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Messages - magisensei

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YA this category are novels made and marketed towards teenagers.  The protagonist barely ages in the novel although they will grow and change but they essentially remain a teenager or young adult. 

There is an innocence to the novel especially the protagonist as they are doing something for the first time or experiencing something for the first time.  He/she will be exploring their world and their place in it and the boundaries that surround them and trying to push or change these boundaries.  Some will have darker and deeper themes but that is only expected of a good novel. 

When we classify novels and look at their writing style there is a definite difference between what is classified as YA and what becomes marketed towards adults. 

I read a lot of urban fantasy Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampire series is an example of a series that should be a YA series rather than an adult series.  Yes the characters are adults (a graduate student) but the way the characters behave in the novel clearly indicates that they are teenage-like with even a teenage-like almost perspective on the world.   This is quiet a bit different than lets say Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series where the characters are obviously adults with an adult mentality. 

How the character is written is key to deciding whether a novel is YA or adult in terms of marketing.  Another example would be Brandon Sanderson's novels there is a difference between his YA novels and his adult series in terms of how these characters act and how the novel is even written.  Less complex sentences at times although the writing remains solid it is simpler in style. 

I think in recent years with the explosion of the Hunger Games and such novels the YA market has come a market which publishers and writers can use to sell their books.   The biggest criteria for YA is of course a teenage protagonist and this person remains a teenager through out the series - do they physically have to be under 19 years of age - no - but there should be a mentality that obviously shows that this individual is still a teenager in someway. 

If you don't mind scifi - then give Liu Cixin's Three Body Problem a try - books 1-2 are out. 

Naomi Novik's Temeraire - an alternate reality historical dragon fantasy set in the time period of Napolean

The City - by Stella Gemmell

Ilona Andrews - Kate Daniels series (urban fantasy)

Laura Resnick - Esther Diamond series (urban fantasy)

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Big Fat Lazy Poll
« on: May 06, 2016, 05:09:45 PM »
My half a cent:

What a wide selection to choose from. 

Trudi Canavan tends to be a more standard fantasy but in general they are a good read.  I've read most of her novels. 

Old Man's War by Scalzi is an okay read - his novels based in the same universe tend to be quite good ranging from serious to be a bit more light hearted. 

Brett's Warded man series - is okay - the first book is quite well done but it goes down hill somewhat as you read the series; also as you read you will notice a few oddities which might make you wonder what the author was thinking as he was designing this world. 

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Overused
« on: April 28, 2016, 09:19:21 PM »
Besides elves, dwarves, orcs, goblins and dragons - I am going to add vampires and werewolves as race.  If you read urban fantasy and some fantasy - vampires and werewolves are way overused especially in urban fantasy.  Vampires are either sophisticated powerful creatures that for some odd reason still want to date someone a few hundred years too young for them or just mindless blood sucking creatures (seen less often); werewolves live in packs oddly always with a dominant alpha male - although wolves in nature are not like that - and they are usually rugged and fierce with a touch of the wildness (ie bad boy) about them and want to date their food (as humans would be food for wolves). 

In fantasy: if you want an ethereal nature loving powerful long lived race create something like an elf; you want a miner who is good with tools and likes to drink - use a dwarf; looking for evil creatures - use orcs and goblins; need a mysterious and enigmatic creature make a dragon; but if you want more human like races that are different but at the same time the same - then you make vampires and were wolves. 

Thats why it is interesting to read new takes on these creatures - like the handsome but evil-ish (as their culture is more about rising in class and status) goblin (yes still with green-gray skin and pointed ears) but certainly not the goblins of rpg fantasy games; or the orc that comes from an orc empire who is well read and articulate but still a warrior of some kind.   

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Tolkien Ripoffs?
« on: April 28, 2016, 04:38:51 PM »
One of the things that stand out for me about Tolkien and LoTR is that it is a quest fantasy - gathering companions and journeying on some kind of adventure. 

You might consider some of the following:

Tad Williams' - Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

Joe Abercrombie's The First Law - is a quest like fantasy in the way LoTR is although no elves or dwarves. 

Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series - the first 3 books only is also quest like in the first few novels. 

David Eddings Belgariad series also has a quest like theme to its books - companions gather on a quest - but no elves or dwarves. 

