You are viewing harmony_bites

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Ta Da! The Fantasy List!

Ms Bites
I've been reading off this list from The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List and did a post on the Romance List--which is my least favorite genre. Now I just finished the list of my favorite genre, the Fantasy List. Naturally I'd read a lot more of these to begin with and I liked a lot more. I tried to rate the below on something of a curve--I did that with the last list too though it wound up skewed down. I gave up though. I love too many of the below to stint them, so the below are skewed way up.



Our Ratings

= Outstanding! Strong characters and involving plot told with style. Worth buying and keeping on your book shelf and recommending to others--even give as a gift. I'd read other books by this author - these might make good introductions to the genre.
= Exceeds Expectations. Likable characters, interesting plot, readable style with aspects that make this book stand out within the genre - a good, fun read.
- Acceptable. Mostly enjoyable. I made it through the entire book and didn't consider it a waste of time or money, though it's not getting shelf space and I can't see ever rereading it nor does this make me want to read more of the author. Worth a try if you like fantasy novels.
- Not terrible, but it didn't hold me and I stopped reading--or I finished it wanting to hurl the book against the wall. Someone else might find it more appealing.
= Dreadful - I don't get how this tripe got published or on a recommendation list. Or how anyone could like it.

Adams, Richard, Watership Down - I know one friend who refuses to read it because it's "about rabbits." Well, there's nothing cutesy about these creatures. Adams creates a religion, mythology and language for his rabbit culture and distinct personalities--particularly the hero Hazel and his visionary brother, Fiver. The book delivers a thrilling adventure as they move through terrible dangers to find a home as well as a moving tale of friendship--at the end I was tearing up. Not to be missed. One of those few works written as a children's book that it is fully possible to read and reread as an adult with pleasure. On the strength of this book I've tried other works by Adams--The Plague Dogs and The Girl in a Swing. Both are good novels--but Watership Down is special. There is a sequel of sorts, the short story anthology, Tales from Watership Down, but it's not as impressive. (Carnegie Medal - 1972)

Asaro, Catherine, The Charmed Sphere - The cover claimed Asaro was a Nebula Award winner and her biography that she was a physicist. Given that, I had high expectations for this book--I hoped for great writing and a fresh take on fantasy. I was disappointed. The characters, plot and style came across to me as pure romance aisle. Even the names of the female protagonist and her love were eye-rolling: Chime Headwind and Muller Startower Heptacorn Dawnfield (Yes, really). The prose and dialogue runs from banal to purple. As a fantasy the book falls into cliche as well: the setting is fantasy standard pseudo-European medieval without any touches making it distinctive other than the shape-magery. The magical system of "shape-mages" who power their spells based on geometric designs was original--even unique--but came across as eccentric rather than clever to me and never developed in a way I could buy into her world. Just nothing here that would make me want to read further in the series or more by the author.

Beagle, Peter S., The Last Unicorn - This is told simply enough and with no material that would be unsuitable for younger readers, but written so beautifully and evocatively it can fully hold an adult interest. In form it's a classic quest story, but unlike so many in fantasy one that feels unique and not some Tolkien retread. There's a mix here of the mythical and the whimsical. Set in a created world not ours but with echoes of legends of Robin Hood and King Arthur and with seeming anachronisms that somehow never seem jarring or throw you out of the world the author created. The unicorn herself in the short novel is a marvel, likable, but alien and apart. She touches the characters around her and the reader with wonder, and I'm not going to soon forget her or Schmendrick the Magician or Molly Grue.

Bradley, Marion Zimmer, The Mists of Avalon - I have a friend who'd count this one of her favorite novels--a lot see this as groundbreaking among Arthurian works for giving us a sympathetic Morgaine and giving a female, even feminist, as well as pagan, perspective on the legend. Isaac Asimov called it "the best retelling of the Arthurian Saga" he'd ever read. However, I had early imprinted on T.H. White and Mary Stewart's visions (See, below) and found this unimpressive in comparison--not as strong stylistically and at 876 pages suffering from bloat. I hated the depiction of Gwenivere as this timid bigot, part of a anti-Christian thread of this book I found heavy-handed. (Although I'll admit, one of the most moving parts of the book involves a reconciliation of sorts between Paganism and Christianity.) I also didn't like this as a MZB fan--I prefer her Darkover science fantasies about a lost colony a la Pern--I thought the feminist themes among others more gracefully handled there. In the series Bradley featured sympathetic gay characters and strong female heroines years before it became fashionable. Darkover is inhabited by feudal lords with psychic powers who clash with a advanced technological space-faring federation a la Star Trek. I particularly recommend Forbidden Tower, The Shattered Chain and The Heritage of Hastur. The Darkover books were written out of chronological order and are stand alones, so you could start with any of them, but her early and late ones aren't all that good. The early ones because she was still coming into her own as a writer and the later ones because they were ghostwritten by others after her stroke in 1989. (All but the first in the Avalon series were post-stroke and so really written by Diana L. Paxson.) The best Darkover books in my opinion were written between 1975 and 1985. So yes, I am an admirer of MZB's novels--just not this one. (Locus Award - Best Fantasy Novel 1984)

Brooks, Terry, The Sword of Shannara - I've heard this book compared to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. It's comparable all right, and it's not in Sword of Shannara's favor. We have a quest, a Dark Lord and a group of heroes traveling together in almost a one to one correspondence with the Fellowship of the Ring including a wizard, a dwarf, more than one elf and more than one Prince of the blood. It's far too easy to match up the Tolkien characters with their Brooks counterparts and even places and matters of plot can be matched point for point. I can't recall ever reading such a blatant rip-off, with a shoddy omniscient point of view and a style that hits every branch on the clunker tree out of guides of how not to write. I only stayed beyond page 50 of this because I wanted to give what I know some see as a beloved book a fair chance. Then I pushed beyond 200 pages out of curiosity if a female would get a speaking part--because at that point, were it not for a brief scene with a female monster that almost traps one character and a mention by another character he had a sweetie at home (and that the central character once had a mother), I might have thought they only had one gender in this fantasy world. Even Tolkien, who I thought slighted female characters, did much, much better than that. (Even books set on ships at sea and monasteries tend to do better than that). Finally, a female character did show up--on page 456 of 726--naturally to be rescued. I gave up. I will not be reading more Terry Brooks.

Bujold, Lois, The Curse of Chalion - Bujold's an exceptional writer and I was pulled in at once; there was never a moment I wanted to put the book down. The protagonist, Cazaril, immediately gained my sympathies--a broken man, he goes to a noblewoman asking for any place in her household and winds up tutor to her granddaughter, Princess Iselle, and through her is thrown back into court intrigues. Bujold creates an interesting blend of Pagan and Christian mythologies for her religious system in this novel--complete with a curse on Cazaril. I don't know what it is exactly at times that lifts a book from just a good read to one where at the end the characters feel like friends and the world one you want to enter again and again--but the book has it in spades. I loved the sequel Paladin of Souls just as much--both were nominated for Hugos. This was my first Bujold book--afterward I hunted down everything of hers I could find and was never disappointed. After the books set in this world, you might want to look up her Sharing Knife series, which could be seen as science fiction. I love her science fiction Vor series as well--there's even one book in it, A Civil Campaign, that was written as a Heyer homage. (Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature)

Dayton, Gail, The Compass Rose - I thought the world Dayton created was intriguing: Adara, a matriarchal society, practices group marriage requiring at least four members. The protagonist, Kallista, a practitioner of martial magic, must marry five others whose magic she can tap to defeat the forces arrayed against her nation: her bodyguard, with whom she's been partnered a long time, two prisoners of war, a female refugee and a foreign merchant. I initially liked this work involving polyamory more than most with that theme for several reasons. Unlike say L.K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series, I didn't feel this was some piled-on harem--each character had their own conflicts and brought something into the mix and Kallista and the others really had to work to form themselves into a family. Together with the matriarchal culture and the magical system I thought this brought an interesting dimension to the plot. However, besides romance novel sex scenes, the conflicts and tension weren't sustained and the resolution felt weak. The book didn't impress me enough to seek out the other two parts to the trilogy or more of the author.

Drake, David, Lord of the Isles - I gave up after about two hundred pages. The style was pleasant enough and there were interesting magical concepts, but the world and the characters never came into focus for me. Other authors have done the cliched riff of ordinary small village boy has special destiny/royal blood etc, which is a fantasy standard, yet kept me glued to the page. I think it was hard to care about the central figure, Garric; there's nothing in his life pushing him--revenge, love, ambition, curiosity, a wish for personal freedom. That pretty much can be said for all the other characters, so I didn't want to continue the book or series. Never read any other Drake books and after this one don't want to.

Eddings, David, Pawn of Prophecy - Start to five book series The Belgariad. This Young Adult novel is reminiscent of many other fantasy tales without bringing anything really original to the mix. It's no ripoff like Sword of Shannara, but there is this ordinary young lad, Garion, on a farm with a destiny(tm) who picks up companions on a quest involving a dark object coveted by a dark lord. Like Garion, I also find hard to credit that two characters are thousands of years old--maybe because the author just doesn't make them wise or strange enough to set them apart--you don't feel the weight of those ages. I also got exactly who Garion is from about page one, and even though the book does give reasons why he'd be in the dark (his Aunt Pol raised him on an isolated farm and he was never taught to read) I felt impatient for him to catch up with me, the reader. On the other hand, the style, while not lovely, was serviceable, and this really zipped past. I did like Polgara who for me was the standout character--all the more so for being a strong female character in the testosterone-laden high fantasy genre and, unlike Garion, not one of a type I feel I've read hundreds of times before. I'm told the series does get better, so I do intend to try the next book someday.

