Guest book
Welcome to the edited guest book of Fantasy Finder
, where you can find messages from May 8, 1997, to June 22, 1998. For newer messages, or if you want to give a message of you own, please visit the Fantasy Finder BoardRoom, where the discussions continue. Older messages are found in the old guest book.

Subject: Criticism
A lot of the comments I've read here stray from the point. Some attack the critic when what he says disagrees with their own feelings. Literary criticism is not - I hope - about the search for Truth with a capital T. There should be room for disagreement. Maybe the critic's tastes are different from yours. That doesn't mean one of you has to be "wrong". Waging bitter personal slanging matches over literary tastes is as silly as fighting over favourite colours.

Literary criticism should stick to the literature. So should criticism of criticism (although I'm breaking that second rule here).

The critic's mission is to read the book, and say what he feels about the book. His opinions may differ from yours - and a good thing too. It is as bad a mistake to follow a critic's recommendations blindly as it is to attack the critic when he says he loathes a book you love (or vice versa).

A critic serves as a kind of signpost. If you disagree with his comments about the works of your favourite author, look for OTHER authors he says similar negative things about. You'll probably like their work.

One change that might improve this site is - dual reviews. I used to watch a Movie show which featured two film critics who frequently disagreed with one another. When they agreed a film was good, it was. When they agreed a film was bad, I usually felt they were right too.
James Barbetti

I agree without any reservations. /karl henriksson
Subject: Robert Jordan
People talk of Terry Goodkind copying aspects of Jordan's books. This may be true, but if you wish to see a grand example of someone copying Mr. Jordan's work, merely take your paperback copy of The Eye of the World and read pages 455-456. Good, now read pages 495-496. Notice anything similar? Cheerfully Terey

No wonder he is able to write such a long series... /karl henriksson
Subject: Tolkien, et al
Love your page, although I tend to be more of an "epic" and less of a "stand-alone" fan, so I am not familiar with some of the authors you've reviewed. Tolkien is undoubtedly at the pinnacle of the fantasy genre, anyone who really loves fantasy should read his essay "On Faerie Stories."

Have you read Patricia McKillip's series, The Riddle-master of Hed? It has a wonderfully complex and diverse land colored with interesting and compelling characters. Only three short books, too! Also, I saw that you mentioned "Golden Witchbreed" by Mary Gentle.... did you know there was a sequel? Finally, I haven't read any of Goodkind's work, but the continuing debate has, at the very least, intrigued me..... perhaps I will borrow one of his books soon (I only buy what I know I will love) !
Cheryl Jones

Yes, I can recommend Tolkien's essay too. It's not God's word or something, but it's an insightful essay on fairy tales (and fantasy). As for Patricia McKillip - no, I haven't read her yet. Mary Gentle: yes, I've read "Ancient Light", the sequel to "Golden Witchbreed", too. I can't say I loved it, though. It was much darker than the first book, filled with a doomsday tone. At the time I found it too depressing, but I'm not quite sure how I would react to it today. I haven't been too impressed by her later works. /karl henriksson
Subject: L.E. Modesitt, Jr
Just wanted to put in a plug for L.E. Modesitt, Jr's "Recluse" series. Good stuff!!! His Sci-Fi novel "Parafaith War" is also worth more than the paper it is printed on.

Haven't read any sci-fi of his, but he's sure a great writer. Unfortunately - or so I've been told - he seem to be repeating himself, quite a few of the Recluce novels being just variations on the Magic of Recluce theme set in different times. Anyone tried his new one, "The Soprano Sorceress", yet? /karl henriksson
Subject: Fantasy Fiction Writings
I write Fantasy Fiction, and read a lot of it. There are greats like David Eddings and David Drake and Terry Brooks and Elizabeth Moon. I would like to think my writing will be in that catagory. You can check out samples at: There are others though that seem like they could be greats, except they got lost in the recycling business. Micheal Jordon in my opinion has done just this. His series with Rand Al Thor started out with great promise and a certain amount of repetition can help build an idea in a story line, but once you have read the first book, it is like you have read them all. There are some changes as you go through the series, but it is like the series is just trying to see how many ways it can recycle the same plots and interaction. I actually enjoyed the first three books, but after that it got so I was enduring the reading hoping to find where his genious springs forth with new life, until now, I have been unable to build enough ambition to even pick up the last book to read it, it has become anti-climactical at best.
DeWitt Tremaine

His name is Robert Jordan, buddy, not Michael. Michael, that's the tall guy who plays basketball. Anyway, I wouldn't exactly say that Eddings is any better than Jordan in staying out of the recycling business. Even the main characters remark about it in The Malloreon, if I remember correctly. "Haven't we been through all this before?" - "Yeah, in the last series it was just like this". And I've heard quite a lot of people complaining about Mr Brooks recycling another guy's stories, one not totally unknown guy called J.R.R. Tolkien. I think I'll stick to Jordan for a while. /karl henriksson
Subject: eternal classics
I enjoyed your eternal classics list. I believe that there is an addition that should be made - Well of the Unicorn - by Fletcher Pratt. Written in the same era as Tolkien's immortal books it manages in 1 novel to deal with themes , adventure and complex characters that the modern authors ( jordan , goodkind, eddings etc.) try to milk far past the real value of their concepts.

I read your page regularly and , while I don't always agree , I have found some excellent new reads ( of particular note Nobody's Son and Robin Hobb's Assassin series ) which are far above the regular grist of the fantasy mill. Thanks for an entertaining web page!!
Bill Burdick

Thank you, Bill. I love it when someone reads about a book here, picks it up and really enjoys it. That's what this site is all about, really. As for Pratt's Well of the Unicorn - I'll check it out. But no matter how good it is, I think it will need some kind of revival before it qualifies for the Eternal Classics list. In a book about fantasy literature I found Pratt's works mentioned, but the main text was about the books he co-wrote with L. Sprague de Camp while Well of the Unicorn was only mentioned in a footnote. But thank you for the tip. /karl henriksson
Subject: Patricia A. McKillip
I'd just like to give a resounding second to the Patricia A. McKilliop recommendation. She really is very wonderful. As well as The Riddlemaster of Hed, people might want to try some of her newer stuff. (The Sorceress and the Cygnet, The Cygnet and the Firebird...) -Yrarbil Ym Evol

I'll check her out quite soon, I think. /karl henriksson
Subject: General
I have read Mr. Jordan's WoT and enjoyed it a lot even though it was boring and annoying (the Wisdom with her braid tugging)at times. I've read the seventh book and didn't like it (who cares about that bowl).Overall, I really got into the series. I don't mind it being ten books long.

When I read Terry Goodkind, I liked it, but not book three. It was f****d up. I liked the other two. You and some other people on the net opened my eyes, though. Now I agree with you on how bad Goodkind really is. Also Robert Jordan really showed me good fantasy,and that helped me quite a bit. That bastard goodkind copied Mr. Jordan's quality fantasy without shame. Earlier a guy said that goodkind's series is a trilogy. He's going to write three more volumes of crap. Six books. I also didn't like Eddings, especially Belgariad and Malloreon (actually I started Belgariad but it was too much to bear, so I stopped after one hundred pages. I tried Malloreon, dumped it after fifty pages). Liked Ellenium, though.

I also liked reading the Farseer series and I enjoyed Feist a lot. Can't wait to start "Memmory Sorrow and Thorn".

P.S. Tell all those pathetic teenagers to stop whining about the Sword of Truth series. Open your eyes, you losers.

Three more Sword of Truth-books? I hadn't heard that. As for Goodkind and Jordan, I think I've said enough by now. But all you others are of course allowed to keep on debating. It's better than fist-fighting, in my opinion. /karl henriksson

Just takes a quick look at the fantasy bestseller lists to know there are a lot of people who share your opinion. Or a look in the Fantasy Finder Guest Book. /karl henriksson
Subject: Terry Goodkind and His Books
Ok! I have read every statement by most of the people on the guest list, and they all have different opinons. "It's cool what they think, I mean what ever floats their boat, but in my opinion I have to say that TERRY GOODKIND has a vivid imagination". Listen people it takes a commited person to sit down and write 3 books and an upcoming 4th, that range from 830 pages to a 1000, it's ok if you don't like him, but I personally think that TERRY is a good writer and should keep writing. Maybe it just means that some people can't have imagination enough to take his writing far enough to sit down and like it's style. Just because he write different doesn't mean he should be criticized for his work.

I'm not quite sure lack of imagination is the most common reason not to like Terry Goodkind, at least not among devoted fantasy readers. I won't question his devotion to his work, but I'm quite sure he gets a cheque once in a while to make it worth it. Nothing wrong with that, mind, just wanted to point out that there might be other incites than the purely artistic to write a follow-up to a bestseller. /karl henriksson
Subject: Reviews
Congratulations on an excellent page - your fantasy reviews are the best, most lucid I've read anywhere. I find myself agreeing with almost everything you said, which is very rare for me! I should point out some glaring omissions from your 'reviewed' list, widely read writers like Melanie Rawn, Julian May, Terry Brooks, Michael Moorcock and especially the brilliant Terry Pratchett. Also missing is the much debated 'Covenant' books. I realise the difficulty of trying to read so many books (do I!), but it would be good to read your opinions of these works. By the way, is Freda Warrington's fine 'Blackbird' series available where you are?
Congrats again, Tane 'Grayshade' Aikman

Thank you. Some of the authors and books you mention, I've already read - but far too long ago to be able to write a passable review without rereading them. Like the First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, which I read a decade ago. If the rumour that Stephen Donaldson now is working on a third trilogy about him, it may be that I will reread the previous books. Until then my opinion about them will be a mystery... I've checked out Freda Warrington and believe her 'Blackbird' series to be out of print in the UK and never published at all in the US. Here in Sweden they haven't been published at all, of course. Few fantasy books have. /karl henriksson
Subject: The Best of Them All
I have been an avid reader of any and all available fantasy books for the past six years. I've read well over a thousand fantasy books, and no matter how many I read, my number one stays the same - Patricia McKillip's Riddlemaster series. I may read other books that are well written, tantalizing, engaging, amazing, or increadible, but those three remain the best. I've noticed from some of your replies that you haven't read them yet, and I strongly urge you to do so.

Now I'm beginning to suspect a pro-McKillip campaign. I promise, I will give her a try later this year. /karl henriksson
Subject: Bravo!
Hello there. I am a fellow swede who enjoyed Your site immensely. This even though we do not have the same taste in fantasy. How You can make the totally absurd Tad Williams books better than the true masters of the genre, RJ and DE, I will never fathom... However, I noticed that You didnīt review Raymond E. Feistīs books, though You did have a link to a fanpage. Could it be that You have not read these? Magician is the best fantasy book I have ever read, and Jordans series tops my series chart. You should also read Guy Gavriel Kays Fionavar tapestry since You seem to be impressed with authors who are original and not afraid to let bad things happen to their leads. For someone who didnīt grow up on Tolkien itīs very hard to understand the obsession. He may have been the first (Robert E. Howard, C.S. Lewis?), but he is far from my top. Are You really sure that Robin Hobb is a woman?
Jan Dahlström

Last things first: I'm quite positive Robin Hobb is a woman. Not only is her second most famous pseudonym, Megan Lindholm, decidedly female but I've also seen her real name mentioned by someone who seemed to know what he was talking about. Unfortunately I've lost it now. Her real name wasn't all that far from "Megan Lindholm" - and just like that one, the last name sounded quite Swedish to me.

