Friday, March 10, 2006

Looking for a New Fantasy Series, and Going on Vacation

Maybe people will have some suggestions for me. I spent about forty minutes yesterday at Barnes & Noble in the fantasy aisle, trying to find a new author or series that appealed to me. I must have picked up and perused fifteen or twenty books. The vast majority of them sounded identical to one another, having to do mostly with ancient magical dynasties, and some young woman who was the secret heiress/princess/priestess, etc. Or else they were about dragons. Or else battles, endless battles. Not one of these books interested me, and I left empty-handed.

What I want is a book (or even better, a series) about realistic, human characters who live in some alternate reality or history. I don't want to read a lot of background about the world; it should just unfold naturally around the characters. Interesting things should happen right away. I like thieves, cutpurses, jugglers, innkeepers; I like action that happens in taverns, on the highway, in the great hall of the castle; I like camp followers, bakers, fortune tellers, blacksmiths, and mysterious riders dressed in black.

Here's what I don't want: too much magic, complex religious systems, only male protagonists, names that are overly long, or lack consonants, or have apostrophes in them. A dragon here or there is okay, or a princess, or a priest of some sort, as long as these are not the focus. And I want a book with a bit of humor, one that doesn't take itself so seriously. Is all this too much to ask? If you've got suggestions, please please make them. Leave me a comment, send me an e-mail message, call me up on the phone.

Tomorrow I'm going on vacation until Wednesday the 15th so I won't post another entry before then. I am taking two books with me: The Prosperous Thief, by Andrea Goldsmith, which is excellent (I am two-thirds of the way through), and Wolves Eat Dogs, by Martin Cruz Smith, for which I have high hopes.


Anonymous said...

I would suggest--if you're still looking--Doris Egan's fun fantasy books published in the 80s and maybe 90s: Gate of Ivory, etc.


Paul Levinson said...

I have no idea how I came across this post - I've been hopping around the Internet all evening - but if you're still looking for the kind of fantasy you describe (and describe so well) I'd recommend Isaac Asimov's original Foundation trilogy.

I know, it's science fiction not fantasy, but, trust me, there's really very little difference between the two in this marvelous trilogy...

Anonymous said...

Maybe you won't get to see this seeing as it's rather a long time since you psoted the original request...but if you do read it then you should give 'Dhampir' by Barb & J.C Hendee a try; seems to fit in with most of your criteria.

Becky Holmes said...

Paul, I just looked this up and it sounds good. I will try it. It's fine to leave comments on old posts -- I get an e-mail message whenever someone leaves a comment anywhere on the blog. Thanks!

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