.
It has strong male heroes, and there are even great pairing opportunities for you to take advantage of I know that you are into Yaoi, so just putting that whole pairing thing out there.
It obviously has some violence/gore, but it doesn't make up a bunch of the storyline like you think it would. When it comes to sexual themes...well there really isn't any. I guess its much like every other popular videogame/movie/book universe in that respect.
When it comes to specific books in the series, I would suggest:
Halo: The Thursday War or Halo: Glasslands. They both follow the same people, so you won't be lost when it comes to specific characters and their development over a period of time.
I haven't read those ones yet, but the first book by Deitz and everything by Nylund were great, even though they had completely different tones. I know there was one - either the Harvest one or the one after that - that I didn't care for at all. I'm glad the series seems to be picking back up again when it comes to quality.