So, another two of (in my humble opinion) the essential fantasy reads:
Raymond E. Feist
His debut novel (and apotheosis), Magician is the epitome of more traditional fantasy - done well. Feist's flair lies in his portrayal of the world reached through the rift: the Tsurani are sensibly-motivated, cultured, and their politics are fascinating - in other words, Feist doesn't succumb (at all) to that fantasy stereotype of the barbaric "other" world/culture. Though not lacking its share of stereotypes, Magician weaves a fascinating tale of life and politics between two worlds, sometimes simultaneously. Genius. Although Feist's books decline in quality from this point, Magician is classic fantasy.
The Dragonbone Chair
Set in Osten Ard, Williams' own take on a fantastical Europe, The Dragonbone Chair is a perfect example of a "soft" magic system done well. Utilising some of the principals of alchemy, Williams' system works incredibly well in context. His characters, meanwhile, subvert some of fantasy's central stereotypes in a novel that is anything but light-hearted - although slow to start, the sense of impending cataclysm is inimitable, and the underlying motifs subtle and understated. Although To Green Angel Tower's ending may disappoint, Osten Ard is a world you cannot help but fall into. His well-developed characters, meanwhile, possess - in addition to plot -, the sense of out-of-screen activity that most other writers would be hard-put to match. There are few plot flaws; Williams' characters stray naturally from the path, creating a tale that is lovable and realistic, rather than the more calculated fare that dominated fantasy at the time The Dragonbone Chair was published.
So long, and thanks for all the books
2 years ago