For some light fantasy reading you have to give Robert Asprin's Myth series - yes it is a bit more humor fantasy - but it is light to read. 

You might also consider Lisa Shearin's Raine Benares series. 

LE Modesitt Jr - Recluse series is also a possibility - although some might be a bit more serious. 

If you don't mind rpg type fantasy novels then Forgotten Realm novels are quite good - some good series and trilogies - like the Harper series (each novel follows the adventures of a Harper); early novels by RA Salvatore for example the Legend of Drizzt trilogy; Elaine Cunninghams's Starlight and Shadows   - are all quite entertaining. 

I read a lot but for me each book/series is a unique voyage into a new world.  That is not to say that some worlds are quite lacking in some of the things that could make it that much more engaging for me to visit their world. 

Let's take the urban fantasy genre as an example - I read a lot of UF - and the basic requirement is somewhat similar - its based in this world and is mostly recognizable, magic in some form is available - either in terms of actual magic or in the characters (ie vampires, werewolves, whatever monster you like), action, bad guys (big or small) and some romance perhaps.   But each of the UF I read are unique - and yes some are much better in terms of characters, world-building (yes, even UF has world-building), plot, structure of the story, writing etc.  When I read a series that could potentially be much better than what it is - it is for me a bit sad - things like bad plotting, horrible character development, 100s year vampires/werewolves acting like teens, unbelievable romance (ie why would you fall for that person), characters too stupid to see what is in front of their face, unbelievable coincidences, overly powerful characters; badly written love scenes that really have no place in the story etc - really makes sigh in sadness - it could be so much better but its not - and so I drop the series usually after reading a few books in a given series - with the hope it gets better - most do not.

 Is this pickiness? Somewhat - but its a pickiness for a story that can transport me to another world - suspend my disbelief; have a minimum of good writing and editing; when I question things or say that is just too stupid or unbelievable that it ruins the narration - it really annoys me and so I move on to another book/series. 

I think new novels need to be well written and plotted with interesting and engaging characters and worlds.  Do they have to be the newest unique thing - no - but it needs to engage the reader.  Even if the novel uses some cliches and re-hashes old ideas as long as the writing is solid and the story engages us (requiring of course good writing, world building, characters etc) then the likelihood of it doing well is much better and readers will enjoy it even it is familiar in some way. 

For example, role-playing game (RPG) novel - such as Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Pathfinder etc - are all structurally similar in terms of stories - but readers still enjoy these worlds and the niche that they have in the fantasy genre. 

I think when writers try to be overly new and inventive in their writing in terms of stories, world-building, shock-value (lots of violence or it is just weird in someway), or structure of the story (e.g. multiple narrators etc) then the book will either be a hit or a clear miss (and/or something in between - but if its just so-so - the publisher might not ask for the next book).  I think all genres need some of kind of new blood to its genre but the "same-old thing" still sells and attracts readers - because it is proven to sell and to attract readers. 

For example: a certain romance publisher even has guidelines for their books - so it all fits nicely together - so the writer cannot really deviate too much from what is acceptable for their type of book.  Sameness still sells it just requires a little difference in terms of plot development and characters for each new novel - when you pick up a certain romance publishers novel - you know that in the end it will be happily ever after. 

For fantasy -sameness can sell and does probably quite well.  As a reader, I enjoy familiar worlds - like RPG novels - or Sword and Sorcery /adventure novels - reading for me is not really about the latest novelty (although that is nice as well) it is about being drawn into a world and being entertained. 

Novelty can be entertaining but a well written fantasy with the familiar also has a lot of charm.  For me, as long as it is well written without some of my pet peeves when I read then I will enjoy regardless if it is familiar or a novelty.   

How important is visually picturing the setting of the fantasy world you are reading.  Whether you are starting at the Inn of the Last Home, or in Crydee (in the Kingdom of the Isles), or journeying from the Vale or enjoying the stay in Waterdeep, the picture of the place and the geography is important to imagining the world you are visiting. 

I was recently reading a fantasy series when I noticed something particular about the series.  I could not really picture the world I was reading.  The image I was getting was really confusing and odd. 