Tolkien: no, he wasn't the first, on the Top 5 list you find quite a lot of real old school fantasy writers, people like William Morris, Lord Dunsany and Eric Rucker Eddison. But I think it might be correct to say that he was the first to hit it really big time with fantasy for grown-ups, having an enormous impact on the fantasy field: themes, settings, sales figures. And, although I find the die hard fanatics quite hard to understand, I must say that I find Tolkien's work admirable - not only the extreme perfectionism showing in the details of the cultures and languages of Middle-Earth, but also the variation in language depending on setting, characters and story situation in "The Lord of the Rings". The writers you call true masters of the genre haven't got that ability, in my opinion.

But one reason I personally can't get around Tolkien is of course that for me he was the first. It's probably the same for many others, but I wonder how long that's going to last. A friend of mine heard some young boys in a book store discussing Tolkien. "He's no good", one of them said. "He's just stolen everything from Brooks".

Kay: I think there's just a little bit too much in his "Fionavar Tapestry" - you know, crucifixions and stuff. His later stuff, like Tigana, is more to my taste. Still with stories where you can't be sure there will be a happy ending at last. /karl henriksson

Subject: Jordan rules!
Whatever anybody else says I think Robert Jordan's books are wonderful. I've read up to book seven (I will admit that that one was weak, no where near as good as previous books) and I've enjoyed them all. AND I'VE FOUND NO REPETITION. I am amazed that anyone could write that many pages and not repeat himself but as far as I'm conserned he has done it. Furthermore, I think that long series are good since you can spend more time with favorite characters but I do want to know how this will end so I hope there aren't toooo many books in this series. No matter what I hope he keeps writing forever.

About the modessit books. I completely disagree. I thought that the second book was terific (although I agree that the present tense did get anoying) while I found The Magic of Recluce a little boring. I liked the way that in the Towers of Sunset you didn't know what was going to happen while in Magic of Recluce you could pretty much tell from the beginning that he would go ahve a few adventures and then turn into the perfect little order mage
fantasy fan

P.S. I'll put in one more vote for McKillip. She's great.

Jordan: It's true one get to spend a lot of time with one's favorite characters, but in the recent books I think we've been made spending far too much time with everyone else too. If we only had a few main characters - say ten or fifteen - whose stories were told, it wouldn't be dragging out the way it is. Anyway, rumor has it the next Wheel of Time book, "The Path of Daggers", will be out in spring 1998.

Modesitt: The reason I like "The Magic of Recluce" isn't the end but the way there. Especially the great sections about carpenting. But of course, if story gets too obvious it takes the fun out of it. That's what a lot of critics say about the books published after "The Towers of Sunset", where he is more or less recycling the plot from "The Magic of Recluce". /karl henriksson

Subject: Tolkien
I am writing my English honours research essay on adult and children's fantasy, looking at "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings". if anyone has any info or websites relating to this topic, I would REALLY appreciate it if you would email me on before the 15 August, and on thereafter. Thanks a lot!!!

A good place to start is the J.R.R. Tolkien Information Page. See our FantasyLinks page! /karl henriksson
I just wanted to comment on your review about the works of David Eddings. First of all, there are two new (One of them anyways) works by this author named Belgarath the Sorcerer and Polgara the Sorceress. Two terrific books in my opinion. Though I find it hard to think that you will also enjoy them, given what you said in your reviews of the earlier works. However, we all know that everyone is different. I don't like Robert Jordan that much, because basically, it's just plain boring most of the time. David Eddings enhanches his story by having a lot of the characters be one-dimensional. This is not a fault, but rather a carefully selected way of writing to give the characters more life. While this might seem stupid to some, I remain with this idea that one-sided characters does indeed become more alive then other characters. This is not because of how we read, but rather about how our mind handles this information.

In short though, I find David Eddings works amusing, interesting and fun to read. While quite a few people might object and think otherwise, I don't think this is a reason for anyone to tell someone else that they shouldn't read this or that book. As I said, we are all different, both in our apperence and in how our minds work. Now, wouldn't it be a dull world if we were all alike? Writers like David Eddings, Robert Jordan and Feist ensures that everyone, although beeing different, always has something that they enjoy reading at their hands. I think we owe them more then one-way critisicm on their works.

An interesting notion that one-dimensional characters become more alive. I won't argue about it, I just don't think I've heard that before. I'm aware of Eddings' recent prequels to the Belgariad. As you've pointed out I probably wouldn't like them very much. I was quite fed up with it when I had finished the Malloreon. But for those of you who loved the first two series - go get them! /karl henriksson
Subject: General Fantasy
Hi, I would just like to say to the sad loser who put down Daivid Eddings, and Terry Goodkind, GET YOUR OWN LIFE! I am one of those said teenage losers and I happen to think that they are both great writers. I agree with W C Floyd. Terry Goodkind is a great writer with imagination, and is one of the best fantasy writers around, and I and about 15 other friends can't wait to get his next 3 WONDERFUL books. I would seriously doubt that you could do any better if you tried, so quite giving both of them a hard time and wise your self up. I also like Robert Jordan, and think his stories are good as well. It just depends what your into, and what level you are at. Do you want to discourage young people from starting to read fantasy, if you do you are going about it the right way. And as for who coppied who, I don't really care, it's a topic for a rainy day, just enjoy the books for what they are, great writing; and in Goodkind's way so true to human nature (think about the Wizard's rules and see what I mean).

First of all I'd like to point out that I've called nobody a teenage loser. Neither have I any intention whatsoever to discourage young people from start reading fantasy (and by the way 99% of those who check out these pages are already fantasy readers - the rest of them thinks fantasy equals sex and presumes this is some sort of porno site). David Eddings might be a good place to start for some, but I think it's worth to look beyond the bestseller lists even for teenagers. There are plenty of gold nuggets out there for those who care to look. /karl henriksson
Subject: Fantasy Books
I would like to say... Raymond E. Feist is the king of "fantasy writers" . He goes that "extra" step.. bringing worlds alive. I'm suggesting.. for you people that like fantasy books.. if you havent read Raymond E. Feist you dont know what you are missing. Raymond, if you are reading this... thanks for your wonderful books, i will always be a long time fan! :)

Ain't that sweet? /karl henriksson
Subject: Eternal Classics
I enjoyed the "Eternal Classics" section, and I would like to recommend two additions:
1. "Little, Big" by John Crowley. It's big and complicated but definitely a classic.
2. "Orlando Furioso" by Ludovico Ariosto. This Italian Renaissance epic has certainly showed stayig power over the 500 years since it was first published, but its spawling, comic, magical story puts most modern series to shame.
Anthony Bernardo

Nobody can doubt that "Orlando Furioso" is a classic. But is it fantasy? It's got all the necessary ingredients, but so have many other works of its age, haven't they? Modern fantasy certainly has borrowed quite a lot from medieval and renaissance literature and we should of course pay respect to the authors, well-known or anonymous, who gave us such a rich source. Maybe we should read some of it, too - but label it fantasy? I'm doubtful.

"Little, Big", published 1981, is an altogether different matter. I might put it on my reading list for closer inspection. /karl henriksson

Subject: A Sad State...
I have been watching your fan voting list for over a year now, and I am now seeing that Jordans WofT is catching up to TLofTR. This frightens me. I have read, literally, more than a thousand works of fantasy. I read everything that I can get my hands on, especially if it recieves a favorable review at this sight. So somewhere in all of that I feel that I qualify as some sort of a learned reader. And I can say, that without question, the work of Robert Jordan pales in comparasin to Tolkien. Now that is not to say that they are not very interesting books, with great characters and intiguing stroylines. However, it is like comparing a Fiat to a Ferrari. One is a decent Italian car... Tolkien's world is immensley richer and more detailed, and he managed it in 5 major books. (I, II, III, "Hobbit", and "The Silmarillion) Jordan is looking at 9 or 10 right now, and there is nothing spectacularily unique about them or the world contained therein. I would challenge fellow readers to find reasons that WofT should overtake Tolkien, before simply voting it there because you have read it more recently...(or whatever)
Timothy O'Neill

I agree with you, of course. I don't think the current situation on the top list - with Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time-series as Number One - is a true mirror of the opinions among fantasy readers. Only a few weeks ago Tolkien was way ahead of Jordan, but then - in less than two weeks time - dozens of votes with Mr Jordan on the top spot were given. Suddenly people all over the world decided that he's the best... My guess is that some Robert Jordan website or mailing list urged its readers to vote. And nothing wrong with that, really. Everyone is of course welcome to give his or her vote - even those who've got the "wrong" opinions... /karl henriksson
Subject: Lite tips på böcker!
After Iīve read your fantasypages which I liked a lot, I thought I should give you some tips about other books to read. Iīm a big fantasyreader and reads a lot. I donīt agree with you everywhere in your rewiews but not all mankind are alike...

Here comes some tips of books (Iīm sorry that some titles are in Swedish but I just donīt know what their english titels are):
* Guy Gavriel Kay: Fionavars vävnad (3 parts)
* Marion Zimmer Bradley: The mists of Avalon and The forest house.
* Elisabeth Moon: Paksennarion (3 parts - a book about a young woman who follows the paths of Gird, whom E.M. has written about before.)
* Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurst: Daughter of the Empire and the thereafter following books (3).
* Raymond E Feist: Magikerns lärling (which tells the story of the country (barbarians) who figures as a strange people in the Daughter of the Empire- books...)
* ...and of course David Eddings: The Tamuli (and the following books which Iīve forgot the names of (in all there is 6 of them)) and Belgarath the sorceror (which is Belgaraths story about what took place since he was born until the time of The Belgariad).

Iīm sorry to see that you donīt like Eddings very much. I think he is a great writer and that he gives the persons in his books great personalities. And above that heīs very funny. But, you shouldnīt compare him to a writer like Robert Jordan, the fact is that the Belgariad at first was meant like a childrensbook and therefore is very simple to read. But Iīm 24 years old and I like him a lot anyway!
Pernilla Olsson, Umeå, Sweden

A little translation for those of you who doesn't know Swedish: she recommends Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionavar Tapestry, Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar series and Elizabeth Moon's The Deed of Paksenarrion. But most of you figured that out on your own, I guess. All series mentioned have been quite successful on the Fantasy Finder Democratic Top 5 List and on fantasy bestseller lists worldwide. But was The Belgariad really meant to be a children's series? The principal characters, Belgarion and Ce'Nedra, are teens just like those in Wheel of Time, which makes me believe they were "targetted at the same market". (I don't think Eddings or Jordan are so cynic they talk about their audience in those terms, but their publishers might very well do it). /karl henriksson
Subject: A few stabs in the back.
First of all, while LotR is one of the greatest Fantasy classics of all time- I can't even remotely consider the Hobbit to be fantasy at all! Its a fairy tale, origionally intended for Tolkien's kids! If you're going to vote for this one, you might as well vote for "Choose Your Own Adventure"!

