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Currently Reading: The Undivided by Jennifer Fallon

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Epic Fantasy... my favourite genre?

There is no doubt that my favourite books fall into the genre of Epic Fantasy. However, I’m not certain that Epic Fantasy is my favourite genre. I grew up with The Lord of the Rings (J. R. R. Tolkien), moved onto Memory, Sorrow and Thorn (Tad Williams) before flirting with The Riftwar Saga (Raymond E. Feist) and finding my ultimate favourites. So what are my top picks – if I’m choosing with my heart it’s The Wheel of Time (Robert Jordan), if with my head it’s A Song of Ice and Fire (George R. R. Martin).

The current leader in the
Epic Fantasy genre?

Although I can’t begin to imagine composing a multi-book epic, the majority of my writing will probably be in this genre of Fantasy. Yet, I remain unsure that this is my favourite genre, primarily because I’m not especially enthused to launch into another series. They’re just so damn long.

I have the first books of The Malazan Book of the Fallen (Steven Erikson) on my bookshelf waiting for me, but frankly I find the idea of committing to such a series intimidating. Giving one author so much reading time, when there is so much to read, feels impossible. Frankly, even knowing how much I love it, if I was confronted with 14 books of The Wheel of Time I probably wouldn’t start reading it. I feel like a trilogy is about as much as I am willing to give my time to, so Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law Trilogy is an example of an ideal recent read.

You can kind of see
why my wife doesn't want
our shelves dominated by
books that look like this...
Ironically, I recognise that one of the reasons why I love The Wheel of Time so much has been the anticipation between books. I know there will be a let-down when the books are over, even if A Memory of Light is the greatest Fantasy book of all time. I’ll be glad to have A Song of Ice and Fire to turn to, and I am currently trying to dump myself in the middle of a bunch of other series so that there will virtually always be a book for me to be anticipating.

I’m hoping Brandon Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive will be a worthy replacement for The Wheel of Time. I haven’t finished reading The Way of Kings yet so I can’t say much more at this stage. The good thing about Sanderson’s work is that I’m getting in at the ground floor, as was more or less the case with Jordan and Martin. In an ideal world I would tear through The Malazan Book of The Fallen in time for The Crippled God, but I can’t see that happening.

I’ve just finished devouring Towers of Midnight, and intend to move on to The Way of Kings and The Black Prism (Brent Weeks). Firstly, I’ll be finishing up Shadow’s Son (Jon Sprunk) which snuck to the top of my ‘to read’ list by virtue of its brief length.

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