Feist, Raymond, Talon of the Silver Hawk - Like the other Feist book I've read, Magician: Apprentice, also set in the Riftwar universe, this was a pleasant ride but I don't feel compelled to pick up the next book in the series. The setting is fairly routine in fantasy--reminiscent of medieval/renaissance Europe, although there are hints of a science-fiction gloss and even mentions of other worlds and alien beings. This particular book is built around the classic revenge plot--the book opens as Talon's people are destroyed. I did like Talon. Nevertheless, I was left feeling distanced from him. Maybe it's a girl thing. Women are pretty much only bed-warmers in this novel. Even in terms of just friendship, with Talon's family all gone from the beginning, he never really relates to anyone with deep emotion. Pretty much everyone around him, even the "good guys" (as they keep insisting they are) just uses Talon, ruthlessly honing him into a weapon. So there's no leavening romance or friendship or comradeship here--not really. I don't find myself compelled to read the next book in the series or more of Feist.

Fforde, Jasper, The Eyre Affair - The book has a fantastic core premise: fictional characters can drop into the real world and intervene in lives; real people can drop into works of fiction and refashion the story. The book should be a bibliophile's dream with a wealth of literary allusion and word play: a blurb from The Wall Street Journal on the cover calls it a blend of "Monty Python, Harry Potter, Stephen Hawkings and Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Maybe that's the problem for me. It's too manic--too many disparate elements thrown at me even if a great deal of the threads come together at the end. Maybe it's just that I find too hard to credit a world where literature is cared about with such zeal as in this story. (People play Shakespeare soliloquies like records, go to performances of Richard III a la Rocky Horror Picture Show and there are door to door missionaries trying to convince people Bacon wrote Shakespeare's plays.) I also don't feel the book is well-written. Almost all of The Eyre Affair is written in first person, but with spots of third person that aren't transitioned well and other parts of the narrative seem clumsy. It's an imaginative story, well-plotted, with an intriguing alternate history and I liked Thursday Next, a literary detective and the main narrator of the story. Yet somehow, I found too much of this novel a chore to read to recommend enthusiastically nor do I want to follow more of Thursday's adventures. (The IAFA William L. Crawford Fantasy Award - 2002)

Gaiman, Neil, Neverwhere - I loved this: the ultimate urban fantasy. In our modern society, when a person falls below the social net and becomes a streetperson, we talk of them "falling through the cracks." In the London of Neverwhere, when people "fall through the cracks" they reach the "underside" of "London Below." The kind of place where Knightsbridge becomes Night's Bridge, where crossing into nightmare takes a toll beyond price. Where the "Floating Market", a bizarre bazaar, might take place in a closed Harrods after dark or the docked HMS Belfast. I liked how Gaiman uses the London's layers of history. As a New Yorker, it wasn't hard to translate it into the terms of my city and imagine, as the novel mentions at one point, that there really are alligators in our sewers. And a floating market might by found at Macy's after dark or the USS Intrepid. It was easy to relate to the protagonist, Richard Mayhew, an everyman urban dweller; a nice guy who slips into a world out of our modern urban fears and reacts in ways I can identify with. I've heard this novel described as a "dark fantasy" and it certainly fits, some parts come across as Stephen King-like horror. The novel is populated with unforgettable characters such as Door, Hunter (both strong female characters), Islington the Angel, the Marquis de Carabas--and Croup and Vandemar, two of the creepiest villains in fiction. Well, paced, with a great flow, this made for a great read. My first Gaiman, but emphatically not my last.

Goldman, William, The Princess Bride - This is a mostly omniscient narrative of the fairy tale sort, laced with zany humor, and framed and interspersed with first person asides by the author. His conceit is that the novel is an abridgment of a story read to him by his father when he was a boy. And this isn't just any first person voice, but one purporting to be Goldman himself, screenwriter of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It took some getting used to. Just as it took a while to warm to the heroine, Buttercup, who came across to me as insipid--but then what do I expect of a send up of tales of rescues of princesses? One that while filled with pirates, a giant, miracles and fencing somehow manages to be utterly unique? It's filled with unforgettable lines and characters: Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die! The subtitle declares it to be a "tale of true love and high adventure." It has a rather sharp satiric edge towards both.

Jacques, Brian, Redwall - This was the first published book in the bestselling series numbering 21 books to date. I stuck this out as far as the end of "Book One" at page 97 before deciding this one wasn't for me for two reasons. The first being the style seemed clunky to me and the dialogue cheesy. (Please, someone, swipe the exclamation point key from this man.) It's an omniscient narrative but without humor or charm. Granted, this novel was written to be a children's book. But so was The Hobbit, Harry Potter, Watership Down, The Last Unicorn and The Sword in the Stone, and that doesn't keep them from being compelling reads for an adult. The other reason is this is one of those books where the characters are animals who wear clothing and act like people. The rabbits of Adams, the unicorn of Beagle and the dragons of McCaffrey, Lackey and Novik feel just alien enough to not strike me as humans in oddly shaped bodies. The mice, badgers and otters of Redwall Abbey and their rat foes are a different matter. It's not even clear whether the characters are animal-shaped people of human size or talking animals in a human world. The central character, Matthias the mouse, a novice at the Abbey, is the kind of hero that stumbles over his own sandals but then miraculously becomes a skilled warrior when need arises. I found what I read of the book tedious and lacking in striking lines, original ideas or memorable characters. I suspect I might have loved this book when I was ten years old. Problem is that was decades ago...

Jordan, Robert, The Eye of the World - This starts the Wheel of Time series. Doorstopper length, maps, a prologue, glossary at the end, told in omniscient with a pseudo Medieval European setting. Epic high fantasy ho! Mentally I was counting off in the first chapter all the parallels to Lord of the Rings: Rand as Frodo, Mat as Merry, Perrin as Pippin, Emond's Field as the Shire, a party where there will be fireworks--and especially the mysterious and ominous figure robed in black reminsicent of a Ringwraith. I worried this would be another Tolkien clone. And yes, it is, even if it feels less derivative and more its own book as you go along. Not quite as blatant a ripoff as Brooks and better written, but just way too close for my comfort down to the names of places and characters. There are also allusions to the Arthurian legends, which might have felt less intrusive without the Tolkien overtones. It made me wonder if elements I found original were just lifted from books I don't know. Social roles and even the system of magic were strictly separated by gender in this novel, but I have to give Jordan credit for giving women a part to play almost as prominent as the men in this novel--quite in contrast to Brooks (and even Tolkien). That and the less painful writing earns it one star higher than Sword of Shannara, but the problem is I still found this novel bloated, tedious, eminently skimmable, and without one character I cared about--particularly the main point of view character, Rand. (Oh, and the dream sequences. The pain! The pain!) Will not be reading more. Jordan recently died and the last two volumes of the series are being completed by Brandon Sanderson from Jordan's partial manuscript and outline, which will bring the series of doorstopper books to a baker's dozen.

Lackey, Mercedes, Joust - I'm generally a fan of Lackey's Valdemar books but felt she was suffering from tired blood around the time Joust came out, so I didn't pick it up when it was first published. Recently I went on a nostalgic binge of rereading her books, and finding a lot of my old favorites like Magic's Pawn and Oathbreakers still stood up. (And if you've never read Lackey, those two still might be the best place to start. Magic's Pawn was groundbreaking and still unusual in having a gay protagonist. Oathbreakers is notable for having two strong female heroines.) So then I went back and tried Joust. I was pleasantly surprised--this book and the three that follow in the series, Alta, Sanctuary and Aerie are very enjoyable. The story begins in a vein very familiar to Lackey readers, with a seemingly orphaned boy, Vetch, in intolerable circumstances who only in leaving home finds his destiny. What separates Vetch from most Lackey heroes though is his anger and bitterness, and it makes it all the more interesting to see him grow and change in this book. Besides that, instead of the usual pseudo-medieval European setting you get in most fantasy, including Lackey, these books are set in a land reminiscent of Ancient Egypt. And with dragons! Dragons just as winning in their way (but very different) than those of McCaffrey's Pern. I enjoyed how Lackey developed her dragon lore, the magical touches, the societies akin to Egypt and legends of Atlantis.

Lawhead, Stephen, Byzantium - This is a door-stopper of a book, a first person narrative of a 10th Century Irish monk, Aidan, and his pilgrimage to Byzantium in the course of which he'll become "a slave, a spy, a sailor" going from a monk's robes to a slave's rags and collar to "the silken robes of a Sarazen prince." This book is on a fantasy rec list, is found in the fantasy section in the store and is by a fantasy writer--but I wouldn't call it fantasy despite a few prophetic dreams. Rather it's a work of pure historical fiction based on a real historical figure. I felt it got to a slow start; it became a page-turner about a hundred pages in, and it grew more and more engrossing as it went on--both adventure and mystery with a dollop of romance featuring memorable characters and an interesting insight into the appeal of Christianity. (But not in a preachy way, I promise, even though a crisis of faith is at the center of the book.) My first Lawhead book--enjoyable but doesn't make me want to try more by him. However he has both an Arthurian series and one based on the legends of Robin Hood--both themes to my liking--so someday I may give Lawhead another try.