Next, yeah I'm a fan of Jordan, and Eddings, and Goodkind. And yeah, maybe they do copy many ideas from other classics or even each other, but lets face it- After thousands of Fantasy novels, (and non fantasy) ideas are bound to be replicated time and again. For example: 1) The old, bearded mage who knows more than he is telling (Belgareth, Fizban, Elminster, Zed Zorrander, Ghandalf, Merlin etc...) 2) A magic sword owned by the main character (Rand's Callandor, Rich Cypher's Sword of Truth, Garion's Orb sword, Excaliber etc...) And many other Fantasy cliches- But who cares?! They work! These are all top-selling novels, and in a few years new authors will copy them and be all the rave.

Finally, who cares if certain authors are taking six or ten books to tell a story? I'll keep on buying. Jordan is like the E.R. of Fantasy novels! I'm all for it- Even though I'm still agape over the fact that Crown of Swords only covered 12 days in the Wheel of Time.

First of all, I must say I think you're wrong not to consider "The Hobbit" fantasy. It's written for children and in my opinion it's not nearly as good as "The Lord of the Rings", but it's nevertheless fantasy.

Copying: You're right, it's almost inevitable that ideas are replicated. Themes, plots, characters, items are more or less obviously borrowed from different sources. But it can be done masterly or badly. I don't know if Tad Williams had read Eddings' Belgariad, but there are many similarities. Does this make TW a lousy thief? No, he's still a master because his series is a great piece of writing, and his Doctor Morgenes is a great version of the traditional old mage - while Goodkind's Zed Zorrander character really is quite lacking in his role as old mage, in my opinion. Copy all you want as long as you create masterpieces, that's my advise.

There's no problem if a writer tells a story in ten 800 pages books, as long as he's got a story for 8,000 pages. I'm not suggesting Jordan should use an extremely dense prose, but I think he could've written the complete Wheel of Time-story in "only" four or five thousand pages without any great loss for the readers. Btw, what's an E.R.? /karl henriksson

Subject: Re: E.R.
E.R. is that hospital nigh-time drama show that keeps winning all the awards, and boasts the best score in the ratings. The reason I compare this to Wheel of Time is in that it is more drama oriented than other books which have swash buckling action in every chapter. Jordan focuses on the lives of his characters in a similar fashion. Look at the narrative point of view: He has several (more than 15) main characters with whom you get inside their minds, and see the story from their view. For Example: He'll have five of his main characters in one scene, and it could be a diferent one's view each time. Rand, then Matt, then Perrin, then who ever... In the Belgariad, you're seeing things through one, or eventually two character's perspective. Garion, then the Princess. All the other characters have supporting roles. Robert Jordan is actively persuing that style. Whether its because he feels thats what he likes or its just because he can stretch it into three or more extra money-makers-(The impression I got after the seventh book which only covered 12 days) I'm not sure. But like I said, I'm still hungry for as much as he'll write.

Next subject: I didn't mean to boot Hobbit out of the fantasy genre all together. Sorry about that. It is fantasy, obviously. But what I meant is that it was not adult fantasy. (that makes it sound like porno :) ) He used childish vocabulary, and- damn it! Everyone was singing etc... The TSR books are aimed at teens, and young adults, which in my estimation leaves the Hobbit for an even younger audience.

Finally, I haven't read Tad yet, but I have a copy, and am itchin to start it, but I have other plans first. I'm reading David Drake's "Lord of the Isles"(I'm half way through, and its not bad!), and then the 4th T. Goodking book- then I'm on it!
See ya- Lysander

Now I know what series you refer to. Over here the title has been translated to something completely different ("Cityakuten"), that's why I didn't know what you meant immediately. Your reflections on Jordan's way of writing is quite to the point, I believe. And "The Hobbit" is definitely a children's book, I agree. But couldn't it be just as great anyway? At least it seems to be still going strong among the publishers. In the last few weeks two new editions have been published, one hardcover edition with illustrations by Adam Lee and one audio cassettes edition (and there were already several illustrated hardcover editions and audio cassettes editions available!). /karl henriksson
Subject: Lions of Al'Rassan
I think he might mean "E.R.", an American television series taking place in an emergency room.

Back to why I'm writing, I noticed you haven't reviewed Guy Gavriel Kay's The Lions of Al-rassan. (Possibly spelled wrong--I don't have it with me.) While along the same lines as Tigana and A Song for Arbonne, in my opinion it's better than both of them. "Magnificent" comes to mind.

I've definitely been contemplating reading both Lions of Al'Rassan and A Song for Arbonne. Although I wouldn't exactly call Tigana a must for the educated fantasy reader, it gave me an unmistakable urge for more of the same. /karl henriksson
Subject: Robert Vs Terry
Well after reading the guest book, I feel like an adultress. I happen to love both Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind. I think there is room for people to like both, without being unfaithful to either. My personal fav is Robert but part of that could be due to the comparitive length of the two series. I also agree that Tolkien does get over looked because it was the "first" for most of us and read a long time ago. But I also really enjoy Melanie Rawn's new series Exiles in my opinion much better than the previous, although she still has a penchant for killing loads of people and naming all their kids after them so it is hard to follow!! Does ANYONE out there know when Janny Wurtz is coming out with another War of Light and Shadow book?? They are great, if you haven't checked them out do!!

Although it might not come through in the debate here, your opinion is probably quite common among those who like Terry Goodkind: they usually like Robert Jordan as well. Are there any Goodkind fans at all who totally despise Robert Jordan? I don't think I've heard from any yet. While the same is not true the other way around. There are many jordanites who really dislike Goodkind, calling him nasty and not always totally fair names. Speaking of names, I think this idea Rawn has of using the same name several times is quite a good one. After all, people have been doing exactly that for several thousand years and would hardly stop for the convenience of the reader, would they? (I have the same names as my father, and he's not even killed yet...) /karl henriksson
Subject: Steven Brust-Vlad Taltos Series
Hi !
I really want to know how you can become an editor and recommend books...i would really like to write an article about Steven Brusts Vlad Taltos Series!
Stephan Hald-Greiner

There's only two ways to become a Fantasy Finder editor: becoming a close friend of mine or, better, becoming me. To get reviews published here is quite a lot easier: just write them down and send them to us. If I like them, I publish them. If I think they suck, I throw them in the trash folder. So far, no reviews have been refused (and not one published). /karl henriksson
Subject: re: books
Read moorcock and feist.

OK. /karl henriksson
Subject: oh boy
i haven't hit this page in months .. and when i do .. i find that i've recently read 3 of the "best books/series" you listed in the top 5.

kristine kathryn rusch: the fey i loved it .. but argh .. it seems there should be a 4th book .. yes? she's writing star wars books currently .. mayhap she'll continue after she's done .. i hope.

tad williams: memory, sorrow and thorn excellent tril .. but perhaps the 1st quarter of book 1 coulda been shorter? tho .. it did lead to a well developed character.. heh

robin hobb: farseer saga is robin a he or a she? this one kept me on the edge of utter helplessness and hoping for a turn around .. it left me feeling hollow afterwards .. but i still loved it. i guess i'm just a sap .. hehe

could ja suggest any books with the originality of "the fey", the rich story of "memory, sorrow and thorn" with a goodly dose of the "farseer saga"s ambience thrown in? hmmm hmmmm? oh .. and a longer ending than "memory, sorrow and thorn"

oh .. and for terry goodkind fans .. if you haven't already order'd ahead .. book 4 of the "sword of truth" is out .. sigh .. another 25bucks on a hardback .. oh well .. heh.

READ "ENDER'S GAME" by orson scott card .. EVEN IF YOURE NOT A SCIFI FAN. one of the best books i've ever read|@#|!@||!!!

Rusch: the fourth Fey book is to be expected in the spring, Bantam Spectra has informed me. As for book suggestions: try George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones. Only the first of four books available yet, but it's a promising mix of Williams, Hobb and Jordan if you ask me. /karl henriksson
Subject: Poul Anderson
Poul Anderson is a sci-fi author who has written some first class fantasy novels.The best are OPERATION CHAOS , MIDSUMMER TEMPEST, HROLF KRAKIS SAGA , THE BROKEN SWORD and the great THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS. All these books are worth hunting for. You won't be disappointed.
Dennis McKamey

Never read any of his fantasy books, but several others, for instance a bunch of space opera adventure books about Ensign Flandry. He seems to be making quite a lot of his Danish heritage, a lot of Viking stuff both in his fantasy and scifi works, so next time I go through one of my Viking periods I just might check him out. /karl henriksson
Subject: Jack Vance
Karl, don't forget Jack Vance! In the 80's he wrote the LYONESSE trilogy which is pure fantasy. The three books are SULDRUN'S GARDEN , THE GREEN PEARL , and MADOUC. These books are better then all the Jordon's and Goodkinds out there. Original , funny and brilliant!
Dennis McKamey

I actually bought "Suldrun's Garden" and "The Green Pearl" when they were quite new but never came around to read them. But boy are you making me sentimental. Jack Vance was one of my absolute favourites when I was a teenager. Action scifi like "Tschai, Planet of Adventures", science fantasy (or whatever other label one might prefer) "Dying Earth"-series, the philosophical science fiction novel "The Languages of Pao" and many more, I loved them all. I won't forget him. /karl henriksson
Subject: Poul Anderson
I have read several of Poul Anderson's fantasy novels and I have been disappointed each time. His storylines are always very creative but it seems as though he cannot be bothered to flesh the stories out. His characters are one dimensional and he never gives me a reason to care about them. Every year or so, I will read one of his novels in hopes that he will have done more with his characters, but so I have not been rewarded.

You are quite persistent, aren't you? /karl henriksson
Subject: other authors
Read C.S. Friedman's coldfire trilogy:
1. black sun Rising
2. When True Night Falls
3. Crown of Shadows

also read the novels by Melanie Rawn
dragon prince series, dragon star series and Exiles:ruins of ambrai
Rosemary Kuder

I think I'll try Melanie Rawn's novels quite soon. A few weeks ago, I read The Golden Key, which she co-wrote with Jennifer Roberson and Kate Elliott, and liked it very much. /karl henriksson
I was surprised with this thing and I will use it often in my Internet life. Continue with good work.

