Sunday, April 21, 2013

Search For Good Content



 I have been on a journey in search of good books to read in the Fantasy genre, but I seem to be having difficulty in the hunt—or at least it’s more difficult than I had expected. I don’t want to spend my hard earned money on a book unless I’m confident that the book is going to be worth my time and money. At least when I go to the library I can take my chances, because it’s free. But even getting a book from the library would still cost me my time—I value my time. So the method I use in searching for a good read is through good critics like the Fantasy Book Critic blog, and the bulk of reviews found on Amazon.com. Even with good reviews from these sources, I’m still hesitant to give some books a try, because it may not hold the content that I’m itching for. That’s the basic premise of this blog.

My main struggle is finding books that have good content. It seams that Epic Fantasy these days is leaning toward dark and gritty. If done well, dark and gritty is okay, if the story is good. But how many books do we need to go this route? Dark and gritty, that is. Why is a book only good if it is laced with sex, profanity and violence? I’m enjoying the early A Song of Ice and Fire books as much as everyone else, but most of us know that there are graphic scenes within the books that are not necessary for the story or the characters. I guess when you have a story that drags on and on, you have to throw in some graphic scenes to keep the readers awake.

During my search, I have enjoyed the Fate of the Jedi series, which continues the story of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa Solo and Han Solo with intrigue and quick pacing as they battle an ancient evil (I know…I know… Star Wars is considered Sci-Fi). But in the fantasy genre, I really enjoyed Tracy Hickman’s The Annals of Drakis trilogy. It’s a typical Epic Fantasy, with warriors, elves (bad elves, that is), dwarfs, dragons, and a variety of other fantasy races, but I found the story and the characters very enjoyable throughout the whole series. The hero, Drakis, in the story is the typical Caucasian warrior, but there is a black lady warrior in the story who’s strong and likeable, and becomes very important to the hero in the series; which I thought was really cool, because you don’t find much stuff like that in the fantasy genre. You don’t find many people of color in the fantasy genre, period (I will write about that in my next blog). There was no sex, profanity, or graphic violence in the books, and it was really good!

I have enjoyed Patrick Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicles (The Name of the Wind & The Wise Man’s Fear). They contain some suggestive scenes and language, but few enough. These books go on and on, and the characters seem to just hang out at times, but Rothfuss made Kvothe (the main character) and the other characters so interesting and likeable that you almost kind of enjoy “handing out” with them. But even with that said, I like for my stories to pick up the pace. I am looking forward to the 3RD book in the series though.

For anyone reading this blog, I’m interested to know your thoughts on Fantasy books and the kind of content you look for (keep ‘em pithy). Also, if you have any recommendations for me...I’m open. In addition, I’m also looking for some good Historical Fiction that takes place in the 1800’s that is not cheesy and/or graphic romance, steam punk or about the U.S. civil war. Does such a thing exist?

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