The fantasy series takes place mostly in a city although through out the series they do leave the city.  The problem I had was visualizing the city.  The city was the capital of the Empire but it had these magical slum areas (important to understanding the story) that were not subject to the Emperor's rule - these slums connected via bridges to the city - and there were multiple magical slum area each ruled or not ruled independently, in addition to bad areas where it was really bad to venture to.  The oddity of the city was imagining such a weird configuration - as it was hard to picture it; if I had to draw a map of the city it would look really strange assuming I could even draw it out.  As I continued to read the series and when the main characters left the city to travel to other parts of the world - it was even more difficult to imagine the distance and where they were traveling.  The world seemed for me to lack some consistency with geography - it was very difficult to imagine distance and how the world was constructed and how the different races all lived in this world.  At times the world seemed way too small to be a world spanning Empire as the book makes it out to be. 

The setting of Elantra (capital city) the main setting was visually confusing at times - it was hard to imagine such a city in which the main character patrolled as part of her daily policing duties.  It felt like it there were a bunch of small cities within a larger city sort of - but it was hard to imagine it. 

That is not to say that the setting in smaller ways was not visually there - for example - you could fully picture the inside of the "police" station and the insides of certain buildings that the characters traveled to - it was just that the overall geography of the city was confusing and odd to picture. 

For me, it was the lack of geography / mapping / clear visual setting of the area that made it for me difficult to imagine the city or the world in general and really immerse myself in the novel. 

11 books into the series and I was having some difficulty with visualizing the setting (although it only partially distracted me from enjoying the novel). 

[An Aside] While you didn't need to visual the setting to enjoy the series as it was character/plot driven - I would have enjoyed it more if I could have fully imagined the setting without wondering how the world and city were put together in a coherent way. 

What was I reading you ask? -- The Chronciles of Elantra

Back to the topic at hand. 

So as you are reading fantasy novel/series - how important is it for you to visualize the world that you are reading? Do you need lets say a map to help visualize the world? Could you draw out the world as it is described to you or is it rather confused and muddled?

What fantasy novels have you read that struggled with the setting/mapping out of the world?

Finally got around to watching the first couple of episodes and I was surprised, pleasantly shocked and also disappointed in more than a few things. 

One of my biggest issues with the series is how it diverges from the novel:

a) Wil is half-elf in the tv series but in the novel he is about 1/8th of an elf maybe less.  Also he is the grandson of Shea not his son.  This makes the use of the elfstone and its eventually contamination of his blood line (in the Wishsong) that much less significant as Shea used it without any real difficulties after learning to activate it (the novel) and he was already half-elf.  So you have to wonder if the series eventually gets to the Wishsong book how will the directors incorporate how the kids get the power of the Wishsong?

b) the choosing of the Chosen was a bit problematic for me as it was supposed to be a surprise that Amberle was chosen not like the tv series where she fought to join them.  With her desire to join (the tv series) it makes her leaving the Chosen that much more difficult to believe - ie you fought to become one then you leave it so easily.  In the novel, her being chosen was a surprise and as such when she felt herself changing because of it she gave up something that she thought was a mistake - so much more believable. 

c) the meeting of Wil and Eretria - happened way too early - Wil is just going to his training and he meets her.  What kind of coincidences have to occur for them to meet again when Wil and Amberle are fleeing from the demons? The romance between them is so overdone and unbelievable - the bath scene - was for me hilarious and rather out of character for Wil.  And the fact that Wil is not even trained yet before going on this adventure. 

d) Allanon - perhaps it's just my personal taste - but I pictured an Allanon with long hair - not this short army style hair cut - not the image of the druid that I pictured as I read the books.  Plus, the elf princes don't seem to know who he is - while I don't expect them to know who he is by looking at him - the legend of Allanon should be famous - as he is the last druid. 

One of the reasons Allanon goes to Wil is because he has the elfstones to protect Amberle - otherwise why bother picking him as he is neither warrior nor even a healer yet.  And as they meet (in the tv series) Wil doesn't even have the elfstone - thereby making it inevitable that Wil and Amberle and Eretria to meet again - how will Wil get the elfstones back?

Lots of new characters (minor ones) - I don't mind them so much - you sort of expect them. 