Lee, Tanith, Biting the Sun - This is an omnibus edition of two novels, Don't Bite the Sun and its sequel, Drinking Sapphire Wine. I love these novels and have since my teens, but they don't belong on a fantasy list--they're science fiction. Tanith Lee writes lyrically and evocatively of a doomed city, Four-Bee, in a far away post-apocalyptic future. What do you do in a hedonistic world where everything can be and is done for you by android servants? You can even change bodies and genders. Eternal vacation--or eternal childhood. The (mostly) female unnamed protagonist of this first person coming of age narrative bumps into social walls in her search for a purpose to her life beyond the pursuit of pleasure. If that sounds ponderous, well the book isn't. This is told with a lot of wit and humor--Lee even creates her own slang. It's a blast to read and ultimately moving and thought-provoking. But as I said--NOT fantasy. And Lee has written some absolutely wonderful fantasies that are favorites of mine: The Birthgrave and Night's Master (start to her "Flat-Earth Cycle" which influenced Gaiman's Sandman series.) Both out of print, sadly, which might be why Biting the Sun made the list instead.

Le Guin, Ursula, A Wizard of Earthsea - The first of a young adult series by a writer mostly celebrated for her science fiction--and I've read and loved a lot of those by her--The Left Hand of Darkness is a science fiction classic and a favorite. I remember loving the Earthsea trilogy in my teens. (It's now a "cycle" because it's grown to five books.) I reread this first book to see if it still holds up, and it emphatically does. I've read that this is in its way a Taoist allegory the way Narnia is Christian, although it doesn't feel preachy to me. Beautifully written omniscient narrative, with a lyrical prose style and a lot of memorable lines; it's a short, fast-paced read. The novel features a vivid archipelago setting and imaginative system of name magic that is more that just a device but a theme. And there be dragons in this one! And Ged--a young wizard certainly as memorable as Harry Potter. (And not white--a notable rarity for a protagonist in fantasy.) I liked how Le Guin ties in his growth of character to the events and themes of the story. In that regard the quiet resolution is masterful. If I have any complaint, it's that at times the narrative felt just a bit too sketchy and spare--too tell, not show--even if that fits the book's mythic feel. The Earthsea novels have won various awards including a Nebula and a Newberry Medal.

Lewis, CS, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - This book, published in 1950, was the first of the seven book Narnia series, among the most beloved children's books of all time. This book is a well-written, quick read and imaginative. However, C.S. Lewis is an unabashed Christian apologist, and I'm afraid I found the Christian allegory aspect of the book off-putting. (Just as I found Pullman's atheistic themes in his anti-Narnia His Dark Materials--I'm not a fan by and large of polemic works.) I also think I just read this too late--that this is one children's series best read by children given the style and themes. As a child a lot of those Christian themes would have probably gone over my head, but reading as an adult I found them just too, too blatant: girls are "daughters of Eve" and boys are "sons of Adam;" Emperor = God the Father; Aslan the Lion = Christ; White Witch, child of Lilith = Satan; Edmund = Judas; Turkish Delight = Apple; Father Christmas coming at the entrance of Aslan represents the birth of Christ; the "ransacking of the witch's fortress" is the harrowing of Hell. (Stone Table maybe the stone tablets of Moses?) I felt preached at. I gave this three stars because I did think so many scenes were striking and creative--like Aslan breathing on the statues to bring them back to life. I also think Susan and Lucy are strong female characters--every bit as brave, smart and capable as the boys. And I did enjoy the film based on this novel--seeing the film versions might be the better way to Narnia as an adult. I do love Lewis' take on the myth of Psyche and Cupid--Till We Have Faces. I haven't read his Perelandra Trilogy: science fiction with an Arthurian aspect I've heard. I'm more likely to try those than more of Narnia.

Maguire, Gregory, Wicked - This is based on the Wizard of Oz series by Baum and in the best fan fiction tradition lets us see the story anew by championing a maligned character--the Wicked Witch of the West. I found the writing style pretty graceless, and I didn't like the Rabelaisian touches. (This book is...er...NOT for children. There is sex, and kinks, and flatulence and bodily fluids...) However, after getting through a repugnant beginning, I was enjoying how subversive it all was in giving us Elphaba--born green and with sharp finger-amputating teeth--who becomes friends with that vain, social-climbing Glinda in college. At the end of Part Two with Elphaba the rebel going off determined to oppose the Wizard of Oz (and by then Maguire showed us good reasons to see him as a tyrant), I thought this might develop into a story I'd love. (Despite a sex club scene that was a crass HUH???) However, the story only deteriorates from there. Elphaba's characterization is wildly inconsistent. I didn't feel the attempts to make the story fit with the character and events in Oz worked. Characters and elements you'd think are important are dropped or barely heard from again. The politics got increasingly intrusive and preachy and the anti-religion thread heavy handed. Much of the narrative manages to be both choppy and tedious. I'd add I've never seen the musical based on this, but if you're expecting from that anything light-hearted, you're going to be disappointed; this book is joyless, ponderous and crude. Such a great concept--such a poor execution. I closed the book determined to never read anything else by Maguire.

Martin, George R.R., A Game of Thrones - Doorstopper? Check. Prologue? Check. Maps and Appendix. Check. Part of a series of doorstoppers? Check. Epic High Fantasy? Yes. Tolkien clone? No. A Slog? Hell, no! I read this series is inspired by the English War of the Roses and you can certainly see it in the Stark family, patterned after the House of York, six of whose members carry the rotating narrative. I'd read this before and on reread it all came back. How much I loved these characters: Ned Stark and his wife and children--especially his daughter Arya and her brother, Ned's bastard son, Jon. And Tyrion--a member of the rival Lannisters close to the crown. And Dany, a princess in exile. I came to love these characters and that doesn't make things easy given the author's way with them. Like Robin Hobb, Martin is one of those authors that has no problem with being cruel to his characters. The novel is gritty, dark, at times disturbing, even depressing. It's one reason I never sought to read the other books. There is another concern about investing in this series. Every other book on this post is either a standalone, part of a completed series, or part of a series very close to complete and being published at a good clip. There are seven books planned in Martin's series with the first book published back in 1996. Only three more books have been published since, the last, in 2005. You might be left in limbo for a long, long time waiting for Martin to bring this series to a conclusion. But that first novel really is terrific--wonderful world-building, done with a deft style through story and not massive infodump or as-you-know-Bobs. The story just zips along despite its weight like a huge but limber athlete. The ending is gasp-inducing. This book got a higher rating from readers on GoodReads and Librarything than any book on this post, and I've encountered several reviewers and fans of fantasy that place Martin higher than Tolkien, that would say Song of Fire and Ice series is the epic fantasy of our age. (Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel - 1997)

McCaffrey, Anne, Dragonsong - This Young Adult novel that begins the "Harper Hall Trilogy" technically isn't fantasy but science-fiction with fantasy trappings. It's part of a series set on Pern, which like Bradley's Darkover, is a "lost colony" of Earth. Though this does feel more like fantasy than others in the series, I think Dragonflight, the first Pern novel, is the best introduction to the series, especially since Dragonsong acts as a spoiler to later novels. This was my introduction to Pern though, and an enchanting one. A great coming of age tale about a girl, Menolly, whose dream is to become a Harper (think Bard) on a world where that profession is dominated by men--and who gains nine dragonette companions along the way. I love the first three Dragonrider books and the Harper Hall trilogy, the stand alone Moreta and the book that tells of Pern's colonization, Dragonsdawn. I didn't find McCaffrey's later Pern books as strong however. McCaffrey has other books set in other universes I love--particularly The Ship Who Sang and Crystal Singer.

Moorcock, Michael, Elric of Melniboné - This is the first of the six Elric books; the series is supposed to the be the quintessential dark fantasy and ground-breaking when published in the 60s and 70s for its anti-hero protagonist. Neil Gaiman is a fan. A blurb on the cover by Michael Chabon called the author "the greatest writer of post-Tolkien British fantasy." I can't say this book lives up to that kind of praise. The imagery is lush, the prose lyrical and the imagination prodigious no question. I'm not about to forget the description of the "Dreaming City" of Imrryr with scintillating towers of "a thousand soft colours" or their "battle-barges armoured in gold." Or the court filled with the sounds of singer-slaves "specially trained and surgically operated upon to sing but one perfect note each." Or the Ship Which Sails Over Land and Sea. Then there's the title character, Emperor Elric, the occupier of the Ruby Throne: a sorcerer and warrior, a sickly albino troubled by a conscience alien to his people, gloomy and brooding (and at times too stupid to live). The Melnibonéans are never called elves, but remind me of them in their beauty, power and alien feel. I like the idea of Elric's character--not exactly your typical hulking hero or orphan boy of destiny(tm). However, he and the other characters still come across as sketchy to me, the style pulp. (There is "yonder" and "thus" and "thee" and very few contractions in the dialogue.) The only female character, Elric's love, is the kind that faints and must-be-rescued. The ending felt abrupt to me. It's a quick, light short read though--only 180 pages. I hear the Elric novels became more disturbing as they went along--based on the first I'm not inclined to seek out the others. However, they were made into graphic novels--now that I might want to look up--somehow I think that would suit this material.

