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Topic: 2012 Fantasy Challenge -- High Fantasy Discussion

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Subject: 2012 Fantasy Challenge -- High Fantasy Discussion
Date Posted: 12/1/2011 4:28 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
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Please post all your discussion of books filling this category in this thread.

 

Some Useful Definitions

High Fantasy: High Fantasy novels are novels which are set mostly or entirely in a secondary world, a world that is not this one.

Heroic Fantasy: Fantasy that chronicles the tales of heroes and their quests/conquests. The salvation of the world is usually in the balance.
Kingdom Fantasy novel: Fantasy the chronicles the game of kings and thrones, wherein the battles are human and political in nature, as opposed to Heroic Fantasy where the fate of the entire world is in the balance, and Sword and Sorcery where only the fates of the individual characters are at stake. May also be called Dynastic Fantasy or Imperial Fantasy.
Sword and Sorcery novel: Fantasy characterized by swashbuckling heroes engaged in exciting and violent conflicts; the focus is on personal battles rather than world-endangering matters.

 

LISTS ONLY thread can be found here.



Last Edited on: 12/1/11 4:44 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/3/2012 1:24 AM ET
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THought the mini-list in the section thread was a good idea. :)

Going light!

High Fantasy
1. Read a fantasy set entirely in a secondary world, with no reference to this world.
2. Read a fantasy that begins in this world but quickly moves through a portal of some sort to a secondary world.
3. Read a Heroic Fantasy novel.
4. Read a Kingdom Fantasy novel.....     Dragon Wing v1
5. Read a Sword and Sorcery novel.
6. Read a novel set in a world with magic.....     From the Two Rivers (Wheel of Time)
7. Read a novel set in a world with no magic.....     Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh
8. Read a novel that focuses on an entirely invented religion.
9. Read a novel with a quest plot
10. Read a novel set in a world at a pre-Medieval Europe level of technology.



Last Edited on: 1/4/12 10:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 1/4/2012 8:34 PM ET
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I'm starting my first book for this challenge. . . Earth Logic, by Laurie J. Marks. Not sure which sub-category it's going to go in yet though. . . it's set entirely in a secondary world, but I don't know for sure if it's a Heroic Fantasy or a Kingdom Fantasy. It's also set in a world with magic. . .

Date Posted: 1/9/2012 3:09 AM ET
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Finished Earth Logic. It's definitely Kingdom Fantasy, but I'm temporarily slotting it into "focuses on an entirely made-up religion." In this volume (the second of a planned four) Marks gets into quite a bit of detail about the myths and folklore of Zanja's people, with one of her gods making an appearance. It's not a formally organized/administered religion; instead it's a sytem of animist beliefs reminiscent of (but not just retelling) the myths and legends of the Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest, complete with Raven as a trickster god. The book itself was. . . uneven. Ambitious, definitely, and I don't know that it totally succeeded, but worth the read. Definitely going to read book #3 soon, and I wish that book #4 was done!

Date Posted: 1/15/2012 1:29 AM ET
Member Since: 3/9/2009
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Fairyland1._V180501125_.jpg 

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherine Valente is definately high fantasy.  I'm using it for my "moves through a portal to another world" slot.  It's a wonderful cross between Alice in Wonderland and the OZ series with a little bit of Narnia thrown in.  I definately recommend this book.

Date Posted: 1/23/2012 12:48 PM ET
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So for those of you who have read Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey (I'm sure that is everyone, I'm trying to read some of the books that have been on my TBR for a long long time), where does that best fit in?  I'm about half-way through, and I was thinking it could be used as a book with a portal from this world to a new world, or protaganist who is other than heterosexual, or High Fantasy, or maybe quest?