Amberle and Eretria meeting - was just odd - as Amberle in the Elven homeland somewhere - its as if the world in the tv series got really small - and all the major characters meet for some odd reason.  Makes it rather unbelievable. 

The good thing was the graphic and scenery where nice. 

A lot of changes from the novel and while you expect some changes - this much - makes it quite different from the novel. 

And interesting adaptation but really altered from the novel.  For those that have not read the Elfstones - you might not want to read it as you watch the tv series - as it will annoy you. 

Will the tv series last.  I predict it might go to a second season (assuming 10-12 episodes a season) and it will then be canceled. 

@magisensei Please could you put all but the first sentence in spoilers?

This was a question thread to the author and it is hard to dig out your actual questions from your opinions and review comments. Maybe you could list them separately?

Sorry about that - I wasn't sure if I should make a new thread about a review on The Copper Promise with already 2 threads about Jen William's novel.  If my review - as it seems more of a review of the novel with a few questions thrown in doesn't fit this thread I wonder if it would be possible to move my post to a new thread about the novel - calling it " The Copper Promise - Review with spoilers."

Sci-Fi, Horror, YA & Urban Fantasy Books / Re: young adult
« on: March 13, 2016, 08:45:33 PM »
What are exactly the differences between Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy?

Younger protagonists (Teens/Early twenties)? Lack of swearing or graphical violence? Both? 

Other common things I read about it:

1)Authors portray lack of experience or maturity by making the characters do stupid things or even shoot themselves in the feet to move the story.

2)Anguish or whining when things go bad.

3)Clumsy love development.

Well, I actually saw these in more "adult" books too, but is something I read about the genre using than in others.

I disagree and agree somewhat with your 3 points.  A lot of adult fantasy characters are stupid and do stupid things that even a child would not do.  Being over 19years doesn't make a character brighter/smarter or wiser - it just makes them older.  Although teen characters may be a little less coherent about why they don't want to learn a skill or study and their reactions may be more child-like if they don't get what they want or is unable to understand the consequences of what they do. 

As for your 2nd point - 'whining when things go bad' - it really depends on how the author writes - I've read a lot of YA fantasy and don't seem them as 'whining' when things go back - they are more stumped at what to do next do to the lack of experience but this also makes it interesting as we get to see how the solve the problem they are in. 

3rd point - I agree with that - love/romance is always difficult for teens - loving for the first time is a real challenge and they probably spend way too much time agonizing over the small things.  But it can be sweat to watch first love bloom.  But love is difficult for adults as well. 

As for lack of swearing and graphic violence - there is in general not a whole lot of swearing in fantasy in general unless you are reading some pretty bad writing - it mostly feels out of place in fantasy; as for graphic violence even Harry Potter was violent at times but the graphic quality is down played some what in YA. 

I think one of the big differences between adult and YA fantasy in general is the writing (less sophisticated writing style); themes are closer linked to themes that teens can relate too - education/learning, first love, first adventure, limited to no experience, trying things for the first time etc - although a larger theme may exist for the entire novel. 

In general, even when adults fantasy begins with teenage characters (Wheel of time for example) these characters mature a lot faster then in a YA fantasy.  Danger is more dangerous for the main characters in adult fantasy than in YA fantasy - consequences of actions or inaction have a deeper impact on what happens - but in YA it tends to only affect them (the main character and their situation).  There is more self discovery - meaning "who am I" in YA - as teens are still wondering who they are - there is less of this in general in adult fantasy with adult characters. 

In general, YA is a bit less dark - meaning if you compare briefly the Hobbit (a YA novel) versus Lord of the Rings - while both have a quest like adventure quality to them - there is a lot more darkness to LOTR than the Hobbit. 

In general YA fantasy has teen characters that reflect teen characters now; while in adult fantasy teen characters are not modeled on what teens are now but on what teens would be like from an older time period in human history. 

In general, YA fantasy has teenagers - they start the story as teens and stay as teens (or slightly older teens) but you really don't get to see them as adults - while in adult fantasy a character might start off as a teen but grows up and matures over the course of the novel so by the end we see an adult character and not a teenager anymore. 

So, I just got around to finishing book 1 The Copper Promise and I do have some questions and thoughts about the novel - a semi-review of the novel is included as well - be warned some spoilers. 

