In which we carry on with our trip through the fantasy (novel) loves of my youth 😉
I’m 12 now, and I’ve read The Hobbit, but we’ll get to Tolkien in a bit because I won’t read Lord of the Rings until much later.
David (and Leigh) Eddings: The Belgariad, The Malloreon ( follow-up series) and the 3 ‘Prequels’/Spin-offs
I think I was 13ish when I started reading these, and 28 when I stopped with the publication of the last one, The Rivan Codex, in 1999. I loved them, particularly the last 3 (I prefer ‘spin-offs’ to prequels, as they also cover events you’ve already read about, just from a different point of view – a bit like Lion King 3!) The characters were well-portrayed and the books were full of humour, although sometimes Eddings did seem to lose his way a little. One day, I’ll read them all again (if I can wrest them from ArtyDaughter). I tried a couple of books from his next series but felt he’d lost it – as though he’d created all the characters he ever could and was just presenting them again, re-jigged and renamed. I was mad with him when he eventually revealed that his wife co-wrote them; she finally got her name on the cover in 1995, with the first spin-off, Belgarath the Sorcerer.
JRR Tolkien: Lord of the Rings
My English teacher gave me her own copy of The Hobbit in 1983, but I didn’t read LOTR until I was 17. I borrowed it from my cousin. I say ‘it’ because he had a huge paperback that had all three books within and a very distressed spine without. Now I know the elves keep bursting into song (ArtyDaughter’s main gripe; she prefers the films), but Tolkien is the king of atmosphere. The sense of threat when Frodo and his friends first flee and are hunted by the Nazgul is overwhelming. I’m sure I held my breath when I read it for the first time. I think everything else has been said many times before…
Julian May: The Saga of the Exiles and the follow-up (kind of…yet also a prequel *taps nose*), Galactic Milieu Series
Brilliant. Read right through to the end and I guarantee you many ‘er…what?’ and ‘OMG!’ moments. It starts off a a simple tale of human outcasts from the near future travelling through a time gate to the Pliocene era to start again and live the simple life. Enter early hominids, aliens, funky mind powers, betrayal and enough twists and turns to make your head spin as though you’ve been sleep-walking and accidentally drunk all the Scotch again. These series truly hover on the sci-fi/fantasy border, but her other famous series (yes, ‘she’s’ a girl and Julian is her real name) are a little easier; The Rampart Worlds books are sci-fi and the Boreal Moon trilogy is fantasy. But they’re all… brilliant! Oh… I already said that. These four series took me from 14 to 35.
Katherine Kerr: The Deverry Cycle
21 to 27ish. I think these are one of the few sets of fantasy novels I’ve turfed out as some point – or perhaps they’re in the loft. There are fifteen novels but I think I only read the first 10 or 11. They zip back and forth between different incarnations of the characters – similar events happening again and again until things were put right. Fascinating stories, but I think it started to feel a bit long and drawn out – perhaps that’s why I stopped reading them?
What next? I think we’ll save that for tomorrow with G 🙂