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Unpopular Opinions About/Within the Fantasy Genre

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Maybe the most unpopular opinion in this whole thread:

I don't like the epic faux-medieval fantasy. Everything that genre is built on, like the bulky descriptions for immersion, the detailed magic systems, the kings and queens, the quests, the battles and big-scale politics... Basically everything that fans adore about this genre, that's the stuff that makes me squirm: "Get that dragon away from me!"

It's a big problem for me. Most of the writers I talk to about writing, yeah, they write this genre, and I have never read any of the books they discuss (except stuff that's really old and I hardly remember because I was in my teens). I also have to explain all the time to people that it's the subgenres of fantasy that I enjoy, because most regular people only think Tolkien and Martin when they hear "fantasy". I don't ever have any advice to give when it comes to sewing your own cloak or if this or that sword is too heavy to lift for a woman. I don't know how a stew is seasoned, or how to skin a rabbit. I'm epically challenged, and thank you for this opportunity to address my troubles. 

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13 hours ago, Pinchofmagic said:

Maybe the most unpopular opinion in this whole thread:

I don't like the epic faux-medieval fantasy. Everything that genre is built on, like the bulky descriptions for immersion, the detailed magic systems, the kings and queens, the quests, the battles and big-scale politics... Basically everything that fans adore about this genre, that's the stuff that makes me squirm: "Get that dragon away from me!"

It's a big problem for me. Most of the writers I talk to about writing, yeah, they write this genre, and I have never read any of the books they discuss (except stuff that's really old and I hardly remember because I was in my teens). I also have to explain all the time to people that it's the subgenres of fantasy that I enjoy, because most regular people only think Tolkien and Martin when they hear "fantasy". I don't ever have any advice to give when it comes to sewing your own cloak or if this or that sword is too heavy to lift for a woman. I don't know how a stew is seasoned, or how to skin a rabbit. I'm epically challenged, and thank you for this opportunity to address my troubles. 

But you like mead though, right?

😉

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21 hours ago, Banespawn said:

I like coming up with chapter titles. I even do scene titles. They are a short-hand for me to know what the scene is about. They may or may not end up in the final draft, or I might just keep the chapter titles. In any case, chapter titles aren't necessary. Many books just number the chapters and leave it at that.

I have nothing against naming the chapter after the POV character. I didn't bother me at all when GRRM did it. It let me know right away that the POV was changing and that I could put the book down if I didn't want to start another POV at that time. Yes, the narrative does that anyway and GRRM is very good at that, so the titles probably aren't needed, but I don't think they hurt the story in any way.

With multiple 1st person, I can see using names as chapter titles. Yes, each character should have a distinct voice and it should be clear enough from the context who the POV is without naming them, but naming the chapter after the character removes all doubt from the reader. They aren't left trying to figure it out via the context clues. Also, by naming the chapter after the character in 1st person, the author isn't obligated to force the name into the narrative. It's easy to forget the names of the POV characters in 1st person. Having the name as the chapter title helps in that regard.

Yeah, to me chapter titles are part of the artistry of it. I like being a little poetic with them.

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6 hours ago, bdcharles said:

But you like mead though, right?

😉

One might think, lol! No, I just know this is sensitive topic on a fantasy forum where a lot of people write epics, so instead of going into specifics, I tried to lighten it a bit. The joke didn't land for everyone, though. 😄 I think I just have a problem with traditionally trope-heavy genres (I also don't enjoy crime fiction or romance for the same reason), the stories just appear so similar in too many aspects. The popular epic fantasy books I tried in recent years didn't surprise me at all, they just seemed to be pretty much what I read as a teen. 

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On 5/14/2019 at 9:47 AM, Banespawn said:

I like coming up with chapter titles. I even do scene titles. They are a short-hand for me to know what the scene is about. They may or may not end up in the final draft, or I might just keep the chapter titles. In any case, chapter titles aren't necessary. Many books just number the chapters and leave it at that.

