Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tuesday Review: A Half-Elven, a Knight, a Mage, and a Dwarf Walk Into a Bar....

I agreed to read a Dragonlance book for Deerhunter.

Apparently this series--aside from Tolkien's--was his favorite when he was a kid. (At least this time, I didn't say, "You read?"--I learn my lessons. This time I said, "God, you're such a geek. I never would have guessed.") He's lucky I don't make him read the books I found formative in my teens, like Sylvie Somerfield's Autumn Dove (and probably yet another reason why I wanted to have red hair). Or that Janelle Taylor "First Love Wild Love" with the blond Texas Ranger. *faraway look*

Anyway.

So I read this book, Dragons of Autumn Twilight. I found it infinitely more readable than Tolkien. INFINITELY.

I also have to thank all my fantasy-paranormal reading I've done in the last ten years or so, because that is the only reason why I've become halfway tolerant of names that are not pronounceable...and town names that are even less so. I also want to thank the ladies who wrote the book for having approximately 1/3 of the long, boring songs that Fellowship of the Rings had. I also was relieved that the women featured in the books were not only good when they were dead (i.e. a la Conan and the Tree of Woe). Though the good woman in the story DID have a death scene of sacrifice. There's no escaping that in the Hero's Journey, I guess.

Overall, though, a decent read. Can't say I'm going to run out and start reading fantasy novels hand over fist. I spent a lot of my time reading this book, identifying the things that didn't work for me as a reader. This is good practice for writing, I believe. I may not always know what I want to say, but I can tell you what I don't want to. Like--I don't like the Point of View writing they use. It's almost like an author omniscient. It makes the story about the plot and not about the story of the characters (i.e. emotional journey, structure.) In fact, the scenes I liked most about the book were the emotional scenes. There was a character I could not stand--the mage, Raistlin (pretty sure none of us should like him)--but there was a scene between him and a gully dwarf, where he's genuinely kind, where you almost understand his behavior. The rest of the time, I wanted to beat him with a baseball bat.

The thing is--fantasy are all about that author omniscient stuff. Are there any books (fantasy) that are 1st person? I would like to read one of those. But I don't believe it's the norm and it's not the expected. It's not the comfort read fantasy novel. I think the reason these books probably stand out is that--it's still primarily plot and action, but there's enough emotional stuff there to really make the story a stand out for readers. It's just different enough for fantasy fans to be a standout.

The male characters are interesting. I think perhaps they are probably some very real male characters. You have the one who can't accept himself and doesn't know where he belongs (I call him the Hamlet character; he's the leader and noble of sorts, but he irks the shit out of me with his indecision and pantywaist crap.) There is the knight who lives, breathes, and dies honor. Honor has been stripped away from his life, but he wants to pay penance and restore it--honor is life. (And God knows men can be batshit crazy about honor--the war, brotherhood kind.) The mage who has been weak and repressed all his life who wants to be the most powerful wizard in the Universe, like some sort of medieval Pinky from Pinky and the Brain. He literally wants to be like god. (This character I understand least of all. Anyone who wants to be God is an idiot, imo. But I've been on plenty of dates with these kinds of guys.)

I do find the Knight possibly my favorite of the characters--I like the consistency; and if you're going to have a flaw, I think I may prefer you to be too honorable rather than a god-hungry egotist or a indecisive whiner who can't decide which woman he wants. That was very impressive about this story. The men were definitely men (even if they were dwarves.) They were flawed men with no apologies--not fantasy romance novel men who are so sensitive they ask how you're feeling. None of that crap. These men are confused. They have real issues on their minds--like honor. Or in Kender's case, Adventure.

Okay--so what's the book about? It's a trilogy--because it's illegal for a fantasy writer to write only one book of a fantasy world. I think it's in their contract or something. A trilogy is the minimum you can commit to. In the story, the end of the world is nigh--isn't it always?--and the half-elf, mage, knight, warrior, kender, wizard, and dwarf meet up in a bar to pool their notes from their travels to see just how imminent the end of the world really is. It's so imminent, there's a fight and they end up taking on two more companions--strangers, of course--and are sent on a journey. They need to take a staff to a city...and find out how to save the world...or something to that effect. (It's a fantasy novel--it's always a ring/staff/necklace/sword/child--that has to be taken to the worst city possible where Death is so likely they fill out your death certificates before you leave and you have to restore peace and prosperity in the lands. On the journey, you'll meet someone nice in some woods, you'll go through some elven woods (though the elves are fleeing like rats off the Titanic), and you'll fight some weird looking evil creatures (Dragonians, Orcs, Deatheaters, et al).) Oh, don't get disgruntled. You know it's true. It's the same sort of same-old-same-old romances provide: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy screws girl...blah, blah, blah. Fantasy novels follow their own beats, and we all know what they are.

