Need book/TV recommendations for completed series

Hey All–

I need some recommendations for book series or TV series that are COMPLETELY DONE. I hate hate HATE being over a barrel waiting for the next book or the next season. I like having the next one just waiting for me. I am getting VERY CRANKY waiting for Brandon Sanderson to complete the Stormlight books, as I have still not read any of them, but I don’t trust authors anymore after George RR Martin abused me so badly.

Sci-fi/fantasy is preferred–the happiest experiences I had this year were the NINE books in The Expanse series, Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time books, and NK Jemisin’s Broken Earth series.

We’re currently watching Orange Is the New Black and liking that a lot (seven complete seasons makes me happy), but we need another show to alternate it with. Really anything that is dark-ish and/or has a good sense of humor.

**Edit-- That’s weird. I think autocorrect changed “Brandon” to “Brian.” Perhaps that’s because it’s used to people typing our Brian’s name.

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I read the first books of the Stormlight Archives while under the impression they were the finished story. I am now hanging in Stormlight Limbo.
Also, a month or so ago I started reading A Song of Ice and Fire in the perhaps all too optimistic hopes that G.R.R.M. will deliver before I reach the last page of the now-last-published book.

I had never heard of these books or the author when Broken Earth caught my eye in the library. All the books in the series were available, so I picked them all up and brought them home.
And then I didn’t leave my sofa for two weeks except for quick meals and potty breaks.

The TV-series based on The Expanse is extremely good, though I don’t know how comfortable you are watching a story that you recently read.

I love Stephen King’s The Dark Tower-series. That’ll keep you occupied for a good 3500 pages.

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We’re never getting The Winds of Winter. Martin is old and as rich as God and he’s just a mean person who likes toying with millions of fans. Abuse, I say.

I started it, but I hated the casting. Why does Naomi look like a regular person? Are there not scads of extremely tall thin Belter-looking actresses? Maybe Avasarala gets foul-mouthed later in the show, but the first experiences of her are disappointingly expletive-free. Maybe in a decade or so I’ll calm down about it and try it again.

I think I read the first couple of those way back before I decided that I’m not going to wait for sequels, and I don’t think I finished them. I do believe I’ll pick them back up.

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I saw the series before I started reading the books (I didn’t know there were books), so your aversions didn’t come up for me. Now that I’m reading the books (about one a month, and out of order depending on what the library has on offer), I can see why Naomi’s casting is bothersome. Avasarala totally delivers though, maybe she’s just a bit more of a slow burner in the TV-series.

When I started reading The Dark Tower there were three books. The third ends with a huge cliffhanger. There was cursing and throwing involved…
Every time a new book would come out, I’d read it and then reread the entire series in reverse order. Still one of my favourite fictional worlds to disappear into.

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Something akin to The Expanse that you might like are Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Final Architecture books. There are 2 out, and the last one is scheduled to come out this Spring. I broke my rule to read them, because there was a release date for the third (although Martin broke his release dates by, like, YEARS, so I’m always suspicious now, but I do think it’s coming out in a few months).

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I don’t know if you’ll have already read this- but Garth Nix’s the Abhorsen Chronicles trilogy is essentially the only fantasy series I’ve read and really enjoyed.

It follows mostly women, (there’s one major guy character but he’s kind of a dumb, hot, very devoted berserker husband who adores his super powerful, bad ass necromancer wife, and I actually love their romance so much) and involves really cool stuff like necromancy using musical bells and whistling, a silly girl dog eldritch abomination, a smug little kitty, parasailing, an abandoned pirate’s ship in an underground cave, being a librarian in a dangerous magical library with strict rules and scary bug monsters in glass coffins, and moats and cliffs and using natural features like waterfalls in home defence against the dead. It’s a doorstopper of a book series and is very much so complete!

(A quick google has shown some more content has been written in the form of prequels and sequel novels, but the original three books are very satisfying and wrap up their own story in my opinion.)

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This isn’t my main genre these days so apologies if these are too out of date/excessively normcore.

On the TV side of things, the Ron Moore sci-fi duology is among my favorites - Deep Space Nine if you’re in the mood for something cuddlier and slower-burn, Galactica if you want the full-fat, reach-sometimes-exceeds-its-grasp thing (I know there are some divisive decisions including some that are objectively bad, but I will stand by Galactica to the end, including All Along the Watchtowers and the actual end. Though not what they did to Starbuck).

Book-wise, have you read Steven Brust? He also has a like an incomplete twenty-installment-long mega series, about a human assassin in a complex elven empire with a hard boiled vibe (actually just checked Wikipedia and book 16 of 19 is due out next year - better than I expected!) but there’s a completed prequel series that starts with The Phoenix Guards, and is a well-done fantasy Dumas pastiche - lots of fun.

Tad Williams I remember being good too - Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is pretty straight doorstopper fantasy but executed well, and Otherland does kitchen-sink cyberpunk in a pacey way, with an appealing set of protagonists.

Raymond Feist’s main stuff I found to be subject to the law of diminishing returns quite early on, but the side-trilogy he co-write with Jenny Wurts (Daughter/Servant/Mistress of the Empire) was a fun bit of political fantasy. Might not have aged so well, though, as it is two white peoples writing about fantasy Japan.