Thanks. /karl henriksson
Subject: Robert Jordan
First of, I'd like to say that Robert Jordan is WAY better than Tolkien. Tolkien was the first to write major fantasy stories and he did open a lot of gateways for other writers, but in my opinion, first is not always the best. Second, I like BOTH Jordan and Goodkind. There are some similarities, but I don't really care!
Adam Daidone

I agree, the first is not necessarily the best. Nevertheless, I think Tolkien is WAY better than Robert Jordan. /karl henriksson
Subject: love reading fantasy
I knew to this. I was browsing through some of the comments and asked myself doesn't anyone just read books anymore? I really enjoyed robert jordan's rand al thor series. I can hardly wait for the next one. I enjoy long series you can get more involved in the characters . to me the best sign of a great author is one who can make you cry or laugh out loud. Robert JORDAN is one along with Eddings , McCaffery, Terry Brooks, Melanie Rawn, Mercedes Lackey, Michael Moorcock,and Tad Williams just to name a few. So why don't you people read the book instead of taking it a part.
Dianne Lefebvre

Personally I think I've got a pretty good excuse. A reviewer should, in my opinion, not just state that a book is good or bad, but also why. I try to just read the book, but then I must in a sense take it a part to analyze why I reacted the way I did to it. /karl henriksson
Subject: Hi!
Dear Sir or Ma'am,
I dont understand why you didnt like the book Stone of Tears or Wizards First Rule. Maby you did like it and i am just getting your message incorrectly. I have read Wizards First Rule and most of Stone of Tears. Plus I think you should update your site because now Mr. Goodkind has two more books out named Blood of the Fold and Temple of the Winds ( in that order).

I think you got my message good enough. The reason why I haven't reviewed Blood of the Fold or Temple of the Winds yet is that I haven't read them. I thought Stone of Tears was quite terrible, and I have no reason to believe I would react differently to the sequels. I think the main reason for me disliking Goodkind's series was that the world wasn't working, a world like that couldn't exist whatever magic or laws of nature used to keep it together. Secondly, I thought the plot was taking a turn for the worse in the second book. Thirdly, I realized that I really didn't care about the characters, the way I care about for instance Rand al'Thor and his friends in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time-series. /karl Henriksson
Subject: "After London" by Richard Jeffries
After London was published in 1885, two years before Jefferies' death of TB at the relatively early age of 39. It is a type of post-apocalyptic novel, in which Britain has suffered some cataclysmic natural disaster; the depopulated countryside has reverted to forest and the people have regressed into feudalism. William Morris was impressed by it, and News from Nowhere is, in part, Morris's response to Jefferies' novel. After London deserves more recognition thatn it has hitherto received, notwithstanding John Fowles evident appreciation of it (see the World's Classic edition).
Alan West....

Pre-Morris. Now, this is really old school. But is it fantasy? It might be a good read anyway, so it might be a good idea to check it out. /karl henriksson
Subject: The Immersion Factor
I measure much of the success of a story on the ability for it to immediately immerse me in another place and time. After all, that's the whole point in reading it: to _live_ it. Only three series have been able to capture that kind of essence immediately and then unfold an entire universe to explore, with a rich history and interwoven detail one would expect at that level: Tolkien's absolute masterpiece (tLotR), Jordan's wordy-but-awesomely-detailed work (tWoT) and Tad Williams' grim Gothic/OldeEnglish tale (Memory, Sorrow and Thorn).

Two comments about these: (1) the mere fact we all seem to argue incessantly about the merits of Jordan's work, etc, is itself elegant proof of the popularity regardless of individual convictions, and (2) in these three cases, a truly unique universe was created unlike any others to-date, complete with their own atmosphere and spiritual aura which is ultimately why i believe these three are so popular. they each have their religion-esque mantras tailored to that world which underlies practically the entire storyline. they all show the escalation of a very tiny, innocent perspective massively scaled to the very boundaries of the sprit and mind known to their respective worlds.

i have read all three series 3 or more times each.
Ed Dudenhoefer

P.S. - and yes, Jordan really ought to start gathering in his plot-weaving a bit as of "The Path Of Daggers".

Well put. The idea with fantasy literature is to live it, and those three authors are great masters of illusion. /karl henriksson
Subject: The Belgariad
I have to say something about the review for the Belgariad. Personnaly, it is one of my favorite series. I don't know anything about the reviewer, but it sounds to me like he doesn't know a good book if it hits him in the head. The characters are definetly not one-dimensional; Eddings brings them to life. You know their history and you can feel and almost see everything they do. All you need is a little imagination, and you can be in their world. It seems real. That is why so many people read them. I'm sorry that the reviewer didn't get to share the wonder so many other people felt when they read these books. - Thanks for listening.

Opinions differ. Someone else wrote to the Guestbook and told me that Eddings bring the characters to life because they're one-dimensional, and that might be true - for some readers. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them. /karl henriksson
Subject: Some of my fantasy-reading
I browsed through your pages and I was pleased to find that you had rewied - and liked - Caroline Stevemers A College of Magics. I read it a couple of years ago and liked it a lot.

Some other fantasy books I've read:
Terry Goodkind: Wizards First Rule: I actually liked it, sometimes it is fun to guess what happens several chapters beforehand...I didn't make it through the first chapter of the second book, though.
Dave Duncan: Past Imperfect and Present Tense: A bit of "The chosen hero who travells between worlds" books, but still good. A lot of the action takes place in England during WW1 - a must-read for fantasy readers who also are anglophiles.
Melanie Rawn: The Ruins of Ambrai. "Women's fantasy" with a lot of beautiful, strong women and a lot of romance. I didn't understand it at first, but liked it the second time I read it. Didn't like her earlier books, though.
Rosemary Edghill: The Twelwe Treasures-series. Comic/tragic fantasy about a librarian in New York. Not your average fantasy novels. (From my rather limited experience, at least.) I like them a lot!
Anne Marcusson

If you like "A College of Magics", this is the site for you. I love that kind of "Women's Fantasy". Haven't read much Melanie Rawn, but I really appreciated "The Golden Key" and will probably try some of her other stuff in a short while. Rosemary Edghill: my best friend really loves that series. Sooner or later I'll come around to them too. /karl henriksson.
Subject: Real Soon?
If you say something's going to be put up real soon now, one would assume you meant it. I understand you're no doubt very busy, but please don't tell me a review is coming soon when in actuality it isn't!

First, "Real Soon Now" is sort of a saying in fandom, meaning that something should be on its way although it isn't. But, in actuality, I have half-written versions of the reviews of "The Lions of al-Rassan" and "The Riddle-Master Trilogy". Things have been quite messy the last few weeks - actually the last two months - but they're going to straighten up in the weeks to come. Then I'll have time to write the reviews of Kara Dalkey's "Goa" and Katherine Kerr's "The Red Wyvern" too. (If you're waiting for new reviews, it might be a good idea to sign up for the PageWatch service, which will report when a page has been changed). /karl henriksson
Subject: Fantasy in General
Firstly I must compliment you on a superb web site, very informative.

I find that you seem to hold similar tastes to myself. In particular I could not agree more with your commentary on the Wheel of Time, Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, Tolkien and Eddings. I believe the net is full of too many Jordan fanatics, and they would do well to broaden their horizons. I enjoyed Eddings when I first read him but I became frustrated as he preceded to repeat himself ad nausiam. I also became particularly irritated as his novels degenerated into continuous direct speech, most of which was small talk and banter.

In short only Tad Williams comes close to Tolkien in quality of written prose.

Steve Wotton

PS have you read any Terry Pratchitt? He is good for a laugh.

Yeah, Tad Williams is a great writer. Just read the first book in his virtual reality-series (it's definitely not cyberpunk), Otherland, and he's still got the magic. As for Terry Pratchett, it's been almost ten years since I read the only Discworld-novel I've ever tried so I guess it's quite like I've never read him. /karl henriksson
Subject: Some good books
Hi Karl,
I haven't been at your site for over 6 months and I was delighted to join you again. Here are some books that I read and I thought that I would share my opinion with your readers.

eric s. nylund
A very good read, its about a nightman journey into an alternate world filled with magic, demons and wars. Usual stuff, he does well and the story has a good ending.

Dark Horse Plains (4 books)
mary h. herbert
This story is about a young woman called Gabria, who survives a genocidal maniac and goes on to build her own clan, with magic, magical horses and sheer guts. It could be called a 'woman's story' but I dare say some might disagree. The four books are fun to read and one tends to identify with the heroine.

Of course the best fantasy tale( I think) is the Hindu tale of the Baghavat Gita, the story of Krishna, siva and sita. However, slagging this might get you in trouble with several hundred millions of Hindus, hehe, lol.

Take care
John Johnson

You haven't been here in six months? Shame, shame, shame on you! :-) Thanks for the book recommendations. The difference between a religious myth and a fantasy story sometimes is no more than the intention of the teller, and sometimes even that is confused. (And I can mention at least one lousy sci-fi writer who started his own religion.... - I hope that statement won't get me in trouble with the lawyers of that sect!) /karl henriksson
Subject: Debate and review
I've really enjoyed the debate on the various merits of all the mentioned authors - especially the Jordan vs. Goodkind vs. T.Williams. I have read all 3 and enjoyed all 3 for differing reasons. I have to admit that I am not too critical of Fantasy from a purely literary point of view (just as I don't judge movies from a "high art" point of view). What I demand from fantasy (and movies) is an enjoyable, entertaining, and escapist experience. I must also admit that cohesion of story and reasonably developed worlds and characters are necessary to this experiance. Since fantasy is unlikely to have "Great Literature" emerge from it (just as comedy or science fiction movies are unlikely to be awarded Academy Awards ) due in large part to the overwhelming prejudices of Literary Critics and reviewers against the genre, it is somewhat difficult to get a handle on just which books out there are really good to read, and I am grateful for the forum you provide. I have read most of the books that you have reviewed, and agree with the recommendations of most of the guests. I will be looking forward to seeing reviews of books I haven't read. I made the mistake of reading the first few books of the WoT and Goodkind series as they appeared, but I now regret that because Jordan's is so long (I do love epic series,tho) and Goodkind's seems to take so long between books that I find I need to go back to reread the previous books. It could also be age telling on me! At any rate , my policy now is to collect the books of a series as they appear in paperback until the series is finished before I start to read. There are a lot of old and completed series to enjoy in the meantime!! Keep up the good work. Ruth Foster

It's definitely frustrating to wait for the next book in one's favorite series - and then, when you've waited a year or maybe two or three, you read the new one in a few weeks, sometimes in a few days, and then goes back to waiting for the next one. But if you're waiting for quite a lot of different sequels, like I do, there's one coming soon almost all the time... / karl henriksson
Subject: Books
Hey! Has anybody read "Robert Jordan's Guide to The Wheel of Time" by him and Teresa Patterson? Pretty good and filled with lots of interesting information, although I wasn't too impressed with the art work. What's up with Faile? She looks exactly like Cher. It was a bit expensive though. It cost me around $55.00 Canadian.

