Typically, this is a freelance writing blog. However, since it is the weekend I’ve decided to write about some really good fantasy novels that I have just finished reading.
James Enge has published two fantasy novels. One is Blood of Ambrose, and the other is The Wolf Age. The latter is a follow up to the first book, however, I read them in reverse order and didn’t miss a thing. Enge does such a good job of constructing the world his characters live in that one starts getting a feel for it almost instantly.
The only exception is when the main character encounters a "simulacrum" in the Wolf Age, the concept has not been explained. Suffice to say that your average fantasy fan will get the idea soon enough. (A simulacrum is an intelligent-less being inhabited in mind only and controlled from afar by an intelligent being.)
Both books take place in a medieval-ish world. The first deals with a boy king who must grow into the role in more than name only. The second deals with a society of werewolves who are both very different than humans and at the same have a full society organized around a handful of city-states. Both novels rely upon an unknown (at first) antagonist whose motivations are completely realistic and compelling.
Enge uses many of the genre’s common elements to make the reader feel at home, while at the same time avoiding nearly all of the clichés of fantasy novels. Most satisfying is that while the names of the characters are decidedly not typical real world names, none are saddled with bizarre letter combinations like Xipandja or whatever.
These novels have well defined characters, the plot is always believable and uncontrived, and the endings of both books acknowledge both the imperfection of the world and the fact that sometimes winning doesn’t mean throwing a ticker tape parade, without succumbing to an overly sad or bummer ending.
These are smart fantasy novels that will keep you reading to the very end without rolling your eyes or wishing that there were more good fantasy books out there.
Support Good Authors and Writers
In a day and age where everyone in publishing is looking for the next "big book," and by big book, they mean the next book that will turn into a mega-best seller that gets made into a movie, it is important to support good writers. While fan mail and good reviews are nice, publishing is a business and that means that dollars and cents rule over plain sense.
That’s why even though I read both of James Enge’s books cover to cover already after checking them out form the library, I will be heading down to the Tattered Cover this week to purchase my own copy of each book. My two sales are a drop in the bucket, but if everyone who read and enjoyed these books did likewise, not only would the publisher have every incentive to publish another novel by Enge, but they would also have the incentive to market it more strongly and therefor increase its sales which could lead to a fourth book, and so on.
To really support the author, I will go back and buy extra copies that I will donate to the library. This ensures that more people can read, and become fans of, the book, while at the same time doubling the number of sales I generated. Again, this is a measly four books, but if everyone did the same, it could easily be 4,000 books and that would make a very big difference.
Enjoy your weekend.