Novik, Naomi, His Majesty's Dragon - I'm a fan of Jane Austen's novels, of C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower books and of Anne McCaffrey's Pern, and this book (and series) has elements of all those works plus the delightfully unique. They feature an alternate history of the Napoleonic Wars, with dragons forming an aerial corps. Unlike McCaffrey's or Lackey's dragons these can match or surpass the intellect of their riders--they're fully formed individuals, not anything akin to beasts or pets--yet they come across as just alien enough to feel like a different species and can evoke a reader's sympathy as much as any human character. And Temeraire, the central dragon in this tale, is adorable. In fact, I'll confess that at a certain point in this book, I cried, and that's not a common experience for me reading a book. And what evoked that emotion wasn't anything that happened to a human, but one of the dragons. Novik's style is clean, unobtrusive, with a voice and diction that is often Austen-esque in tone, and the book completely sucked me in. The most enjoyable read I've had in a fantasy in ages, and I've loved the other five books in the series to date. (Locus Award - First Novel 2007)

Pratchett, Terry, Small Gods - I know many on my f-list adore Terry Pratchett; he defines the "comic fantasy" sub-genre the way Tolkien does high fantasy. I had tried him more than once on friends' recommendations but just didn't get far. I decided to give this book 100 pages to see if it could hook me. I think it does take time to warm to this loopy flat world held up by four elephants standing on a turtle that swims in space. A world where Death talks in all caps. And the Ultimate Library has an orangutan librarian. This novel is part of the Discworld universe that has 37 books to date, which A.S. Byatt called "more complicated and satisfying than Oz." I read this novel right after Wicked and have to say: Pratchett could have brought it off brilliantly, because he has what Maguire lacked (besides talent). An ability to be satirical without being bitter. To rub ideas together without being dry, tedious or preachy. As you might guess from the title, Small Gods deals with religion in an irreverent way, but unlike other books on this list with religious themes never in a small-minded or heavy-handed way. Brutha, a young novice, encounters his god Om in the form of a tortoise. This book is one of the strongest coming of age stories on this post--I grew to love Brutha. There's a large cast of other unforgettable characters, including Vorbis, one of the best villains I've ever read. There were lots of great, quotable lines suitable for framing. In its eclectic zany imagination, historical and literary allusions and word play the writing reminded me of Fforde--only Pratchett's the stronger writer, with a much better flow and a distinctive omniscient voice that is engaging despite no chapters and frequent footnotes. I wouldn't say I now worship at the shrine of Pratchett--it did take me almost all that hundred pages I was allowing to get into it, which is why I deducted a star. But I did love the book by the end--and that ending was absolute awesomeness. I will be trying Guards! Guards! next (introduces Vimes, his most famous character). Or maybe Hogfather (Death as Father Christmas). Or Carpe Jugulum (skewers vampires!). Or Monstrous Regiment (women soldiers). One of those. After I read Good Omens, his collaboration with Neil Gaiman.

Putney, Mary Jo, Stolen Magic - Putney was on the Romance list I read through for One Perfect Rose. Among romance novelists, I found her one of the better ones, but placed against fantasy novels, I didn't have high expectations. There was certainly nothing original in the magical system or plot or the way she used the setting in Georgian England. The prose style is decent with just a tinge of purple. I did like the hero, Simon, who first meets Meg, the heroine, when he's trapped in a unicorn's body. I liked Meg too, even if she's a bit Mary Sue. I did fast get tired of the harping on how precious her virginity was, and Simon reverting to a unicorn when getting hot and heavy with Meg brought out "the beast" in him. It was one such transformation on page 251, where something so eye-rolling happened, I just gave up. Definitely not an author I'll be trying again. (Romantic Times Award Nominee)

Rowling, JK, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (original and British title, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) - You didn't think I'd give this less than five stars? It was actually djinn_fic who urged me to read it--who told me these novels weren't just for children or over-hyped. I loved Rowling's whimsy, how she made us feel magic was one step away if only we could get through Platform 9 and 3/4s and to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The book had lots of memorable lines--particularly from Dumbledore; I found myself dog-earing his speeches. And I loved Harry and Hermione from the first. Snape took somewhat longer... I also do love the series as a whole, even if some of the seven books are stronger than others, and the conclusion arguably the weakest book. But this is a book you can read knowing you're going to enjoy the rest of the journey. (National Book Award - 1997)

Sinclair, Linnea, An Accidental Goddess - The book on the list, Wintertide, is out of print, so I tried the sequel instead, set in the far future and in setting Space Opera, although with a lot of fantasy elements. Sinclair writes "paranormal romance" - in other words you're more likely to find her on the romance aisle than in the science fiction section. Unfortunately, this book reads that way. The heroine, Gillaine, has eyes that are described as--honest to God--"green, yet lavender" and her hair "like moonlight and starlight." The novel reads like a mash up of Star Trek and Harlequin Romance. I gave it 98 pages till the end of Chapter Seven before pulling out. There's just a lot better books out there to read. (Sapphire Award; P.E.A.R.L. Award)

Spencer, Wen, Wolf Who Rules - The sequel to Tinker, which I hadn't read, and may be one reason it didn't click with me. The style is decent, but nothing sets it apart. (Other than dropping the f-bomb early and often.) Set in a future Pittsburgh transported to the planet Elfhome, the heroine, Tinker, once human, was made into an elf by her lover, Wolf-Who-Rules, to be his queen. (Tinker is both Mary Sue and TSTL--amazing how often those traits go together in fictional characters.) Oh, and there be Significant Dreams(tm) based on Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz. But you know the real deal-breaker with me? Dear Wolf, our hero, is planning genocide for an evil race that breeds like vermin ("like mice.") What does that remind you of? Yes, I know, it's fantasy. Maybe the "oni" really are evil. This is also fiction though, where the author makes it so. And given human history that was a choice I found repellent.

Stewart, Mary, The Crystal Cave - I highly recommend the entire Merlin Trilogy of which this is the first part; this novel takes the reader from Merlin's childhood to the conception of Arthur. The Crystal Cave was assigned to me in high school, as was Mary Renault's story about Theseus, The King Must Die. What Renault did for Ancient Greece, Mary Stewart did for Dark Age Britain--bring it alive for me. Though on the fantasy list, much of Merlin's magic is rationalized--this is more historical fiction than fantasy, and as such made a big impression on me and felt all the more magical than many fantasy-laden versions, because it made me feel, maybe it is real. For me this became the gold standard for historically-based Arthurian books, as T.H. White is for the fantasy-based. So when I read Whyte's or Bradley's versions of the Arthurian legends, these are the books I measured them against--and against which other versions seem wanting. The other thing is, compared to so many of the other versions, Stewart is just a fantastic storyteller with a beautiful evocative prose style, wonderful pacing, characterizations and sense of place; the first person narrative sucks you into Merlin's world. I only recently discovered Stewart's works of "romantic suspense" such as Nine Coaches Waiting--she seems incapable of writing a mediocre book. (Mythopoeic Fantasy Award 1971)

Tolkien, JRR, The Hobbit - The Hobbit is Tolkien's first book; it introduced Middle Earth but could stand on its own. The thing is though, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings really are two very different kinds of works. Of those that like Tolkien at all, I've known quite a few who love The Hobbit but not The Lord of the Rings and vice versa, who, having read and fallen in love with one work, find themselves disappointed in the other. It's rather like the difference between Johann Strauss and Richard Wagner. The Hobbit was written to be a children's tale and is light and effervescent--a friend of mine and a fan of The Lord of the Rings calls it "goofy." The tone, the style, the themes are very different than the epic high fantasy trilogy that followed, and the hero, Bilbo Baggins, quite different from his nephew Frodo. The Hobbit is an imaginative fairy tale like adventure with fantastic creatures (including evil wolves, talking heroic eagles and a dragon!), riddles (and a certain mysterious ring) and told in the kind of style that sounds tailored to read to children and on those terms is a charmer, full of humor and sunny--just don't expect The Lord of the Rings. (Which you should at least try so you can recognize the many, many, many imitations out there in the fantasy genre.) Incidentally, there are no female characters in The Hobbit; there are few memorable ones in Lord of the Rings--though Éowyn is a kick-ass heroine. (Carnegie Medal Nominee 1937)

White, T.H., The Once and Future King - The Once and Future King has the most complex depictions of Arthur, Lancelot and Guenivere I've read, and I think no matter what version of them I read afterward, these are the ones I imprinted on--this is my Arthur, my Guinevere and my Lancelot. The first three parts weren't originally written as part of the integrated novel but published separately. The best known of those was the first part, The Sword in the Stone, a great coming of age tale that was turned into a film by Disney. I loved that first part of the book especially--full of wit and whimsy as Merlyn--who lives backward in time--turns the young Arthur into different animals in order to help him gain wisdom. The characters are truly endearing and the story full of humor that makes that part stand alone as a classic children's book. The next parts are very much adult and much darker, particularly the final and poignant fourth part, "The Candle in the Wind," dealing with the fall of Camelot. After White's death a connected novel called The Book of Merlyn was published, but I don't find it as engaging.

Williams, Tad, The Dragonbone Chair - This is highly thought of by fantasy authors. Tamora Pierce rates it five stars on GoodReads and this was the series that inspired George RR Martin to try his hand at epic fantasy. The first volume of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn consists of 766 pages of such tiny print I feared for my eyesight. It's the kind of book with maps up front and an appendix and glossary in the back, written in omniscient point of view, populated with elves, giants, dragons and trolls, and studded with songs and poems. It took a long time to get into--for 170 pages we pretty much just follow, Simon, the 14-year old orphan scullion, dodge his duties about the castle before Something Happens. He acts fourteen--a flighty, whiny annoying pain--but does grow in the book. My favorite secondary character was the Yoda-like Binobik and his wolf--once he shows up on page 252 the book was a lot less of a slog. The prose wasn't lovely imo--convoluted sentence structure, overdescriptive, overuse of italics and bold. The only other place I can ever recall seeing bold used for emphasis is bad fan fiction. Moreover, the book could and should have been half the length; a great deal of the material was repetitive and unnecessary for world-building or character development. (And I would have appreciated far fewer dream sequences.) I looked on my bookshelves for my fat fantasy books: Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Dart is 912 pages; George RR Martin's A Game of Thrones is 835 pages; Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule is 820 pages; Rowling's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is 734 pages. Did I feel the weight with those books? No. But Dragonbone Chair definitely needs a diet. With Carey and Goodkind the length of the first books and those that followed didn't daunt me--I eagerly pounced on their next books. But I look at the equally fat Stone of Farewell and then at the conclusion To Green Angel Tower--split into two books and each still over 700 pages--and I whimper. Don't know when or if I'll get the nerve up to finish this four book "trilogy," despite Dragonbone Chair ending on a cliff-hanger.