I have nothing against naming the chapter after the POV character. I didn't bother me at all when GRRM did it. It let me know right away that the POV was changing and that I could put the book down if I didn't want to start another POV at that time. Yes, the narrative does that anyway and GRRM is very good at that, so the titles probably aren't needed, but I don't think they hurt the story in any way.

With multiple 1st person, I can see using names as chapter titles. Yes, each character should have a distinct voice and it should be clear enough from the context who the POV is without naming them, but naming the chapter after the character removes all doubt from the reader. They aren't left trying to figure it out via the context clues. Also, by naming the chapter after the character in 1st person, the author isn't obligated to force the name into the narrative. It's easy to forget the names of the POV characters in 1st person. Having the name as the chapter title helps in that regard.

I mean, I suppose if I thought really hard about it with this particular story, I could probably come up with chapter titles and use those instead of the character names. I'm not even very good at titles in general (I technically didn't come up with the title for my current project, someone else suggested it to me and I thought it worked really well). We'll see what happens. XD And I'm writing in third person, past tense, so I suppose there's less reason for me to do it this way, but...-shrug- Maybe I'll try and come up with chapter titles for the next draft.

On 5/14/2019 at 5:31 PM, Pinchofmagic said:

Maybe the most unpopular opinion in this whole thread:

I don't like the epic faux-medieval fantasy. Everything that genre is built on, like the bulky descriptions for immersion, the detailed magic systems, the kings and queens, the quests, the battles and big-scale politics... Basically everything that fans adore about this genre, that's the stuff that makes me squirm: "Get that dragon away from me!"

It's a big problem for me. Most of the writers I talk to about writing, yeah, they write this genre, and I have never read any of the books they discuss (except stuff that's really old and I hardly remember because I was in my teens). I also have to explain all the time to people that it's the subgenres of fantasy that I enjoy, because most regular people only think Tolkien and Martin when they hear "fantasy". I don't ever have any advice to give when it comes to sewing your own cloak or if this or that sword is too heavy to lift for a woman. I don't know how a stew is seasoned, or how to skin a rabbit. I'm epically challenged, and thank you for this opportunity to address my troubles.  

You wouldn't like my novel then. 😛 Especially since it has dragons in it.

I mean, I get it. It's getting past the point of being overdone. But it's what's popular, and that's what's bringing people money. It's never going to completely fade away. I do think that more and more people are pushing toward different settings, though, like Japan or China or pretty much almost anything else. Personally, I really don't have an interest in writing in any other setting. I guess that's what sets me apart from a lot of other writers, though - I want to get published, but I'm not really looking to make a career out of it at this point (I mean, obviously if by some miracle my book did by some chance become a best seller and all that, that's a different story, but the chances of that are basically nothing), so I don't really care that much about catering to what people would prefer for settings? I just want to have a physical copy of a book with my name on it in my hands at this point. If I decide to go the self-publishing route, I'll market it as best as I can but I'm not going to go crazy over it unless I need to.

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21 hours ago, Pinchofmagic said:

One might think, lol! No, I just know this is sensitive topic on a fantasy forum where a lot of people write epics, so instead of going into specifics, I tried to lighten it a bit. The joke didn't land for everyone, though. 😄 I think I just have a problem with traditionally trope-heavy genres (I also don't enjoy crime fiction or romance for the same reason), the stories just appear so similar in too many aspects. The popular epic fantasy books I tried in recent years didn't surprise me at all, they just seemed to be pretty much what I read as a teen. 

I got the voice of the joke pretty clearly.  And while I have written some adventure epic type stuff, that's not my usual/only fare.  I think my stuff actually veers slightly more between Renaissance and Victorian eras, or something 'older' than medieval.  Usually I just dispense with earth altogether and write up my own worlds.  The way I write isn't terribly focused on where and when so much as who and why, so I don't know what 'era' readers will think my stories are in, or, at least, what era they're analogous to.