Date Posted: 1/23/2012 5:32 PM ET
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There's no portal; it's set entirely in a second world, with no reference to this world. (Most modern alternate histories are, unless they're part of a universe involving alternate universes/planes of existence.) It's also Kingdom Fantasy, Set in a world with no magic (though this changes later in the series, in this first book there are gods but no magic as such), and focuses on an entirely invented religion. Those're the High Fantasy categories. . . in other parts of the challenge, let's see. . . under "Authors" it's by a woman, under "Book as Object" it's over 700 pages, and under "Main Character" it has a female protagonist, and a protagonist who identifies as something other than heterosexual.

 

But I think it fits best under "entirely invented religion" -- to me that's what's best about the book, the way that Carey alters Judeo-Christian mythology and then invents an entirely new offshoot.

Date Posted: 1/23/2012 9:16 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
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Well, yes.  But I have that book already.  I think I need to do some reorganizing of my list.

Date Posted: 1/23/2012 9:49 PM ET
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LOL! Didn't mean to pressure you to rearrange. . . I didn't look at your list, because I was too easy to open a new window; I was just giving you all the categories it does fit. ;)

Date Posted: 2/13/2012 7:14 PM ET
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High Fantasy
1. Read a fantasy set entirely in a secondary world, with no reference to this world.
2. Read a fantasy that begins in this world but quickly moves through a portal of some sort to a secondary world.  Trumps of Doom by Roger Zelazny.  The story of a sorcerer who has attempts on his life every April 30 but can't understand why.  When he returns to Amber he discovers a tragic death and another person has been wounded, both by guns which are not supposed to operate on this world.  As he tries to return to the Shadow world of earth he encounters many attempts on his life.  Good read but it only enforced the thought that I should read the earlier novels about Amber.  3 1/2 to 4 stars
3. Read a Heroic Fantasy novel.
4. Read a Kingdom Fantasy novel.
5. Read a Sword and Sorcery novel.
6. Read a novel set in a world with magic.  The Native Star by M.K. Hobson.  This is a most entertaining read.  Love the fantasy, the magic and the characters involved in this novel.  Taking place in 1876 in Sierra Nevada, Emily Edwards, the town witch, is disturbed by the mail-order patent magic sales that cut into her own business.  Poor and struggling, she conjures a love spell on a wealthy lumberman so that her Pap and herself will have a better life.  However, a haughty, rather unlikable warlock named Dreadnought Stanton asks her help in a mining incident where the zombie workers have gone berserk because a strange stone has been unearthed.  When Emily picks it up it melds into her hand and her adventures begin.  Everyone seems to want the stone.  Emily only wants it removed so her life can return to normal.  Dreadnought believes he can help so the two set off on a strange adventure to find those who can help remove the strone from her hand.  Pursued by evil warlocks, they seek Professor Mirabilis who Dreadnought believes can help her.  It's pure adventure, excitement, romance and more.  5 stars    
7. Read a novel set in a world with no magic.
8. Read a novel that focuses on an entirely invented religion.
9. Read a novel with a quest plot
10. Read a novel set in a world at a pre-Medieval Europe level of technology.  By the Mountain Bound, by Elizabeth Bear.   What a great read!  It was easy, exciting and so much fun that I just could not put it down and I simply must read something more by Elizabeth Bear.   The Angels of Light are divided by a goddess who seeks to destroy them and their seer who lives in the sea.   When some of group, led by Strifbjorn, warrior and former leader, object to Heythe's leadership, war between the groups cannot be avoided.  The war is bloody and brutal.  4 1/2 stars.



Last Edited on: 6/3/12 4:37 PM ET - Total times edited: 5
Date Posted: 2/17/2012 8:47 PM ET
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Finished Racing the Dark, by Alaya Dawn Johnson, for my Heroic Fantasy category. Overall I was decently pleased; while the usual epic fantasy tropes bugged me, the unique world more than made up for that. I would absolutely be continuing the series if it weren't that most frustrating of types: destined to be forever unfinished because it was dropped by its publisher. :(

Full review on my blog is here.

