Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Thoughts on Fantasy Literature

I'd talk about sci-fi, too, but I've little experience in that field. I'm quite the fan of fantasy, and most of the books I read are fantastical in nature. The book I'm currently reading, and have almost finished, is Adrian Tchaikovsky's Empire in Black & Gold. It's got a fairly unusual (For me) setting, and I like the Steampunk influence that's crept in, but whilst I'm enjoying it, I can't help but feel it's leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Even at its fastest, it's a fairly slow moving book and I felt like the time I put into it gave little reward. I'll happily read the next book, Dragonfly Falling, though.

I think one problem in fantasy is this need to write serious books that can be described as 'dark' and 'gritty', and whilst it has its place, I think this rise of gritty fantasy is grating with me as I'm someone who prefers the romanticised and comical atmosphere of books like The Bard's Tale, a collection of loosely linked books based (Loosely, unsurprisingly) on the game series of the same name. Whilst the characters weren't the deepest, nor the plots the most complex, the two I've read were two of the best books that have ever graced my shelves because I loved every single moment of them. Another series I've absolutely loved to date is Jim C. Hines' Princess series, a series that uses the more Grimm Brothers-esque tales as a base. Yes, there's some darkness to the books, but mostly they're fairly jovial books with a good sense of humour. Again on the humour front, there's his Jig the Goblin series, but I've not had as much fun with it. I enjoyed the first book, Goblin Quest, but I'm struggling to get into Goblin Hero - and for no reason in particular. I'm sure I'll fly through it when I get around to concentrating on it, which should be in the next few days.

Also on my to-do list this year is Mark Charan Newton's The Legends of the Red Sun series, a series that has had a mind blowing amount of praise. The third book, The Book of Transformations, is out this year and everything I've heard about it makes it probably my third most anticipated title this year, behind Jim C. Hines' The Snow Queen's Shadow and Col Buchanan's Stands a Shadow.

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