Book 8: The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
The only fantasy novels I was introduced to growing up were Mercedes Lackey and Dungeons and Dragons, at least these were what my friends read, and I didn’t like any of them. It caused me to have the impression that there was nothing much of interest there for me.
Then one day during a writing workshop, the instructor suggested that the next book we buy be one from a genre that we would normally not read. In the bargain bin at the grocery store the next day I found the book ‘The Lions of Al-Rassan’, bought it, read it, loved it, shelved it, and never thought much more about it for a long time. I enjoyed the book but it didn’t really inspire me to become a fantasy lover.
A few months later my new brother-in-law lent me a book and told me that I would love it, it was the Fionavar Tapestry again by Guy Gavriel Kay. I devoured this book and went looking for more, since then Kay has become a favorite of mine and I’ve read all his books, even the poetry ones, and am eagerly waiting the day someone decides to make a movie out of one of them.
That second exposure to his work was the kicker for me and once I read through all his books I went looking for more, spending hours wandering the fantasy shelves because I still had some doubts and wasn’t ready to commit to long series like Robert Jordan’s, but I wanted the magic, the mystery and the love, I had found in the other fantasy books.
I bought a few anthologies of various authors and went from there, opening up a wonderful world full of many other wonderful worlds of fantasy. Yes eventually I read Tolkien too, even went past the Ring tales and into his other works as well.
As much as I loved the books it still took me some time to fully embrace writing fantasy and how much freedom there was to it. For me fantasy and horror fell in together and my stories tend to reflect that a little bit.
I only have one of my works that is totally fantasy and takes place in a fantasy world but I bring it back to tie in to my horror works. I just can’t seem to make that leap fully into the fantasy genre in my own writing but I can still appreciate the intricate and wonderful worlds these people have created and shared with us.
I would, obviously, recommend Guy Gavriel Kay’s books to anyone but I also challenge anyone and everyone to go pick up a book in a genre you don’t like, you never know what surprises lie in store for you there.
At least once a year I pick up a book that at first doesn’t appeal to me and I have yet to be disappointed, it is an adventure out of the norm – for me anyways!