Two books on the list I've never read and aren't available in stores or the library: Robert Silverberg's Lord Valentine's Castle (nor any of his other stories set on Majipoor) and Andre Norton's Witch World anthology Wizards' Worlds (nor any of her Witch World works). From what I can gather, both books are really more science fiction than fantasy anyway--set on "lost colonies" of Earth a la Pern or Darkover.

As I said, Fantasy is my favorite genre--there are certainly authors in it I've read I consider noteworthy and/or favorites not listed above. Authors like Poul Anderson, Piers Anthony, Kelley Armstrong, Anne Bishop, Ray Bradbury, Gillian Bradshaw, Rachel Caine, Orson Scott Card, Jacqueline Carey, Jonathan Carroll, Kristen Cashore, David Duncan, Jane Gaskell, Terry Goodkind (before he jumps the shark), H. Rider Haggard, Barbara Hambly, L.K. Hamilton (before she jumps the shark), Charlaine Harris, Robin Hobb, Tanya Huff, Guy Gavriel Kay, Stephen King, Katherine Kurtz, Fritz Leiber, Melissa Marr, Robin McKinley, Elizabeth Moon, Tamora Pierce, Philip Pullman, Richard Purtill, Anne Rice, Jennifer Roberson, Joel Rosenberg, Sharon Shinn, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro...on my to-read list are Madeleine L'Engle, Patricia McKillip, China Miéville, Christopher Paolini, Mervyn Peake and Rick Riordan. Any others I should add? (Don't tell me Stephenie Meyer--I read the Twilight Saga only to point and laugh.)

Comments

( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
shiv5468
Jul. 25th, 2010 10:13 am (UTC)
Of the ones that I have read, I agree that Watership Down was brilliant, and he did nothing to top it since. I didn't know that there were some follow up tales. Plague Dogs was a very strong book though.

I've heard that Asaro was interesting conceptually, with clever ideas, so I hope you just picked a bad book.

Not read The Last Unicorn, but it's on the to read list.

I read a lot of MZB and then came to the conclusion I didn't like her. Too miserable and not enough humour in her work. Even Tolkien leavened his high work of fantasy with another homely register, with warmth and humour.

Brooks - I agree. I read the whole series, can't remember a damned thing about it.

Bujold - love the Curse of Chalion, not bothered by the sequels. Quite like the Vor series but cannot see how A Civil Campaign owes anything to Heyer at all.

Eddings... well his style is dreadful, but his characters are engaging. It's not about the plot but about the back up characters, and yes women do get to be important, which is nice.

Feist - all right, I suppose. Series has gone on too long and become flabby. Dead horse flogging taking place.

Jasper Fforde = meh. It's like one of those fanfics you see and think ooohthat's such a brilliant idea, I can't wait to see what you do with it. Oh, that. Mmmm. Pratchett would have had hufge fun with that and had characters you'd want to take home for a drink afterwards. Too many ideas, not enough characterisation. I really don't think he can write women either.

Don't like Gaiman. I think he's a stunted writer. He doesn't make his characters live. Especially his female characters. ~pokes him hard~ Another one where clever invention hides fundamental flaws in his writing.

I tried to read The Princess Bride, because my god do people go on about its brilliance. Can't see it. Didn't get past the first ten pages. Dullllllllllllllllll. One liners do not a book make.

Redwall is on the to read list. Suspect it will have usual Tolkienesque feel but without the nice hobbitses.

Robert Jordan lost me at around book three when I thought that the main character was a whinger, unaccountable attractive to women and a self insert for the author. Lost track of the plot, the characters and will to live. Another dead horse flogging series.

I like Mercedes Lackey in general. She's not worthy or high minded and her latest books have tended to dead horse territory but they are ones I reread from time to time because I like spending time with those characters.

Tanith Lee... read, appreciated their technical skill, never want to spend time with her characters again. Ever.

I read CS Lewis young and never picked up the Christian symbolism at all. I still don't see it and put fingers in my ears and go alllallala. After all, most of that was nicked from pagan cultures so it's not Christian at all. Still like the series. Just never read the Last Battle. Ever. Miserable book, god knows what it's about, suspect religion had eaten his brains by that point.

Wicked. Dire. As are all his other books. Cannot see why they're liked at all. Miserable, nasty, hateful books. Nearly provoked me to Cinderella the true story ofic.

Song of Fire and Ice series... Bollocks is it better than Tolkien. It's flashy. It pretends its based on the War of the Roses but even the war of the roses wasn't that nihilistic, and damn it why do we have to slip into third rate fanfic territory to show that one family are teh evil by having incest. Heavy handed, clunky characterisation, and the rotating narrative gets worse as you move through the series to the point you give up. There's no character in whom you are sufficiently interested to read further to find out what happens. Rocks fall everyone dies but with some kunky sex first.


shiv5468
Jul. 25th, 2010 10:24 am (UTC)
I still like Anne McCaffrey. ALmost the first fantasy author I read.

Elric... ah he was a pretty, tortured boy, but the prose is laboured on re reading. For teenagers, I think. Remembered fondly, but not to be reread.

I'm prepared to like Noviki, but do not believe that her tone is Austenesque. No one's is but Austen and perhaps Edgeworth. No later writer can pull that off.

Pterry is brilliant. My mother doesn't like him. I boggle.

I like lots of Mary Stewart and still reread her other romances, which had a bit of meat on them. The Hobbit was the first fantasy book I was read at school, and adored it, and went out and bought it so I could see what would happen before we got there.

The Dragonbone chair etc series is ok as fantasy goes, nothing special, ah but the twist at the end of the series made me laugh out loud. Very clever and ALMOST worth the reading to get there.




As to suggestions on new authors:

Dianne Wynne Jones
Rosemary Edgehill
Mary Gentle especially Rats and Gargoyles
Susan Cooper
Louise Cooper
Guy Gavriel Kay
Alan Garner
Andre Norton books that are not the Witch WOrld
David Gemmel
Gabriel King if you like cats
Holly Black - I didn't like her, but I could see they were well writtne books

Jonathon Stroud
L Sprague De Camp
Joseph Delaney's spook series.




harmony_bites
Jul. 25th, 2010 07:16 pm (UTC)
I still like Anne McCaffrey. ALmost the first fantasy author I read.

I think of her as a sci-fi author--all her books have sci-fi rather than fantasy premises behind them even if Pern "feels" like fantasy. I still love her first 8 or so Pern books--like Lackey they're comfort reads I return to from time to time. However, like Lackey, I also think her later ones suffer from tired blood.

Pterry is brilliant. My mother doesn't like him. I boggle.

Heh. A couple of friends whose tastes I respect don't like him at all. And I'd tried him before and couldn't get into him. So he's not for everyone. I think both of those friends found his style off-putting. Omniscient isn't something people are used to anymore I think--at least one where the author inserts so much of his personality and viewpoint rather than this eagle-eye distance. I didn't (initially) care for the footnotes myself. And I had a hard time giving into the bizarreness of the flat earth. I remember finally enjoying that part and suspending my disbelief when the philosophers went into all that debate about it being a disc not a sphere, and loved then the riff on the historical controversies about heliocentricism. It clicked. I liked Pterry more and more as I went along and by the end did find him brilliant--but it took a while. Of all the books, it's the one I still think about even weeks after finishing.

The Dragonbone chair etc series is ok as fantasy goes, nothing special, ah but the twist at the end of the series made me laugh out loud. Very clever and ALMOST worth the reading to get there.

I don't think I can bear getting there. For whatever reason, despite the painful slog, Williams was one I liked enough to pick up the next book. As in literally picking it up the shelf in the store, looking at the first pages, whimpering, then putting back...
shiv5468
Jul. 25th, 2010 07:27 pm (UTC)
I'll tell you then, if you like. It is almost inspired piss take of fantasy novels.
harmony_bites
Jul. 25th, 2010 07:29 pm (UTC)
Spoil away then. As I said, I don't think I can bear to get through 3 more doorstopper books of Williams. He's just not a good enough writer for that.
shiv5468
Jul. 25th, 2010 07:44 pm (UTC)
The whole prophecy / legend thing is a plant by the evil king to make people come and try and depose him.

I lol'd.

The side of light etc still bloody win though.
harmony_bites
Jul. 25th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
The whole prophecy / legend thing is a plant by the evil king to make people come and try and depose him.

Ah. I do admit, especially after getting through this list above, that does come across as brilliant.

But I just couldn't face the thought of wading through 2,400 pages more of tiny print to get to it. So I thank you.
harmony_bites
Jul. 25th, 2010 07:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, and thanks for this:

Dianne Wynne Jones
Rosemary Edgehill
Mary Gentle especially Rats and Gargoyles
Susan Cooper
Louise Cooper
Guy Gavriel Kay
Alan Garner
Andre Norton books that are not the Witch WOrld
David Gemmel
Gabriel King if you like cats
Holly Black - I didn't like her, but I could see they were well writtne books

Jonathon Stroud
L Sprague De Camp
Joseph Delaney's spook series.