Finally, this is maybe an out there recommendation given your preferences, but Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell series might sorta scratch the GoT itch? They’re historical fiction novels about Henry VIII’s fixer, who starts out dissolving monasteries, makes his bones helping Henry manage his annulment, then orchestrates the downfalls of Thomas More and Anne Boleyn before Henry inevitably turns on him (er, spoilers for history). It’s a complex, highly political story, but the characters are exceedingly well drawn - Cromwell is a marvel, sympathetic and idealistic in his way while still being ruthless - and the language is so so lovely. Plus it’s actually very very funny!

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I went through my bookcase last week in that ritual fashion one might before the ending of the year. (Checking how much room there is for a new batch of loot…)
I counted the unread books and I have enough for about two years at a rate of one book per week.

So why not throw in some more doorstoppers while I’m at it.

Thanks for the recommendations.

@AmandaB , you should read the entire The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant series.

(Apparently there’s an associated game: “Clench Racing”: a group of players opens a Covenant book on a random page. The first person to find the word “clench” wins.)

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You know, once you’ve spent 30 years waiting for The Door into Starlight (Diane Duane), it’s just hard to work up the energy to be annoyed at any other series. :) Fundamentally you just have to be willing to read what’s been published. There’s plenty of choices.

She gets her mouth properly in gear starting in season 2. I have no idea why they didn’t write her that way in season 1. But the actor is terrific and I loved her for the rest of the show. Amos, also a very fine performance.

(I just started watching season 6.)

Sanderson has now started doing crossovers. (Specifically, Stormlight characters showing up in the latest Mistborn book.) So you have to read all of all of his series if you want to know what the heck is going on in any of them. I have given up on the whole shebang, I’m afraid.

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As to recommendations… I mean, I’ve read a lot of books. Maybe the “Long Price” fantasy series or the “Dagger and the Coin” series? (Both are complete; both are by Daniel Abraham, who is one of the Expanse authors.)

“Terra Ignota” series by Ada Palmer? “Jade” series by Fonda Lee? “Elemental Logic” by Laurie J. Marks?

Recent standalone recommendations: A Half-Built Garden (Ruthanna Emrys). The Goblin Emperor (Katherine Addison; she’s written other books in that setting but this book is a standalone). Empress of Forever (Max Gladstone). Piranesi (Susanna Clarke).

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Wholeheartedly seconded!

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A+, Mike! I have not read these and never heard of them. I think I can relax my rule if 15 books are out.

I loved these and heartily second the recommendation. Right before the pandemic, after reading The Mirror and the Light, I went to the Frick (oh, how I love that museum) and spent a lot of time with Holbein’s More and Cromwell paintings-- facing each other. Heavy.

I’ve never watched Galactica– maybe I’m a bad nerd, but I didn’t love Deep Space Nine. Maybe I’ll give it a whirl.

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Oh! Almost forgot:

The Long Earth series by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett (only up until book three, sadly) is well worth diving into.

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I didn’t know about these. Just ordered them up on Kindle. Thanks for the riches.

I second the Piranesi recommendation. That was definitely in the top 10 most unique books I’ve read in the past few years. I also loved Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by her.

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My favourite book. Period.

I didn’t even know about Piranesi until just now. Thanks.

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In terms of “series with a release date for the final book” I’m tentatively going to put forward The Locked Tomb series by Tamsyn Muir. They’re very weird, very dark, very… Millennial? space fantasy so it’s a very love-it-or-hate-it thing, but I adore them so I thought I’d throw it out there.

I also assume you’ve already seen Babylon 5, but that’s my go-to for excellent sci-fi tv so I’ll list it just in case.

Edit: Not a series, but the same author has also written the twisted fairytale short story Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower, which I suspect is up your alley.

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You are in for such a treat.

You are the second person this week to recommend Muir to me, so that’s a done deal.

And I rewatched Babylon 5 last year. It was as good as I remembered.

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Oh, that is an awesome bit of museuming!

Since that rec was on target, have you read A Place of Greater Safety? It’s the most Cromwell-y of the other Mantel books I’ve read - it’s 800 tense, impeccably-researched pages of violently idealistic French Revolutionaries trying to outmaneuver each other to be the last one un-murdered when the music stops, and if not Cromwell-level still very, very good (shockingly, it was actually her first book, but her publishers looked at the manuscript and had no idea what to do with it - in their defense, see description above - so she basically wrote a couple of other books they could put out first and build her name recognition with, so she could convince them to publish it).

Yeah, DS9 may or may not be a good guide to whether you’ll like Galactica, since it’s a rather wooly series that went through a bunch of creative teams. The good news is that if you’re not on board with Galactica after the first two episodes (of the actual series - there’s a solid but less-spectacular miniseries that kicked things off but I didn’t actually watch it until after finishing the second season, and didn’t miss it) you can safely shake its dust from your feet.

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On the TV side it’s probably pointless to suggest the Mike Flanagan shows - Hill House and Bly Manor - you probably know about those. Netflix capriciously cancelled his Midnight Club series after season one even though they left cliffhangers and had a full second season planned.

You might also enjoy the series Dark which is German-language but had a great English dub. I was happy to peace out after one season of three of that intensity (I loved it but my brain was melting.) Wikipedia says:

Dark received critical acclaim, with praise for its tone, visuals, acting, casting, musical score, and the ambition and complexity of its narrative. The series’ ending also received critical praise, with many calling it a “satisfying” conclusion.

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That seems like damning with faint praise, but then I tried to think of literally any other TV show that met that standard and came up almost empty.

(Friday Night Lights, maybe?)

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