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9 hours ago, Jedi Knight Muse said:

Personally, I really don't have an interest in writing in any other setting.

I don't think you should write in any other setting than the one you love, so I'm so glad to hear that. :) The epic medieval genre has so many fans, and it's the most popular fantasy-genre, so even though some people want different settings, they seem to be a minority (just a very visible one, because controversy is exciting, lol!). And I don't want to change the traditional epic fantasy either, I just stay away from it, like any other genre that doesn't really give me what I want in a book. That the medieval epic fantasy involves so many people and they get into everything surrounding it, like role-playing and making costumes, is great. Aesthetically I do like it. The stories just don't give me the same kind of surprises and entertainment that other fantasy genres do. So if a dragon turns up in a Steampunk story, I'm all for dragons. 😄   

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7 hours ago, Mynoris said:

I think my stuff actually veers slightly more between Renaissance and Victorian eras, or something 'older' than medieval.  Usually I just dispense with earth altogether and write up my own worlds. 

Oh, that sounds incredible, Mynoris! I also like to write Victorian and even Regency to some extent, but I haven't been brave enough yet to write Renaissance. Might do someday, because the era is fascinating with so many things happening. Like a thousand different areas to pick and choose from. That you make up your own worlds, that's very cool. Even if I invent a country or a city, it's usually pretty much based on something existing. :)

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7 hours ago, Pinchofmagic said:

Oh, that sounds incredible, Mynoris! I also like to write Victorian and even Regency to some extent, but I haven't been brave enough yet to write Renaissance. Might do someday, because the era is fascinating with so many things happening. Like a thousand different areas to pick and choose from. That you make up your own worlds, that's very cool. Even if I invent a country or a city, it's usually pretty much based on something existing. :)

Well, as I said, it's rather vague.  One story is probably loosely analogous to the 'old south' in America and deals with slavery issues.  I have another one that's probably roughly in the same era, or perhaps even a little later, but no particularly technology is mentioned, though I think that the printing press, or similar tech, must have been developed because at one point I mention someone casually buying books.  There are no castles at all in these stories, or dragons, or elves.  There are, however, vampires.  No quests, magic items, spells, or adventuring parties.  So I guess they're supernatural/low fantasy, because the focus isn't horror.

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Honestly, and I will openly admit I have a tendency to do it too, I feel that most fantasy stories are too eurocentric. High fantasy is often modeled after Medieval Europe, steampunk is usually Victorian England and even many urban fantasy stories take place in western societies with a focus on Caucasian characters. 

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8 hours ago, Arc said:

Honestly, and I will openly admit I have a tendency to do it too, I feel that most fantasy stories are too eurocentric. High fantasy is often modeled after Medieval Europe, steampunk is usually Victorian England and even many urban fantasy stories take place in western societies with a focus on Caucasian characters. 

Cosigning this. Though even with regards to Europe, only certain cultures from that subcontinent get represented a lot in fantasy. Usually northwestern ones like England. That's why I will give the Witcher franchise a little credit for exploring the eastern (as in Slavic and Romanian) part of Europe for a change.

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*waves* Been meaning to pop back in for a while. And all it took was avoiding homework in a class where I'm learning such fascinating things as "How to use the Start Menu in Windows 10" and "How to save a file in Word." Holy croakers, shoot me now. *headdesk*

 

On 5/10/2019 at 6:53 PM, Mynoris said:

I don't like Tolkien at all.  While I respect his role in the evolution in fantasy literature, I do not enjoy his writing.  A lot of fantasy readers/writers look at me like I'm evil or crazy when I say that, but there you have it.

Tolkien is a pain in the tuchas, and I say this as a massive Tolkien fangirl. The problem I found with his books is that to understand and enjoy them properly you have to have already read them. I'm not kidding. I picked his stuff up at thirteen and read the first book in LoTR through sheer cussedness. Despite enjoying some of it, it was a slog trying to get through it, and more than once I found the best way forward was to just let go parts that confused me (this is okay as many of the events stand alone, and the least confusing bits are those with bigger plot arcs).

