I hate fantasy novels, and the genre as a whole.
Okay, that’s not completely true. I play two Dungeons & Dragons games a week and act as a dungeon master, too. I frequently inhabit fantasy worlds and write stories that take place within them, but I don’t read fantasy novels. Growing up and attempting the endeavor that is Lord of the Rings, I always found the genre sexist, racist, and overall, well...boring. As an adult, newly interested in tabletop RPG games, I thought maybe I should read some fantasy in order to get in the mindset of the games I loved. I tried some authors recommended to me, but most of it--even YA fantasy, which aims to break the mold of the genre--carried the vestiges of Tolkien.
Stylistically, fantasy has always seemed expansive, pages and pages of descriptions. Part of this is the world-building aspect of the genre. How do you describe a world that doesn’t exist? You explain it until you can’t anymore. But all that detail, delivered in painstaking monologues and narrator asides, wore me out. It’s not fair to say that all fantasy is this way, and I know that, but I’ve never been able to get into it.
I recently committed to read the first book in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. I’ve heard people at my local game shop talk about it, saying that it was great, or maybe terrible, or maybe something in between. In my mind, I simply said, “it’s a fantasy series, so I’m not interested.” But then someone I really like said it was a good series, that it was sort of different from other fantasy novels, and--since I trust his opinion on books and because I thought it might be fun to reread it together--I caved. I bought my mass-market paperback of The Eye of the World (TEotW) and started on the journey. Read More