The point is: if you like the hero's journey of this nature, you'll love this book. It's a nice comfortable read. Me, it took two weeks to read. It was readable; and I was able to discuss it with Deerhunter throughout, but I'm no convert. The fact is if I can read it and enjoy it--which I did--it means that this book must be pretty phenomenal to actual Fantasy Fans.

Apparently there is a fourth book of the trilogy (proving another theory that fantasy writers can't actually add) called the Dragons of Summer--basically it covers the last season--this one was the Dragons of Autumn Twilight--and basically it destroys all the HEAs that occur at the end of the trilogy (the Spring one) originally. This also proves theory that fantasy novelists can't stand HEAs and must destroy them as soon as possible. I am convinced Nicholas Sparks suckled at the breasts of many a fantasy trilogy.

So...fantasy readers, I have questions 1.) do you know any first person fantasy novels that are really good? 2.) what is it you like about fantasy novels? 3.) what made you cross over to romances and what was the hardest thing to get used to in reading romance novels?

78 comments:

Maureen said...

Oh, man. First person fantasy... Sis? You listening? If anyone will know, it's her. E-mail me and I'll let Hellion know.

What do I like about fantasy novels? Well, I haven't read any in a long time. Though I have read a great deal of urban fantasy and well...most of it is first person. The Dresden Files, the Nightside books... What is it about them? They really are anchored in the mythic adventure, the hero's quest.

I read so many of the sword and sworcery fantasy, little of it was first person, but geez...I liked the adventure!

Why did I cross over? I wish I knew! I first walked with mysteries and mainly, it was because I found time became more precious to me and fantasy is...a long read. I never read the Dragonlance books. I adore Tolkien...it's the family bible.

I think my transition books were the Dragonriders of Pern books, which featured romance. Also Sharon Shin's Archangle series... But I never argued with romance inside of my fantasy novels...

The hardest thing about it romance that drove me, and still drives me nuts, is how too many romance complications are all about simple misunderstandings. I like things more complicated? And the world needs to be in danger.

Just saying.

Maureen said...

Sworcery? Was I drinking? Sorcery...

TerriOsburn said...

I've never read Fantasy. Watching the LOTR movies is as close as I've ever come and I know Jackson added the romance that made those movies watchable for me. No one in my family read never mind read Fantasy. Not sure why it doesn't appeal to me. I'm a simple girl? That's probably it.

Is there any comic relief in these things? From what I've seen as an outsider looking in, these kinds of books always seem to take themselves way too seriously. And then so do their readers. Though dressing up as a dwarf for a convention doesn't sound all that serious to me. :)

So maybe they're really having fun with it and I just don't see it. That's probably it.

MsHellion said...

Mo, if you find any good titles to suggest, please let me know. I would like to make an effort to read one in contrast to see if I enjoy the "adventure" aspects better. That sort of thing. Sometimes I think it's how something is presented is where it goes wrong. :)

I think all stories are told in the hero's journey fashion--it's just not the end of the world type of thing. Or it's the end of the world to the character but it's not a literal end of the world. I can read romances and tell you what the beats are most of the time with hero's journey structure. "Oh, here's the Ordinary World. Oh, we're entering the cave." The being rescued by the goddess part always throws me off...but I could probably figure out something that fits that part of the story. The beats are the same, but the stage is not as "big" and the characters aren't necessarily as set. (Dwarves and kenders always seem to be the comic relief, why?) It's interesting. Fantasy readers are just as much about their comfort reads as romance readers. That's the part that always got me in college. My fantasy readers would say, "Fantasy is not as predictable as romance novels." Such crap. They're every bit as predictable. *LOL* I think it depends on what is your type of escape as a reader, what is your comfort?

I understand--agree--that romance relationships need to be complicated beyond simple misunderstandings--THOUGH in that defense, many a relationship has broken up due to lack of communication and trust which is what I think that sort of thing is trying to convey and clearly didn't do a good job. The foundation of any romance is COMMUNICATION. I mean, you need love and respect and trust, but if you don't have communication, you're screwed. And people are pretty obstinate and can tend not to listen if they feel hurt.