Spoiler for Hiden:
Overall for me it was entertaining - which is a good thing in a novel.  3.75 / 5 - which rates as better than average read but still missing something for me.

The good parts - I enjoyed the dungeon diving like a classical RPG.
Spoiler for Hiden:
But for me it could have been a bit more fleshed out (the dungeon scenes) - yes there was the quirky guardians and the mold and tentacles but what it really lacked for me was magic and a greater sense of danger for a place that was so dangerous.  Also the lack of magical items or gold - made it feel sort of a wasted trip.

What was missing - you ask?

That's a little difficult to fully explain but let me try. 

First, at times
Spoiler for Hiden:
there seems a little disconnect between chapters.  One example - was when Sebastian and Frith decide to go their own way leaving Wydrin behind by herself.  What does she do - she goes home (nothing wrong with that) but then she decides to do a con on a pirate island - which goes very wrong - this rather miscellaneous chapter felt like it was inserted just to get Wydrin's brother injured so she would have to find Frith in order to heal him.  I sort of what wanted to know what happened after the pirate fiasco but not much was mentioned of it.  And then there was the chapter where Frith after using scrying magic is able to locate Fane decides to ignore everything to go after him - while he is painted at times seeking revenge for his family - he knows that the dragon is a bigger threat - for me it just felt odd the placement of this - as if the author needed to finish this little side story in order to complete the main story of the dragon.

Spoiler for Hiden:
- was odd - I didn't really get why magic was no longer available really? Did the locking away of the dragons really limit the availability of magic? But there was one dragon not locked up.  Was it because the mages used it all to trap the dragons? But that would mean that magic was a non-renewable resource and could be exhausted.  And did all the mages die at the end of the conflict with dragons? It sounds quite odd that all of them would die - but even if the masters died would all the apprentices die as well? What happened to all these great mages? Even if they died naturally as no one can live forever - you train students.

Question: Why did magic disappear with a dragon still in the world? Is magic non-renewable resource and exhaustible? Where did all the mages go? Did they not have students? or is it that powerful magic has disappeared leaving only small magic (ie magic glasses)?

Spoiler for Hiden:
Spoiler for Hiden:
Okay one odd part for me and this concerns that magic glasses that Wydrin got - was the odd reaction by the maker of the glasses - she scoffed at the use of them - thinking it would be a horrible thing to have to be able to see the truth.  But if she was monitoring what was happening with Fane and co - then how come she did not realize that the magic of the gauntlet was an illusion - and as such truth magic would allow Wydrin to see through it.  Personally, I thought this was quite clever of Wydrin to think of this - probably the best part of the novel which really showed just how clever and insightful she could be. 

While still on the topic of magic - there are demons and dragons
Spoiler for Hiden:
(although they are referring to themselves as gods) - so where are the good guys ("angels") - while I can understand why a dragon might be considered a god - considering its power and who can really understand a dragon after all.  If there are demons in this world there should be an opposing force against it - evil shouldn't be unopposed - it just felt odd to me - as a world should be balanced between forces of evil and something more benign. 

Question: If demons exist (that means there is evil) why are there no angels/benign higher powers?

Spoiler for Hiden:
The Seal scene in the dungeon
Spoiler for Hiden:
- was it me or was it rather forced - its hard to imagine a friend saying break the seals and they do it - even after breaking one and finding really nothing in the jar - they continue to break one after the other as if possessed which they were not - just a friend saying break them - odd very odd.  You would also expect the seals to be better protected and lets not forget the guardians coming too late to stop them from breaking the seals (even though they were hard to break in the first place).

The resolution
Spoiler for Hiden:
of the novel - for me was probably the most anti-climatic scene that I have read in a while.  Okay I get that the dragon was pissed off and decided to chase them around the globe but it was really odd that it didn't notice anything.  And then after setting it all up - its gone - "poof" and the threat it gone - really quite an anti-climatic non-battle for me.  While the chase scene was cute it seemed to lack the tension of a battle - and it felt odd that the dragon could not catch the griffins or even come close.