I hit book two and the story took flight, and book two and three I chewed through in no time flat and with no issues. And I enjoyed them so much I decided to re-read the first book. And suddenly the first book was fun. I chewed through it with the same vigor and enjoyment of books two and three and, better yet, I understood everything. I was no longer confused.

Tolkien was a fantastic builder of worlds, histories, and languages. He was in many way a superb storyteller, and I think allowances can be made that he was basically blazing new ground with the tales he chose to tell. However, that said, one of his biggest flaws as a writer is knowing his world so well that he forgets to introduce the audience to it properly. Or, since he was one of a rare breed of writer in that era (sci-fi and fantasy did exist but was not common and were usually just classified as regular fiction) maybe he didn't know how. And that lack causes his books to be dense and quite hard to read upon first picking them up.

I highly recommend doing so as it is well worth all the effort--what he does he does well and aspiring authors can learn a lot from him. But I'm never going to blame anyone for not making it through his tomes; most people read for fun and it takes a while for the fun to kick in with his stuff.

 

On 5/11/2019 at 2:17 PM, bdcharles said:

I am not a massive fan of YA fantasy. A lot of it seems too much like generic teen romance with fairy-wings clipped on for me. I also don't care for POV chapters named after the character doing the POVving, a technique which seems very overdone at the moment.

On this, I'd say the thing I'm sick of is marketing departments. That's how books are done now--a marketing department will first declare if they think they can successfully market a book, and to what audience. If they say they can, only then will a company agree to go forward with publishing or even agree to take a serious look at the manuscript. All these YA, Paranormal Romance, and Urban Fantasy look-alike plots (and goodness knows all three genres are so similar on tropes and plot points that sometimes the only way to tell the difference is how the book cover is kitted out) are that way because the marketing department knows these plots will sell, and so they'll saturate the market with them looking for every last dime. Remember when zombies were everywhere for a while, and vampires before that?

I mean, more everywhere than they are now.

Yeah, you can thank marketing departments.

Though I will caveat my own personal preference with--gods save me from first person POV. It's so ubiquitous now that almost any book you pick up has it, and there's even a growing snobbery against other POVs (especially omniscient). In some books it is absolutely the right route to take, but I can't tell you how many books I've read where the plot is going on somewhere else but the reader isn't allowed to follow it because we're forced to sit on a single person's shoulder and peer through their hair. Again, it doesn't seem to be what's best for the book that's important so much as what sells.

 

On 5/14/2019 at 2:31 PM, Pinchofmagic said:

...or that sword is too heavy to lift for a woman....

image.png.71ed889170fe2341b4fc7b3a028b29ad.pngOff topic fun fact time! 😄

Swords aren't heavy. In fact, most medieval swords were so light that a child could lift them. Could probably use them too if the length didn't make them too unwieldy for a half-pint frame. Most weighed less than 4 lbs (1.8 kg), making them actually quite light--which makes sense considering the length of time swordsmen had to wield the things in pitched battle. In fact, even heavy bastard swords were often only around 3 lbs (1.6 kg).

And what about exceptions like those enormous two-handed swords?

Those were about 6 lbs (3 kg). That would take a little muscle and endurance to swing around for long periods of time, true, but yes, a woman can wield that.

The really weighty swords did exist, but they were showpieces, not items meant to be used in serious warfare. And, seriously, at the 8-9 lbs (3.6-4 kg), I could have picked up and held, even waved around, the showpiece swords when I was ten.

Heh. The things you have to learn when saddling a slip of a thing with a bastard sword that her five year old child finds first. In an urban fantasy, because yes, my heroine will totally be bringing a knife to a gun fight.