A really good series to read is Janny Wurts' "Wars of Light and Shadow" It presently consists of three books: "Curse of the Mistwraith", "Ships of Merior" (in paperback part two is called "Warhost of Vastmark") and the recently realeased "The Fugitive Prince: part one of book three Alliance of Light" There are another two books expected. She also wrote three books with Raymond E. Feist which is another really great read.
Bye - Adam Daidone

I've checked out the guide, but didn't buy it. It didn't seem like it would be worth the money. I mean, if it had been like one - or a couple of - long appendix, or an encyclopedia or something, like for instance Willis & McNelly's "The Dune Encyclopedia", I wouldn't had hesitated, even for that price. But for a thin book with colour pictures? No, not me, I won't buy it. I didn't even bother to examine the pictures closely. Faile looking like Cher sounds terrible. /karl henriksson
Subject: Robert Jordan
I just wanted to say that Robert Jordan is over done. I mean it was a pretty good series in the start but now the book is starting to drag and Rand is getting to be such a whiner. Another thing that gets me is that Jordan should learn to write faster like Piers Anthony if he plans to be done in the near future, honestly who can remember any of the characters and subplots between each books. I hope more people begin to see this too and stop the Jordan bandwagon.

Writing fast like Piers Anthony would be lovely, as long as he at least write as good as he does now. Otherwise I prefer the slower tempo. Publishing pace, that is. I wouldn't mind if he could force the story pace a little.
Subject: Single Fantasy Novels
Had a flick through your Fantasy finder's Top Lists today and, while I think there's some real crap in there, most of my favorites turned up as well. What else would you expect from a democratic list, anyways? What I thought might interest you,as it was occurring to me, is the relatively small number of single novels on the list and in the fantasy genre in general. I got down to 57 on the list before I could count three single noc\vels - I don't know them all but I do know most - and thats counting The Hobbit as seperate from the Lord of the Rings... Do you suppose fantasy just takes a whole series to do properly, or do these people just need editors? Certainly some of the individual stuff, much of Charles de Lint's work, for example, is excellent and well done...

You have been the recipient of my Random Thought for thr Day; do with it what you will.
- rob.

I think 37 is the correct number, but I get the point. Fantasy readers are a strange breed. I don't think most of them believe it can be really good if the book isn't part of a series. And I think publishers know their readers, encouraging their writers to do trilogies. And the writers aren't that hard to convince, when you show them the pay-check. It's not about bad editing, it's about marketing and money-making. Am I sarcastic? Yes, definitely, but at the same time I know myself. Although I love stand alone fantasy novels, and recommend quite a lot of them on this site, I also know that four out of five books/series on my own Top 5 list are series.
Subject: General
1) Thank you--a well-organized, informative site. And you put up with all too many comments that are critical without any hint or desire of being constructively critical. The fact that you continue is a tribute to love of reading in the genre. The greatest aspect? Your opinions are rarely extreme--poor books have good points mentioned and vice versa, so the reviews have sincerity.

2) Ever considered having some kind of order by topic as well as by author (stories with magic, with animals, with historical settings, with dragons, etc.)???

3) My job permits too little time for reading. I am not whining but rather stating a fact; I _chose_ the job. Anyway, between finishing college and starting the job I re-read, as planned, LOTR (just the four major books--Hobbit and I, II, III). So what is the best book / series of all time? My vote is obvious and, to me, unchallenged.

1) Thank you. I try to be fair. But I seldom review the really, REALLY, bad books, because I stop reading them after a few dozen pages. If I can finish a book, there must be some quality to be found in it...

2) Yes, that was actually where the Fantasy Finder idea started almost two years ago. Now, it's more or less ready to be implemented, the basic programming done for a fancy java multi-choice fantasy topic search engine. Unfortunately, I don't have the time and energy to fill the database with all the necessary information right now, but sooner or later it'll be up and working. But it's not in the near future. /karl henriksson

Subject: General
Congratulations for an excellent and well organized Website. Generally I can see most of the points you consider in your reviews. I agree with you about Goodkind to be far away from the best, his style rather poor, but he is still readable, because his stories get the hold of the reader. The same about Eddings. You can read his books and partly be entertained, but afterwards you exactly see the lacks you pointed out. But OTOH, I believe these lacks are part of its charms for Edding's fans. If you like Tad Williams and Robert Jordan, you will probably also like Raymond Feist, but IMO he isn't as good. I was surprised to see Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire rank low in your Democratic Top list. I'm rather a Jordanity, but I believe it can top the Wheel of Time. You should give Gemmel a second try, perhaps Knights of Dark Renown or Waylander ( it's chronological the first in the Drenai Saga). Lastly I want to recommend Guy Gavriel Kay. He's the one for everybody who gets bored by the good vs evil thing. He has a rare talent to create characters, you never know if you should blame or pity, despise or love them.

P.S. Do you think it's correct to separate R.A.Salvatore's Dark Elf Trilogy from the Drizzt series in your Fantasy Finder's Top 5 list? Drizzt is the protagonist of the Dark Elf Trilogy.

I believe there are two reasons why George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" is ranked so low. 1) It's so new. Few voters have read the brilliant "A Game of Thrones" yet, and many votes were cast even before it was published in hardcover. 2) Only the first of four volumes is out yet. Noone knows where it'll end, if he'll keep up the good work. (On the other hand nobody knows that about Jordan either).

I know absolutely nothing about the internal relationships between Salvatore's different books and series. As a matter of fact I know almost nothing about quite a lot of the books voted for on the top list. I think it's great if you readers point out if books belongs to a series or other mistakes made when editing the list. I'll look up this and every other correction proposal. /karl henriksson

Subject: Taltos the Assassin
Hi again,
Managed to read a another couple of books, }:-) . I recently read Taltos the assasin and the Paths of the Dead by Steven brust. I recommend these books, they are excellent. There's not much world building going on, so forget about that. The characters are one dimensional mostly and echoes baddies from the thirties, but so what, they are fun and you get to like the main character.

Its a mafia/detective story set in a fantasy world of elves and humans. The hero and his familiar ( yes, he is a witch) go about killing 'targets' for money and to raise his 'standing' in his world. Great literature, its not but its good fun and the reader gets pulled in into the assasin's side quite easily. Let me know what you think of it.
John Johnson

Sounds interesting. Right now I'm trying to decide whether I'm a great fan of Steven Brust's or not. But I sure am a great fan of mafia movies, so maybe I'll give it a try. Anyone else got any opinions about these books? /karl henriksson
Subject: some authors
recently I've encountered some names which propably stand behind some great fantasy novels, but actually I've never read any of their stories... so maybe, you can tell me some facts about them... here they go: Joah DeVinge, Michael Moorcock, C.J. Cherry, Guy Gavriel Kay? any thoughts?

by the way, my personal favourites are: Tad Williams, Megan Lindholm (Robin Hobb), George R. R. Martin (read some of his old books, esp. ARMAGEDDON RAG), Sean Stewart, ...

another question: is tWoT worth it's price, when you haven't enjoyed the first book? I mean it's better than the most fantasy novels around, but I don't think Jordan's prose is nearly as good as William's, Martin's or Hobb's -- but this depends on your own point of view. my question is: does the story improve in the further books?

Well, what can I say? Let's start with Guy Gavriel Kay. He's good, but nowhere near Williams and Hobb. I've read Tigana and The Lions of Al-Rassan and thought they were OK. I've been thinking about reading A Song for Arbonne, but I've decided not to read The Fionavar Tapestry. It seems a little over-loaded with mythological themes. To be honest, to me Kay's most important contribution to the fantasy field was his help in putting Tolkien's Silmarillion together.

Michael Moorcock is probably most famous because of his sword and sorcery books about Elric. I've given one of them a half-hearted try, but it felt like Conan on drugs or something. Really strange. Not my cup of tea. But he's written very much, a lot of sci-fi and stuff. Some of it is probably very good, because he used to be quite popular among the critics if I remember correctly, but I've got no idea what to read and what to stay away from. He was also in Hawkmoon, the progressive 70's rock band.

C.J. Cherryh is another one of those writers who've written very much, in a very broad spectrum of styles. Strange and interesting sci-fi, at least one Arthurian series (which I haven't read) and a lot of other stuff. My personal favorite was the shared world of Merovin which she created. Unfortunately, I lost interest somewhere in the fifth or sixth book, but that was many years ago. I really don't know how I would find them today (and they're science fiction, anyway).

I know absolutely nothing about Joah DeVinge. Jordan: unfortunately, I don't think WoT gets any better. If you didn't like the first book, you probably won't like the rest of them. But still you could do a lot worse. /karl henriksson

Subject: Just wanted to make a comment
Dear Guest book,
I wanted to say that your review were great and I even got some titles I have been looking for.

Dennis W. Bohnert

Thank you. /karl henriksson
Subject: Katherine Kerr - Fantasy Novels
Hello, Can you please advise if there is a follow up to Katherine Kerr's novel 'A Time of War'? My mother is an avid reader of her books. Many thanks Kaye Baldock

Yes, there is. The names are quite confusing, because they have different names in the UK and the US. You've obviously read the UK edition, where volume 7 in the Deverry saga is called 'A Time of War' and volume 8 is called 'A Time of Justice'. Now there is a ninth book available, called 'The Red Wyvern'. It's absolutely marvellous. A great read. /karl henriksson
Subject: Stephen R. Lawhead
I just finished Grail by Stephen Lawhead and I thought it was fairly good. I found the book slow starting out, but once it got going I had a hard time putting it down. Lawhead is an excellent writer who has improved dramatically over the years. His strong point is his historical research. Unlike many fantasy writers, Lawhead attempts to ground his books in history - (actually more like legend or pseudo-history). Lawhead has recently been writing more historical fiction then fantasy (Byzantium and HarperCollins just announced a new series on the crusades), but I've heard rumors that he will write a follow-up to Grail titled Avalon and he's also working on a pure fantasy series...I can't wait!

Donovan Mattole

A sequel to Grail might be a good idea. I wasn't overly enthusiastic about Grail, but there are some answers I'm still waiting for. /karl henriksson
Subject: books
Robert Jordan is a wonderful author, but his latest book seem to repeat a lot of what was in "The Lord of Chaos." I like Terry Goodkind, and feel that even though there are similarities between his books and Mr. Jordan's, it's more in the way of inspiration than copying. This is my first time on this web page, I like it but, I haven't seen anything on Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Death Gate Cycle. I would like to see other people's opinion of this wonderful fantasy world.