And didn't you call Edgehill Austen-esque? *iz intrigued*
shiv5468
Jul. 25th, 2010 08:14 pm (UTC)
No. Maria Edgeworth is because she's a contemporary. Edgehill is good but nothing like that.

quietselkie
Jul. 25th, 2010 02:58 pm (UTC)
I suspect you didn't get past the frame story around The Princess Bride. I'll admit the frame story is a lot WTF? and flagrant author-insertion. Just watch the movie, you'll get the best bits that way. And a blond pirate to boot.

One Fforde was enough for me. Nifty gimmick, and I didn't want to read more afterward.
shiv5468
Jul. 25th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC)
I think I gave the book away in the Great Move. And I saw the film doesn't end happily so....

Thursday Next never seems to miss her husband that much.
silburygirl
Jul. 25th, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)
The film does have a happy ending... And is much, much better than the book, even though I enjoyed the book in a vague way.
harmony_bites
Jul. 25th, 2010 08:59 pm (UTC)
I've never seen the film...

*ducks*

OK, OK, I promise I'll see it! I did hear this is one of those cases where the film is better than the book. (I liked the film version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe better than the book too--and as much as this comment might cause me to be lynched, I'd say the same by and large of Lord of the Rings
shiv5468
Jul. 27th, 2010 08:00 am (UTC)
Wikipedia says otherwise !
silburygirl
Jul. 27th, 2010 06:05 pm (UTC)
We are talking about The Princess Bride, right? Because a fairly major character dies, but is promptly brought back to life by Billy Crystal. I promise there is a happy ending. I've only seen the film like ten million times.
shiv5468
Jul. 27th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC)
Ah, ~rereads entry~ so I see.

Now I just don't want to watch it because it doens't have any English actors in it ;-)
silburygirl
Jul. 27th, 2010 06:26 pm (UTC)
I can't argue with that. Cary Elwes is pretty, though.
shiv5468
Jul. 27th, 2010 07:05 pm (UTC)
Apparently the baddie used to sit in the House of Lords because he was a Baron.

I think that means I'm allowed to watch it now.
silburygirl
Jul. 27th, 2010 07:56 pm (UTC)
It's a classic.
harmony_bites
Jul. 25th, 2010 07:18 pm (UTC)
One Fforde was enough for me. Nifty gimmick, and I didn't want to read more afterward.

Same here. I just didn't think it well-written either--really a slog.

However, it did rather wistfully make me wish I could go into a certain book with an antivenin and snake bite kit...
shiv5468
Jul. 25th, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)
But Hermione has already done that!
harmony_bites
Jul. 25th, 2010 07:34 pm (UTC)
True, true...
harmony_bites
Jul. 25th, 2010 07:05 pm (UTC)
I read a lot of MZB and then came to the conclusion I didn't like her. Too miserable and not enough humour in her work.

I first read her Darkover in my teens, so early imprinting may be at work here--but I did love the whole world of Darkover--maybe because back then I was far more a sci-fi fan, and that helped ease me in. And my very first was The Shattered Chain, and I loved the idea of the Amazons.

Brooks - I agree. I read the whole series, can't remember a damned thing about it.

The whole thing? You're a brave woman...

Quite like the Vor series but cannot see how A Civil Campaign owes anything to Heyer at all.

Haven't been able to get a copy of that one actually--but I read that was Bujold's intention in writing it--Regency Romance in space--and that she's a Heyer fan and that was her inspiration.

Jasper Fforde = meh. It's like one of those fanfics you see and think ooohthat's such a brilliant idea, I can't wait to see what you do with it.

This Once I reached Pratchett on the list, it occurred to me that's the style Fforde was trying for, but I just don't think he's the writer PTerry is.

I tried to read The Princess Bride, because my god do people go on about its brilliance. Can't see it. Didn't get past the first ten pages. Dullllllllllllllllll.

I couldn't get into it at first either--but with this list I tried to hang on for at least 100 pages to make sure--and eventually I did wind up enjoying the book. I liked the secondary characters a lot more than the central pair, too. But yeah, I get that. Not a book that immediately drew me in.

Redwall is on the to read list. Suspect it will have usual Tolkienesque feel but without the nice hobbitses.

I didn't think it felt Tolkienesque. Too twee. The sort of book I bet I'd love had I first encountered it in childhood.

Robert Jordan lost me at around book three when I thought that the main character was a whinger, unaccountable attractive to women and a self insert for the author.

While I barely hung on to finish book one. Not one character I liked in that one, and although it isn't as bad as Brooks, the constant ripoffs of Tolkien got on my one nerve. It's like I wanted to physically strike out "trolloc" and write "orc" every time I saw it. I also read that despite strong female characters in the first book, it becomes more bizarrely misogynistic in suceeding books--with the magic requiring women to "surrender" to males "conquering" energy and involving ritual nudity, polygamy and spanking.

I like Mercedes Lackey in general. She's not worthy or high minded and her latest books have tended to dead horse territory but they are ones I reread from time to time because I like spending time with those characters.

That exactly.

I read CS Lewis young and never picked up the Christian symbolism at all. I still don't see it and put fingers in my ears and go alllallala.

Heh. I suspect the key is reading them young. Although I'm told by others it's far less blatant in succeeding books (except The Last Battle) so I'm going to give the others a try.

Wicked. Dire. As are all his other books. Cannot see why they're liked at all. Miserable, nasty, hateful books.

I loathed Wicked. More than any book on this post. Agreed.

Song of Fire and Ice series... Bollocks is it better than Tolkien.

I'd agree even if I think I liked Game of Thrones a lot more than you. But then I read it right after Jordan. Well, reread it. And after Jordan and Williams I was so grateful to read decent prose and no elves. Or a quest. I do think Martin's a much better writer than Brooks, Jordan, Eddings or Goodkind--admittedly, not high praise. But I did like Jon Stark after one chapter more than I did William's Simon or Jordan's Rand after 800 pages. Having said that, it was darker and grittier than I like and that and it's unfinished status means I haven't and at this point aren't going to move on to the other books in the series.
shiv5468
Jul. 25th, 2010 07:45 pm (UTC)
But Jon Stark dies. I think. And then the next books you hear nothing about the starks at all and we're off with whatever other family. The ugly dwarf chap is a bit of an interesting charecter but so rarely trotted out.
harmony_bites
Jul. 25th, 2010 07:57 pm (UTC)
I mean Jon Snow. It's another Stark who dies *covers eyes of those who haven't read Martin*

I did like Tylion the dwarf character too--and Arya. But I do understand your reaction to Martin. The book is dark, gritty and depressing--so much so I never did get to book Number Two even though the first time I read Game of Thrones about ten years ago it didn't seem Martin would take FOREVER to finish the damn thing. I also remember the first time reading it not loving how every chapter we switched to other viewpoints--I was tempted to skip swathes of the book to get back to the characters that were my favorites.
quietselkie
Jul. 25th, 2010 02:54 pm (UTC)
I could go on for days here, as you no doubt know. But I'll keep it short and sweet, because you and I have had some of these conversations elsewhere.

The Last Unicorn -- I think I read it too young, and missed every single scrap of nuance, because I just thought "Huh. Whut." I've been waiting for a copy to turn up out here so I could reread it and see what all the shouting is about.

Silverberg -- Lord Valentine's Castle is the best of that Majipoor bunch. A wonderful book, dragging a bit once the hero begins to try to take his proper place, but wonderful. If you can't find a copy, we usually have one in our shop and can assist. :-D

Shannara--never finished it, and that was back in the days when I WAS a book-finisher. It was dreadful and turned me off high fantasy forever. Which means that I'll never read Martin or Jordan. :-D And now I've read reviews which claim he was writing a dystopian environmental treatise/polemic all along and I just say...Brooks, WTF?

I've liked SOME of Gaiman, Neverwhere among the top ones. But like Shiv, I find him overrated. Wonderful ideas lacking a depth of exploration and especially lacking in characterization.

Maguire -- while I finished Wicked and was both impressed and repulsed, I preferred his Cinderella retelling. But in general I've found diminishing returns with his books, and have stopped reading them.

Have tried Feist, Lackey and Eddings, and am completely unengaged. No meat on those bones. I suspect I was too old when I came to them.

Bradley -- liked The Mists of Avalon enough to read it twice, and was completely uninterested in her Darkover books. Have not liked what I've read of her short fiction, too depressing. Have since met a "witch" who claims to have been a member of MZB's California coven, and lost even more interest. Not because I'm against pagans, but because that person hasn't got much judgment to begin with, and why take her reading suggestions? LOL

I'd second Shiv's reccs of Holly Black, Garner (but only a couple of his books like The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Owl Service), and Susan Cooper, and I'd add Jack Whyte's Camulod Chronicles -- a hard-edged, very Roman retelling of the Arthurian cycle. You might find it sold in historical fiction rather than fantasy.
harmony_bites
Jul. 25th, 2010 07:49 pm (UTC)
The Last Unicorn -- I think I read it too young, and missed every single scrap of nuance, because I just thought "Huh. Whut." I've been waiting for a copy to turn up out here so I could reread it and see what all the shouting is about.

The writing is lovely and lyrical--and after all the turgid prose I waded through it's all the more striking. I fell in love with it though after a specific scene with a weeping spider...

