Fantasy novel marathon

Jak brought five more fantasy novels home from the library today, as part of our ‘survey every reasonably successful fantasy book/series from the last decade’ project.

From this you may correctly gather that I’ve not been doing so previously. It’s an odd reversal for me, as I was insatiable for fiction as a child and young adult. I was the kid who’d bring a book to gym class. In my twenties I’d regularly devour three or four books a week.

In recent years, however, my patience for less-than-perfect fiction writing has steadily diminished and now approaches zero. My standards are just too high, hardly anything can touch them. (Like I said: crotchety and hard to please.)

Despite what I thought were appropriately low expectations, I have been disappointed by most of what I’ve seen so far. In a few cases I was actually appalled.

I considered posting short reviews here, but on reflection decided that would do far more harm than good. Some of these authors are people I know (and even like); it’s probable that I will cross paths with many others if Jak and I stay on this road. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and I am awkward enough making small talk with strangers at conventions without worrying about whether they secretly hate me for publicly scorning their magnum opus.

So I may grouse about the quality of published fantasy in general, but I will only mention something by name if I can bring myself to recommend it without adding caveats and qualifications.

Thus far that list has a single entry: Naomi Novik’s His Majesty’s Dragon is … well, ‘charming’ is the word that comes to mind. It’s too different from the type of thing we’re trying to write to be any sort of useful model, but it’s the one thing I’ve read this month that I’ve been able to actually enjoy.

And the marathon continues …

1 comment:

  1. 22 May 2009 at 4:44 am

    Good standards :) Ms. Novik’s book was the only one in several years that all my friends liked..

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