You won't get any comments from me about the Death Gate Cycle as I haven't read it yet. But I thought Weis & Hickman's Rose of the Prophet-series was great fun. Recommended. /karl henriksson
Subject: remember this
I wrote earlier today, for the first time, to this web page. After I finished, I got to thinking about books I've read. I remebered a series I read a while back bye Raymond E. Feist. The Rift War Saga. I feel that this series ranks right up there with Goddkind's and Jordan's. It is a well written and imaginative book. I don't know which came first (The Rift War Sage or Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn) but they seem rather similar. Now that I think of it, Terry Goodkind's books share some similarities with this series as well. The "heroe" in the Rift War Saga is an orphan, who wishes to learn magic and gets sent to another place to learn to use it.

If you took all the clichés and re-used ideas away from the fantasy market, there wouldn't be that much written. The orphan boy, where have I read about him? Pug of the Riftwar Saga, Simon of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, Garion of the Belgariad as well as Jack of The Book of Words and Alain of Kate Elliott's "Crown of Stars", just to name a few. And how about Fitz of The Farseer Saga, or Rand Al'Thor, or even Frodo himself. Those of us who actually grew up with both our parents could easily get a feeling we're in the uncommon situation... But does that mean fantasy writers should stop using orphans in the leading roles? No, I for one still like our orphan heroes - when used in a proper way.

Did this long passage have anything to do with your letter? Not much, I'm afraid, but at least you got a list of interesting books to read. /karl henriksson

Subject: THE best book I've ever read!!!!!!
Sabriel, by Garth Nix, is the most enchanting, dazzling, brilliant book I've ever read! Tough woman warriors, destined lovers, magical cats, rising dead, magnificent!! You simply MUST MUST MUST include this book on your site. It is a MUST!!!!!!!!!!

Nope, I must not. But maybe I will, anyway. /karl henriksson
Subject: Thanks, and testing the water...
Wanted to thank you for the recomendation of Tad Williams' Memory Sorrow and Thorn. I hadn't thought of reading it until I saw it made third on such a long-going list, and thought that was high enough praise for me. So I've been tearing through it rather fast, and am starting to become concerned now that I'm running out of pages. I've read many of the books on your list, and I've come to agree with the rankings, so I've been slowly checking off the top twenty. I have Feist, Kerr, and Hobb left to go, but I'm sorry--- I couldn't take more than two books of Donaldson! Not enough action for my taste. Tad is cutting it close, but his mastery of the English language has allowed me to overlook that.

Alright. Question time...

1- If I've given you my top five, and then I've read, say "Memory Sorrow and Thorn", and want to give it my "3" ranking, and slide Goodkind down a notch, do you accept adjustments? Or are you too busy to be bothered?

2- Jack Whyte's "Camulod Chronicles" has recently been brought to my attention as being excellent by many sources, and so I checked your list to see if I should bother with it--- But its nowhere to be found! Is it really bad, or has no one laid their fingers on it yet?

3- Just out of curiosity... Who puts out the fattest (most pages- not slang), novels of authors you've read? Anyone beat Goodkind, Jordan, and Williams?

Finally, thanks for a really entertaining, and reliable site!
-Dan Dean

Answer time!

1. I accept adjustments - as long as you don't do them every second week or so. I am quite busy right now, but not too busy to be bothered.

2. It hasn't come to my attention at all, but that doesn't say it's bad or something. I know a lot of really great fantasy novels that hasn't got even one little point in the Top 5-list. Except for Robin Hobb's Farseer Saga - which really is an exceptional series - all of the series at the top of the list have been around for quite some time. At least a decade or so...

3. The fattest series is definitely Wheel of Time. I mean, seven books of that size and more to come. The fattest single book in a series is probably Williams' To Green Angel Tower, part 3 of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. I read it in hardcover, but it hasn't escaped my eye that they had to make it into two brick size volumes for the paperback edition. But there are a few really impressive runners-up in this category as well. You mention Terry Goodkind, but I think Melanie Rawn shouldn't be forgotten. The Golden Key - co-written with Kate Elliott and Jennifer Roberson - is quite impressive, as well as her Exiles novels. Another author who shows good skill in this aspect is George R.R. Martin, but I haven't got A Game of Thrones in my vicinity right now, so I can't make a proper comparison. /karl henriksson

I am currently reading Blood of The Fold by Terry Goodkind and am finding it a real page turner. I certainly read the first two with much enthusiasm and find that the pleasure has not decreased. I still hate to put it down at night and I still love the characters.

I am not sure what age has to do with the enjoyment of the genre, but I will mention that I am 32 and have been an avid fantasy reader since 12 years of age. I bought Sword Of Shanara when it came with that great poster picture in the middle!

I enjoy Goodkind because he writes on a more adult level of fantasy. I've had my flirtations with the more innocent side of the genre, but do enjoy a book that involves the complexities of our humanness.
MJ form NJ

I think this is interesting. Not that some people love Goodkind and some hate him, but that some - like me - find his stories quite immature, while some thinks he writes on a more adult level. I don't know what's adult about them, except that sexual violence definitely isn't suitable for non-adults to read about. On the other hand, making the bad one poison all red berries and fruits seems like something from a children's fairy tale for me. Dark fantasy isn't my genre, but it's easier for me to respect a writer like Storm Constantine who takes it all the way, writing non-innocent fantasy for adults. /karl henriksson
Subject: reviews
I very much enjoyed reading your reviews and other comments. Robert Jordon, had to my mind started a terrific series only to sink into middle series mud, having said this I shall read the next book published and hope not to be disappointed. Anne McAffery did not rate a mention, and her series on Pern are worth reading. The earlier books such a Moretta, Dragondrums, Dragonsinger are by far the best, the later ones which deal with the early days of Pern are somewhat lacking. Her most science fiction books ie The Ship Who Sang, Damia etc are in a different style and whilst enjoyable are not to me as good as the first. This is only because I am prejudiced towards the fantasy. Modesitt, is a good writer, agreed. I really enjoyed the Magic Engineer. Feist is one of the best writers, and the three books Magician, Silverthorn and Darkness at Sethanon are without doubt in my mind, of a strength to sit beside Tolkien's. Shannah Jay also was not mentioned, and I feel that she has fallen into the same trap as Robert Jordan, in that her first books in her series were good reading, and then the effort of producing more in the same line was too much strain on the imagination. Her last book of which she gave such hype (we were at one of her workshops), The Price fo Wisdom, was average. It would be interesting to hear from other readers on Shannah Jay. Incidentally, she is a very prolific writer and also writes under sagas as Sheri Ann Jacobs as well as another name which has slipped my mind for the moment. David Eddings is a good writer. The series Belgariad was by far the best with the Mallorean not measuring up. The two presequals are written for the old fans and not I feel for recent readers. His series on Sparhawk, is good and has a different feel to Belgariad. Robert Bear - Songs of Earth and Power - another author who can deliver a good story.

A lot of writers mentioned. Anne McCaffrey's Pern series is something of a classic, but I haven't read it yet. A review of Feist's Riftwar Saga is - slowly - on its way, while Shannah Jay and Robert Bear are two writers I'm not at all familiar with. Has anyone else read them? /karl henriksson
Subject: Nice Page
Very nice page, I really like your taste in books. On the Sword of Truth debate i'm kinda neutral. While I didn't really like it but I didn't hate it. It's just one of those books you take on a flight to pass the time. I agree with you on Tad williams, while the setting isn't orignal it's still great. He written a new book(I think someone mentioned it)Otherland and it a good read. You asked the opions on Steven Brust, I find his Valtos series very good. Pheinox(sp?) Guard was also good. I didn't see anybody mention Glen Cook. His Black Company books are great. They just re-published the first trilogy but they didn't bother to publish the second, so it's hard to find. Since you seemed to like Farseer Series by Robin Hobbs as I you would probably like to hear she just published another book in the same world as Assassin but it's unconnected. It's called Ships of Magic, I can't say anything about because I haven't read it yet(but I have ordered it). Since you just stick to reading Fantasty I was wondering if you ever read Science Fiction. If you do I would love your opinion. Well sorry if this was to long, Have a nice day.

Thank you for the tips (and the flattery). A review of Ship of Magic should hopefully appear in a few weeks time. I read a few science fiction novels a year, but when I was a teenager, science fiction was almost the only thing I read. Old school, New wave, even a few cyberpunk novels went down. As I said, today I don't read that much science fiction. I read some of the books by fantasy writers I like, like Tad Williams and Katherine Kerr. Otherland is good, but I think it's more interesting when the characters are in fantasy-like virtual reality worlds than when they're in the near-future South Africa or something. Anyway, I'm eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. I also read some sci-fi just to get something very different from all the fantasy I read, often by writers like Philip K. Dick (my personal sci-fi favorite) or Robert Sheckley. But the best science fiction novel I've ever read is Tim Powers' Dinner at Deviant's Palace. Unfortunately, it's out-of-print now and I don't have a copy of it, but I remember when I read it. It was summer and I was working in an office. I read it all the time, I even read it in the lunch breaks so intensively I forgot to go back to work. Those were the days, folks! /karl henriksson
Subject: Hey Karl--- Where ya been?!?
First ya yell at someone who said that they only visit the page once a month, now.... YOU haven't written anything since Feb 13th--- a month and a half ago!! Where are you buddy? - Dan Dean

I am quite a hypocrite, ain't I? Well, actually I've had some serious computer trouble. I have now overcome most of it, and will be updating the pages as soon as possible. Sorry I've kept you waiting, but in a humble effort to undo the harm, I'll be writing a couple of reviews of some really interesting books I've read when my computer was down. /karl henriksson
Subject: Fantasy in General
I like tour page very much! Although everyone seems to be very preoccupied with comparing Jordan to Tolkien. Both are extremely proficient writers and are in a class of their own. Currently I am reading The Wheel of Time I do not feel that he is being repetitive. I hope that to see more debate on this site.
Tina Wells

I can't promise any more debates, of course. But everything considered, I'm pretty sure a lot of people will keep on sending us their thoughts. And to make sure, there will be some new reviews to be upset about soon... /karl henriksson
Subject: just a few words.........
Well I came across your web page the other night and I just wanted to say that I totally enjoyed it. It is not everyday that you find such a great compilation of writers all in one review page. I do have to admit that I am a biased opinion because I live and breathe Mercades Lackey.LOL. Well I have just discovered Gayle Greeno and her Ghatti's series which I have enjoyed immensly. I felt that they were awsome books who's character development was just fantastic. If anyone ever comes across her,please check the books out. I promise you that they are worth the while. Thanks for the time and keep reading, a fellow fantasy nut, Jenni

Thanks! /karl henriksson
Subject: ill have a go at it
a few letters back, a guest mentioned that he felt goodkind's sword of truth was "mature", and you responded that you didn't understand why... I would have to say I agree that it is mature-- in a sense. Richard Cypher/Raul is a grown man. I would guess he is of late twenties or early thirties in age, and the other main characters are also more mature in this sense. What this represents to me, is the absense of a teen or pre-adult as the main hero. Example: "Mooncalf" Simon (Memory Sorrow and Thorn), Fitz, Rand Matt and Perrin, Belgarion (Belgariad).. etc. Not that teenagers are disapointing as main characters, but its nice to have an adult. I enjoy reading about knights instead of squires once in a while. When its done right, it can be very enjoyable to watch the young hero mature into an adult legend, but 5 books of Garion was trying. see you soon- Dan Dean

Yes, you're right, in that sense it's more grown-up. And I agree, sometimes it feels good to read about adults instead of teenagers. But there are quite a lot of good books about grown-ups around when one get that urge, like Kristine Kathryn Rusch's "The Fey", or the books by Stephen Donaldson or Guy Gavriel Kay.
Subject: The Fey
Thanks to your review, I decided to pick up Katherine Rusch's "The Fey: Sacrifice" from a local bookstore. And hey, it's GREAT. It's one gripping tale, and I must say I haven't stumbled upon anything this enjoyable since WoT. Meantime, I'm looking forward to updates on your site. Hurry! The wait is killing me...
Zel Tan

Sorry about keeping you waiting. My life is quite messy right now, but I have a strong intention on doing some major updates soon.
Subject: Am I odd?
I have always felt a little peculiar in my reading taste. It was fine when I was an adolescent, but as I've aged, I've felt a little odd when admitting to my reading taste. I mean, I read only fantasy. Oh, I occasionally really stretch and read a good post-apocalyptic type of book, but that is about as far as I stray. I always have this fear that when I say I read "fantasy", that people think I mean like adult erotica, and really if I say "sci fi/ fantasy, I am fibbing. I enjoy reading sci fi as much as I like picking ticks off a dog.

