What I Look for in Fantasy Books

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Those who’ve followed me know I’m a folklore and mythology junkie and that my interest in that led me to fantasy when I was a young teenager. It’s still my favorite genre to read, and I love creating worlds more than just about anything else.

My favorite fantasy author of all time is Raymond E. Feist. I began reading his work in the 1980s, and I followed the Midkemia books all the way to the end. I still go back and reread the entire series about once per year.

I’ve been down with a bit of a bug for a few days, and I was pondering just what it was that made Mr. Feist’s work my favorite. After all, I also love Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings, among others, and after quite some time thinking about it, I finally figured out what it was. It’s realism.

Now, I realize fantasy isn’t supposed to be real. It’s fantasy, after all, and, let’s face it, it’s been a few centuries since anyone has reported seeing an elf and been believed. But Middle Earth, Narnia, and others like them have the sense of being ‘other’. They aren’t here, and there’s no way I’m opening my front door and seeing one of them outside. It just ain’t gonna happen.

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Midkemia, at least for me, has a different feel. Perhaps it’s because it was one of the first fantasy series I ever read, but there’s always been the feeling that I could actually go there. Yes, there are elves near Crydee. Yes, magicians live on Stardock. Yes, the dwarves live in the Grey Tower mountains. But it still feels like all this is happening just down the street, at most in the next town over. There’s a realism to his world that I don’t find in a lot of other fantasy worlds, and that’s what attracts me to it the most, and that’s what I try to create, to the best of my ability, in my own writing.

Now, it’s your turn. What are your favorite elements of fantasy? What attracts you to your favorite author?

Best wishes!

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