Shannara--never finished it, and that was back in the days when I WAS a book-finisher. It was dreadful and turned me off high fantasy forever. Which means that I'll never read Martin or Jordan. :-D And now I've read reviews which claim he was writing a dystopian environmental treatise/polemic all along and I just say...Brooks, WTF?

I hated that book second only to Maguire's. Have Brooks and Jordan fans just never read Tolkien? Because I don't see how you can and not be infuriated at all he lifts--this isn't homage or great minds think alike. And it's wretchedly written. So I can't blame you for being turned off. I think Jordan is more of the same--another badly written Tolkien clone so I don't think you missed anything. Martin is a different story--what ever can be said against him at least he doesn't read like a ripoff of someone else, and imo he's a much better writer than Brooks or Jordan. However, I get Shiv's reaction too. It's very dark and gritty--even depressing.

I do adore Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel books--and everyone I've rec'd it to whose tried it has wound up loving them. And that's epic high fantasy--albeit one not anything like Tolkien/Brooks/Jordan in voice or the world created. And on the YA side I loved Kristen Cashore and Tamora Pierce--both high fantasy even if not bookstoppers. Nice thing about YA is (Meyer aside) they don't run to bloat.

Maguire -- while I finished Wicked and was both impressed and repulsed

I rather liked the university section for how it was subverting Oz and putting us against the Wizard and on Elphaba's side--that was impressive--but I was also repulsed from the beginning and more and more so and at the end really hated Maguire with the heat of a thousand suns.

Have tried Feist, Lackey and Eddings, and am completely unengaged. No meat on those bones. I suspect I was too old when I came to them.

I agree with you about Feist and Eddings. Do love Lackey, but I admit I did discover her when young and that may make a difference.

Have since met a "witch" who claims to have been a member of MZB's California coven, and lost even more interest. Not because I'm against pagans, but because that person hasn't got much judgment to begin with, and why take her reading suggestions? LOL

LOL. She's another one I imprinted on early and that might have helped. My first book of hers was Shattered Chain--I loved her Free Amazons--like nothing in fantasy. Although come to think of it, I suspect Shiv is right in saying MZB does suffer from the lack of a sense of humor.

I'd second Shiv's reccs of Holly Black, Garner (but only a couple of his books like The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Owl Service), and Susan Cooper, and I'd add Jack Whyte's Camulod Chronicles -- a hard-edged, very Roman retelling of the Arthurian cycle. You might find it sold in historical fiction rather than fantasy.

I've read and enjoyed the Camulod Chronicles actually--though I do think they're more historical fiction--not fantasy. The other's I'll put on my to-read list :-)
imhilien
Jul. 26th, 2010 02:40 am (UTC)
Adams - A classic, and I admire authors who can pull of these types of books.

Asaro - That series does get better, though this book is a bit naff.

MZB - squee.

Brooks / Jordan - run for the hills!

Bujold - squee. She can write both sci-fi and fantasy well, which can be hard to pull off.

Eddings / Feist / McCaffrey - I read their books in my teens. I grew up. ;)

Gaiman - now this is a master. I've read Coraline and seen the film, and was on the edge of my seat for both.

Lackey - squee. Erm, I probably need my own special shelf for Lackey. :-p

Lawhead - haven't read all his books, but like his writing.

LeGuin - I like her writing.

Lewis - I read these as a child, which was probably the best age. I like the films, and not because they have been filmed here in NZ. :-p

May reply on the others later. ;)






harmony_bites
Jul. 26th, 2010 05:33 am (UTC)
Brooks / Jordan - run for the hills!

Right? Not sure if the appeal is for those who have never read Tolkien, so have no idea what a ripoff both are--or its extreme fanboys who just couldn't get enough of Tolkien, so reach for even bad fanfic not such good imitators.

Lackey - squee. Erm, I probably need my own special shelf for Lackey. :-p

I don't like her later books as much--I think like McCaffrey she lost some heart and has been calling them in for several years--but her earlier books--well, as Shiv, said of Lackey, I like the characters and sometimes want to spend time with them--they're good "comfort food" reads. I feel that way about some of McCaffrey too. Not great lit--not masters or classics like Adams and Gaiman--but fun.

I guess, like you though, Lackey has an edge over McCaffrey simply because I think I may have read just about every book Lackey solo'ed and I can't say the same for McCaffrey.
imhilien
Jul. 28th, 2010 02:34 am (UTC)
I will admit a few of Brooks are good, and could be read as stand-alones. Jordan just went on and on - I got to book 5 before I stopped to save my brain.

I have Lackey's 'Valdemar' books and her 'Elemental Masters' ones as well. I agree that 'Magics Pawn' and 'Oathbreakers' still stand up today. :) She does write good 'comfort food' books.
harmony_bites
Jul. 28th, 2010 07:45 am (UTC)
I will admit a few of Brooks are good, and could be read as stand-alones. Jordan just went on and on - I got to book 5 before I stopped to save my brain.

I have a friend I respect who absolutely adores Brooks above any other fantasies, so I know he has his fans. I suppose after the first book he might have found his own voice and stories, and not just followed the outline of Lord of the Ring.

I have Lackey's 'Valdemar' books and her 'Elemental Masters' ones as well.

I love Valdemar--they were my intro to her. I only recently read some of the Elemental Master ones. I enjoyed them--all the more because the Edwardian era is an unusual setting for fantasy--yet an interesting one when gender roles were in flux--interesting mix of fantasy and romance.
silburygirl
Jul. 26th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
Despite the fact that fantasy is also my favourite genre, I am beginning to realise that I don't read all that much of it. Mostly because when it is done badly, it's done really badly. Which means I have a lot to catch up on.

Of the ones I've read... I would list Mists of Avalon as a favourite, but I first read it when I was 12 and obsessed with Arthurian legend, so my memory is a bit fuzzy. I never could get into any other MZB, though.

I enjoy Jasper Fforde quite a bit, but I do have to be in the right mood.

Neil Gaiman is the literary love of my life, even if Neverwhere isn't my favourite of his books. I'd recommend Stardust or The Graveyard Book, for novels, but his short story collections have some of his best bits. The Sandman graphic novels are also pretty awesome.

I definitely prefer the film of The Princess Bride to the book, but I remember enjoying the book quite a bit. The film is a classic, though.

I haven't read any Robert Jordan, although Hunkatude has all of the books in hardcover and really enjoys them—I think he started reading them at a fairly young age, so I think at this point he's too invested to stop reading.

The Chronicles of Narnia were favourites of mine when I was growing up, but I haven't reread them in years. You know my thoughts on Susan. *mutters darkly*

A friend has been threatening to buy my a copy of A Game of Thrones to force me to read it, so maybe one day...

Terry Pratchett is my other literary love.

I tried Mary Stewart ages ago, but that was after binging on ten billion Arthurian romances so I was a bit sick of it. I may try her again some day, though.

In terms of a to-read list—I liked some of Madeline L'Engle's lesser known novels more than A Wrinkle in Time, although I'm not sure if those can be classified as fantasy.
Meg Cabot's YA novels are funny and a bit dark, with spunky heroines (especially the Mediator series)
Libba Bray's trilogy (it starts with A Great and Terrible Beauty)
Louise Cooper's Time Master trilogy (and the other books set in the same world)
The Inkheart books by Cornelia Funke
Any and all Diana Wynne Jones (but Howl's Moving Castle is a good place to start)
Juliet Marillier's Seven Waters trilogy (the first one is a retelling of The Seven Swans)
East by Edith Pattou
Any and all Francesca Lia Block (although some are more fantasy than others)
Sabriel by Garth Nix
Erm... and lots more.
harmony_bites
Jul. 26th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)
Mostly because when it is done badly, it's done really badly. Which means I have a lot to catch up on.

Surprisingly so. I don't tend to have a high opinion of romance and turning to this list I expected almost everything to be fives and fours--and granted, that is over a third of the list--but a good third of what's on a rec list is mediocre to awful. Including some so-called classics of the genre like Brooks and Jordan.

Of the ones I've read... I would list Mists of Avalon as a favourite, but I first read it when I was 12 and obsessed with Arthurian legend, so my memory is a bit fuzzy. I never could get into any other MZB, though.

A lot of MZB turns out not to be MZB. *points up at list* For instances, none of the Avalon sequels and quite a few Darkovers. And early on I think she was still getting her legs and just churning them out--so it depends a lot on what you read I think. On the other hand, I imprinted young--about 13. So that might have something to do with my love of the Darkover books.

Neil Gaiman is the literary love of my life, even if Neverwhere isn't my favourite of his books.

I currently am reading him with the other literary love of your life, in the guise of Good Omens. Even though I did wind up loving Pratchett's Small Gods, I never had a laugh out loud moment. That occurred on page 35 of Good Omens. By and by reading through this I never realized how often religion is a subject in fantasy--but its often a major thread. I guess that makes sense given the origins of myth but--you have a whole lot of serious pagans like Bradley and Lackey, Christians like Lewis and Lawhead, and preachy atheists like Pullman and Goodkind--and supposedly a Taoist in Le Guin...

I haven't read any Robert Jordan, although Hunkatude has all of the books in hardcover and really enjoys them—I think he started reading them at a fairly young age, so I think at this point he's too invested to stop reading.

So we can attribute it to early imprinting?

The Chronicles of Narnia were favourites of mine when I was growing up, but I haven't reread them in years. You know my thoughts on Susan. *mutters darkly*

*pats* I'll have to look up Gaiman's "The Problem of Susan" I did give A Horse and His Boy a try. This time I can't detect a whiff of allegory, and I'm wondering now if Lackey got the talking horsies from Lewis. I did find it annoying when we reencounter the brothers and sisters and they're all doing royal speak.

