I started reading mysteries (still love them) then I moved to bodice rippers (moved beyond that). Years later, I discovered fantasy. Beyond fairy tales the first fantasy I read was Tolkien’s The Hobbit. From there I moved into Harry Potter, The Inheritance Saga, The Lightening Thief, Narnia… Do you see the trend? Most of my fantasy has been limited to middle readers and YA. I’m not complaining. I love the writing and the subject matter. I also enjoy the lack of sex and language. I live with a little book worm who will devour any book left lying around. I love climbing into a new world and exploring it, playing each scene out in my head. Non-adult fantasy can be very rich with complex characters. Snape was complex. The reader is torn between hating him and loving him and his true loyalties are tangled until the very end. I’ve also found world building to be well thought out and logical for the story. I wanted to live in Narnia and Alagaesia. Yes, you do run into “formula” books, but those can be found in all genres.
Granted, in most of these types of books the writer explains more. That doesn’t bother me. Nor does it bother me that most of the protagonists are young adults. Let’s face it most adults wouldn’t be able to carry on a conversation with a talking lion. Maybe it’s because I taught middle school, but I like kid lit. That being said, I would love to find a rich, layered grownup fantasy series. One that will send me to the book store and willingly plop down cash for the newest release. That hasn’t happened since Potter and the Inheritance Saga finished up.
The success of The Hunger Games introduced me to the futuristic dystopian fantasy of YA. (I’ll keep my politics to myself about the future of America.) While it lacked warm and fuzzy it was fascinating and tragic. I think reading too much of this would make me depressed, I did love it (and the movies). That of course led to Divergent. Again, great but depressing. No, I don’t have to have a happy ending, but a small silver lining wouldn’t be bad.
I don’t read horror. I don’t like to be scared. I know what monster lies beneath my bed and as long as I feed him Oreos we’re OK. In college I made the mistake of following a day of reading Poe with The X-Files. I’m adult enough to admit I had nightmares. I did enjoy reading King’s Firestarter. That’s as far as I go.
Earlier this Spring, I decided to find a fantasy series written for adults. I’m still looking. I do enjoy a good dragon tale, so I checked out a few ladies known for fantasy. I enjoyed the books, but not enough to invest more time in other titles. (Sad face.)
Then I thought, I love Star Trek, maybe I should look into science fiction. Nope, I found out I like to watch my sci-fi over trying to decipher the jargon. My next try was a fantasy magazine. I was so excited to get it home and start reading. It scared me- leave it at that.
My last trip to the library, I searched the aisles looking for the yellow fantasy tag. I was rewarded with a few books I really liked. The Golden City by J. Kathleen Cheney is great and I am looking forward to the next two. I don’t know if I should tell you why, I don’t want to ruin it. My favorite mythical creature is involved, I’ll leave it at that. I’ve also enjoyed several of Carolyn Turgeon’s books. She takes your classic fairy tales and gives it a good spin.
These are all great reads, but I am still craving an epic fantasy. My mind is looking for a certain book and I can’t find it. (yes, I know I’ve heard that if you can’t find it-write it) If you have a favorite fantasy (not the one turned into a cable show) post it in the comments. I need a good read.