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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Traditional Fantasy, pt 1: Terry Goodkind, Kevin Hearne

During my last months in Central America, I spent time reading/sampling some of the new and classic fantasy series: Michael Moorcock, Kevin Hearne, Robert Jordan, and Terry Goodkind.  I'm still processing  Fritz Leiber, Michael Chabon, Andre Norton and Robin Hobb.

I tend to avoid long series. What if the ending reeks? I've been burned by a few. But these books are so popular, I thought it time to give them a spin.

Part 2 is here. (or will be on 9/9/14)

Here's a brief overview of my assessment:

Terry GoodkindWizard's First Rule
  1. Plot: Goodkind knows how to sweep you into his story. Meanie made me want to read more. Surely, this is a crime in one of the fifty states:  How do I find time to read for a series?
  2. Character: The characters all have a rich, troubled pasts. 
  1. World-building: It feels like the world was constructed on the fly. The history of the place and its people didn't have a submerged presence. However, this may allow more readers to enter his world as it is not clogged with world-building so that readers less familiar with speculative reading protocols can slide right in.

Kevin Hearne: Hounded
  1. Voice: The narrator is the best of any of these here. A colloquial contemporary--witty--yet spiced with a few older colloquialisms. I could not stop reading this book because of the voice alone. If you like books with strong voices, sample this one and I suspect you'll be hooked.
  2. Characters: The cast of characters are thin but just real enough to buy. Their relationships feel real and connected, like a web that stretches across the ages. Hearne must have written a series bible about who is allied with whom, and how much, etc. 
  3. Mix of cultural myths.
  4. Dialogue: Witty.
  5. Ending: Hearne pays back his readers with a conclusion that intrigues his readers to read on, but doesn't leave you hanging. Fantasy with an honest-to-garsh climax and satisfactory release. High five!
  1. World-building: This take place in one place, sparsely rendered. The voice compensates. Some readers may not notice.
  2. Dialogue: actually quite good, but sometimes the story relies too heavily upon it. 

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