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Anyone have any recommendations for good reads in the genre. I have experience with modern Asian novels and many Westerns which can be used for inspiration. I am looking for something more in the vein of fantasy or along the lines of the samurai era.

Were any of the earlier LotFR novels any good?

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I was never a huge fan of the LotFR novels, but mostly because I did not enjoy the writing. The new stories have been great, however, especially Brennan. who I think is an excellent author.
In regards to novels of similar time periods, you can always try the Laura Joh Rowland ones. They follow a Yoriki in the Tokugawa period. 
If you like the Chinese elements you can incorporate, I really enjoyed The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox by Barry Hughart, and Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay.
And for Unicorn stuff, there is always Genghis: Birth of an Empire.

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hum wait there are novels about this ? i thought this was a world created by FFS.. **** i'm so off world..

from what i read here they are kinda bad though

Edited by gmcc

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11 hours ago, mouthymerc said:

Anyone have any recommendations for good reads in the genre. I have experience with modern Asian novels and many Westerns which can be used for inspiration. I am looking for something more in the vein of fantasy or along the lines of the samurai era.

Were any of the earlier LotFR novels any good?

The Scorpion- When I first read it I thought it was the best of the lot, but it hasn't aged well. The author was strangely fascinated with natto.

The Unicorn- Bland, boring, pointless and forgettable.

The Crane- Okish if you go with low expectations.

The Phoenix- This one is a turgid piece of crap. And it's still better than Wind of War.

The Crab- Decent enough. Probably could go with tighter editing for the last act.

The Dragon- I was expecting this one to be so much worse than it is. It's not great but it's not bad either.

The Lion- Wraps up the Clan War arc. Pretty meh.

The Steel Throne- I always wished the Spirit Wars period had been more developed, and I ended rather enjoying this one. The main problem is that the novel covers a 20 year period, so the narrative ends up a bit disjointed, more like a series of nearly unrelated vignettes, instead of a coherent narrative.

Wind of Honor- Yawn.

Wind of War- Please don't waste your time with this one. It's bad. So bad any other books on the same bookshelf  become worse just by sheer proximity. No tree should have died in order to print this steaming pile of bowel refuse.

This is the very first paragraph: Warm wind shuffled through the rice paddies. Spring had come to Rokugan, and fifteen samurai on horseback had come to the villages. One carried the flag of Bayshi Zuto, their warlord, their daimyo. The soft red and black silks fluttered slightly against the pole. The horses plodded across the flooded rece field, taking care to step on solid ground. Trees to the north, east, and south defined the square edges of farmers' land, and the neat rows of dead, defrosting vegettion looked like poorly groomed tufts of hair between long furrows of dark brown water. Moving across the field was like walking across a soft, wet head.

If for any reason you're still curious about it, it's just a half-assed plagiarism of hommage to Yojimbo and to The Seven Samurai. Starring Kaneka...

Don't bother.

Wind of Justice- This was often touted as the best L5R novel. I found it pretty meh.

Wind of Truth- I actually though this one was pretty decent.

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14 hours ago, DanGers said:

Fantasy Flight put up a list of "L5R Inspiration" books: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/51403981-fantasy-flight-games?shelf=l5r-inspiration

It's how I found out about the Otori series by Lian Hearn, which I recommend stealing from wholeheartedly.

I was going to recommend “Across the Nightingale Floor” as it was the only title from that series I remembered.  I hadn’t realised a prequel was written to the series so will have to track down a copy and read the whole series start to finish now!

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5 hours ago, Toku Askanidog said:

I was going to recommend “Across the Nightingale Floor” as it was the only title from that series I remembered.  I hadn’t realised a prequel was written to the series so will have to track down a copy and read the whole series start to finish now!

There is a sequel too, The Harsh Cry of the Heron, wich is ok, and she started another fantasy series, but I haven't read it so I can't comment.

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Sean Russell's 2 book series, The Initiate Brother and Gatherer of Clouds, are excellent. Their setting is actually similar to Rokugan in that it is a more China-sized empire with mostly Japan-inspired culture. The Shaolin-type monk (of the first book's title) could easily be Dragon, and the books are filled with questions of honor and loyalty, courtly intrigue, duels, and mass battles. The character's are multi-dimensional as well, and the tension between inner feeling and outward face is explored. All in all, they are very good reads.

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I would like to recommend Takashi Matsuoka's Cloud of Sparrows and Autumn Bridge as the best modern samurai fiction I have read, bar-none. It's not high fantasy, more historical with some hints of mysticism.

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On 8/20/2018 at 2:30 PM, gmcc said:

hum wait there are novels about this ? i thought this was a world created by FFS.. **** i'm so off world..

from what i read here they are kinda bad though

They are not great novels. Even the newest one is merely okay (the protagonist felt too western to me in the way her insecurities were portrayed). Sad but true. The game itself was originally Alderac Entertainment (AEG) and dates to 1997. If you care. ?

Oh, and one more rec for reading: Culturally, it's more it's own thing that seems to owe more to Chinese historical epics than Japanese ones, but I am reading Ken Liu's Grace of Kings right now, and it's making me very pumped to run my game Friday. It makes reading about the creation and shattering of an empire and its subsequent wars for control really engaging. I like my games to have that dynamic in them.

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