Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

REVIEW: [SFR Classics] Dragon Bones / Dragon Blood by Patricia Briggs

Dragon BonesDear Ms. Briggs,

I always approach an old favorite with trepidation. So often they were favorites because of the person I was at that time in my life, and having changed, they no longer affect me as they once did. But sometimes I’m lucky and I find that it was something more timeless and I love the book as much as ever.

I’m a long-time lover of science fiction romance, and have been reading it since the 70s, even though I didn’t have any concept of the sub-genre at the time. I’m going to be revisiting some of the classics, those books considered must reads that I haven’t read in ages. I expect that I won’t love some as much as I once did. I’m happy to say that the first I chose, a favorite of both mine and Jane’s, is one of those timeless ones, your Dragon Bones / Dragon Blood.

Honestly, I was hard-pressed to come up with any criticism of this book. I sat down after re-reading it and tried to come up with something I’d have changed had I written it myself, and I couldn’t think of a thing. That’s the way it is with a book you see as a classic, I suppose. There are a couple of things that I think others might complain of though, so first I’ll describe why I love these books, and then what I think might give romance readers pause in reading them.

One thing I love is that, though this is a fantasy and a very original one, it feels very real. Ward, the main character, is someone I believed in, a real human being, and I was with him every step of the way. He’s a hero, but more of a hero that fell into his role. Ward is a natural leader – people respect him. Part is because of his noble blood line, part is because of his size and strength. But Ward has a problem. When he was young, his father beat him so severely it affected his brain and rendered him unable to anything but simplest magic, his ability to Find things. It also affected his thinking.

His father saw him as a rival, and didn’t want to be killed off the same way that he himself had killed his own father, so he’d attacked and rendered Ward harmless. Or so he and everyone thought. Ward still had some wits about him, and to protect himself played the harmless imbecile, though one powerful enough to hurt those who harmed the ones he cared for.

When the story opens, Ward’s father dies. Ward’s uncle is appointed guardian. We immediately start to question the motives of everyone around Ward, and we question Ward’s ability to see clearly. How much we can rely upon his observations is something we have to learn as the story progresses. Because most of the story is told first person from his point of view, we, like his people, have to come to know and trust him.

I loved that about the story. It brought all of it that much closer to the reader, because I was right in there with his companions, only with a slightly better seat. There were layers to this story that I needed to think through to arrive at the truth.

This carries over into the few chapters told from others’ points of view at the royal court. The king sees plots everywhere, possibly because many are, and he kills anyone whom he suspects, or else places them in an institution for the insane. He becomes convinced Ward is a threat and orders him committed.
Dragon Blood
Other things I liked: The pace of the book and how they spent time where it was needed to make it more realistic. Some books jump from one action scene to the next, forgetting that much of what we learn of characters, and their growth, take place between the action. Here you used things like periods of training during travel to allow characters to get to know each other and develop relationships that are all important. This made the book flow very naturally as well from one section to the next.

It also made their struggles more convincing. Their hell lasts and hurts, and their happiness and successes feel all the more deserved because of it.

I also liked the way new characters and scenes were brought in. First we learn about Ward via first person, then are introduced one by one to the players, remembering that while the portraits seem clear that we’re seeing through Ward’s eyes and those aren’t necessarily reliable.

The world building here was quite good as well. The society was complex and drawn with a sufficient number of interesting characters that it was convincing. Regarding the magic, while this is fantasy, the magic is minimal, especially in the first book. But the use of magic was consistent and had a price. People didn’t walk away unscathed from it. This also makes the world building more convincing, as does the way your world has echoes in ours. It’s not unlike the Renaissance. It reminded me of Italy under the Borgias.

What do I think people might complain about? I know some people just don’t like first person narration, especially where romance is involved. Ward’s chapters are all first person. I think it’s vital that they are for reasons stated above. Tisala’s, the heroine’s, are third person. This too feels right, because it gave you a chance to paint a broader picture, something important in the second book.

That leads me to something that might well drive romance readers nuts. Tisala appears only minimally in the first book, and in the second book, Tisala and Ward spend a fair amount of time apart. Someone looking for a romance-novel-like focus on their relationship would probably be disappointed. This is a fantasy containing romance, and while that romance and relationships are very important to the books, the romance isn’t the point of the books.