The romance
Spoiler for Hiden:
or lack of it or maybe calling it  "the required romantic tension that all good fantasy novel has but missed the mark in this novel" - yes I get that Wydrin likes men who are difficult to deal with - and I don't mind the lack of romance at all but if she realizes that she is like that and that Frith is not that great of a catch - regardless that he is a Lord (although that probably never factored into why she likes him) why like him - and if you like him why not do something about it - the entire "romance" felt rather like an after thought in the story and for me at least didn't flow well. 

Spoiler for Hiden:
- of all main characters he felt the most fleshed out - a former knight (because of his broken vow of chastity and with another knight as well -- so does that make him gay?)  with a chip on his shoulder - willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good or at least to atone for his own deeds - especially since he was involved in the problem (ie the release of the dragon).  I can see him taking up the demon armor to save the masses (although he wasn't able to save anyone in the first battle when he donned the armor).  The annoying thing about Sebastian was his unwillingness to share where he got his armor after he meets up with Wydrin again - I get that he is embarrassed about telling her where he got the armor (because of what happened with Fane and co) but he it seemed odd given that Wydrin was hunted by someone else using a part of the armor - after he found out about her being hunted. 

So we have the former knight character and then we have the lord-turned-newbie mage adventurer character with a huge chip on his shoulder
Spoiler for Hiden:
(the required newbie adventurer in a team of season adventurers - required character for all fantasy adventure novels).  His motivation was easy to understand and although not a great person he was responsible to some degree (he healed Seb from near death and Wydrin's brother and the griffin even knowing the cost).  He was more heroic then given credit for - but at times he felt incomplete as a character - his motivation was revenge - but even that felt sort of like a half motivation.  The revenge scenes - for me at least - could have been a bit more bloody with a bit more satisfaction or lack of it.  He felt like a character needing a purpose which he lacked. 

Wydrin -
Spoiler for Hiden:
there is nothing I like more than a quirky, semi - foul mouthed - adventurer that knows what she likes and is not afraid to say it.  Virgin princesses /witch characters are so overdone.  But I wondered about her as I continued to read the novel.  Was she the token female character in the fantasy adventure - yes she was clever and skilled but really the story could have been solved without her.  She was the most normal of her companions /characters that we meet in the story - because she really had no motive besides gold - and that was a weak motive as it was glossed over.  It felt like she wanted to be a mercenary but she was a bit too moral to do some of the darker deeds (ie burning and killing the drunk pirates) and no looting or treasure hunting while in the dungeon really.  Did Wydrin really have a part in the story or could she really have been anyone to fit the role of the third member of the party.  I wanted more cleverness and sass from her but was sort of let down in the end. 

Gallo (the fourth member)
Spoiler for Hiden:
felt more alive (for a dead guy and a character that only really appeared briefly in the second chapter - he had more motive then either Wydrin or Seb) then most of the main characters.  His ending was anti-climatic and a bit sad - as he got no personally resolution (and I get that sometimes you don't get that in grim fantasy) but the lack of understanding by Seb or Wydrin rang a bit hollow as Wydrin did let him travel with her in search of Seb.

Which sort of leads me to Wydrin's own small conflict with Roki
Spoiler for Hiden:
(a small side subplot) - I get the need for revenge by Roki - what I don't get is why didn't she kill him when she could have.  Yes she needed to show the people that Fane's guards come to defeated but wouldn't killing him of been a better impact instead of leaving him partially maimed leaving us of course with his need for revenge.  And then the entire subplot of Roki's revenge happens and it just feels forced - I get that bad guys are not the brightest people in the world but Wydrin doesn't worry about it at all even after meeting back up with Frith and Seb - not telling them she is being hunted across the globe by this semi-mist killer.  What bothered me was the lack of action on her part - no help from the glass shards she put in her blade - no looking for another set of magic glasses or something - she just taunts him to kill her in person and while that works - she forgets about it - and walks right into a trap.  I really didn't enjoy the Roki revenge subplot - felt really quite forced. 

For a novel about adventures and gold -
Spoiler for Hiden:
as it seems Jen Williams wanted them to be almost mercenary in quality was the lack of the mercenary quality in the characters.  Yes Wydrin got paid and hung around until she got paid - but there was very little looting of dungeons - and at times the gold just felt like an excuse to hang around with Frith. 