The other day in the faculty lounge I saw a young substitute with a fantasy novel up to his face. I demanded to know exactly what he was reading. I was happy to discover that his taste was much like mine, except that he read different authors. Then, I found out that his mother( a fellow faculty member), has a great appetite for fantasy. We are now exchanging books. They are discovering some of my favorites and now I am going to try out some M. Lackey, one of their favorites! Life is good. Either I am not odd, or there are many odd people out there like me!!
MJ from NJ

I don't think we're odd. Actually, I think the rest of them are at least as odd as we are. Especially all those who doesn't understand that "fantasy" isn't synonymous with "erotica". It implies they don't fantasize about anything but sex, which I find quite remarkable. And there are quite a lot of them. I get many of letters aimed at adult site webmasters and such. Quite tragic, that's my opinion. /karl henriksson
Subject: General
I've been coming to this site for a while, and finally decided to try and post something. I agree with you that The Riddle-Master of Hed is very confusing (I did like it, though, headache and all), but you may want to try McKillip's The Changeling Sea and The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. Both are less confusing, and in my mind, much better books. Two authors that don't show up on your list that I would like to see are Anne McCaffrey's Pern series (though I suppose it's science fiction) and C. S. Friedman Coldfire Trilogy. The Coldfire Trilogy is one of my favorites, but I rarely see it mentioned in reviews. I'd also like to see something on Robin Hobb's Ship of Magic; I thought it couldn't possibly live up to the Farseer books, but it was wonderful. Finally, someone asked about the fattest book; I would say The Mists of Avalon (which is also a very good book); my copy weighs in at 1002 pages. I've never read either Goodkind or Jordan, so I can't really comment on that,

Is it true that Friedman's Coldfire-trilogy seldom is mentioned? I haven't read it myself, but I see references to it here and there, and a while back one of my friends told me she'd read it five or six times. Which made me think I might have missed something there. One book I won't miss, however, is Hobb's Ship of Magic. It's got that mind-capturing quality that makes everything but reading seem not so important. A review will appear soon. /karl henriksson
Subject: The Fey
I really really have to say this again (sent one mail to your guestbook, but nothing's happening yet)-- The Fey is one of the best fantasy I've read! Simply loved it. Thanks to your review, I picked up the book... and couldn't stop! By the way, is your Fantasy Finder site becoming defunct or something? You seem to have stopped adding new stuff to it. It's a shame, you know. Cos you've made yourself a really neat site. I do hope you can keep it up!

Oh by the way, I just finished reading a book by Piers Anthony. Never tried his books before this. It's called "With a Tangled Skein". I believe it's part of the Incarnation of Immortality series. IMHO, it's a pure load of crap. I don't know what in the world the story is about. The theme is flaky, the plot is loose, and the characters are mildly irritating at best.

Patience, please! More stuff will be added soon, and I really hope I can keep it up. But right now I really can't see how I can fit it into my schedule to do weekly updates like I used to do. For now it'll be done less frequently. But it will be done. And a bunch of new reviews will appear, too. /karl henriksson
Subject: Jordan, Goodkind etc
I've just discovered your webpage - just what I've been looking for. I've bought far too many lousy fantasy books, now clogging up valuable space... And I've obviously missed some good ones - I never knew KK Rusch wrote fantasy, I only know her Star Wars novels. I'll have to do some shopping!

I like WoT very much, but I do wish the characters would act like real, grown-up people. Especially the women get on my nerves - either they are sultry seductresses or just bossing the men around. And I do wish all that sniffing and braid-pulling would stop and these people would for once really TALK to each other. And while I'm at it, I wish Jordan would write faster. I actually enjoy his wordiness (when I re-read the series, that is - when I read a book the first time it makes me want to scream with frustration), but I wish he'd get on with the story. BTW, does anyone care to bet when Moiraine is going to come back? ;-)

As for Goodkind, he's got me kind of hooked, too, although he's not exactly original and somewhat too violent for me - I'm fed up with scores of women being raped in every book. At least Temple of Winds does NOT feature Kahlan's special smile anymore. And nobody calls Richard a very special person. Thank you, Terry! A vast stylistic improvement!

Hm, your review of the Riddle-Master trilogy actually make the books sound interesting. I started on No 1, but after about thirty pages I got so bored that I put it away again. I think I'll trust my own judgment on this one...

Some books I have enjoyed but not found on your list:
Robert Asprin's MYTH series (at least the first four books) - may I call him the Douglas Adams of fantasy?
Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books (although she is somewhat preachy at times)
Anne McCaffrey's Dragonrider of Pern series

Looking forward to your next reviews,

It's a strange thing about Wheel of Time - a lot of people (like me) complain about a lot of things, like the unrealistic way people act, the unrealistic cultures and just the wordiness of the series. But still we read it, and love it.

It's stranger that McKillip's Riddle-Master trilogy has been such a major bestseller. It's a weird one, and I think those who put it away after thirty pages havenothing to fear. If they didn't like it from the start, they probably wouldn't like it very much in the end. /karl henriksson

Subject: I agree with MJ from NJ
Im 23, and the term "Fantasy" burns my toast too.(annoys me as well) It does make the genre sound like pornography, or trashy romance novels! By calling it fantasy, i'll bet it alienates many readers- it even makes me timid about mentioning that it is all I read! The term "fiction" is fine for anyone, "Science Fiction" too, allthough some may consider it as being "nerdier fiction".(not me) And then there's Fantasy... Some IS aimed at younger adults and teens (like dungeons and dragons), but what I like to read, and most of what is featured on this site, can more accurately be termed as "Midieval Fiction" or "Sword and Sorcery". Not Fantasy!

If someone asks me what I read or like to write, I don't want to say "Fantasy". People roll their eyes and think your odd. "Fantasy" sounds like "nonsense" or "comic books"- it deserves more respect. What WE read IS some serious stuff, and its perfectly fine for adults, just like much of science fiction is. I think it deserves a more serious name- like "Midieval Fiction". While at the same time, there are other books which need to remain "fantasy"- books which stray further away from knights, swords, and sorcery, etc...
Sorry to rant like that, but thats just my opinion- I could be wrong! See ya- Dan Dean

In a way I guess you're right. "Fantasy" really doesn't say that much what it's all about, while "medieval fiction" might be a little too narrow - there is after all quite a lot of really good Renaissance, Enlightenment and Victorian novels in the field. "Sword and sorcery" is a good term, but it doesn't exactly scream "serious stuff perfectly fine for adults", but that might be because I think about Conan and stuff like that when I hear the term. (Nothing wrong about Conan, mind, but it's not the type of books you give your old-fashioned literature professor to prove that your favourite literature is good enough.) But the major problem with finding a new name for the genre is probably that "fantasy" nowadays is well established. /karl henriksson
Subject: Eternal classics
In addition to the items you have listed as "eternal" classics of fantasy, you might wish to consider the two visionary novels of George MacDonald, Lilith and Phantastes, and that strangely compelling "A Voyage To Arcturus" by David Lindsay. Neither is for every taste, but in fantasy, what is? These are my recommendations for starters. If you are interested in others, let me know. Yours ever, Jerry Schechter

George MacDonald is certainly one of the founders of the genre, and I actually have friends who have read and liked Lilith and Phantastes, but personally I've found it extremely difficult to read them. There was a Swedish publisher who was thinking about publishing Lilith, but the chosen translator thought the book unreadable and the project was stopped. I've heard that Phantastes has even less of a plot. I guess his children's books about the little princess have aged with more beauty. Nevertheless, Mr. MacDonald's works are impossible to get around if you want to get to the roots. /karl henriksson
Subject: angus wells
nice page. a friend told me that angus wells' book is very good, any information about that? Jordan's books are very good, may be a drag on, but it's very good when u read it for the second time.
Take care
Best regards, Lord Marcus

A friend of mine said Angus Wells was virtually unreadable, but he doesn't like Feist or Eddings or a lot of other stuff that a lot of you guys out there love and I haven't read him for myself so really there's just one way to find out: try him. /karl henriksson
Subject: Thanks and high praises
Hr. Karl Kenrikson, Your site is truly the best!!! Through it i have found my way to some of the greatest books i have ever read! I cant find the words to say how grateful i am!

The Fey, Robin Hobb's Assasin, Tad Williams Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, Sean Steward, Eve Forward and the truly great books of Guy Gavriel Kay (im hunting for Tigana and Lion's still).

Those are all writers i have found with the help of Your website and greatly enjoyed. Kay is one of my favourites so far, especially the 'A song for Arbonne' which was an exciting epic tale of the clash of two cultures, the hard northern warriors way versus the courteous and gallant southerners. As you can see from the above im a lover of high or epic fantasy, probably cause my first meeting in young years with this genre was The Lord of the Rings of Tolkien.

I have waded through Jordan and Feist, and i agree with the notion that Jordans books is declining.....i will give the next book 'Path of Daggers' a try though. Feist managed to give the Serpentwar a good conclusion though in his 'Shards of a broken Crown' but it was not quite the pageturner i had hoped for...

Yesterday i finished 'A Game of Thrones' of George Martin and found it had some exciting themes....but im cursing myself for picking up book one of a triology when the other two's not published could be a long waite for the Coming of Winter.

Now im waiting for the fourth book of the Fey and Jordans last and The Clash of Kings, while im bugging my bookstore to order the two books im missing of Kay.....any idea of what high fantasy to pick up next?

