Month: May 2017

11 Reasons Why Fantasy Isn’t Better

This post is half tongue-in-cheek and half serious points. It could probably also be called 11 things that any fiction can do, but that didn’t sound so cool. And before anyone gets more annoyed at me, I’m am not trying to say fantasy isn’t equal to other genres. I’m just reminding people that other genres are also worthwhile.

Also though I only mention fantasy I’m really talking about spec-fic in general. Anything out of this world, or partially so.

Non-fantasy stories can spark imagination too

I hardly read any fantasy as a child, but was my imagination decreased by that? No. My bed being the covered wagon we we’re travelling to the frontier in was one of the most realistic games.  We had magic blankets that floated on lava and imaginary families inspired by a non-fiction kids book. Biographies of missionaries have sent me all over the world. I can imagine crossing a vine bridge in Papua-New Guinea though I’ve never even seen a photograph.

Other stories can have brave heroes

So think of a fantasy story. There’s a fair chance it will feature a brave hero completing amazing (or slightly less amazing) feats. But heroes exist out of fantasy. Just think of a  war story. Many have brave, inspiring heroes. Also heroism isn’t just about battles. A nurse just going about her duties is a hero, parents struggling, but still doing the best they can for their children. They are some of the best heroes.

Other stories can create deep emotion

Emotion comes from characters. Characters are common to stories. That was slightly too simple, so I had better elaborate. Emotions are created in stories by reminding you of real motions you’ve felt. (or something like that) All you need for this is realistic characters.

Other stories deal with social and philosophical issues

Fantasy is a good medium for focusing in on certain themes without bringing a long a lot of baggage, but other books can do very well. Dystopian is also spec-fic, but it is often great at this. Also stories that deal directly with the actual issues can be enormously powerful. Sometimes A story of a malnourished refugee in Africa, might be more powerful than that of a refugee from the land of Ulinent. We can’t help people in fantasy worlds, but we can in the real world.

Other books can awake a longing for great purpose

Some stories can bring an inspiring sense of awe and purpose, a reminder of how great the world is and that there’s much more to life than simple survival. Fantasy is a great vehicle for grandeur, but the simple thing of out world can also achieve this. It’s our world where we have purpose after all.

Other stories can be complex and twisty

I’ll admit that the most complex books I’ve read have been fantasy. But I’ve read some historical that comes close. Maybe the twists don’t come from outside the laws of nature, but that doesn’t been we’ll see them coming.

Other stories can be fun and adventurous

This is really obvious and actually two points. Adventure exists in our world,  and it can be pretty exhilarating. A humour or even quirkyness isn’t out of this world either. Some of the most laugh out loud books I’ve read have been collections of letters sent by real people. Reality can be plain ridiculous at times.

Other stories can have beautiful settings

Our world is a beautiful place and it can be described magnificently. Grand scenery isn’t sole the property of fantasy books; it might just be a little more common in them. When you have to invent your whole world, it might make you a little more aware of what it looks like. Or maybe not. It probably comes down tot he author and their skills of visualization and observation. Personally I don’t pay enough attention to my surroundings and forget to describe the made up  world of my own stories far too often.

 
Other books can be relate-able

Well of course. If a cat who must kill a dragon is relateable, surely someone trying to catch an ordinary criminal ought to be relateable. Though honestly some people click better with some characters. It’s not a fixed thing.

Other  stories can be original

Fantasy doesn’t have the same limits as other books, but it still manages to have a huge number of tropes. Other genres have tropes too of course, but they also can overcome them. The characters can vary hugely. The thoughts and themes behind the books are limitless. And the minds behind the books are different. Sometimes not having to invent a whole world can yield more depth of character.

And in case you aren’t into fantasy: Other books can be unrealistic

Hugely unrealistic. For example where the whole conflict is caused by a simple misunderstanding that would be fixed in a conversation. (yes, I’m talking about romance novels here) That’s not very realistic. Or when everything turns out fine due to some coincidence.  Or when someone doesn’t act like a normal person would. Or when things just turn out to perfectly. If you’re trying to escape reality, fantasy (the genre)  isn’t the only way.

 

I wrote this because I grew up mostly reading historical fiction, and Enid Blyton books and did love them. I don’t want to leave all that behind for fantasy. Kids adventure stories are fun even though it’s ridiculous how adventures keep happening to the same kids.

Brie, out.

Blades of Acktar Characters Part 2

I’m continuing my discussion of my favourite characters of the Blades of Acktar series by Tricia Mingerink. I cannot promise this to be entirely spoiler free, but I won’t tell more than necessary. And anyway, if you care about getting spoilers, just go read the books.

Part one is here, in case you missed it.

Martyn Hamish

Loyalty. That’s the first word I associate with Martyn.  Duty is the second. This guy follows orders. Martyn  was Leith’s best friend in the Blades. He’s kind of a nice guy. At least as far as assassins go. But unlikely Leith he’s not going to walk away from his duty just because some girls were strangely kind to him. He’ll follow orders. Even that includes doing terrible things.