Even thought the two spent time apart, I found their relationship to be a convincing one. They both had trust and image issues to work around, and they spend enough time talking and interacting with each other that the feelings that grew between them, and we do see them grow, made sense. By the time the ending rolls around, where they end up is where you’ve been leading them.

And while I suppose some people would have liked more romance in the first book, or at least more participation from the heroine, I wouldn’t want it. There wasn’t room. Things had to be taken care of before Ward or Tisala could even think about anything else.

This all leads to what I love most about sfr: There are no boundaries to the romance. There is no box to step outside of. Everything is unexpected, so what happens tends to hit harder because you don’t have a guaranteed HEA. So when one comes along, it just feels more potent to me, especially in the hands of someone who can make us feel for her characters each step of the way.

Dragon Bones and Dragon Blood felt like classics to me when I first read them. I’m happy to say they still do. I’d recommend them not only to lovers of sfr, but to fantasy readers who enjoy a character based story with some political kick to it. And also to paranormal romance readers who want to try a story that while it contains romance, would immerse them in a world more thoroughly than most paranormals I’ve read.

Sincerely,
ジェーン
(Jān)

Dragon Bones and Dragon Blood can be purchased in paperback at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony here and here or other etailers.

reads any genre as long as the books aren't depressing. Her preferred reads these days are in manga format and come from all manga genres, but she especially likes romance, doubly so when there are beautiful men involved. With each other. Her favorites among currently-running English-translated manga series include NANA, Ze, Ouran High School Host Club, Junjou Romantica, Blood Alone, Vampire Knight, Skip Beat, Silver Diamond and anything by the holy triumvirate of BL: Ayano Yamane, Kazuma Kodaka and Youka Nitta, including any scribbles they might do on the backs of napkins.

29 Comments

  1. Heather H
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 19:17:06

    Wonderful review!
    I read Patricia Briggs a couple years ago and now I am rereading her old stuff as I wait for her new stuff to be published (the Alpha #2 book got pushed back until Aug). She is an amazing storyteller that has real, flesh and blood characters. I ‘m glad someone else sees her stuff as classics. I love romance but I don’t mind the sf if it has heart and soul.
    Thanks! Oh – and if anyone has Masques can you let me borrow it? I can’t find that book of hers anywhere.

  2. Collette
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 19:38:14

    These are on my keeper shelf, along with everything else I own by her. Great review–you’ve really identified all the things that make me really love her work.

  3. (Jān)
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 19:44:26

    Heather, don’t waste your money on Masques. If it were in print and selling at normal prices, fine. But at the prices I see on addall.com ($130-$650), it’s not worth it. It’s very obviously a first book, and very different from those she’s writing now.

    She’s really grown as a writer. The deft way she sketches characters and puts a plot together just blows me away.

  4. MaryK
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 19:49:45

    I loved Dragon Bones! I haven’t read Dragon Blood (haven’t been able to get through the opening scene yet), but I will eventually.

  5. (Jān)
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 20:00:40

    @MaryK, there are some moments that are tough to read in Dragon Bones, especially because they’re written first person from Ward’s POV so you’re living it with him. And for Tisala the beginning was awful (in terms of what it was about, not in terms of the writing), but mercifully short.

    I’d recommend that you just try to push past it and get it over with. For me, if I know the basics of a scene like that I don’t need to know more. There really are no details within it that are pertinent, except how she deals with it generally, then and later. So if you wanted to skim it, it wouldn’t hurt your understanding of the book later.

  6. Donna (Fantasy Dreamer)
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 20:53:43

    I have read Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series to date, I plan reading her other books as well. I love her writing style. The Mercy Thompson series is on my auto buy list and I’m hoping her other books will effect me the same way.

  7. (Jān)
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 22:08:04

    Donna, her earlier books aren’t urban fantasy, but they’re so good. You’ll love them! I’m jealous that you have all of them to look forward to.

  8. emily
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 22:12:39

    According to Patty at a recent booksigning, Masques and the sequel will be printed in one book in the next year or so, so don’t buy it. Sometimes you can get a copy on Ebay for a reasonable price.

    I’ve been reading Patty’s stuff for years and would always buy two copies of her books new just to make sure her sales were up enough for her to continue to get published. She’s fabulous!! Although I may be the only person who loves her early stuff and isn’t that wild about the Mercy books. But then I’m sick of vamps and werewolves, so it’s more my problem than hers.

  9. (Jān)
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 22:19:28

    That’s great news Emily! Thanks for letting us know.