Miscommunication is emotional a lot of the time and definitely not rational. Fiction likes to be rational, I guess, but it isn't necessarily truth about real life. Plenty of things illogical and irrational in the real world, things you might even feature in a fantasy novel and never question...

I think it depends on how the miscommunication is executed. Some are way flimsy, when they're spent 300 pages in perfect accord and understanding and suddenly out of nowhere they don't understand and misread the guy. That's stupid.

And I find it interesting--and terrifying--you have to have the world continually in danger. I don't agree; I don't think most of us think day to day about how close the world is ending all the time (at least not since the Cold War ended). That's one of those gifts we humans got--to be a little absorbed of our compartment of space and if our space is happy, we're happy... I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. I think a lot of the worry about the world can be rather unnecessary on a day to day basis. If *I* can't do anything personally to alleviate it, do I really need to know about it and freak out? Stress is not good for the body.

MsHellion said...

I know Jackson added the romance that made those movies watchable for me

EXACTLY. And don't get me started about Frodo.

Is there any comic relief in these things?

Yes. There were several moments of comic relief in the book I read, or I recognized it as comic relief, but they weren't necessarily things I would have found largely hysterical. The Kender is pretty adorable actually. They're not funny to me in the same way I find some moments in a Kristan Higgins novel though, where I'm laughing so hard I'm crying. These moments just make me chuckle. *LOL*

MsHellion said...

The themes of fantasy novels are interesting: Honor, War, Good & Evil, Sacrifice--these seem to be themes I usually associate that men seem to like to focus on most.

I think women's books also focus on those themes, but they develop differently and the lesson learned from isn't necessarily the same, it seems more subtle rather than black and white. Am I wrong to think that? I just don't think women's idea of sacrifice and war is necessarily the same as a man's...and it shows in writing.

TerriOsburn said...

I'd take a chuckle in all that saving the world stuff. Good to know.

My guess is women love reading about good v. evil and honor and all those things, but what we find honorable might be different than what men see as honorable.

A man thinks it's honorable to fall on the sword while a woman sees honor in walking away. This is a gross generalization and me just pondering as I type so I could be off. Strikes me as similar in every day things. A man wants to fix everything when all we want is for them to listen.

Men are action. Women are feeling and thinking. One isn't better than the other, just different.

MsHellion said...

Don't get me wrong. I think if Deerhunter was reading the comic relief, he'd be laughing wholeheartedly.

It reminded me of the dwarf and elf relationship in LOTR when the dwarf and elf have that competition of who can kill the most people. In the movie, that scene always makes me laugh a bit wholeheartedly...because I'm a blood thirsty wench. :)

The kender and dwarf in this book are pretty amusing though. The kender is accidentally funny, like he'll knock out people with his staff by accident and save the moment.

MsHellion said...

I'd agree with those generalizations, but yeah, it would depend on the person in question and the situation. I think there are moments where women are more likely to take decisive action and men will sit and think and vice versa. But on the whole...yes.

I think we just have different things that are important to us and that determines more if we're going to think or act. And sometimes I think women can be better at revenge--because we have to think first and gather our resources. :) But there are many stories of men and revenge too.

TerriOsburn said...

I know I'm more prone to action if something involves my child. More than once I've stepped up and handed someone their ass because they did something I didn't like involving Kiddo. There's no sitting back and thinking or feeling at that point. But I know fathers are often the same way. Still, you don't mess with a mama bear, if you know what I mean.

That does sound like a nice touch of humor. Was the rivalry in LOTRs also in the books? I'm guessing that probably was. Male rivalry and one-upmanship (is that a whole word? Several words??) would be natural in that sort of book.

The comedy aspects are probably what won me over to Star Wars. Those films were epic and I loved them when I was a child. Not enough to be the life long fan some are today, but still. Those things were ingrained in our lives in the 70s. And Han had all the best lines. *sigh*

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

I have to admit I'm more a sci-fi geek than I am a fantasy one. Most of the fantasy I read is of the Urban Fantasy/Romance kind.

But, even in my sci-fi and urban fantasy I want them to bring the funny. Galaxy Quest is hands down my fav movie - there are huge world-ending dangers and yet it's chock-full of laughs. That's my kind of story.