Would also fit: High Fantasy: Set in a world with magic; Authors: Novel by a woman; Authors: Novel by a person of color; Book-as-Object: Published by a small press; Main Character: Female protagonist; Main Character: Protagonist of color; Main Character: Multiple Protagonists.

Date Posted: 2/19/2012 11:34 PM ET
Member Since: 8/21/2010
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High Fantasy
1. Read a fantasy set entirely in a secondary world, with no reference to this world.
2. Read a fantasy that begins in this world but quickly moves through a portal of some sort to a secondary world. Palindor by D. R. Evans Completed 2/11
3. Read a Heroic Fantasy novel.
4. Read a Kingdom Fantasy novel. 
5. Read a Sword and Sorcery novel.
6. Read a novel set in a world with magic. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip Completed 1/30
7. Read a novel set in a world with no magic.
8. Read a novel that focuses on an entirely invented religion. Empress (Empress of Mijak) (Godspeaker, Bk 1)by Karen Miller Completed 1/12
9. Read a novel with a quest plot
10. Read a novel set in a world at a pre-Medieval Europe level of technology.

Date Posted: 2/20/2012 12:10 AM ET
Member Since: 8/21/2010
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Palindor By D.R. Evans - Reading the description of this book, I had no idea that it was going to start in this world. It sort of took me off guard. It definitely moves through that portal quickly (I think it was 5 pages). Once it moved there, I believe it would fit into Heroic Fantasy. This was an okay read, though not one that I would heartily recommend. It had all of the characteristics that one would expect in the heroic fantasy category, but with little of the glamor. To me, it read like a book that was geared towards middle schoolers. But, that's just me. It certainly was a fast read.

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld I put this in the "set in a world with magic" category, since it was really the only category I could come up with for it. I had intended to save the category for further on in the year, when I was running out of books. The plot of this book was unique. In this world, a sorcerer can call beasts or people, just by knowing their name and calling out for them. The decendant of a great sorcerer who withdrew from the world of men to live in seclusion with beasts out of legend was brought an infant child to care for and learned how to love. For me, reading the description on the back of the book ruined most of it for me. 3/4 of the book was just a basic expansion of those few paragraphs. Beyond that, I would have difficulty putting words to my opinion on this book. I'm sure there are several people who love this book, but I found myself just shaking my head at it. The one thing I did like about it was that it told an entire story within one book. I haven't looked to see if there is a sequel, but this book did not have all of the classic markers of being a series.

Empress (Empress of Mijak) (Godspeaker, Bk 1) I'd like to start out by saying that I loved Karen Miller's first series (Kingmaker, Kingbreaker). I expected to like this one as well. But, this book is nothing like her first series. The book begins with a girl being sold into slavery. The description of the book says that "she grows into a beautiful and determined woman, driven by ambition, ingenuity, and fierce dreams of success to become powerful enough to take over as ruler of Mijak." I did not connect with the main character at all. I felt that she was more conceded and selfish than ambitious. This was another one of those books that I got to the end and wondered what the point was. The reason that I put this into the "entirely invented religion" category was the importance of the religion that dominated the world. The god worshipped in the Godspeaker world was one of pain. To determine the will of the god, a Godspeaker would submit to painful tests such as immersing himself in a pit of scorpions. Lashings were given out for minor offenses. Godspeakers would smite those who would dare walk in the streets in the quiet time. The blood and gore associated with this religion added to the dislike that I had for the protagonist to make me lose interest in following this series any further. (Though I did discover today that there is a third book written in the world of Kingmaker, Kingbreaker, so perhaps that will renew my interest in this author). 

Date Posted: 2/21/2012 11:48 PM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2010
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How about Anne Bishop's Ephemera books... possible fit? 

Date Posted: 2/23/2012 10:31 PM ET
Member Since: 8/21/2010
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Allyson - I'm not familiar with that series, but from the description (and a few reviews), it looks like it's more paranormal romance (romance with fantasy elements). It does fit the secondary world portion of the definition though...

