I'm sure some of you read fantasy out there. But like any other genre there are so many authors within it, so I started this thread authors can be compared one by one.
I've read one of RA Salvatore's, a bit of Terry Brooks, a bit of David Eddings, some Terry Pratchett, some Robert Jordan, some Weis & Hickman. I've got a recommendation for David Gemmel. Then there's also the exalted Tolkien. But personally, my favourite author is Raymond E. Feist.
I've heard criticisms of Raymond E. Feist having the same pace throughout the book, much like Robert Jordan. That is not an unfair accusation but for his better books, the pace is incredibly fast and action-packed.
Raymond E. Feist of late doesn't write much about fantastic races (elves, dwarfs, dragons, etc.) and magic, and superhuman heroism. Not your average standard fantasy fare. Although it is present, his more recent novels are not riddled with them. His novels seem to have a greater focus on very capable people succeeding because they knew what they were doing, biding their time when necessary, avoiding unwinnable fights, and finally striking when opportunity presents itself rather than the archtype of a prophecied chosen one (Rand Al-Thor, Drizzt, Harry Potter?), a travelling band of assorted heroes (Weiss & Hickman's Raistlin, Caramon etc.), or the unsuspecting weak hero set out to do the impossible (Frodo). Essentially his heroes are all but human, and don't seem to suffer from scripted immunity.
What you want to read in a Feist book are the skirmish and warring tactics. How to win a war by attrition. Any Feist reader would know that a defender on a well-constructed castle wall is worth ten beseiging soldiers. If the odds are worst than 10 to 1, then you cannot win the defensive battle. You would also read Feist because of the detailed swordplay and the skillful thievery of Jimmy the Hand, one of the more favourite protoganists.
Each novel is set within years of each other, so you will read certain pivotal characters in the series first as young adults beginning their lives, developing into maturity and finally you cry at the end. But the story goes on. What you feel in Feist's characters is a sense of purpose, that every stride they take is a step towards escaping, surviving, winning a battle, achieving victory in the war. And always, the scope is large. Rand Al-Thor conquered nations. In a series of his books, it was a war of interdimensional proportions, and then in another series, it was intercontinental.
But although all things magic are kept to a minimum, its presence makes itself felt. In "Magician", the story revolves about a youth Pug, who would eventually save the Kingdom from the interdimensional invaders by learning magic as in the world of the
invaders. Soonafter, he would create an academy for magicians. He would then play a pivotal role in taking out the dark forces that waged an intercontinental war, only to find out the real dark force behind the former dark force. In that conflict, both he and the true dark force learnt that
Summing it up, the best thing about Feist is his gritty realism and a sense of holistic totality in his world. For instance, even though the dark forces manipulated thousands of soldiers to attack the Kingdom of the Isles and the dark forces were removed from power, the remaining soldiers remained a threat to the Kingdom and the war was continued to be fought! That would have been different in a book written by another author. Instead of a world created so that his heroes would have an adventure instead. such as fantasy realities in Harry Potter and Charmed, I feel that the heroes are there created in a realistic world.
Serpentwar trilogy - Shadow of a Dark Queen, Rise of a Merchant Prince, Rage of A Demon Prince , Shards of a Broken Crown.
Book one of the Riftwar legacy - Krondor: the Betrayal (Made into a PC game Betrayal at Krondor)
Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master are essential.
His recent trilogy, the Conclave of Shadows, is not very promising. However, I have read about 100 pages of the last book, Exile's Return, and it has some promise in it.