A friend has been threatening to buy my a copy of A Game of Thrones to force me to read it, so maybe one day...

After reading Williams and Jordan just before I was hysterically grateful to read someone who could write, characters that weren't cardboard cutouts, and most of all--a epic high fantasy that didn't read anything like Tolkien. I have my own reservations though and not everyone likes them *points up to Shiv's comments* I liked just the first book, but didn't want to read more cuz its unfinished and depressing--those who have read the other books in reviews do say its amazing how something brief in the first book gets connected with events in others--that its very intricate. On first read I found the rotating point of views rather frustrating--on second read I found I rather preferred it to the ubiquitous omniscient in fantasy.

I tried Mary Stewart ages ago, but that was after binging on ten billion Arthurian romances so I was a bit sick of it. I may try her again some day, though.

While I think she might have been my first--that might make a difference.

And I'll add your recs to my growing neverending-list. I have heard good things about Funke and Marillier by others.
deeble
Jul. 27th, 2010 02:25 am (UTC)
The only Asaro I've read is "The Quantum Rose," and I don't think you'd like that any better. Description from her site: "Kamoj Argali is the young ruler of an impoverished province on a backward planet. To keep her people from starving, she has agreed to marry the boorish, brutal ruler of a neighboring province. But before the wedding takes place, a mysterious stranger from a distant planet sweeps in and unwittingly forces Kamoj into marriage, throwing her world into utter chaos."

I keep meaning to find an audiobook version of "The Once and Future King" so I can listen on my way to work. It sounds marvelous.
harmony_bites
Jul. 27th, 2010 02:55 am (UTC)
"Kamoj Argali is the young ruler of an impoverished province on a backward planet. To keep her people from starving, she has agreed to marry the boorish, brutal ruler of a neighboring province. But before the wedding takes place, a mysterious stranger from a distant planet sweeps in and unwittingly forces Kamoj into marriage, throwing her world into utter chaos."

*Face palm* Marriage Law ho! No, I very much doubt I'd like it. And the style of The Charmed Sphere isn't such that I'd ever think I'd click with the author.

I keep meaning to find an audiobook version of "The Once and Future King" so I can listen on my way to work. It sounds marvelous.

Stewart's focus is Merlin and Arthur--and Merlin is gone before Camelot comes into decline. So when it comes to the love triangle, and especially in creating a complex Lancelot, he's imo the best.

I also read somewhere that The Once and Future King was one of the influences on Rowling--and I can certainly see it. In its tone and whimsy The Sword and the Stone is very Potteresque--with a (good) Dumbledore and Harry.
imhilien
Jul. 28th, 2010 02:46 am (UTC)
Novik - I like these, but only in a lukewarm way. Having said that, I hope Peter Jackson gets around to filming them - the first three, at least. :)

Pterry - Love him. I recommend 'Going Postal' which is a good read as well as being a scathing critique on the way utility companies can go downhill when privatised. Yup.

Putney - I can recommend her 'The Marriage Spell', set in Regency England where magic exists (the upper classes here sneer at magic, because it ignores class barriers).

Sinclair - 'An Accidental Goddess' is her weakest story, IMHO, but don't let that put you off her other sci-fi / rom books. I recently re-read her 'Finders Keepers' and was sad to finish it (again).
harmony_bites
Jul. 28th, 2010 07:50 am (UTC)
I hope Peter Jackson gets around to filming them

I loved the Novik books--the first one made me cry--which is rare and I love Temeraire--he makes the books for me. I'm looking forward to what Jackson will make of them in a CGI era post-Avatar where flying dragons can be brought off.

Sinclair - 'An Accidental Goddess' is her weakest story, IMHO, but don't let that put you off her other sci-fi / rom books. I recently re-read her 'Finders Keepers' and was sad to finish it (again).

The problem is I hated her style. Very romance novel with frequent and over the top descriptions of how gorgeous the hero and heroine are. I found it painful to read and style tends to be something that usually stays consistent, though some authors (Tamora Pierce comes to mind) do grow.
cleobulle
Aug. 5th, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC)
Ah, reading your list made me eye my dusty GRRM books on my bookshelf. I think I've given hope of ever seeing the series completed. I only really liked a couple of characters anyway.

Terry Pratchett. Love. Love. Love. You might want to try the TV adaptations. The first ones were horrible but they're getting better. Hogfather was watchable and the more recent (it aired a few weeks ago) Going Postal was very good IMO. I hope the next one will be at least as good.

I second what Imhilien said about Sinclair. AG is her weakest book. But she does writes SFR with a strong accent on the R of Romance. I don't know what she was doing on a Fantasy rec list.

I also sencond the rec for the Princess Bride movie. It's better than the book IMO. It does feel a bit dated now but the dialogues are still very funny.

While we're on "moving pictures", I'd also recommend the movie Stardust which is an adaptation of a Gaiman novel. I haven't read the book itself so I don't know how it compares but the movie is a feast for the eyes. Plus it has a flying ship whose crew collects thunder bolts and whose captain (Robert de Niro) likes to wear frilly dresses. And that reminds me that I have the TV adaptation of Neverwhere on DVD but that I haven't watched it yet.
harmony_bites
Aug. 6th, 2010 02:16 pm (UTC)
Terry Pratchett. Love. Love. Love. You might want to try the TV adaptations.

Didn't know of those. I'm reading and loving Good Omens right now.

I second what Imhilien said about Sinclair. AG is her weakest book. But she does writes SFR with a strong accent on the R of Romance. I don't know what she was doing on a Fantasy rec list.

I suspect they wrote up the list with a general reader more than fantasy reader in mind, so listed writers that have crossover appeal--otherwise I can't understand not only listing Sinclair but Asaro, Dayton (both their books "Luna" imprints from Harlequin) Putney or Spencer on a top 40 fantasy list--they just don't belong there--but I think they were trying to hit the "paranormal romance" reader with those.

Don't understand Drake's presence either. Brooks, Jordan, Jacques, Maguire I at least get. I might think their books run from mediocre to awful, but they're popular within the fantasy genre so would be naturals to list.

I also second the rec for the Princess Bride movie. It's better than the book IMO. It does feel a bit dated now but the dialogues are still very funny.

Several people have told me that. I've been meaning to rent it.

While we're on "moving pictures", I'd also recommend the movie Stardust which is an adaptation of a Gaiman novel. I haven't read the book itself so I don't know how it compares but the movie is a feast for the eyes. Plus it has a flying ship whose crew collects thunder bolts and whose captain (Robert de Niro) likes to wear frilly dresses

LOL. Sounds irresistible. Gaiman is definitely an author I want to read more of.
cleobulle
Aug. 8th, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
I understand the need for a crossover appeal. Many people get sucked in that way. It makes them try books they'd never have been interested in before.

I hope you enjoy Stardust and The Princess Bride if you manage to get a hold of them.

A very short and non-spoilery MV of Stardust to give you a feel of the look of the movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBqlKgvrh1o
Prince Septimus is not the main character but he is my favorite.

I myself found the Neverwhere dvd by chance while browsing through Play.com. I'd no idea that more of Gaiman's work had been made into movies/miniseries. I was originally browsing for some BBC documentaries that I could use in class when I came across it. That was a very good surprise.
death_ofme
May. 24th, 2012 01:17 am (UTC)
I can't believe someone else has read Mercedes Lackey - maybe it's just over here where I'm from where no one has fucking heard about her XD (although I would reccomend "Take a Thief" for a first timer as it's a compelling story that holds up on its own without needing to know anything about the universe, but a good introduction to her trademark world as well). Did you know she has a new series out? Go check it out *pushes out the door*

Also....Richard Adams *fluttery sigh* I remember reading Watership Down when I was eleven and thinking "whoa...the world's dark" haha. And then the CBC broadcast the animated television series for children...which was still incredibly traumatic. Ahh, Mr. Adams, with WD and Plague Dogs he singlehandedly created the most fodder for "disturbing children's films not actually meant for children".


(btw - I know you've been quiet and all recently....but are you going to be around for the Exchange? *puppy eyes*)
harmony_bites
May. 24th, 2012 02:16 am (UTC)
Did you know she has a new series out? Go check it out *pushes out the door*

I loved Lackey in early adulthood (as in right out of my teens) and feel she was at her best back then. I haven't liked her new stuff for a while--hated her "Mags" and this patois in the Collegium Chronicles. So these days I don't jump on it when she has something new--but yeah, I am (was?) a fan, and have read tons of her books.

(btw - I know you've been quiet and all recently....but are you going to be around for the Exchange? *puppy eyes*

I don't rule out popping back in someday. I still have a WIP I'd hate to leave unfinished, although I'm both writer's blocked and still feel this day after Thanksgiving stuffed when it comes to Snape/Hermione. Otoh, I still love that pairing, although every times I've had a jonesing for them and have peeked on Ashwinder (aside from a new story by Bambu) I haven't exactly been impressed--more like repulsed. Almost all the authors I loved are gone, and those I was close to (and am still close to as RL friends) are no longer active in the fandom--so it's easy to drift away.

Also, after my experiences in fandom, I'm determined never again to go through anyone's validation queue--even one as lightly moderated as Shiv's.
( 42 comments — Leave a comment )

Profile

Ms Bites
harmony_bites
harmony_bites

Latest Month

August 2012
S M T W T F S
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031 
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow