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Topic: 2010 Fantasy Challenge -- OCTOBER DISCUSSION THREAD

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Subject: 2010 Fantasy Challenge -- OCTOBER DISCUSSION THREAD
Date Posted: 10/1/2010 10:14 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Right. . .

Well, I'm two books away from completing the regular challenge! Where are you all at?

Date Posted: 10/1/2010 10:48 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,864
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Tried reading Little Big by John Crowley, compliments of our local library but couldn't get into it so I turned to The Cry of the Icemark, a YA fantasy.  Lots of excitement, adventure and just plain fun.  

Deltora Quest The Lake of Tears by Emily Rodda (Quest structure):  I like to read children's and teen books occasionally to keep up with my grandchildren so I chose a book from this series.  It's a good read for youth.  The companions:  Leif, Barda, and Jasmine are on a quest to find the seven gems of the magic belt of Deltora.  The gems are a diamond, a topaz, a ruby, an opal, an amethyst, a lapis lazuli, and an emerald.  At the beginning of this book they have only one gem - the topaz.  Their journey to the Lake of Tears leads them through several adventures which can cost them their life.    When they reach the Lake of Tears they hope to find a second gem.  This is a good read for the young!

The Shadow Year by Jeffrey Ford (World Fantasy Winner):  This author does a wonderful job with characterization.  I fell as if I was in the narrator's head.  Story development is excellent, well thought out and the book  flowed so smoothly that it was over before I knew it.  This is a historical mystery told from the view of a child.  The emotions, imagination, and views of all the children are so good.  I really liked the book and hope to read more by this author.

Naamah's Kiss by Jacquieline Carey (Magical human protagonist):  This is quite a good read, if a bit on  the erotic side.  Naamah is a godess whose followers find love with either gender.  Moirin, the heroine of this novel, has more than one secret.  She can hide between the real and the shadow world, a technique she knows as the "twilight."  The only situation in which the technique doesn't work is when someone is looking directly at her.  In addition, she can encourage plants to grow.  Moirin leaves her mother, the cave and forest where she grew up to seek her destiny.  Her adventures range wide and far as she encounters  a rather sophisticated society in which she finds love with the queen to a nation across the ocean where she works to rescue a beautiful princess occupied by a dragon and falls in love with a stick fighter who serves the master who is teaching her how to breathe and follow the "way."  Carey does a nice job of putting a rather lengthy story together, yet leaving the ending open for another book to follow.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (Magic realism):  This was such good book.  I enjoyed Kostova's style so much.  Sometimes one finds a writer whose style ensnares you and draws you into their story so that it almost becomes reality.  The characters, you realize, could be part of your own life.  This  book was one of those for me.  I found Kostova's style hypnotizing. Her technique of tracing the origin of Dracula through different people, all of whom are historians, is most creative.  She used letters, notes and cards to weave the action together.  The story is long but once you get into it, it doesn't seem so.  I recommend the books because it is, yes, a bit scary at times, a romance and a historical fiction novel.   And, if you enjoy writing that is mesmerizing this is surely a read for you.  Well done Elizabeth Kostova! 

 

 


Last Edited on: 11/15/10 6:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 16
Subject: Fudoki, by Kij Johnson
Date Posted: 10/3/2010 12:35 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Just finished: Set in a recognizable historical milieu.
Filled with: Fudoki, by Kij Johnson
Other categories this novel would fill: Protagonist older than 35; Set in a royal court; Set in a recognizably non-European milieu; Action takes place while traveling (non-quest structure); Told from a first-person perspective.

My capsule review: Should satisfy fans of Patricia McKillip & Catherynne Valente, but what I loved best about this is all the ways in which it's a womens' fantasy novel -- it tells the story fantasy novels so often ignore, the story of living within a very strictly gendered society and finding happiness there. It's about aging and family and home, things I wish I could see treated more often.

My full review, no major spoilers: http://community.livejournal.com/fantasyreaders/94621.html

Date Posted: 10/6/2010 8:57 AM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2008
Posts: 402
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Right now I am reading Lois McMaster Bujold's "Paladin of Souls" and completely enamored by it. Earlier this year I read her "Curse of Chalion" which was excellent. I nearly missed my stop on the train this morning because I was so into the book.

Amy
Date Posted: 10/6/2010 4:41 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
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I'm pretty much out of the running for the super challenge, although I am proud of myself for completing the light challenge.

With school, work, and all the other books I want to read right now, I'll have to wait until the 2011 challenge to read anymore fantasy.

I'm sure I'll be around the forums, though. =)

Date Posted: 10/6/2010 10:20 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Amy -- Are you still gunning for the Regular challenge? Or are you definitely not going to go any further in the categories?

Amy
Date Posted: 10/6/2010 11:55 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
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I might still try for it. We shall see.

Subject: The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
Date Posted: 10/10/2010 4:27 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Just finished The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde, which I used to fill "Time Travel Fantasy" even though the time travel ended up being kind of minimal. Not going to write a full review because I'm lazy and uninspired, so in brief here are my thoughts: Kind of blah. It was well-plotted, but there was no particular style to the prose, it wasn't anywhere near as funny as it should have been, and I didn't care one whit about any of the characters. (The romance subplot was atrociously awful.) Plus, I can't respect a book that relies on literary allusions where I get all the literary allusions, seeing as I'm not an English major. (I like to feel the author knows more than me.) The whole thing was just kind of. . . obvious. But I see what the appeal is, and it reads quickly, so I suppose I give it three stars.

And with that I have completed the Regular Challenge! Whoopee! :)

Date Posted: 10/10/2010 9:31 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2008
Posts: 402
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Congrats Phoenix on completing the challenge. Is this the first Fforde book you have read?

Date Posted: 10/10/2010 9:34 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Yep. Kind of on the fence about reading anymore. . . I have the next four books in the series (I kept spotting them in bargain bins and figured I'd pick them up) so if there's a category in next year's challenge that they fit I might read another. . . but I probably won't read them otherwise.

I'm still aiming for the Super challenge. . . but it's nice to know I at least compeleted that much. :)

Date Posted: 10/10/2010 9:58 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 6,633
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My fantasy reading has slumped since the first half of the year.  I even stopped following the discussion threads!  But I just checked, and I've finished the Lite challenge and would only need to read 8 more books for the Regular challenge, which may be doable.  I'm doing a nonfiction contest this week, but come next I definitely plan to return to fantasy novels!

Date Posted: 10/12/2010 12:24 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2008
Posts: 402
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I just finished Lois McMaster Bujold's "Paladin of Souls". I liked this book better then "Curse of Chalion" which is saying alot. Bujold took some minor charcters from "Curse" and gave them so much life in "Paladin". This was one of those books that I should have called out of work for just to finish. I would find a quiet nook somewhere in Center City and try and utilize my lunch hour to finish the book. I finally finished yesterday. Bujold is so good that it feels like a step back when reading many other writers.

Date Posted: 10/12/2010 1:22 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Michael -- Where's the "like" button on this website. . . ;)

I love Bujold with a deep and abiding passion, and I'm super-stoked that Cryoburn comes out in only 7 days!

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 9:43 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2008
Posts: 402
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Your passsion for Bujold is well deserved. Currently I am reading Raymond Feist's "Silverthorn" I have less than a hundred pages left and the whole thing is very tedious. After reading Bujold it is difficult to step back into someone like Feist. Maybe I am becoming a snob but he reminds me of Mercedes Lackey. His stories are better but the dialogue is tough sometimes. I so enjoyed the stories in my early teens that I feel the need to at least finish the primary saga. After this book though I am going to take a break from Feist.

Amy
Date Posted: 10/14/2010 10:37 AM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
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I'm currently reading The Anything Box by Zenna Henderson. Not sure how to fit this into the challenge, but a great fantasy/SF anthology so far.

Date Posted: 10/14/2010 10:52 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
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 PhoenixFalls, I'm glad someone else feels the same way about The Eyre Affair  as I do.  It had so much potential to be really good and I wanted to like it but IMO it falls completely flat.  Great ideas but poor execution.

And congrats on completing the regular challenge!

I passed along Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls to a friend at work a week or two ago.  As a measure of how much he likes them, he's halfway done with Paladin of Souls in just a couple of days.  It took him 3-4 weeks per book for the Codex Alera series.  Now I'm trying to figure out what to loan him next that could in any way measure up to those two.  (And I can't loan him the Vorkosigan series, cause I've been buying those as ebooks!)



Last Edited on: 10/14/10 10:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Amy
Date Posted: 10/15/2010 3:21 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
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Could the Sookie Stackhouse series be considered romantic fantasy?

Date Posted: 10/15/2010 6:41 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Amy -- I'd consider the Sookie Stackhouse series romantic fantasy, since when I was working in the bookstore they were still shelved in the romance section, but I haven't read them so I suppose my opinion is suspect. ;)

Melanti -- It is really, really hard to come up with something to hand someone after they've read and loved the Chalion books. They're just kind of perfect. . . exactly what I at least want in a high fantasy novel, and while other writers get elements of that right (either the world-building, or the characters, or the pacing, etc.) not many can combine all of that in one tight little package. Good luck!

Subject: The Privilege of the Sword, by Ellen Kushner
Date Posted: 10/15/2010 9:55 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Just finished: Fantasy of Manners
Filled with: The Privilege of the Sword, by Ellen Kushner
Other categories this novel would fill: Comic Fantasy; Protagonist younger than 18; Set in a world containing no magic; Locus Fantasy Award winner.

My capsule review: Absolutely brilliant -- except for the last 20 pages, which totally betrayed me.

My full review, no spoilers: http://community.livejournal.com/fantasyreaders/95142.html

Date Posted: 10/15/2010 10:26 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
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Amy -- The later ones in the series would definitely qualify.  The first book doesn't have as much romance in it but I think it would still have enough to fit.  It also would fit Paranormal, Urban, Magical Human Protagonist, and first person perspective.

PhoenixFalls -- I think I've lucked out.  His wife is really into the Twilight series, so he said he's going to read next book in that series after he's done with Paladin of Souls.  So I'll get at least a month or two reprieve in coming up with something that has enough action to suit him.  Plus the time in between will mean it won't be directly compared to the Chalion books.  Maybe I'll loan him The Half-Made World by Gilman.  Good book, plenty of action, though I'm not sure he likes Steampunk.

On Privilege of the Sword - the last 30 pages or so (and especially the epilogue) were nowhere near as good as the rest of the book!

Date Posted: 10/16/2010 6:18 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2008
Posts: 402
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I just finished "Silverthorn" this morning. The middle of the book was an absolute drag but Feist brought it all together in the last 100 pages and redeemed himself. I don't know for sure what I am going to read next but  I am leaning towards finishing up the Chalion Trilogy. Bujold is simply too good to put off.

Date Posted: 10/22/2010 4:42 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2008
Posts: 402
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Here is a question for everyone. Is Robert Jordan worth pursuing? Or should I just stick with GRRM? Please I would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this. Thanks!

Date Posted: 10/23/2010 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/4/2007
Posts: 1,133
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As of today, I have completed the Super Challenge. It was a great experience and I read some things and liked them, that I would probably never have read otherwise. Thanks for the idea that provided the motivation.

Date Posted: 10/23/2010 4:03 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Wow! Congrats Elaine! :)

Date Posted: 10/25/2010 12:00 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
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Congrats, Elaine!

Michael, I really liked the first two of the Wheel of Time set, and the next 2 or 3 were decent, but in my opinion they started rambling after that.  I've only read up to book 9 or so.  Opinions vary, though.  Some people are dedicated fans all the way up to the very (almost) end.

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