Brooke, Eddings et all does not appeal so much...and it seems to me that You know of far more books than those in the democratic list. A tip of my own....those who like Dark Sword and Sorcery should try late Karl Edvard Wagners books about Kane.... Again thanks for a greeeeat website...You are doing a marvellous effort!!!!!!!
Arve ;-)

Thanks. I can see you've done your homework. A few recommendations are Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars-series as well as her collaboration with Melanie Rawn and Jennifer Roberson in The Golden Key, J.V. Jones's Book of Words-trilogy, Stephen Donaldson's Mordant's Need and, of course, Robin Hobb's new and brilliant The Liveship Traders Saga. And I agree with you concerning Martin's A Game of Thrones: there's gonna be a long wait. Last I heard was that A Clash of Kings will be out in February 1999. /karl henriksson
Subject: pre-20th c. fantasy
I am primarily interested in pre-20th century fantasy and science-fiction, going right back to whenever the genre began. For example, I am reading Gulliver's Travels and see a footnote saying that Swift was satirizing popular "voyages to the moon" written in his era (18th century and earlier.). Are there any resources for authors and books specifically pre-20th c. fantasy? Thank you for your help and recommendations.
Matt Anger

I've looked around but haven't found anything. Basically, I think pre-20th c. fantasy isn't treated as "fantasy" but as serious literature, and you've got to look for sites about pre-20th c. (British) literature to find what you're looking for. /karl henriksson
Subject: Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth
I read your reviews of Terry Goodkind's series, The Sword of Truth, and although I do not agree with most of the things you say, I admit that you do make some interesting points. After reading your (and some other) reviews of TSoT, I picked up Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time -- and you are absolutely right, there are definite parallels that can be drawn between the two series. However, I don't think that diminishes the value of each of them, in fact, Goodkind's devoted readers are most likely bound to enjoy WoT.

Perhaps you judge Goodkind too harshly -- I mean, it is very difficult to come up with a completely original concept; besides, a lot of similarities can be found between the WoT and The Lord of the Rings. So perhaps you should give Goodkind another chance. Trust me -- it's worth it. Just try and look beyond the printed words, into something deeper that is present in TSoT. The books might be wordy, and somewhat slow at times, but that is not the reason to dismiss them as pointless. I hope you'll listen to my advise -- it's a good read.
Elshad Kasumov

Maybe I should rewrite my Goodkind-reviews. Too many people seem to get the impression that my critique is based mostly on the fact that Goodkind's work shows similarities to Jordan's Wheel of Time-series. But that's not true. The real problem was that he's constructed a really bad world, and that his books are far too wordy. But I agree with you when you say that Goodkind's fans are likely to enjoy Jordan too. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that the opposite also is true, does it? /karl henriksson
Subject: Crock of Gold
I think you should add to your list of class fantasies the book Crock of Gold by James Stephens. It's a marvelously quirky book with elements of Irish mythology woven into it.
Simone Wilson
Cotati, California

I'll check it out. Keep on discussing in the Fantasy Finder BoardRoom! /karl henriksson
Subject: great stuff
Does anyone else here have the problem of being very careful about what they read - therefore reading less because they catch up with authors faster than they can find new ones to read? This site is great! I see at least a few new books that I'll have to get ahold of. I have read all the way to seven in that Jordan series and I love it, although I DO agree that towards the last book it paled a bit - I think Jordan just wrote a bit too much in detail and cut out some of the bigger picture as a result - for instance there was very little confusion (mystery/suspense) and few evil characters were left (none?) Anyway, I also think Tad Williams "Otherland" is completely awesome. It's so researched and thought out. I just can't wait for the NEXT!

Thanks. And I'm really happy, too, that there's finally a new Otherland-novel available. Keep on discussing in the Fantasy Finder BoardRoom! /karl henriksson
I have been a fan of fantasy writing for quite some time and know the WoT, Lord of the Rings, and the Xanth novels well. I have just discovered a new realm tho, and have been surprised to find that no one mentions it - it has quickly become my favorite of all of them. It is the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander - five books including THe Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King. I strongly recommend them and am wondering if anyone else has read them.
-Stephanie R. Moore

Yes, Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles were really great, as I remember them. It was quite some time since somebody mentioned them to me, so I had almost forgotten. But remembering them, I also remember that Disney made a really awful motion picture of them, messing up the stories totally. I guess that was quite destructive for their reputation. Keep on discussing in the Fantasy Finder BoardRoom! /karl henriksson
Subject: General Fantasy
Some books mentioned I have to agree with. I really enjoyed Guy Gavrial Kay's books the first time, but they lack something with subsequent readings. The Finovar Tapestry series is my favorite and highly recommend it. It is one of the few books in fantasy where I really cared for the characters.

As for Jordan's work, I enjoyed it but had forgotten so much by the time the next one came out that I stopped reading it. I also recommend Donaldson's "A Man Rides Through" and "The Mirror Of Her Dreams.

Although not quite fantasy but with some elements common to fantasy are "Dune" and "100 Years Of Solitude".
Brian Perry

P.S. To the person who wrote about "Little Big"--CONGRATULATIONS!!--It seems like a great book, but for some reason, despite numerous attempts I haven't been able to get more than half-way through it.

I agree with you, Dune is really a great book. It definitely ranks among my top 5 science fiction novels of all time. Keep on discussing in the Fantasy Finder BoardRoom! /karl henriksson
Subject: Crimson's Shadow
Hi Karl, Its me again, out to bore the pants off your readers. I read R.A.Salvatore's crimson shadow and found this a good read, but then I just like the sword and sorcery stuff and leave all the enlightening stuff for other readers.

The crimson shadow deals with a world that has been brutalised by a wizard-king and his cohorts (fellow wizards) and their cyclopean soldiers. And young Luthien sets out to get rid of them and save the world..sigh... I know you may find it boring but then i found Tolkien boring. oh well
John Johnson

You're always welcome back, John. There's obviously a need on this site for someone to recommend the books I wouldn't like. I've never tried any of Mr. Salvatore's books, but they never sound like my type of books. Keep on discussing in the Fantasy Finder BoardRoom! /karl henriksson
Subject: Guestbook Entry
Hey...first off, I would like to say I am _majorly_ impressed. This is _the_ very best fantasy site that I have seen on the web. I would like to thank you very much, Mr. Henriksson, for devoting so much of your time and effort. I have really enjoyed your reviews.

However, I don't always agree with fact, I often DISagree. I think you spend way too much time focusing on the quickies.

In particular, you are incredibly off base concerning David Eddings. Sure, the Mallorean is formulaic (there are many signs that Eddings was rushed when he wrote it) but I don't think that many people could disagree that the Belgariad is a masterpiece (I won't say on par with Tolkien, for reasons obvious later). Sure, the "epic" background story isn't really all that epic. However, there is not one single moment in the first five books that drags (unlike Jordan and most other writers). In particular, the very first novel is one of the best fantasy novels ever written.

I really think that you should try the Elenium...for me it was a return to form. The plot isn't all _that_ different, but the narrative is a lot more worldly, urbane, and knowing...the main character is a grizzled battle-scarred knight (well into middle age) not a young innocent farmboy. In particular, the seedy aspect that was only lightly touched in the first series' is very prominent here.

Anyway, on to other matters. As for the longstanding Goodkind-Jordan debate:

1. Terry Goodkind is a negligible hack. Although long, his novels lack breadth and scope.

2. Robert Jordan is a great writer, one of the masters. _I_ happen to enjoy the wordiness...his worlds are so much more vivid and lifelike then many others, while at the same time retaining a fairy-tale like quality. As for the characters -- they are excellent. Of course all the women are beautiful and all the men are strikingly handsome...but isn't that how it always is in fairy tales? Jordan has done great depicting the changes in Rand's character, in particular. Mat happens to be my favorite though...he is just so cool. My least favorite character is Faile...she seems very two-dimensional. I will admit that the series is getting a bit long. I think it definately should have been finished with by now.

Okay, I just have to give my opinion on a certain subject... I know I'll get a lot of flak for this...Here goes: *deep breath* J.R.R Tolkien is.... _extremely overrated!_ Boy, that wasn't too hard. It's true ladies and gentlemen. Earlier Karl, you mentioned that Tolkien was taken for granted because he was the first fantasy author that we all read...well, I am an impartial observer, since my first fantasy was Piers Anthony (I thought he was great when I was 11, but now I can't get through a single one of his novels, no matter how hard I try to force myself. His newer ones are even worse) and Edgar Rice Burroughs (I believe that he is a true literary master, not just within the confines of Fantasy and SF). See, most people start off by reading Tolkien and they think to themselves "Boy, this is good." Then they go on and find other fantasy authors and say "This is great!" However, if someone read, say, some of Jordan first, they'd read Tolkein and say "Hey, this is boring! Nothing happens for the first hundred pages...he just goes on and on. Sure, he really did a lot of research, but who cares, I want a fun, entertaining story, not a dry, encyclopedic slog like this. And boy, this poetry is sure corny."
Jack Redelfs

1. Eddings. In some ways I actually thought the Malloreon was better than the Belgariad. There were some new characters who were a little less stereotype, a few new countries were explored. In other ways the Malloreon was absolutely horrible, making a carbon-copy of the story of the first series. In that way, I hope Elenium was a return - telling a new story instead of telling the old one a third time.

2. Tolkien. You're right, what author you start with definitely colours your perception of others. But I don't think those who start with Tolkien invariably will find Jordan great, or those who start with Jordan invariably will find Tolkien boring. There're different qualities to the different series. Jordan starts in a hilarious tempo (at least compared to his later ones), while Tolkien's work, like Tad Williams's, drags a little in the beginning. Jordan concentrates on the characters and their relationsships and feelings, while Tolkien's work is much more about world-creating and myth. There will always be those who prefer one or the other, but the old idea that "this (Tolkien) is what fantasy should be like if it's any good" is definitely gone. Keep on discussing in the Fantasy Finder BoardRoom! /karl henriksson

Subject: Zelazny & Kurtz
Two series which you haven't reviewed and aren't mentioned very much but are great reads. Roger Zelazny's "The Chronicles of Amber" - 10 books total each book being around 150 pages. Excellent characters and wonderful scope. Also, Katherine Kurtz's "The Chronicles of the Deryni" a total of 4 series of 3 books each which should be read in the order they were published. "The Chronicles of the Deryni", "The Legend of Camber of Culdi", "The Histories of King Kelson" & "The Heirs of Saint Camber". The time line jumps back and forth but you'll have no problem if you read them this way. Excellent works - the books are interwoven and the world is incredibly detailed.

Great site. I'm very happy I found it.
Jay L. Bishop

I haven't read any of those series, but of course I know about them, and I've even bought Kurtz' Deryni Rising, but I'll do it one day. Keep on discussing in the Fantasy Finder BoardRoom! /karl henriksson

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