On a brief side note - why the name "The Copper Promise" - who was the promise made too?
Spoiler for Hiden:
Was it the Copper Cat - which I initially thought - so who was the promise made to? What was the promise?
Spoiler for Hiden:
I thought it had to with either Wydrin because of her colorful nick name or about money (and her love of it) - but in the end - it just left me wondering about the title. 

This might sound odd but my favorite characters in the entire book
Spoiler for Hiden:
had to be the brood especially 'Thirty-three (aka Ephemeral) and 97 (aka Talisman) - I was even sad when Talisman died the way she did.  I really wanted to know what else would happen to them and how there individual personalities would grow - would they eventually become dragons as well given time? The humorous part of the entire brood with names was that Sebastian a former knight (who might be gay) was at the end the father of an entire group of female dragon-soldiers. 

Another question for Jen - will the brood show up in later novels? What will happen to 33 aka Ephemeral and her sisters?

Adventure - yes it had it - quirky characters yes -
Spoiler for Hiden:
although a bit more fleshing out was needed - some grimness (although I wouldn't call this novel grim fantasy)
- big bad guy - yes it had it - but I wanted more magic, more gold and more sass. 

On to book 2. 

Favorite heroines: here is a small list of some of my favorite heroines

One of my favorite heroines is Nynaeve from the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.  She is courageous, talented and brave and not afraid to say what is on her mind.  She is able to adapt to situations and will rise to the challenge regardless of how difficult it is.  She is brave - willing to risk her life for others and braving the dark forces.  She is not afraid to strand up for what she believes is right - doing what she wants rather than what others expect of her. 

Tris from Circle Opens by Tamora Pierce.  For those that don't know Tamora Pierce - she is a YA author.  Tris is a powerful weather mage (although if you asked her she would rather not be so powerful or be known for being so powerful) but this is the least of what makes her one of my favorite characters.  She is stubborn with things she doesn't want to do but is still willing to do things she doesn't like to do for the greater good.  She has a sharp tongue and she is brilliant so at times she is intimidating and sarcastic to others but she is always willing to help those that are weak and in need of help and as such she is also brave and is able to overcome her own dislikes. 

Esther Diamond by Laura Resnick (Esther Diamond series) - is a partial out of work actress / waitress, she has no special abilities or powers but that doesn't stop her from becoming involved in all sort of supernatural danger in her own series.  She is feisty, charming, witty and at times too stubborn for her own good.  Being without powers does not stop her from helping others and doing what she can. 

Eve Dallas by JD Robb (Death In - mystery series) - Eve is a lieutenant police detective homicide division in this series based in the future.  Although coming from a very bad back ground she rises above her past to become a detective and bring justice to those that have died.  She is brave and courageous almost too much at times, she is so focused at times it is scary, witty and a bit abrasive but she has a great love for her friends and husband who little by little sneak past her armor to become a critical part of her life. 

Kitty Pryde (Uncanny Xmen as written by Chris Claremont) - what is not to love about this feisty but courageous young teenager (just 13yrs) when we are first introduced to her.  She is brilliant and a bit innocent but brave as she is thrown into her first adventure against a group of evil mutants that just captured the Xmen -- with hardly any understanding of her own powers and just her own courage to see her through it all - she is able to save the Xmen (although with some help) and to join the Xmen.  Her adventures will show her intelligence, cleverness, bravery, self sacrifice and leadership abilities as she is faced with aliens, evil mutants, super villains, cosmic threats and discrimination plus all the difficulties of being a teen and mutant in a world that does not accept her.   

Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - witty, smart, stubborn and charming - Liz is one of my favorite heroines in literature.  She is witty and charming at times, but also stubborn and unwilling to bend in the face of adversity.  Although at times her sight is a bit clouded, she is insightful, brave and willing to grow from her mistakes and misunderstandings. 

Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon (The Deeds of Paksenarrion) -Paks is brave and courageous with a strong sense of right and justice - she is one of my favorite heroines from fantasy.  From farm girl she runs away to enlist and become a mercenary.  Brave and courageous she faces many obstacles along the way to become a Paladin. 

