My friend Jess over at Jessticulates tagged me in this one and it looks really fun! Bree Hill originally created this tag as the Get to Know the Romance Reader Tag, and The Book Pusher adapted it for fantasy readers. This seems like a good tag to do as I get the blog up and running again…
1. What is your fantasy origin story? (The first fantasy novel you read)
….I honestly don’t know? I’ve been reading fantasy all my life, I loved fairy tales when I was little and my family always made up magical stories for me, so I was a fantasy addict from very early on. But I think the earliest fantasy novel I can remember reading is probably Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. Deepwoods came out in 1998 when I was 6 and was recommended to me by a librarian at my local library, it was their children’s book of the month I think. I absolutely adored it and it started a lifelong love of Chris Riddell’s art. I never finished the series as I stopped with Freeglader in 2004 but I’d love to go back and do a reread!
2. If you could be the hero/heroine in a fantasy novel, who would be the author and what’s one trope you’d insist be in the story?
Well if I’m in the book I need an author who will give me a happy ending don’t I? So I guess I’ll go with Katherine Addison (TGE era), especially as it’s quite a domestic and quiet fantasy, a SFF of interiors and thoughts rather than sword and sandals. It’s a well known fact that I fall asleep about ten minutes into horror films and I’m far too clumsy for anything action based. The trope I would want included is hope being realised I suppose, things coming together positively for the future. TGE was such an antidote to the dark times, and I think we all need some more hope.
3. What is a fantasy you’ve read this year, that you want more people to read?
I’ve got to go with Nevermoor, it’s not just for kids, turning your nose up at children’s books mean you miss out on some wonderful writing. Fantastic world building, great characters and some really deep thinking about how we make monsters, found families and cultural memory. Plus, a truly wundrous transport system!
4. What is your favourite fantasy subgenre? What subgenre have you not read much from?
In the past I’ve read a helluva lot of Crime/Mystery Fantasy, ranging from Urban stuff like Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London or Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files to more fantastical series like The Watch Novels in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld . One genre I don’t read much is Eco fantasy but I would like to try more! The Broken Earth series is on my TBR and I can’t wait to get to it.
5. Who is one of your auto-buy fantasy authors?
According to the state of my bookshelves, it would have been the late, great Terry Pratchett as I own pretty much every book in the Discworld series. But nowadays it’s probably more like Genevieve Cogman or N.K. Jemisin, I know whatever they’ve written it’s going to be good.
6. How do you typically find fantasy recommendations? (Goodreads, Youtube, Podcasts, Instagram..)
I get a lot off blogs, but in ordinary times one of my many jobs is as a library assistant so I’m always nosing through the shelves when I cover at other sites or eyeing up new stock when I’m inputting it into the database. I also get a LOT off my friend Jess over at Jessticulates as she knows my tastes so well, to the point where we have coined a term for the process – Jesscommendations!
7. What is an upcoming fantasy release you’re excited for?
There’s a new book forthcoming from Katherine Addison in the world of The Goblin Emperor, and I cannot wait to get my mitts on that (please, please not another The Angel of the Crows disaster!).
8. What is one misconception about fantasy you would like to lay to rest?
That it’s just silly? That it’s not for grown ups? Cos that’s just really really wrong. I think HP and LOTR did a lot to shake up that notion but it still lingers, there’s a sense that genre literature (particular SFF) isn’t ‘serious’ enough. That’s an utterly foolish notion as SFF allows authors to question things that they can’t always explore in mainstream contemporary lit.
9. If someone had never read a fantasy before and asked you to recommend the first 3 books that come to mind as places to start, what would those recommendations be?
Hmmmm I think it depends on their other interests coming in. How have they encountered Fantasy before now and what have they enjoyed? I think my librarian tendencies are showing. If they are a Game of Thrones person (barring the final season of which we do not speak) I’d probably recommend trying The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. If they’re into more space opera (a la Star Trek) I’d recommend Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey. If they’re intrigued by complex relationships and a dying world then The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin could be for you.
10. Who is the most recent fantasy reading content creator you came across that you’d like to shoutout?
I’d like to direct you guys to Layla over at Readable Life where she strives “to champion diverse reads, which includes shouting from the rooftops about PoC and LGBT+ authors and characters”. I think we all need more of that in our lives! The site link also takes you to Layla’s newly created ‘Six of Crows’ tag…. I think we all know what tag I’ll be doing next Thursday .