Why I don’t like Epic Fantasy

I feel like I’ve had this giant secret hiding in me for well years now that I’ve disclosed to a few close friends, but never really discussed in the open on the blog. I feel like being personal in public is wrong, I never know who I’m going to piss off with my opinion and I want to avoid stepping on toes, but I need to share my opinion right?

So here’s the truth: I don’t like epic fantasy.

Have I read it? Yes. I’ve read J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Rand Miller, Terry Goodkind, Terry Brooks, Malinda Lo, Rae Carson, Jodi Meadows, R.A. Salvatore, Marion Zimmer Bradley and even a few chapters of Robert Jordan.

I’ve enjoyed parts of these books. The end of Wizard’s First Rule, most of The Mists of Avalon (though that borders on historical fiction), Arwen and Aragorn’s parts in Return of the King, the masquerade scene in Jodi Meadow’s Incarnate, etc. etc.

But I dislike the genre, and here are my reasons why:

1. The writing is often archaic. It’s either third person omniscent, or it’s too superfluous, grande, or using language that doesn’t flow properly.
2. The world building is weak.
3. The characters are carbon copies or type cast. There’s a thief, a wizard, a wise man, a jester, a hero, a heroine, a damsel in distress, etc. etc.
4. Politics.
5. Destinies. I’m told what to expect in the first 5% of the book.

So why is this such a big bad secret for me?

I wrote an epic fantasy book.

And before I lose your interest here are five things I did that are like every other epic fantasy out there, and five things I didn’t do that are typical of most epic fantasy out there.

1. Flame of Surrender takes place on Avristar, a hidden island off the coast of Scotland. It’s a mythical island that’s nothing like Earth.
2. There are elders, they could be considered wise men and women, or wizards. (I don’t call them wizards though.)
3. The hero and heroine both have abilities and things they have to discover about themselves.
4. The heroine has a best friend that’s often there for comic relief. (sorry)
5. There’s a prophecy. (sorry)

1. I wrote it in third person limited. I skimped on descriptions, focusing on action and dialogue. I wrote kick ass dialogue (imho)
2. I gave Avristar its own culture. Marrying the Land, The Journey to the Great Oak, the Spirits of the Land, etc. etc.
3. I explain the universe as a whole. (ie: The Lands Across the Stars, The Lands of Men, Terra, Lands of Beasts, Lands of Immortals, Land of the Dead, etc.)
4. The hero and heroine are technically antagonists as well as protagonists.
5. I cross genres throughout the series. First 3 books are epic/historical Fantasy. Last 3 books are Urban/Contemporary Fantasy.

I always thought that as an author I should love the genres I write in. I find it abnormal that I dislike Epic Fantasy. That’s why I’ve kept this quiet. I’m not a book hater, I am completely in love with books, just not the epic fantasy ones.

Sometimes I wonder: Am I the only one out there that dislikes a genre?

Comments ( 9 )

        • Ashley @ Book Labyrinth says:

          I definitely think it&#39;s funny that you wrote something that you don&#39;t necessarily like, but it&#39;s also cool because you took the elements that worked and then turned them on their heads a bit.<br /><br />I&#39;m not sure if there&#39;s a genre I really dislike entirely. I tend to like most of them, but since I read YA I find that really works since most YA books blend genres really

        • RhiannonPaille says:

          I did my best. Honestly, I just wanted to write a book that I could read without cringing. And funny enough FoS is a comfort food book. When I&#39;m reading a truly awful book I&#39;ll go back and read my own book and be like, ahh good.

        • Justin E. Geary says:

          You&#39;re right most epic fantasies you can predict what&#39;s going to happen. But that&#39;s just a lack of creativity. Usually you can expect elves, dwarves, wizards and dragons. I&#39;m a fan of the epic fantasy genre and i also write epic fantasy, but it isn&#39;t for everyone. But what you&#39;re saying can be said about the other genre&#39;s to. In mysteries you know there&#39;s going to

        • Stephsco says:

          I think what you&#39;re hitting on is the changes fantasy has undergone given how storytelling (and reading habits) have progressed. Would Tolkien get published today? No way to answer that, but his storytelling method is rather dated. YES, it&#39;s a classic. But do you see much new epic fantasy with pages and pages of description? <br /><br />Maybe yes, maybe no (I don&#39;t tend to read much

        • RhiannonPaille says:

          I think it&#39;s all about how it&#39;s done. Epic Fantasy is a tough genre because the last super popular books in Epic Fantasy were um, Tolkien, CS Lewis and in close to 100 years, writing has really changed. <br /><br />What I love is seeing the new fantasy books out there. The Lost Prince, Shadow and Bone, Throne of Glass, etc. etc. All books I&#39;m excited for, to see if they can do the

        • Deborah Jay says:

          Deinitely you&#39;re not the only one to dislike a genre. I wouldn&#39;t read a horror book unless you forced me, and yet there are plenty of horrific aspects to many of the sci-fi and fantasy novels I read. I sometimes wonder if genre pigeon-holing is to blame for many problems, not least for writers trying to sell work that crosses the traditional boundaries.<br />What actually is the

        • RhiannonPaille says:

          What defines Epic or High Fantasy is the fact that the book takes place somewhere other than Earth. That being said, I&#39;ve seen a lot of books take place in a fictional town on Earth and that&#39;s called Contemporary Fantasy. <br /><br />I really like your synop for your book, it sounds great! (and a nice twist on epic fantasy.)

        • Deborah Jay says:

          Thanks for the explanation. I&#39;ve never bothered much with knowing about sub-genres as I like to read quite widely and if it&#39;s broadly sci-fi or fantasy and I like the blurb, I&#39;ll try it.<br />My novel gained me an agent at first try, but despite going round the Big Six it didn&#39;t sell, although they all took time to praise my writing. So with the advent of ebooks becoming ever more

        • riceball1759 / Janis Katherine says:

          Don&#39;t worry about it:) I can take or leave Epic Fantasy because I get bored easily: Liked The Hobbit, couldn&#39;t get past Gandalf&#39;s monologue to Rivendel; Loved The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe but trudged through Prince Caspian… Sci/fi&#39;s even worse for me&gt;&lt; I just can&#39;t get into that…it all seems the same to me:/ I also can&#39;t stand what I call &quot;Pop

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