    I prefer her non-vampire stuff too for the same reason as you, but I have to say Moon’s Call was one of the best urban fantasies I’d read in a long time. I almost didn’t pick it up when it came out, but Jane here thought I should try it and I’m really glad I listened to her.

  10. madscientistnz
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 23:56:18

    I don’t know that I could say which of Patricia Briggs books is my favourite, but Dragon Bones/Dragon Blood are the ones I identify with the most.

    About Masques, you can go to Hurog.com and somewhere on the forum is a place where you can sign up to borrow a copy of Masques. This is how I got to read it (my review is here.) It is indeed a first book, I think its worth waiting to read until it is re-written and combined with the sequel.

  11. Selene
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 00:14:36

    While I really liked the idea of these books, they failed in the execution for me and ended up just average. Mostly because I thought the characterizations were weak in parts (especially in the second novel, where Ward got over some “problems” rather too easily). All in all, the novels struck me as rather, well, flat. It wasn’t helped by the many predictable parts of the plot.

    I think Briggs is one of those authors who writes competently enough, but whose voice is just not my cup of tea. I can never quite suspend disbelief and see her characters as real people, and once that happens any other weaknesses stand out all the more because I’ll read completely with my (over)-analytical mind. Nailini Singh is another author I feel the same way about, and I think their styles have definite similarities.

    Selene

  12. (Jān)
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 00:52:31

    @Selene, I feel that way about Singh’s books too, but just don’t feel it with Briggs.

    I thought that Ward didn’t get over his problems so much as start to get over his problems, which made a big difference to me. It seemed like once he and Tisala decided to marry, they became a wounded pair that understood one another’s problems and that they would be facing them for a long time to come, but with each other’s support. I get pretty annoyed with books where torture and rape are brushed aside, so I noticed that there was no easy answer for them and was pleased.

    I also think that the danger of writing first person is that the other characters can take hits in their development. Some of the minor characters weren’t all that strong to me, like some of the politicians and such, or the dwarf king. In a GRRM book they would be. Here, they aren’t, but I honestly didn’t miss it. But Ward’s companions were, I think, told well from his point of view, especially considering the layers she had to write into his POV.

    Because she had to write them that way, I extrapolated their characters in my head, basing them upon what he saw, how he saw it, what I knew of him, and then put it all together to come up with more than what was on the page. I believe they have more depth than just what the simple descriptions give them. Of course, that tends to give them more reality to me, and I identify with them more closely. I don’t know if that was intended, but it results in a strong set of characters for me.

  13. Aoife
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 07:41:38

    I am a huge fan of Brigg’s writing, but I agree that she has definitely gotten better. While I enjoyed the Dragon B’s, they aren’t the books I go back to for regular re-reads, which I still do with The Hob’s Bargain and all the Mercy Thompson books. There is something about the way she writes her characters in those books that seems very genuine to me, and which I think is hard to do, especially in UF.

  14. Donna (Fantasy Dreamer)
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 07:56:55

    @(Jān): I love reading Fantasy. :) So, it should be right down my alley. I’m a big Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance reader. I just started getting into the Urban Fantasy genre this past year, since about September last year. Glad I’ve finally discovered it, found so many new authors, like Patricia Briggs. Not sure how I missed seeing her books before.

  15. CD
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 09:58:15

    All in all, the novels struck me as rather, well, flat. It wasn't helped by the many predictable parts of the plot.

    Speaking as someone who reads a lot of fantasy, I really enjoyed DRAGON BONES/BLOOD but have to agree that the plot was very predictable, and the world-building was pretty generic. What Briggs is good at though, is creating fun and sympathetic characters, and most importantly in fantasy, knowing when to end already. As her books are very short and usually standalone – those characters are enough to sustain a very pleasant couple of hours of entertainment. By no means up to the standards of GRRM, Robin Hobb or Bujold et al, but a lot LOT better than Robert Jordan.

    I actually think that she does a lot better with Urban Fantasy than straight fantasy – the genre seems to fit her style a lot better. I think her urban fantasy is up there with the best.

  16. Heather H
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 10:02:10

    CD- who is GRRM? Love Robin Hobb too. ANy other authors you recommend?

