On Fri, 05 Dec 2003 05:08:32 GMT, Luna
Post by Luna
and something that I vaguely recall having a title similar
to "sha-na-na." Shanhara? Shanara? Something like that. All of these
were highly recommended to me, and all of them left me cold. So what's the
problem? Is it me? Am I missing some part of my brain? Or does most
fantasy really suck that bad?
Yes, Shanara. There are currently three Shannara seres I think. I've
read the second one (didn't like it much) and the first book of the
third, which was ok. They were written by Terry Brooks, who also
wrote a book called Magic Kingdom For Sale; Sold, which I liked though
I've never wanted to pick up any of the sequels - for me the story was
finished, and I would have respected him more had he left it at that.
He also wrote the Knight of the Word series, which I also liked.
But anyway, on to the advise: The easy way is to stay away from
anything that comes in more than three books, unless it is a
children's series widely read by adults.
This rule is presently serving me well.
A bit of personal reading history. I read the Lord of the Rings when I
was 8 and after that I started devouring any fantasy I encountered.
Much of this happened to be epic fantasy in long series (because
that's the most common type). A while ago (couple of years or so) I
was finally fed up with reading the same story written by different
authors - the end came with me reading The Wheel of Time and the Sword
of Truth  simultaneously. Since that I've made sure to only buy
things that I either know I like from previous experence, or things
that don't have more than two sequels.  That way, you avoid most of
the horrible stuff.
Another good way is to look for certain key words in the blurb - if
it's a story of china or based on medieval kenya; give it a try, at
least it won't be run of the mill. On the other hand, stay away from
"epic", "in the vein of Tolkien/Eddings/Jordan" and anything hinting
at a young man from a rural background having to go on a quest.
Also usually stay clear of dragons or assorted people on horseback in
a forest/on a cliff in the cover picture.
Right now I like (though obviously, your mileage will vary):
Guy Gavriel Kay
Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea sequence and Eye of the Heron
The Little Prince by Antione De Saint-Exupery
Apart from that I've sort of moved slightly away from fantasy lately -
using the method of going to the library (english language section)
and then, starting from A, grab about 6-7 books which look
interesting, take them home and read. Sometimes they're great,
sometimes I never start them, sometmes I don't finish. Either way it's
an intetresting way of expanding my reading.
 Picked it up at the library because I loved the feeling of the
title: Ilse Witch
 Such as Susan Cooper or Philip Pullman. I also like Meredith Ann
Pierce's Darkangel books, but I think that they are angled towards
early teenage girls.
 The Sword of Truth takes a very odd turn in "Faith of the Fallen",
which makes it actually sort of interesting - if only because it s
very unexpected. The series starts out very much like any standard
epic fantasy series (farmer boy actually of wizard stock, evil empire,
cataclysm in the past, bunch of companions on quest, etc) and then
turns more and more political. Faith of the Fallen is actually a
political philosophy essay á la Ayn Rand.
 Occational exceptions made for "classics", stuff that was written
before the fantasy-is-mainstream revolution which flooded the market
 Unless it's written by Barry Hughart and the boy is Number Ten
Oxen. In that case the book is actually excellent and should be read
The Tale of Westala and Villtin
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