Date Posted: 3/5/2012 1:17 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
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Read Flesh and Fire, by Laura Anne Gilman, for the "fantasy set entirely in a secondary world, with no reference to this world" category. It was, um, slow. And I don't usually demand fast-paced novels! But if a novel is going to be slow-paced, it has to either have really interestingly drawn characters at its heart or some seriously kick-ass writing, and this one has neither, just a somewhat interesting magic system based on wine. So I was kind of bored. Still, it picked up around the 2/3 mark and then ended on a cliffhanger (of course), so since I do have access to book #2 I'll probably read it as well.

Would also fit: Heroic fantasy and set in a world with magic.



Last Edited on: 3/5/12 1:19 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/6/2012 3:28 AM ET
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Read Weight of Stone, by Laura Anne Gilman, for the "fantasy set in a world with magic" category. It was quick at the start, picking up right after the end of Flesh and Fire, then it got bogged down in the middle again, then picked up right in time for the cliffhanger leading to book #3 (of course). I think I like it marginally better than the first book, because there was actual plot movement and the introduction of a couple female and nonwhite characters (not that any of them spoke with each other or were given any sort of internal life of their own). And again, since I have easy access to the next book, I might as well finish the series. (I think it's just a trilogy? If it goes on beyond that I suspect I'll be done.)

Would also fit: Heroic fantasy and set entirely in a secondary world. Oh, and both books also fit novel that focuses on an entirely made-up religion, though the parallels to Christianity -- well, to Christ specifically, not the rest of the religion -- are pretty obvious.

Date Posted: 3/23/2012 4:14 AM ET
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Finished The Stepsister Scheme, by Jim C. Hines. I've put it in the High Fantasy: Sword and Sorcery category; it would fit better as Fairytale Fantasy if that category existed in this challenge, but I'll stand by it being sword & sorcery nonetheless. I found it disappointing. I suspected I would, but was wishing (based on my admiration of Hines as a blogger) that it would surprise me and be like Sean Stewart's Nobody's Son -- all sharp-edges and emotional undercurrents and atmosphere -- but it wasn't. And then I was hoping that it would at least be like Barbara Hambly's The Ladies of Mandrigyn -- sword and sorcery with a fully realized world and a whole host of well-realized female characters -- but it wasn't that either. Instead. . . it was about at the level of Patricia C. Wrede's The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, which is not a BAD thing, but isn't really my cup of tea.

Amy
Date Posted: 4/21/2012 7:30 PM ET
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Phoenix, since you've read it, is The House of the Stag a novel that exists in a completely secondary world?

It seems like it, but I know they've used the phrase "Earthborn" to describe certain characters and I didn't know if that meant the actual planet we live on or just people born on the "ground" so to speak.

Date Posted: 4/22/2012 3:33 AM ET
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It is a secondary world. It's great too! :)

Amy
Date Posted: 4/23/2012 10:29 AM ET
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Yes, it was a delightful book. I stayed up way too late last night to finish it!

Date Posted: 4/24/2012 1:32 AM ET
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Yay! Are you going to read the other two in the series? (Have you already read The Anvil of the World, and I've just forgotten?)

Amy
Date Posted: 4/24/2012 5:43 PM ET
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I read The Anvil of the World last year and I have The Bird of the River on my TBR pile. :)

I also plan on looking into her SF series about "The Company."

Date Posted: 9/13/2012 8:37 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
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Went on vacation and finally read Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay.  I'm putting it under Kingdom Fantasy.  And I have to stop reading in this category and focus on some of the others, but this seems to be what is on my TBR.  I love all of his books, and I loved this one too - although I somehow felt a little dissatisfied at the end.  His characters are so fundamentally heroic and yet still are real people, and generally I have appreciated the way he tends to neatly wrap up and end his stories rather than dragging them over epically long series.  This just felt a little off at the end, I think because Spring Rain's story seemed to wrap up pretty dramatically and quickly for someone who was a relatively key character.  Anyway, I think he has another coming out next year.