The Book Nook:
Fantasy Novels (in addition to Tolkien):
These books are listed in no particular order, although I will place updates
in the beginning.
- Diana Gabaldon: Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber. Sold in
my local Borders in the historical romance section, these can also be seen as works of fantasy,
what with the time travelling elements. Shortly after World War Two, our British heroine finds
herself back in an earlier era of Scotland, when the clans and highlanders were fighting the
British, and ready to hearken to Bonnie Prince Charlie. And, yes, the romance element comes to
the fore. Gabaldon has done her research, and has created believable characters with honest
motivations. The books are long, but there is little wastage. There are more in the series,
but I haven't read them yet.
- Windling, Terri: The Wood Wife. Art coming alive is also the topic of
a recent de Lint book that I read at the same time; this one takes a unique twist on the concept and breathes
in life of its own. This novel is a worthy winner of the World Fantasy Award. Maggie is bequeathed the
home of a poet who had lived in the southwestern desert, and finds herself caught up in the worlds of his
long-deceased artist wife. Threads weave together, and the plotting and characters are intricate and believable.
Superb and nuanced.
- Steven Brust: Brokedown Palace, is a Hungarian-based fantasy
tale of four brothers who happen to be Princes. They live together in a ramshackle
old palace which crumbles around their ears. Prince Miklos, the youngest, is
forced to leave for Faerie after trying to get his oldest brother, the King,
to do something significant about repairs. But to criticize the state of the
Palace is to fly against the desires of the Demon Goddess, important to at least
two of the brothers. On his journey, Miklos meets a taltos horse who is more than
he lets on. Characterizations are believable, and the use of fantasy does not
break that sense of willing suspension of disbelief. Events and plot twists
are not predictible. Strongly recommended.
- Rosemary Edghill: The Sword of Maiden's Tears,
The Cup of Morning Shadows. These look to be the first two of
what might be a series of twelve books (the overall series title is
The Twelve Treasures... The first book is urban fantasy,
filled with unpredictable angles, sardonic commentary, and amazingly enough,
one of the few elves in the realm of the fantastic who is actually interesting. In the
first book, he's come into the deadly World of Iron to reclaim a stolen sword. Our
protagonist, Ruth, is bound by soul to this sword. In the second, she finds
a way into the other worlds, and seeks out her elf in and amidst intrigue.
Strong points of these books are characterization and plot -- and more questions
are raised for the inevitable future novels.
- Meghan Lindholm: The Wizard of the Pigeons. Lightly
magical tale of a homeless, apparently disturbed, youth in Seattle.
- Emma Bull: War
for the Oaks. Urban fantasy involving a
rock band that does Richard Thompson covers! Besides their good taste in music,
the story is engrossing, and is one of the best in the subgenre.
- Charles de Lint: Yarrow, Dreams Underfoot, Spiritwalk, Greenmantle,
and others. Although he's written other things, frequently it is urban fantasy set
in Toronto or in some town of his invention, where the stories may revolve around a
simple change of heart, or around more weighty matters. He writes about
a variety of personality types, delineating them with concern, whether the
event be mundane or fantastic.
- R.A. MacAvoy: Tea with the Black Dragon. Ancient Asian
magic meets the computer era in this fantasy-mystery.
- Marc Laidlaw: Neon Lotus. Science and fantasy in Tibet;
Marianne Strauss turns out to be the reincarnation of a Tibetian scientist caught
up in troubles she only slowly begins to understand. It hangs together far better
than this description can imply.
- Warren C. Norwood: True Jaguar. This one's a contemporary
fantasy based on Mayan mythology.
- Mercedes Lackey: Sacred Ground. Contemporary fantasy
set in Oklahoma based around an ancient Native American archeological site.
- Gael Baudino: Gossamer Axe. Woman from another place and
time requires aid from some in the contemporary world to deal with an ancient evil.
- Diana Paxson: The White Raven. A retelling of the tale of
Tristan and Iseult, from the viewpoint of Yseult's servant Branwyn.
- Holly L'Isle: Bones of the Past, Fire in the Mist, Mind of
the Magic. These books relate the history of Faia, a shephardess in an invented world who
discovers a knack for sorcery, gets trained (for a while), and has several
adventures. It is written in a humorous vein, but usually avoids slapstick, and the
difficulties Faia is faced with are serious.
- Patricia McKillip: The Riddle-Master of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire,
Harpist in the Wind. This is a trilogy set in a somewhat Celtic-flavored
universe of McKillip's own creation, where riddles and harpists are vastly important.
The story-style flows well.
Look at the Science Fiction Recommendations or
the Mainstream, etc. Recommendations.
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Last Updated: August, 1999