One interesting aspect of Martyn’s character is that he doesn’t do so well without someone to follow. He’s the main character in Deliver and *spoiler* in Deliver the Blades have been disbanded. King Respin is gone. Martyn is feeling slightly lost and betrayed, and confuses and uncomfortable. And he’s more lost than he realizes. He needs someone who will give him orders. And someone who will challenge his stubbornness. And once that happens and he realizes that he’s been an idiot, he slowly comes round.

Shadrach Alistair

Shad is the son of Lord Henry Alistair and Leith’s new best friend. He’s not got some tragic childhood, or (so) many people trying to kill him. He’s just a nice guy. And a lord’s son.  Which is somehwat of a recurring joke. As a lord’s son he had a rather different upbringing to Leith. But he’s still pretty good at tracking and fighting. Maybe not quite as good as he thinks, but he can handle most things. He’s more of a leader and is quite involved in the resistance against King Respen. 

While Shad doesn’t make it into my top characters, he
does get some of the best lines. Or is around when some of the best lines are said. In real life he’s probably the guy you’d want around. A good man, not overly complicated, with no enormous scars in his past. He’s dependable.

More Blades

Jamie Cavendish is a Blade trainee. He’s kind of awesome. Very brave. He deserves a lot more space than I’m giving him right here. But I haven’t got the time. So just read the books.

 

Blane Altin. One of the youngest Blades. Someone Leith wishes he’d gotten out. One of the resons I despise King Respin. Turning boys into killers.

Ranson Harding. The Blade one above Blane. They’re friends. Almost like brothers. He also could be a nice guy if given the chance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s one more character I’d really like to to talk about, specifically from Deliver, but i haven’t got a picture for he and I’m not sure what to say. So I’ll just squeal. Kayleigh!!! Really she’s an awesome character. One of the reasons to read Deliver.

Pictures grabbed from these Pinterest boards: https://au.pinterest.com/jessica2012d/martyn-hamish/  https://au.pinterest.com/jessica2012d/shadrach-alistair/  https://au.pinterest.com/jessica2012d/deny/  https://au.pinterest.com/tmingerink/ya-novel-defy-the-blades-of-acktar-3/

Blades of Acktar Characters Part 1

Hello friends,

I’m interrupting my posting schedule again to bring you pictures and thoughts on the character of the Baldes of Acktar series. Yes, my posting schedule. Things might appear somewhat random over here but I’ve got subject picked out for future posts and they will come someday.

Anyway, today, Acktar. My favourite and least favourite characters.

I might annoy a few fans by not putting Leith first, but here goes.

Lady Rennelda Faythe

Renna Faythe

Renna

Usually called Renna. She’s our leading lady. A shy girl and an afraid one. She’s not a ‘strong female character’ or an action girl. But she doesn’t need to be. Not all of us are. I think we sometimes overestimate how brave we would be in difficult life threatening circumstances. I like to think I would deal with them perfectly. But I’m afraid I would run and hide. I might lose faith.

Slowly Renna does develop some strength. She stops running. She become brave and bold eventually. I love to see that. And even in the beginning she has her strengths. She’s a healer. I would likely panic if faced with the wounds she fixes up.  Though I would try. I also would rather help than hurt.

Leith Torren

Leith

Leith is a Blade. One of the King’s special assassins. Or maybe not so special. Maybe more like a slave. He can’t get out. Not without being killed.

I always imagine Leith to be a little older than his eighteen years. Or I forget I’m as old as I am. No one should be an assassin at this age. (or at all, but that’s another matter)

But Leith isn’t just any assassin. He had a heart and a conscience inside somewhere. Something to be touched through the kindness he had never known. He begun to believe in God, though not in forgiveness for himself. But then his curiosity drove him to steal a Bible. He read it. He was offered forgiveness. He seized it. Finally.

But it’s hard to change from who you once were. Leith is an example of how people can change. And how sometimes it’s difficult. Also growing up as an assassin doesn’t give to the best knowledge of how to act around normal people. Amusement results. Especially when relating to Renna. I could go on forever, but I won’t. I love seeing Leith grow in faith and knowledge.

Brandi Faythe

Leith’s horse Blizzard. Brandi named him.

Or Brandilyn when she’s wearing a pink fancy dress. This is Renna’s little sister. She’s entirely different. Fearless. She’s the first one to get through to Leith. She’s funny, smart, and surprisingly insightful at times. Everyone is her friend. At least if they aren’t obviously dangerous.

She’s also entirely devoted to Renna. Enough to do slightly crazy things when needed. She balances Renna’s shyness perfectly. And Renna keeps her in line. Mostly at least.

Brandi is also most definitely not a healer. She’s not careful enough and doesn’t have the stomach. So she fights instead.

King Respen Felix

This guy needs no words of my own.

 

I’ll be back again in a day or two with a few more characters.

See you then.

Pictures grabbed from these Pinterest boards: https://au.pinterest.com/tmingerink/ya-novel-dare-the-blades-of-acktar-book-1/  https://au.pinterest.com/jessica2012d/leith-torren/  https://au.pinterest.com/jessica2012d/renna-faythe/  https://au.pinterest.com/jessica2012d/king-respen-felix/ 

 

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