I’m still working on finishing up my next book, so today I’m just going to post an observation that I’ve had while reading fantasy novels. There is a HUGE difference between a good writer and a good storyteller. Unfortunately, most fantasy authors that I’ve come across are good storytellers but absolutely terrible writers. Robert Jordan, I mean you. Couldn’t get through your novels because I couldn’t get past you mentioning Perrin’s yellow eyes every other paragraph. Yeah, he has yellow eyes. Yes, we know. Yes, you told us already. Really? Yellow eyes AGAIN? And Terry Goodkind, I expected more. My friends told me about your story, which was fantastic, but your books read like bad fanfiction. J.K. Rowling? Mediocre writing which gets better in the later books, but storytelling that’s good enough to make me look past it. And Anne Rice–very good writer, but when I picked up your Sleeping Beauty book in the sci-fi/fantasy section, I didn’t realize that it was really BDSM erotica. Granted, I’m pretty open-minded, and it was well-written, but I cannot make myself unread the old queen on younger princess action. *shudders*
I have discovered a number of authors that are pretty decent as far as fantasy goes though. Charles de Lint’s urban fantasy is quite awesome. Robin McKinley is always a good choice for the fairy tales retold. Jacqueline Carey’s books are nice if you’re open-minded (reviews coming later), and Anne Bishop is a bit traumatizing but not bad, despite the use of demon names for main characters to make the story sound way darker than it is. C.S. Lewis is fun if you ignore the fact that everything is a religious metaphor–not that I mind religious metaphors, but it can get preachy. Phillip Pullman is fantastic; he did some good historical fiction as well. Garth Nix, Elizabeth Kostova, Saint-Exupery–grats on a job well done. Such authors make reading fantasy worthwhile.