 

On 5/11/2019 at 4:56 PM, SecretRock said:

The type I mean is the one where you read it and you can tell that the author put this into their story not to make any type of commentary or make the narrative stronger, but just because they want it there. It's usually the same type of author that includes horrific slavery, sexual assault, and other things like that under the guise of "historical accuracy" while giving their characters perfect teeth and conveniently leaving out things like smallpox and dysentery.

Oh geez, reminds me of Dies the Fire by SM Stirling. All electricity and gunpowder inexplicably stops working, society inevitably breaks down, and suddenly...rape. All. The. Rape. I mean, I'm not sure this man could write a full chapter without mentioning at least one poor girl getting used, if not actually showcasing the event. It got to the point that I wondered if it was an author fetish.

And frankly, it never made sense to me. It didn't add to the story at all, nor was it a large plot point, just a reoccurring one. You could just tell that the author thought that the only thing that stood between men and mass rape was laws, and once those were gone men would just...go feral.

To every male on this forum, I apologize on behalf of this author. I shouldn't have to, but man he has a low view of his own sex.

 

On 5/13/2019 at 3:35 AM, Sam said:

I'm not sure how unpopular this opinion might be, but I often feel like there aren't enough small-scale fantasy stories. There are plenty of fantasy books about heroes and rulers doing things that influence entire countries, or about people with 'exciting' occupations like thieves or assassins or spies, and all that. And that's great. I love a lot of those stories. I just wish there were more stories exploring fantasy settings from other angles. I'd like to see stories about common people living in those small towns that adventurers often pass through; about teachers at magic schools who have to deal with classes and paperwork and finding time to live their own lives with the addition of magic which sometimes makes things easier and other times harder; about merchants and tavern keepers who are just trying to keep their business going after the hero killed the tyrant, took up the throne, and now sure, everyone's celebrating, but what's going to happen tomorrow with the economy and the laws and the taxes. There are a lot of stories about the movers and shakers of the fantasy realms; I want to see more stories about how the common people live while around them dragons are being slayed and kings overthrown, if that makes sense.

I can't seem to find a spoiler or similar tag to hide part of the post--if it exists someone point me to it and I'll try to edit the rest of this so only folks who want to see it can.

 

I'm afraid I don't have exactly what you're looking for (I'd love recommendations on that too), but I think I have some ideas that are closer. And I love recommending stuff, so.... 🙂

Okay, books/series to check out...

Karavans, the first book of the Karavans series by Jennifer Robinson

I'm still making my way through the first book, but so far the plot follows pretty closely one family who have put their entire life in a wagon and are trying to flee to another country to escape a despotic king and a war. By the summary, despite any world-changing events going on around them, the story is pretty tightly woven to the man, his pregnant wife, and their two teenage kids.

White Cat, the first of the Curse Workers series by Holly Black

This is more an alternate modern earth. Everyone here wears gloves because all magic happens by touch--an ungloved hand in this world is the equivalent of a gun leveled at one's head in our world. And because doing magic is a crime, of course crime families have grown around "curse working," that is, utilizing magic for selfish purposes. The main character is Cassel, a teenage con artist with no magic born to a magical mob family. The entire series follows his life closely as he unravels a web of secrets and lies in his family and solves the mystery of the disappearance of his best friend.

The Pillars of the World, first of the Tir Alainn series by Anne Bishop

If you want stories tightly woven to family and as often dealing with ordinary situations as extraordinary ones, Anne Bishop is your girl every time. Though the blurb reads like an epic fantasy, the plot is tightly bound to Ari and her family and friends, following her life as she tries to navigate the witch hunts, fae of uncertain temperament, and a culture increasingly unfriendly to those who follow the wrong religion or born into the wrong bodies.

Sebastian, first of the Ephemera series, also by Anne Bishop

If you don't mind a heavy dose of romance (this series has the heaviest dose of romance of any fantasy I have read and could probably be considered a cross-genre book, but is light on sex), I highly recommend this series for the world building alone. Plus, the series reads like a song feels.

