On fantasy plots and reading

I’m wondering if I might have to abandon traditional fantasy for the time being. I’ve just started a new series that’s supposed to be fairly good – or at least the author’s funny on Twitter and a few people have recommended the books, so I figured I’d give it a go. It’s started with a peasant girl with a strange magical ability and there’s a prophecy and a wizard-

You know what? I don’t care.

I loved The Copper Promise because Wyndrin isn’t a heroine and walks into things with her eyes open (and knives out), because Frith is openly seeking power and being a bit of a git, and Sebastian is a knight with character. I love the Split Worlds series because it starts when Cathy has already run away, has already done the dangerous adventure bit – and it’s going back that’s the problem. I’m loving the unusual, the twists, the interesting characters: the ones that make me care because they don’t have the usual fantasy motivations.*

I’m going to do my usual trick of skipping ahead (I read The Hobbit middle-end-beginning) but if it doesn’t grab me…well, I’ve got other stuff to read. It’s not a death sentence on my reading pile: I’ll still try stuff. I’ll still pick up books that look interesting or come recommended. But if there’s any hint of a lowly farm girl, a prophecy, a quest – bleh.

On a random tangent, I’d love a story about someone destined to go on a quest and who already has the magical talent or wonderful ability, whose family hasn’t been brutally murdered just to provide motivation – and then who wriggles out of it anyway, and goes off and lives their own life. I want to read about what they do, how their freedom would work out, how the quest and the destiny could be background chatter to their real and interesting life. And on that note, that’s probably why I liked The Reluctant Prophet so much. Esther doesn’t much like prophecies either, and fights against being the heroine of any of them – except when it matters to ordinary people.


Ps. Nope, she’s now leading an army and they’re fighting against Teh Baddies. I still don’t care.

* I will do reviews of these. They’re on my list!

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.