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

BTW - if any pirates would like to stop by my "other self" blog today - I have an author and a giveaway of a good book and not a single person entered yet. Sigh. It's like readers disappear right on the day I want them to come!

MsHellion said...

Terri, I was totally thinking of mama bears. You mess with kids, and mama will KILL you. No hesitations about it. But a man will defend his family--I love those stories where men do that. I guess it does boil down to a character/person and the situation. Everyone is different. After all there are mothers who aren't...and aren't necessarily a mama bear but let you go to handle it yourself. It's odd but it exists.

MsHellion said...

And I don't really remember the comedy so much in Star Wars. I try to block it much of the time from my brain. I know it's classic and all, but...

MsHellion said...

Sabrina, I *LOVED* Galaxy Quest. LOVED IT! Alan Rickman, priceless! I'd read romance sci-fi if it was like that.

P. Kirby said...

I believe Robin Hobb's awesome Assassin's Apprentice series is first person. (I'm at work; can't check my keeper shelf.) It's one of my fave series, though the sh*t the protagonist goes through in the name of "honor" drove me rather nuts. In general, third person omni isn't typical for fantasy.

Regarding Dragonlance...I first read the series--there are actually six books--in high school. Thought it was the greatest thing--evah! Reread in college; still liked 'em; converted hubby to a fantasy reader with the series. I suspect that now, I'd find some of the characterization too gendered, but the series is fun. FWIW, the authors are Mormon, so I think "gendered" characterization goes with the territory.

Here's the thing. I love Raislin. Yes. Raislin. Also, his dark elf apprentice, Dalamar, who shows up in the second trilogy. I loves 'em damaged. (As I said, this explains my current obsession with Loki of Thor; also Snape of HP.) Weiss/Hickman's other big series--The Deathgate Cycle--is also on my keeper shelf, in part because the protagonist--Haplo--is a very dark hero (he's is genuinely the hero, but in an ethically flexible sort of way.)

I don't read as much epic fantasy as I once did, however, because I sometimes find that the authors get too carried away with world building. An exception would be George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, which has some absolutely amazing characterization. It's a pity it's taking him a god's age to finish writing the series.

P. Kirby said...

Oh, and Galaxy Quest rocks! Along with Serenity, it's one of those seen it so many times, I've got the lines memorized movies.

MsHellion said...

P Kirby--that's the thing! I usually love the damaged ones! But cannot stand Raistlin because they seem to make him so unsympathetic. We're so rarely in his POV--and the one time we are, that's the one time I seem to like him. I love Snape more than anybody--I could write some fan fiction on Snape--but his backstory makes him so "likable" I think. Not that I want to be inundated with backstory either, I just want some deeper POV in my story and worldbuilding.

As I said, fantasy writing seems more about the plot and less about the story (i.e. the people). And I don't care so much about the end of the world as I do about the people in it, you know?

And maybe I've got it wrong--maybe it's not 3rd person omni in these books, it just feels like it because the POV is not very deep and it switches a lot. I feel like some characters know things they shouldn't. *LOL* It keeps me separate from the story, like I'm being told rather than feeling it or figuring it out myself. I think it's just the style of writing accepted at the time it was written, but I also think it is keeping with how fantasy stories tend to be written. I'm guessing that has changed as it has with romance novels. Same sort of evolution. There are a lot of YA novels I read now that would be classified as fantasy--all first person, deep POV, and I totally love all the aspects of it.

MsHellion said...

"There were five curtain calls. I was an actor once, damn it. Now look at me. Look at me! I won't go out there and say that stupid line one more time."

MsHellion said...

"by Grabthar's hammer... by the Sons of Warvan... you shall be... avenged. "

TerriOsburn said...

Are you drinking?

MsHellion said...

Just Mountain Dew, but that's probably enough. These are quotes Alan Rickman says. :) How can I not quote him? And his look of disgust. I love him.

P. Kirby said...

Raislin is probably an acquired taste, with his character getting stronger as the series progresses. As with most of my favorite dark heroes and villains, he's the sort of character who seems to be for a redemption story (and who has likely spawned a thousand fan fics).

The Dragonlance series isn't that well written, largely because it is glorified fan fiction. It was published by the now defunct TSR, Inc, a D&D gaming company, using established settings and characters. Many of the books published by TSR were rather awful. I can only think of a couple others, notably, The Legend of Huma, that were worth reading. Nowadays, since I read as a writer, I know that there would be things that bug me.