Ephemera is a shattered land, and the only way to get from one country to another is magical "bridges" that link them. However, slipping accidentally between worlds is supremely easy--too easy. Each person "resonates" with a different place, and that resonance could change if someone becomes depressed, or violent, or happy. If a five year old child resonates with a different land than their parents, they could find themselves in another part of the world with no way back home. And Ephemera has monsters, like the Incubus Sebastian, darker sorts who may not be evil, but whom often get pushed into evil lands or driven there by the suspicion and hatred of others.

The series follows the family of workers who help maintain the bridges, keep stability, and can even create new lands for the dispossessed to go. Oftentimes key points of the story happen at a dinner table over a meal. Like other recommendations, while there are world moving events in the background, we see them dealt with through the lens of one tight-knit family.

But, if you read nothing else of Anne Bishop, I highly recommend the novella The Voice, also part of the Ephemera series but able to be read as a stand-alone piece. This is simply the story of one small village and the practice of "sorrow eating." It follows two girls and how they grow up and is very bound to friendship and compassion, and the damned thing made me cry. Not much does.

Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, and Dragondrums, all part of the Harper Hall series by Anne McCafferey

This is more Science Fantasy than straight fantasy, but it counts. 🙂 Follows one girl's journey out of an abusive home and onto the path of her dreams. Everything is about her, from her first festival to her progress a a musician to her brand new blue boots, and it's a fun read. This is probably closest to what you wanted. 

The Catsworld Portal by Shirley Rosseau Murphy

Set in the 50s, it follows a painter and a girl who can change into a cat. She comes from a hollow earth, where she was raised poor, sheltered, and hidden, only to find herself plunged into a world she had no capability to navigate. And that's before she finds her way above ground. Though drama and politics are exploding all around them, much of the book is varying forms of domestic, a showcase of two people just trying to have a life, one that keeps getting interrupted by powerful people with far too many ambitions. Also, despite some well used tropes, the author melds them into a highly unique book.

The Truth About Unicorns by Bonnie Jones Reynolds

Warning, this book ends like it's the first in a series, though if it it was the rest was never written. That said it is one of my favorite books ever. It's set somewhere between to 1920s-50s, and follows two people in a very small town, a farm girl and the town's rich son. Not to mention, the enigmatic tutor. The story is almost impossible to describe but reads like a slice of magic. I'm just gonna give you part of the synopsis:  Why did Crazy Lizzy paint her body with strange symbols? Who stole Cass's newborn baby girl? Why did the round house have a windowless second story -- and no way to reach it?

I'll add--what was it with the sound of bells? 🙂

The Apprentice by Deborah Talmadge-Bickmore

I once gave this to someone and they handed it back to me, unimpressed, saying it felt cliched and tropey. I can't say they were completely wrong as the elements--evil sorceress, dark tower, mysterious apprentice, etc--have been hammered into the dirt over the past few decades. However, it was written in 1989, when the tropes were common but had not yet reached the point of flogging a dead equine. This is the story of Shayna, a young woman trying to navigate situations that are way over her head and she is ill prepared for. Most of the story takes place in kitchens and bedrooms and gardens, the entire thing highly domestic despite a whole lotta magic going on.

But what I love about it, as a writer, is how flawed everyone is. The more you learn about Shayna's mother, the more you realize Shayna is deeply abused, despite the author never actually mentioning the fact. She's also been raised in almost utter isolation--in fact ,the entire cast of this story, including side and bit characters, is maybe six people at most--leaving her ill equipped to deal with anything outside of her position as a servant. She spends the book torn, conflicted, indecisive, afraid, and sometimes making decisions that are stupid or even self-destructive, and all her actions are almost textbook abuse victim. The apprentice also isn't much of a hero, often making amoral decisions and displaying a couple cases of truly questionable consent, and yet at the same time he is courageous, determined, and unwavering in his desire to protect others and right an old wrong. But what made me really fall in love with it was that, by the end of the book, despite wanting to see the baddie defeated in the worst way, I didn't hate her. She's a terrible person, and yet the more you learn why she's the way she is the more sympathy creeps in.

