Okay, here’s the deal. I loves me some epic fantasy. But as I get older, I become pickier about what I read. Faults I was able to overlook in younger days, now stab me right in the eyes. For example, while I once enjoyed the works of Mercedes Lackey, her works now feel unbalanced to me. Yes, there is both good and evil, but the depiction of each has always struck me as rather stark. The good people are a little too perfect and the bad a are little too screwed up. (The exception being By the Sword, which is still a favorite.)
A couple authors I have read and enjoyed in this vein are: Robin McKinley, Lois McMaster-Bujold, and of course, my friend, Rachel Hartman.
And yes, while there are times when I go the opposite direction, and revel in reading some things that are little more than the literary answer to deep-fried lard on a stick, those times/books are a rare indulgence.
My next step is to read Chantress, by Amy Butler Greenfield. (I’ve been told the books are good, despite the horrible, sugar-princess covers and marketing.)
What I’m hoping for after that, dear readers, is recommendations. I want fantasy, the epic variety. I want heroes of any/every stripe, not just the strong-jawed, white, hetero-male. But by the same token, I don’t want stories that read as little more than progressive agenda-tracts with a fantasy coat of paint, either. Think: Lord of the Rings, but with more women and people of color.
So, what’cha got?
The artwork featured in this post is from artists on deviantART:
Paizo- Monkby FreShPAiNt
Servants to the Crown by DenmanRooke