What would you like to see less of in fantasy books?

Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Maark Abbott, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. Peat

    Peat Journeyed there and back again

    To a certain extent, I think its easier to get gray morality with good guys on both sides than with no good guys at all.
     
  2. MorteTorment

    MorteTorment Knows Who John Uskglass Is

    Mhm, it's pretty cool!
     
  3. rudyjuly2

    rudyjuly2 A Poet of the Khaiem

    Songs & poems!

    Reading The Dragonbone Chair and I have really no use for the songs in it or any other book. It's not something you see in modern fantasy which I am fine with.
     
  4. Sneaky Burrito

    Sneaky Burrito Crazy Cat Lady Staff Member

    I always, always skip them. Don't care if they're supposed to mean something for the story or not.
     
  5. Khartun

    Khartun Journeyed there and back again

    Ditto, although I have went back and read a lot of the Malazan ones.
     
  6. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater Journeyed there and back again


    I hate them too. I am very literal so no matter what I cannot understand what they are saying even though I try. I would skip them totally too but my OCD has a problem with that. :hilarious: I mean, how can I say I read an entire book when I really did not. Even though what I read may as well be written in Chinese. Just give me the information or tell me the damned prophecy.
     
  7. Maark Abbott

    Maark Abbott Journeyed there and back again

    See, to me, a world lacking in 'good guys' is realistic, because everyone is some shade of grey. I don't believe there's such thing as a truly lawful good archetype in humans. And fantasy with lawful good heroes can get very dull, very quickly.
     
  8. Peat

    Peat Journeyed there and back again

    I can't agree with conflating 'good' with only truly lawful good and am quite perplexed if you think that's the only kind of 'good guy' available. I'm not saying you do believe that - maybe that's what you think I'm saying and are only responding to that - but if you do, then scratching my head I am. I mean, nothing else apart, why would you have to be lawful to be one of the good guys?

    In any case, good is a lot of things, and comparative* is one of them. Even in a world where everyone's shades of grey, some are darker shades and some are lighter shades. Some are good guys and some are bad guys. That doesn't mean they're wholly good or wholly bad, or incapable of change, or that good people always serve good things and bad people always serve bad, or that you're good and bad because of what you serve, or that good is always nice and bad is always rotten - but some are good and some are bad. Or some are more good and some are more bad, if that seems a better descriptor to you. Or so I believe.

    In any case though, how we see reality is somewhat besides the point. I'm talking about stories where drawing the line between morally right and morally wrong is very difficult. If no one's a good guy - if everyone's various shades of amoral or ethically uninterested in others - then its a lot harder to show that line in a story imo. Both in terms of showing the line and getting people to care. It's when there's people who are ''good guys' - or who have notable elements of good in their nature, or who are a lighter shade of grey, or whatever - on both sides of the line that it becomes more stark. Its a lot easier to justify killing everyone between you and the princess when it isn't another man in the way, whose kids love him and gives regularly to charity and all of that.

    If you still disagree about 'good guys' being a realistic thing then, well, I'm not sure I can change your mind. But when it comes to literary use, that's different. There's a reason everyone tells people to set ethically sketchy heroes against even nastier villains - being comparatively good counts for a lot. A room full of grey folk lacking in goodness presents far fewer dilemmas than other scenarios.
     
  9. Peat

    Peat Journeyed there and back again

    Anyway, since I'm in a cranky mood, things that do annoy me in fantasy books

    - Stories that start with multiple plot strands and PoVs. I find it tends to slow down and muddy the story unnecessarily, while also increasing the chance I'm reading about a character/place I find boring/deeply odious.

    - Groups of characters with a neverending flow of "Look how insouciantly badass I am" chat. It makes them feel like Hollywood caricatures.

    - Power Escalation of the sort where each new level of power is met with an as yet undiscovered use of magic that bumps the level higher. Very deus-ex-machiney after a bit.
     
  10. Maark Abbott

    Maark Abbott Journeyed there and back again

    Naw, it's more that people who tend to dislike the trend towards grimdark too often want us to go back to the days where every protagonist is Sparhawk, or Garion, someone who could never do evil, even if it was necessary. That's the sort of character I view as being 'one of the good guys' and as a trope I tend to find it very boring. I need the grey for texture as much as anything else.
     