Escalla by Paul Kidd (World of Greyhawk RPG novels) - Escalla is a fairy - and a rather annoying one at that -  she is also a mage, adventurer and a thief of sorts- who enjoys her own comforts.  She is a fun character being a bit selfish, carefree, witty, charming, but also brave at times.   She gets into a ton of trouble while adventuring (much to the chagrin of her companions) and seeking to learn more magic -- she cares deeply for her friends - going so far as to go to the underworld to rescue them.

Huang Yong
by Jin Yong from Legend of the Condor Heroes - Huang Yong is the female lead of the Legend of the Condor novels.  She is intelligent, clever (she plays tricks on others especially the villains), brave (jumps into a fight) and she does things in her own way.  When we first meet her, she is disguised as a beggar (after having run away from home) and arguing with a waiter about food before conning a young man to pay for her.   She is determined doing what she wants - especially choosing her own husband (which does not happen in China - parents pick them) and fighting to keep him in the face of parental disapproval.  She fights to protect her love from any and all forces (evil villains, invading armies, parental disapproval, misunderstandings etc) that seek to separate them as they adventure through the wuxia world. 

Writers' Corner / Re: Does it seem cliche?
« on: March 06, 2016, 08:44:10 PM »
While not cliche there have been similar versions of this as others have said - I will add Macross (anime) as a version of this type of plot; and even stargate sg-1 (tv series) as something similar. 

A few questions - why is space travel not viable? What are the governments like in this near future? How near is near? Who discovers this spacecraft? What is found? Why weapons and not engine technology to travel space? How do humans even reverse engineer alien tech? More interesting I think is -- what is the outcome of finding the alien ship to humanity? Doesn't this space craft reveal finally to humans that we are not alone in this universe - isn't that a more important concept than building weapons - (unless the humans believe that for some reason the aliens will come back and prepare for this but why -- since it really is ten of thousands of years old).  Would a war (on earth) break out because of this find to see who would possess it? ie non-believers or religious fanatics vs science community / governments? Would this find be told to the mass of people and what would the consequences be if alien were real? Would humanity be able to really understand that they are not the only sentient beings in the universe? etc

I guess the real question is what type of book are you wanting to writing - sci-fi adventure; alien vs humans; alien discovery and its consequences? military sci-fi?

To answer your question about whether or not S+S is unappealing in the 21st century, I think you first need to look at its covers. 

Just the image that you put up - shows why it has fallen out of favor to some degree.  Here we have a muscular almost unclad barbarian in a powerful pose but we also have another image of a woman - also scantily dressed but in a very passive position - like a very weak damsel in distress or a prize to be won. 

I think that S+S need to update how it imagines this world to some degree.  In the 21st century do these images appeal to the masses anymore? No we need to read about muscular barbarians and damsels in distresses as prizes to be won - no, I don't think so - or at least not ones that are so obvious in its portrayal of gender differences. 

While some might argue that S+S has had strong female characters - and I can agree that there are some - eg Red Sonja etc - these woman warriors are also treated almost like sex objects - is a bikini chain mail really a practical armor to wear – although you might say that the male warrior is also in a bikini as well but oddly enough he is almost never posed as a sexual object and more of a naked bloody barbarian warrior hero.  I think as readers we are searching for more than this in our stories and cover art. 

That is not to say that S+S does not remain popular to some degree in different mediums even if it does less well in printed word medium.  Conan and Red Sonja as comic are still being produced and still have a following. 

For S+S in fantasy – I think it needs to evolve or at least change to some degree and I think it has done that.  Do we really need the half naked barbarian slashing and hacking through his latest adventure or do we want something a little bit more complex than a bloody battle followed by looting and winning the damsel in distress. 

I think we can see S+S still in popular fantasy: Sub-genres like grim fantasy has sort of taken the traditional S+S and just made it darker with less heroism and honor and more darkness and selfishness.  While other sub-genres like the thief / assassin protagonist (still with the essence of S+S) has moved away from the strapping muscle bound barbarian to a more “anti-hero” character that is a little more sophisticated and worldly but still skilled in doing there job. 

While more traditional S+S might not be published as frequently – there are many fantasy novels that still possess some of the essence of the sword and sorcery genre in their own stories.  When we read about individual adventures by thieves, mages or assassins – these protagonist characters continue the trend of sword and sorcery – it’s just that they no longer rely on the muscle bound barbarian nor the scantily clad female to sell books. 

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