Anyway, as a reader of many genres, I find that truly, there are only a few gems in ANY genre. The rest being okay to flat-out-bad. This is probably why people slag on Romance, for instance. Honestly, a big chunk of the romance novels I've read are totally forgettable to "bleh." Same is true, however, with mysteries, thrillers, YA, and westerns. But, I think some readers (not saying anyone here, just "some") tend to characterize an entire genre based on limited sample of books.

P. Kirby said...

"It's like throwing gasoline on a flame."
Alexander on the Thermians adoration of the Jason.

Since we're quoting Galaxy Quest.

MsHellion said...

Nah, P Kirby, you can call me out. *LOL* I know I overgeneralize an entire genre of books based on some poor sampling I was given. *LOL*

But your summary of the book I read says I have good reason to overgeneralize. *LOL*

I love that the more we read, the more "refined" our reading palette becomes and we become virtual reading snobs. *LOL* Not that I'm suddenly going to immerse myself in literary stuff, but it takes MORE to hit the same mark sometimes.

Honestly though I think it can be the mood you're in. If you read ALL the time and gorge yourself, nothing will "taste" good. You're not hungry, so to speak so nothing sparkles. You're glutted on McDonald's...but if you go read something else or do something else--or even write yourself, you can come back and have a new appreciation for it again. You might even be charmed by something that wouldn't have charmed you a year ago. I've done that with books. I'll read them one and be scathing about them, but read them again later and go, "I can see the charm."

Not with everything of course. There are books I flat out won't read no matter how "good" they are.

P. Kirby said...

Actually, I was taking a swipe at those who sneer at romance, but haven't actually read a romance or only one book.

"You might even be charmed by something that wouldn't have charmed you a year ago." I totally hear ya.
At the moment, I'm on a fan fiction kick, even though, the majority of fics aren't that well written. But there's just something fun about the enthusiasm that the writers put into their work; they're just having a hella good time playing with established characters. It's actually feeding my muse--the beast must be fed stories--more than original fiction at the moment.

Maureen said...

There is a massive group of fantasy/comedy books. Really. Terry Pratchet and Disceworld (I know I'm spelling that wrong) and Piers Anthony and his world of pundome... For a woman's perspective, try Mercedes Lackey and the Oathbound series.

Now, let me wake up somemore... And see what sis had to say...

Maureen said...

Okay, sis says... Well, to being with, I still have no real understanding of what "first person" means. Is that where the character is telling the story instead of the author? Which is how I always perceive books; almost like sitting in a circle around the campfire being told a story. Maybe that is why I like fantasy so much; they are those kinds of stories.

Lots of "epic" fantasy is written by men and so the adventure part of it is pretty straight forward, with lots of fighting of all sorts and lots of the sex is violent in nature. And very non-personal. More recently this has changed; but most of the old style sword and sorcery is not very romantic.

Maybe since I enjoy the deep and involved stories, I find much of todays Romance lacking (sorry). Much of it is too quick, not in depth enough, not deep enough into the characters and the resolutions of their personal problems is usually way too simple to my way of thinking. I always walk away wanting more info.

As you know, I have found several paranormal romance writers that I have fallen in love with and read from start to finish book after book (Kenyon, etc.).

I went thru the books at Mom's house and grabbed the 2 Thomas Covenant books that were there. Of course, they are book 1 and 3 and 2 is missing so I will be hunting for it. I had forgotten about those. I enjoyed them very much back in the day and look forward to re-reading them years later and see what I think from where I sit now. That is always an interesting thing to do.

P. Kirby said...

Personally, I wouldn't recommend Piers Anthony, but Pratchet is a hoot

Mercedes Lackey's older Valdemar series is pretty cool, especially since it was one of the first to feature a gay protagonist. I really liked Tad Williams's War of the Flowers and Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series. Lois McMaster Bujold's fantasy and SF novels often feature a strong romantic subplot (I like The Sharing Knife for its unique May-December romance).

P. Kirby said...

Thomas Covenant...uh, as they say, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.


Ugh. Just ugh.

Maureen said...

Damn, I adore Lois McMaster... Piers is fun, though the earlier books are so much better than the later ones, when it all became a trick. And I forget to mention Charles de Lint, though he's more magical realism... sort of contemporary fantasy. At least those are the ones I adored, instead of this more 'in the past' fantasy.