  11. rudyjuly2

    rudyjuly2 A Poet of the Khaiem

    Shapeshifters.

    I really dislike people being able to change into other people with magic (and these disguises include the same height, body proportion and voice because magic can do anything in these novels). It leads to way too many potential plot holes. Every time someone does something you could ask, why not change into someone else to make it easier? Why didn't you use that tactic for this attack? Codex Alera used that and so did Wheel of Time here and there but I don't like it.
     
  12. MorteTorment

    MorteTorment Knows Who John Uskglass Is

    I can tell you something I wanna see less of. People like you and I who read fantasy novels being too embarassed to admit that we love manga! Cheers to you buddy. Love Akame Ga Kill! I especially like you literally putting a manga volume on the same level as The Emperor's Blades, which from what I hear is a complex grimdark book about a Game of Thrones! Seriously, you go buddy! Don't let anybody tell you you're wrong for believing that! :D
     
  13. Nuomer1

    Nuomer1 Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    Strongly agreed! Dunno why, but I have the same gut reaction, even when the author does his best to work around it.
    Excellent example of this is Spitting Image by Patrick LeClerc (My review here). The first book in his Immortal Healer series was Out of Nowhere, which really impressed me (review here). The second book was also very good, in my opinion, except that the basic premise was Shapeshifters . . . and I found this a considerable hurdle to get over! I haven'r read any more of this author's work yet, but I intend to!
     
  14. Darwin

    Darwin Journeyed there and back again

    I like the way First Law did it. A few magi know the trick of it, and it inevitably seems to involve killing the person they intend to look like. Each occasion of it in the writing is marked by a fairly obvious clue; a complete change in personality/competence or the notable mismatched-colored eyes of one of Bayaz's associates.

    Was WoT shapeshifting anything other than illusion? I don't remember it granting any particular powers, the way shapeshifting into a giant bear or something might.
     
  15. rudyjuly2

    rudyjuly2 A Poet of the Khaiem

    Nynaeve (and other Aes Sedai) and their was a bad girl at the end all used it to disguise themselves. I think their general shape was the same but appearance was masked.

    In Codex Alera the one guy wore his disguise round the clock for years. How do you not slip up in your sleep?
     
  16. Silvion Night

    Silvion Night Sir Readalot Staff Member

    I believe the Golem in WoT could actually make his appearance malleable. For the Aes Sedai it was illusion (although in book 1 I believe Moiranne turned herself into a giantess and stepped over a city wall if I remember correctly).
     
  17. rudyjuly2

    rudyjuly2 A Poet of the Khaiem

    That Golem made no sense either. It was a virtually unstoppable killing machine, unaffected by the One Power, could slip through the tiniest crack and yet it was supposed to hide and wasn't even used very much. Just drop that sucker in the middle of the White Tower and have it kill everyone. It's that kind of over-powered character that annoys me in books. I just turned the other way for WOT but I didn't like that character and the potential plot holes that went through my mind.
     
  18. Peat

    Peat Journeyed there and back again

    Because the Forsaken had more uses for live Aes Sedai than they did dead ones. You don't kill all of your chickens and miss out on those delicious eggs just because one might bite you on the finger.
     
  19. Darwin

    Darwin Journeyed there and back again

    I think the given excuse, that the forsaken themselves were themselves terrified of the Gholam, is reasonably plausible explanation for its limited role.

    The gholam's vulnerability to Mat's pendant seemed particularly ... convenient?

    There's also a question I have about how something can be immune to the One Power. I get how something could prevent flows from being laid into/onto you directly, but... If throwing rocks works, and if the target can still enter gateways, why don't flows of Fire or Air work directly? Wouldn't the air around a magical fireball be heated as effectively as if it were non-magical fire? Wouldn't the heat itself still affect the target, even if the flows melted upon impact? And when Air is used to create wind, shouldn't that wind still push the target?
     
  20. rudyjuly2

    rudyjuly2 A Poet of the Khaiem

    So many questions. And I thought the Forsaken created 6 golems with one being used in the series. If they created something, allegedly using the One Power to do it, how could they also not kill it?

    The origins of the powers and some items like Mat's necklace or the Eelfinn and things like that were never fully explained. Big parts of the series are still a mystery to me.
     

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