Saturday, April 25, 2009

Thoughts & Observations Part...500,000? :)

Today marks the beginning of a week-long vacation. I've been anticipating this for...a very long time. My last REAL vacation was a year ago. I took a week off in September, but ended up caring for my mom after she had surgery.

I will be leaving on Monday for 4 days at the beach. I can hardly wait. I am so exhausted and just overwhelmed by so much that I really & truly need these days to myself. Recharge my batteries & all that good stuff. Plus, I'm hoping to knock out the full first draft of book 1 and move on from there. *crossing fingers*

I know this is my book blog, so I should talk books. April has been the month of the book doldrums. Don't get me wrong, I've read some truly phenomenal books this month, but I've read so very few. It's kind of sad & depressing really. *sniffle* I'm looking forward to Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder & Lover Avenged by JR Ward. I cross my fingers that LA is GOOD! Please!

I was going to write about some of my favorite books that I don't usually discuss on this blog (since it seems geared to romance...huh), but as I was writing that, it hit me that 90% of the authors/books I was writing about were all fantasy authors. Doh! So, tonight I'm going to focus on fantasy. Not paranormal romance or urban fantasy. True fantasy written by some truly phenomenal fantasy authors.

I got into fantasy pretty much by accident. It all started in my freshman year in high school. To say I was miserable is a major understatement and books were basically my only source of comfort. I was desperate for something to read and was browsing my high school's sadly lacking fiction aisle when a book caught my eye. I picked it up, looked at the back and thought I'd give it a try. I did and I've never looked back.

What book is that? I'm glad you asked. :) That book was Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey; the book that introduced her phenomenal Heralds of Valdemar series and the book that changed me...forever. You might be thinking "How can a book change a person?", but you know what? It happens.

The Heralds of Valdemar is an epic series of books that spans...27 books, not counting all of the novellas, collaborations, etc. that have popped up over the years. This series introduced me to a homosexual hero (Vanyel Ashkevron), Native American mysticism, raptors, you name it. I still read these books now as an adult and they still transport me to this world she created. Not only that (and this embarrassing to admit), but I'm a member of her fan club. I've been a member since 1992? I created a persona, was a member of the local chapter, the whole nine yards. Now? Not so much. I still get the newsletter and I've had a particular penpal for...15 1/2 years. I admit it, I'm a geek. :P

So, after Misty and her lovely Valdemar series, I decided it wouldn't hurt to look into other fantasy authors. I'd heard rave reviews of the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey and since her books were all about DRAGONS, I thought why not? Yeah...a gazillion books later and there you go. Not only the DoP books, but the Rowan series, the Ship series, the Crystal Singer series. This woman wrote some of the best fantasy novels out there. Trust me, she's amazing. And she wrote about DRAGONS...that bond to people. I mean, how cool is that?! :)

And then there was David Eddings. Sure, all of his books read basically the same, but that was okay. They were good. Weird. Odd even. I was cool with that. I'm good with weird. :)

And Andre Norton. I LOVE the series she wrote w/ Mercedes Lackey. The Halfblood Chronicles was a great series. Twisted and actually really wrong, but SO good!

These were all books I read all throughout my teens. I stopped reading fantasy for quite a long time all throughout most of my twenties. I guess I'd just read too many and had glutted myself.

And then, a few years ago, I was bored and looking for something to read while at my local grocery store. I think the management there is a bit fantasy happy b/c that's 90% of the books available there. And that's where I came across these two authors.

Elizabeth Haydon and her Symphony of Ages series. Hands down one of the most lyrical series I have ever read. It'll tear out your heart and then put all back together. More romance than usual in fantasy novel, but not in the way you'd expect. It's sick and twisted and pure awesome. Book 1 is Rhapsody and trust me when I say you have to read them in order.

The othe author is Sara Douglass. Her Axis Trilogy/Wayfarer Redemption series (6 books in total) is another series that smacked me sideways. Truly unique and well, I LOVED it. Very unique look at creationism and a lot of other things. Bloody, twisted, awesome. Basically everything a person looks for in a fantasy series.

And, for the moment, that is my simple look into fantasy authors I love. I've got more and all that, but it's late and my brain is a smidge fried at the moment. I hope I've gotten your attention on at least one of them. They got me and now look at me. I'm a paranormal romance/urban fantasy slut. It can't be all bad! :D


Amy C said...

I started reading fantasy before romance. I try to read whatever fantasy romances I can get my hands on. It was actually Elizabeth Haydon's series and the romance between Ashe and Rhapsody that made me consider trying a romance. I did read the first by Sarah Douglass, but I never continued. That's about the time I got sidetracked with romance novels :). I always had my sights on Mercedes Lackey but never ventured into her books. I think it was the amount of books she has published that intimidated me.

Lady of the Review said...

Amy C-I know where you're coming from, but truly, if you like a really good fantasy novel/series, you can't go wrong w/ the Valdemar series. The thing that's great is that even though it's a series w/ a lot of books, it is actually a trilogy at a time that all interconnect. Here's a list (the way I recommend starting):

Arrows of the Queen
Arrows Flight
Arrows Fall

Start there.

Winds of Fate
Winds of Change
Winds of Fury

Magic's Pawn
Magic's Promise
Magic's Price

Storm Warning
Storm Rising
Storm Breaking

Etc. etc. etc. See, trilogies! So, not so hard to read. :)

Lady of the Review said...

PS. Here's her Wikipedia page which pretty much lists the series as should be read! See, I'm being helpful. *snort*

Eva S said...

Thanks for some new names! I love fantasy and although I'm just now more for paranormal, and some urban fantasy I still now and then love a good fantasy. I'm reading Anne Bishop's books, thanks to AmyC.

Mercedes Lackey sounds familiar, I wonder if I have some of her books in my TBR pile...Will go looking for them!
I loved Anne McCaffrey, David Eddings, Katherine Kerr, Tad Williams, George Martin, Robert Jordan.... Still waiting for the last book in The Wheel of Time series...

Have a wonderful time at the beach!

Sharon Lathan said...

Bridget, I hope your va-ca was all you wanted and needed it to be.

I am so glad you wrote about fantasy! Despite ending up writing historical romance, fantasy is my all time favorite genre of books. I got my teeth sharpened at the tender age of 12 on The Hobbit by the master of all fantasy himself: JRR Tolkien. At roughly the same time I read mary Stewart's marvelous Arthurian novels. I never looked back! I adore fantasy of all types, even the sci-fi-ish variety. LOVE David Eddings! Belgarath is the best wizard after Gandalf. Anne McCaffrey, Terry Brooks, Raymond Feist, Terry Pratchett, Terry Goodkind, Kathryn Kurtz, JK Rowling, just to name very few. All so excellent. Even in my new discovered love for romance reading I am tending to prefer the paranormal stuff.

Anyway, I could go on! We will be glad to have the new and refreshed Bridget back!

Amy C said...

Thank you for the list and links!

And thank you for being so helpful! LOL.

I will add that first trilogy to my TBB list and give them a go one of these days (months...years!).