I’m always looking for more fantasy fiction to read, to inspire my own work and, hopefully, to teach me how to do it better.
I’ve read hundreds of mystery novels of all kinds, and can count on my fingers the ones that have been truly awful. It’s not hard at all to find a good mystery. But with fantasy it’s the other way around.
Why should that be? There are authors who have made prodigious amounts of money writing fantasy that is at best half-baked. And there are lesser fantasy writers who produce stuff that’s hardly fit for the bottom of a bird cage.
Good fantasy fiction, obviously, will have things in common with quality fiction in any genre: an interesting plot; well-drawn characters who have some depth to them; situations that engage the reader’s emotions; a smooth flow of the language. But in fantasy–and in science fiction, too, by the way–books that lack those features are, well, plentiful…