Skip to comments.Daughter of Light
Posted on 12/03/2012 7:16:02 PM PST by truthfinder9
For years I had intended on reading the classic fantasies of J.R.R. Tolkien, but never did until a few months before the films were released. Then I was hooked. I had been a long-time sci-fi fan, but I still wondered how did I miss this genre? So I began seeking out more.
Of late, however, I have had a tougher time finding new fantasy authors that I enjoy. A couple of times I have, in the middle of a series, given up and moved on. These authors have created detailed worlds and epic adventures for sure. Yet they are afraid to let their stories breath. They dont want to leave any details to the readers imagination. So instead of the story drawing you in and propelling you along, it can be like slogging through a swamp. Time is too valuable to spend on such books and there are many others needing reading. Maybe it is the conditioning of the instant-everything-society, but the plodding style of writing is a dying breed.
Still, I continue the quest for something new and engaging. That is just what I found in Daughter of Light, the debut novel of Morgan L. Busse.
(Excerpt) Read more at shadowsofhistory.wordpress.com ...
I wish the review was more detailed.
Read Zelazny and Eddings. Any. Avoid Donaldson unless you are looking for a dense and dark (but ultimately rewarding) slot.
Try Glen Cook’s Annals of the Black Company, one of the most excellent fantasy reads ever IMHO.
Check out “The Deed Of Paksenarrion” by Elizabeth Moon
and “Green Rider” by Kristen Britain
Both are the beginning of excelent fantasy series’s
Allso Terry Brooks “Shanara” series
Excelent...I have all of them!
My library has over a thousand volumes of SF/Fantasy
Anne McCafferey’s Dragon Rider series and David Gemmell’s Rigante series, David weber...several series, all good.
Anything by Barbera Hambly.......
Eddings could be my favorite author, Brooks a close second.
As for me I am a GREAT fan of Dennis McKiernan’ Mythgar series as well as his ‘Faery Series’ series.
Now many claim that his first book ‘The Iron Tower’is to ‘much’ like Tolkien’s work, but it must be understood that this book was actually his second book. McKeirnan had written a previous book, which he ended up titling ‘The Silver Call’ which was written as a sequel to ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Doubleday thought enough of ‘the Silver Call’ to peruse talk’s with Tolkien’s estate.
Failing in those negotiations Doubleday then went back to McKiernan and asked him to re-write ‘The Silver Call’ as well as a prequel making the series completely his own. I think that Doubleday’s interest to the work of a person who up to then had never written a published work and was not at that time even a professional writer, but a engineer speaks for itself.
Now many have see McKiernan’s ‘The Iron Tower’ as a ‘imitation’ of Tolkien’s work, but I myself found it to have more than enough differences to make it a good compelling tale own it’s own and it must be understood that McKiernan was in fact writing a ‘back Story’ for a book that was originally written as a sequel to ‘LOTR’ and so therefore some semblance was therefore unavoidable.
But isn’t most Fantasy more or less influenced on previous works, which which if you follow back far enough based on ancient myths and bards?
Once having established his world of Mythgar, McKiernan then continued to ‘flesh it out’ writing several very good books, which clearly stand on their own. Two of my favorites are ‘Eye of the Hunter’ and ‘Dragondoom’.
His ‘Faery Series’ is good reading as well and his retelling of familial childhood fairy tales make excellent reading.
Worse than that, even.
They think like upper middle class college-ed liberal Americans.
Some particular pet peeves.
Few or no gender roles. Look folks, in a pre-modern economy there are inescapably logical reasons for men and women being treated differently. It isn't just that the men are being mean. And sexually liberated women in such a society get knocked up and punished with a child, which puts a real crimp in her non-traditional lifestyle.
An extreme variant of this is the female warrior/mercenary. An exceptionally capable woman warrior might go toe to toe with an average male warrior. She meets a better male warrior and she's toast. If you insist on the female warrior, at least bother to provide some backstory for why she is able to compete with men. Don't just ignore the physical differences between men and women.
All premodern societies we know of are deeply involved in religion and/or superstition. I realize modern readers are uncomfortable with this, but again bother to provide some sort of reason why your pre-modern society isn't religious.
One of Tolkien's major flaws, IMO. Not a trace of religion in hobbit society, and not much elsewhere. In LOTR, that is. More in Silmarillion.
Lois McMaster Bujold’s Chalion series did a wonderful job dealing with religion in a pre-technological setting. I highly recommend them.
A major problem for modern readers in the pseudo-medieval worlds in which most fantasy is set is the gender thing. In such a society, where most of the action will more or less by definition involve combat with edged weapons, women are again pretty much by definition relegated to a supporting role. Women who try to compete in this role die pretty quick.
I watched a supposedly semi-historical movie recently where the leading lady was the best archer around. I have no problems with women being skilled at archery, or fencing, or any other martial art. But a woman is probably doing pretty good if she can pull a bow half the weight of a top male archer, which means he can shoot her from far outside her range. They found some bowstaves from the old English longbow days and are still trying to figure out how they pulled them.
Robert Jordan found a way around the gender thing in his looonnnnggg series by making (some) women the sole practicioners of magic. So men have a monopoly on fighting and women on magic. A logical explanation for why women in this society are able to maintain a roughly equal status. Makes the story a lot more interesting, imo. Series has a LOT of other problems, though.
Your comments about the class structure are quite right. It’s built into LOTR, but I think it goes right over Americans’ heads. (To our credit.)
Pippin is the closest thing hobbitry has to the Prince of Wales, and Merry is the equivalent of say the heir to a dukedom. Frodo is a cousin and very wealthy, in the upper 1% probably of hobbit society.
Sam is Frodo’s gardener, and very much knows his place. But as the story goes on, Sam rises above his humble beginnings and by the end is fully accepted by the others as an equal. He has ennobled himself by his actions.
But the point is that you are quite correct. In societies of this type, gender and class roles are hard and fast, and generally taken for granted by all.
I don’t know why so many writers insist on having their main characters have the mental life of a 21st century American Harvard graduate. It’s much more interesting when a really good writer helps you penetrate the mind of someone who is reallly different, and understand why he thinks as he does.
James Clavell did this very well in Shogun. The English protagonist himself, while much closer to us, had a number of attitudes very different from ours due to the time difference. And the Japanese were just utterly alien, both to the Europeans of the time and to us. Yet he made us understand how and why they were as they were, and to see that their actions and attitudes made perfect sense from their POV.
To my mind, that’s what a good writer does. I wish more writers of fantasy attempted it.
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