What's interesting are the two series, Pern and Archangel that I mentioned earlier. They 'appear' pure fantasy and then later in the series...scientific reasons for how things work pop up. ;-)

Maureen said...

Thomas was fascinating because of the world. I think the Donaldson was born with twelve thesauri embedded in his brain and he had to use every single one of them... Which grew tiresome.

But the story wasn't bad...

P. Kirby said...

Oh, yeah, I love Charles De Lint. Such a wonderful character-driven, quiet departure from the standard angry tough-girl protagonist UF that is typical at the moment. I love his characters.

The Thomas Covenant series has spawned many an angry rant about how much I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, that book, notably its protagonist, on my blog and elsewhere. It's the only book I actually chucked in the trash bin. But...it has loads of fans so obviously, mileage will vary. :)

TerriOsburn said...

Crusie has been raving about Crusie for years and I keep thinking, "I need to look him up." Then she did this post about Going Postal and I moved him up on my priority list.

This sounds hysterical. http://reinventingfabulous.com/?p=1994

TerriOsburn said...

Okay, that should be Crusie has raved about Pratchett. Gah!!!!

Maureen said...

Crusie is raving about Crusie? ;-) Morning, Bosun!

MsHellion said...

I've wnated to read a Pratchett book for a while, but he's going to be one that it's going to take weeks to get through the book, and I'm not sure I'm up for the commitment. I mean, I no sooner got done with this book (that took 2 weeks to read), picked up the book ARC I need to read for next week and read it in one afternoon. A 350 page book. It was like my brain was going, "FINALLY! The sugar we were wanting! What took so long!"

TerriOsburn said...

I don't think Pratchett will take that long. Did you read the blog I linked to? This is right up your alley.

P. Kirby said...

Yeah. Pratchet is usually a quick, easy read. My only caveat is that sometimes he tries to make EVERYTHING funny, and it gets a little tiresome. But he doesn't write big, fat doorstoppers.

Maureen said...

You don't have to read them all, Hellion. They aren't thick books...and though I admit...you might get hooked and not be able to stop going from book to book... You have discipline!

MsHellion said...

The book I want to read though is Reaper Man, I think. It's about Death. I always find books about Death fascinating (Chris Moore's A Dirty Job is really good as is Lamb.)

Anyway there's a quote by Pratchett I've always liked and therefore always wanted to read because of it.

“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.”

Awesome quote!

Maureen said...

Yup, brilliant quote! I need to read some of his books again. Been awhile...

MsHellion said...

BYW, you're high, Mo. The death book is 374 pages. The making money book is 394 pages. The average book I've looked at of his is 350 page, but Mort did come in at a meager 243. These are not short books.

They're short for fantasy books, but they're not short books.

P. Kirby said...

Speaking of Christopher Moore, who is hilarious, A. Lee Martinez is another funny writer, similar to Moore.

Ugh. This thread is reminding me of all the great authors I've forgotten. :)

TerriOsburn said...

Aren't most fantasy books like 700 pages??? Hell, HP books are EPICS. LOL! 350 pages doesn't sound like a big book to me. Sounds average. Romances are often 350 to 400 pages.

MsHellion said...

I don't think the fantasy book I read was really over 400 pages, but it took 2 weeks to read. I am given a romance or a Harry Potter of the same pages, it takes a day. It's just not the same engagement. I admit I enjoy it; I can see what's enjoyable about it, but it's not "gulp it" for me.

TerriOsburn said...

BYW = By your way? LOL!

MsHellion said...

I know you're being rational, Ter, but I'm not sure you get to voice that opinion. You won't read fantasy...and you're not reading Pratchett either. :)

MsHellion said...

Really? You're going to call attention to my typos? You want to bring it? *LOL*

TerriOsburn said...

I only called attention to yours because Chance called attention to mine.

So blame Chance.

TerriOsburn said...

AND I DO GET TO VOICE MY OPINION!!!

MsHellion said...

I know you get to voice your opinion, but do you think it's WISE? That's what I'm asking.

So I should blame Chance. Sure. Okay, then Chance, it's your fault!

P. Kirby said...

Level of engagement does make a huge diff. I powered through the Hunger Games books in just a few days. I'm still limping through my current reads--it's been nearly two weeks.

There's been some distraction, but the point is, I'm just not that enthralled with the stories and characters. Again, I think I've read more fan fiction lately, just because I'm more engaged. There's one where I just can't wait for the next installment. And it's cute, but clearly an amateur work. Go figure.