I couldn't fully hate or like anyone in this book, everyone is an antihero, everyone is flawed and weak and so very human, and that can be such a rare thing to find. It is honestly not the best book I've ever read, but keep in mind this author only ever wrote two books. It's a solid offering for a beginning writer, and I've always been sorry this author wasn't given a platform on which to develop and grow.

The City Not Long After by Pat Murphy

I'm not sure if this is an epic journey or not, it feels too personal. It's a love letter to a city and it's counterculture, but it's also the journey of "girl," a young lady who was never given a name. She grew up with her mother in a post-apocalyptic environment, on a smallish farm, and stayed there happily until being friendly to the wrong strangers got everyone but her killed. She went seeking refuge in San Francisco, and the entire book, despite the war that surrounds them, is more the story of the survivors and their city of magic and ghosts. Plus, you get to enjoy a weaponless war, which is truly unique.

Four and Twenty Blackbirds, first in the Eden Moore series by Cherie Priest

I am so sad she abandoned this series because it is downright amazing. In many ways it's a typical urban fantasy, mysteries, magic powers and all, but the stories within feel a lot more personal than most UA books. Eden is a young black woman who can see ghosts, living in the deep South. The first story is tightly knit to her family, while another follows her as she survives a city undergoing a natural disaster. The images from that book still haunt me. This being set in the South, you never escape the ties of family and friends that define her life, even as the mysteries ramp up. I love this so much more than her Boneshaker series.

Shades of Milk and Honey, first of the Glamourist series by Mary Robinette Kowal

If you like books like Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre, you're probably on board for this. It's your typical journey of a young noblewoman of the 1800s, following her as she sorts out her marriage prospects and tries to keep her family from doing anything too abysmally stupid. The twist is that every young lady is expected to learn the art of glamour, and our heroine is a whiz at it. Jane, at 28 and unmarried--not to mention not very pretty (and of course it's against the rules to use glamour to make yourself prettier)--is resigned to dying a spinster...and is pretty okay with that, overall, until a spate of domestic troubles pushes her unexpectedly back into the game. Fair warning; it does have the slow, steady, meandering-on-a-country-day pace of books from that era.

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@katfireblade Wow, thank you so much for all of the recs! I've only read three entries from that list (the Harper Hall series, which I loved, Shades of Milk and Honey, which I loved even more, and White Cat which I didn't love as much as the first two, but I found it pretty good). The rest of the list is largely unfamiliar to me, and it looks great, so yay for a much bigger TBR! :) 

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4 hours ago, Sam said:

@katfireblade Wow, thank you so much for all of the recs! I've only read three entries from that list (the Harper Hall series, which I loved, Shades of Milk and Honey, which I loved even more, and White Cat which I didn't love as much as the first two, but I found it pretty good). The rest of the list is largely unfamiliar to me, and it looks great, so yay for a much bigger TBR! 🙂

Heh. Glad you like. Those were just the titles I could recall or research easily--trust me, I have more. 😅

Gotta agree on White Cat; it's not loved material, but it definitely lurks around the enjoyed more than expected category. Of course, I'm really not into crime family stories, so I come at the book with something of a pre-built bias. That said, the world she created is so unique I can't not recommend it. Every now and again I stumble across a truly unique bit of world building and that book has it in spades.

Fair warning on The Truth About Unicorns and The Apprentice (and possibly The City Not Long After), those are very out of print. However, they can sometimes be found at libraries and I've often seen them sold cheaply on Amazon. But if you wind up liking them I suggest holding on to your copy because I doubt these'll ever be reprinted again.

And if you liked the Harper Hall series, might I also recommend the Pit Dragon Chronicles and the Green Sky series? Both hit the criteria of being a little more personal than epic, and Green Sky has one of the most unique worlds I have ever read. I spent most of my childhood wanting a shuba (and they make them now!).

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