MsHellion said...

Back to the rational conversation Kirby was offering, I've heard of the Martinez person! The Monster book sounded hysterical--I even bought it, but um, didn't get into it and ended up giving it to someone who would actually enjoy it more than I do. But I did grasp he was funny. He had a great opening hook for the Monster book and I was laughing hard when I started. It just...didn't keep my attention.

Again, I'm sure the flaw is with me and male writers. It has been my experience with male writers that they tend to focus more on the action/plot (and the gore and/or humor) than the story and I lose interest.

MsHellion said...

I powered through the Hunger Games books in just a few days. I'm still limping through my current reads--it's been nearly two weeks.

EXACTLY. Had the same problem by the way. Fortunately my interest level went back up after two weeks, so I imagine you'll be okay. :) Though I'm pretty convinced I have lower taste expectations than you. *LOL*

P. Kirby said...

"Though I'm pretty convinced I have lower taste expectations than you. *LOL*"

Nah. There's no such thing as lower or higher. Just different. Vive la difference

Maureen said...

Sure, blame me. But yup! According to fantasy standards, they are short books! You should see the ones my sis reads.

For a good collaboration series it's hard to beat Sanctuary. Much of it by female authors.

Maureen said...

Fantasy by awesome female authors... part two...
The White Raven by Diana Paxson. I think I'd call it fantasy/historical with strong romantic elements?

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Another author? CJ Cherryh. She's written scifi, but also fantasy.

MsHellion said...

I have the MISTS OF AVALON somewhere in my possession. (Started but didn't finish, but loved what I read.) I'll read that one then!

Maureen said...

I'll tel you...look for The White Raven. AWESOME. So awesome, I own it in hardback. A retelling of the Tristan and Iseult, from the viewpoint of Iseult's companion.

P. Kirby said...

*Adds The White Raven to request list at library.*

Robin McKinley's re-tellings of various fairy tales are pretty good. Deerskin is my favorite, but it's very dark. My caveat with McKinley is that her earlier work is stronger because she has a tendency to ramble. In some of her later books, *cough* Dragonhaven, her editor didn't bother to rein in that tendency.

Actually, one of my favorite, romantic, female-written fantasy novels is the out-of-print Wheel of Dreams by Salinda Tyson. I call it a romance because there is a happy ending and the relationship between the hero and heroine is essential to the plot. It has a kind of force/marriage of convenience plot. I really loved both the hero and heroine. Anyway, I found a used copy pretty cheap on Amazon. The author hasn't written anything since, which is sad because she obviously has talent.

Maureen said...

Man, that spareked some memories... A retelling of Tam Lin...who the hell wrote that? Set on a college campus in...Minnesotta? Ah! Pamela Dean!

Also retelling of Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede was great...

There were these books put out with covers by Thomas Canty (?) that were retelling of fairy tales, set in modern times. Wonderful stuff!

Incredible covers... http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=A2KJkK7G3Y1PsVcA.WSLuLkF?p=Thomas+Canti&ei=utf-8&iscqry=&fr=sfp

P. Kirby said...

Didja like Dean's Tam Lin? I confess, it was a DNF. I found the protagonist an insufferable literary snob, and there wasn't much romance or fantasy. Maybe I need to try it again?

Maureen said...

I found the book a bit long... but yeah, I loved it at the time. But I had recently discovered the song and was learning it to sing at a sometime cafe gig, so the retelling was a lot of fun for me.

I don't know how I'd feel about it if I picked it up today, honestly.

Pat? You sure we weren't separated at birth? And damn it, I'm supposed to host you this Friday on the Revenge, aren't I? Blast it all to hell... I forgot!

RT sucked my brains away... E-mailing you...

MsHellion said...

They don't have The White Raven at our library, but I do love the story of Tristan and Isolde (probably because I *LOVE* the name Tristan)--so I'll try to get my hands on a copy somewhere. Amazon had a copy for .25 plus shipping so maybe there??

Mo, when you say you prefer fantasy because they're more "complex"--what does that mean? Like plot complex? More twists or something?

Maureen said...

More convoluted? Less about the communication issues, and more about outside forces that screw things up?

I like the idea of a couple striving against all odds...and those odds being something outside of themselves as well as the sticky stuff inside.

You know, a self-confidence crisis but also a machine gun toting bad guy...

I never said I wasn't easily entertained. I like things that blow up. Like...with flash and fire and chase scenes and all...

I'm a simple soul... ;-)

I'd go for the 25 cent copy...

Maureen said...

Honestly, I wish I could articulate in a more precise way what it means to me to say I want more complications. I guess...using writerly terms... I want more outside roadblocks to the goal. Black moments that involved more than a broken heart, but also a broken body.

Okay, now I'm looking at myself and wondering what the hell is wrong with me...

MsHellion said...

There's nothing wrong with you. Though I don't think I'd use the word "complex" to summarize it because I think the human soul and the body's deranged brain is complex enough for a thousand books...but you definitely don't like the Harry Met Sally sort of story. (I like WHMS because I prefer wit and soul complexity to nearly anything else.) BUT I do love a great action flick now and again.

Actually the kind of story I'd like to write is like CRAZY STUPID LOVE. It's got the human complexity but it finally snowballs into a sort of physical outside "complexity" that explodes in the guy's backyard in this neatly braided way...

And I can't say how much I adore MR & MRS SMITH. Best romance ever. *LOL*

P.Kirby said...

For me, romantic fantasy, as opposed to a "romance," is more satisfying because, as much as I love the love (and I do), I have a limited tolerance for internal conflict. Probably why I sit and stew with my own neurosis until I end up in urgent care. I dunno. But I really love the idea of romance against a fantastical backdrop, where it's not just that the hero has communication issues or the heroine fears commitment, but that they also have to save the universe, while working out all that emotional crap.

This is also why I prefer so-called chick lit to romance. Chick-lit often has a HEA, but there's usually a whole lot of other crap that the heroine has to work out, often absent the hero. I like the acknowledgment that there's a world outside The Relationship.

But...please don't think I'm dissing romance. I'm not. (I get really mad when people do that because their criticisms are almost always based in misogyny. Grrr.)

Maureen said...

I actually enjoy the occassional emotional driven book. And I do dig humor...but if I were looking to buy a stack of books...like I won a huge GC, I wouldn't go for every Kristin Higgins books or J. Crusie... One after another I find I get bored.

Now and then? Love them.

But I would probably grab a bunch of mystery writers, some Urban Fantasy, mabye old school scifi...toss in a few historicals...and a few romcom.

And yes, emotional issues are terribly complex. I'm not sure what word would be best to describe my desire for the battle against outside forces as a primary plot device. The inside stuff acting in a sort of counter harmony...

Can you tell I'm listening to classical music?

Less angst, more...chase scenes?

I'm feeling...so shallow... ;-)

Maureen said...

Pat said it better. ;-)

P. Kirby said...

I love chase scenes; and guns; and swords; and spaceships; and explosion; and monsters, aliens, zombies. That's why 90% of the movies I watch have a strong action/SF/F/Horror component.

OTOH, sometimes a quieter movie can be fun. We saw Midnight in Paris recently, and both hubby and I liked it.

But at the end of the day, it's still Galaxy Quest or Serenity that I'll watch over and over and over and over.

MsHellion said...

You ladies have a point. I watch Mr & Mrs Smith a LOT more than I watch When Harry Met Sally...but I think MMS is almost as witty and funny as WHMS. *LOL*

MsHellion said...

Will try to endeavor to have as much "action" as angst in my current WIP.

TerriOsburn said...

I cannot watch Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Have tried countless times. Does not hold my interest.

Now, When Harry Met Sally I could watch over and over and over and over...

Maureen said...

I so don't like the two people who stared in MMS, so I don't think I could get past that with the movie...

MsHellion said...

To be honest I can watch both those movies over and over again. And many others. :)

Mo, I totally get not liking certain people and refusing to watch movies with them in it. Totally have that list and won't watch. I'm not usually a Brad Pitt fan, but I always liked Angelina. *shrugs* But I know she's not everyone's tastes.

And I loathe Arnold and am amazed that man has any fans... *LOL* So yeah, totally get that comments. As P Kirby said earlier, we're all just different. :)

Hvitveis said...

Have not read through the comments, so do not know if these have already been mentioned: Patrick Rothfuss "The name of the wind" It is the main character telling his story to a scribe.

Also there is the Belgariad by David Eddings: Not in first person, but we follow Garion on his way to his destiny to save the world (of course) and how he deals with being a teenager and a budding magician at the same time. It is FAntasy Light, and a comfort read for me.