  17. (Jān)
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 10:30:40

    GRRM is George RR Martin, who writes a Song of Ice and Fire. I think it’s kind of pointless to compare what Briggs does to what he (or Hobbs) does. They’re two completely different beasts, both very good in their own ways, both with different focuses and purposes, both with their own areas that could stand improvement. One could say that GRRM could stand to look at Briggs to remove all the bloating in his series and trim it to make as tight a book as she writes. But then, it wouldn’t be GRRM any more.

    I have this argument with another reviewer here about Sharon Shinn. She loves her ‘complex’ books, as do I, but I think her best book is The Shape-changer’s Wife. It’s deceptively simple, but is brilliant for all that. There don’t have to be a lot of words for a book to say a lot or to say it well.

  18. Heather H
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 10:56:24

    Jan -I will have to put GRRM on my list. I enjoyed the Shape Changer’s WIfe but I think Shinn was still honing her craft. Although…I think it reveals something about us as readers when different things touch us about the same author. Very Cool.

    I am partial to feel good endings that aren’t artificial. Briggs does that for me. And I like quirky characters. I just was sent Raven’s Strike (another Briggs) from Paper Back Swap so I am waiting impatiently for nap time so I can get busy. I have Janet Evanovich’s new one waiting for me too but it is starting to loose it’s magic. I need closure not dragging it out to make a buck.

    Selene – I appreciate your thoughts on Briggs not being your “cup of tea” -I like when people can view their thoughts without ripping apart an author. Very well thought out. Do you like sf/fantasy? Who is your “cup of tea”?

  19. MaryK
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 11:12:04

    @(Jān): Oh, The Shape-changer’s Wife. That’s a great book. It’s the only Shinn I’ve read so far. Was it written as a YA book, do you know?

    I extrapolated their characters in my head, basing them upon what he saw, how he saw it, what I knew of him, and then put it all together to come up with more than what was on the page. I believe they have more depth than just what the simple descriptions give them. Of course, that tends to give them more reality to me, and I identify with them more closely.

    I admire this technique of leaving just enough gaps in just the right places to guide the reader to imagine a fuller description. It can lead to a richer book. I think of it as taking “show don’t tell” to another level. [This makes sense in my head anyway!]

  20. (Jān)
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 13:52:21

    @Heather, I’ve recommended GRRM to a few people here. The thing about Song of Ice and Fire though is that the first book is incredible, the second a little less so, the third much less so, and at that point I got really bored and stopped, because he kept adding more and more and I stopped caring.

    You may want to try some of his other works first. Fevre Dream is a great vampire novel that takes place on the Mississippi river (he’s really good at horror – The Pear-shaped Man is just an incredibly creepy story, if you get the chance to read it.) The Way of Cross and Dragon is an excellent short story, a fantasy about Judas. His stories often remind me of Twilight Zone episodes, and it’s probably no coincidence that he ended up writing for that show (and Beauty and the Beast as well). Song of Fire and Ice took him to a whole new level. I’m just sad that it turned into a bit of a mess, and one that may never be finished at this rate.

    I think Shinn’s style has changed, but that her first book wasn’t a reflection of a need to change. Some authors come out with first books that make you think, “It can only get better.” I won’t mention names. ;P Others, like Edith Layton, have a first book that just blows me away and they never reach that height for me again. I think for some, they spend years on that first one and hone it. I feel like Shinn did that.

    @MaryK, The Shape-changer’s Wife was written as an adult book as far as I know.

  21. Chrissy
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 14:06:03

    Sharon Shinn is one of my absolute faves, along with Melanie Rawn.

    I’m going to add these to my lists.

  22. Tae
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 16:13:16

    I have read everything Patty has published. A friend gave me Moon Called to read and I had to go back and find her backlist. I love her fantasy books. Fantasy is my preferred genre to read. I love the romantic elements in all her books, and she’s never disappointed.

  23. Claire
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 16:23:53

    I wanted to add some oldie but goodie sci-fi romance books that you may (or may not..in that case you’re a lucky dog!) have read. They were all soooooo good.

    Water Witch by Cynthia Felice and Connie Willis. I read it many years after it was published and went to read all the books in existence by both of these authors…only to find out that their other work, was just not the same.

    Timeshadow Rider by Ann Maxwell as well as her Dancer’s series

    Now this next series by Sharon Green is not romance at least not in a strict sense but they were very interesting stories in what i would have classified at the time as a blend of science fiction, fantasy, and romance-I pulled the list from her website dates and all-
    The Crystals of Mida, DAW, 1982
    The Warrior Within, DAW, 1982
    The Warrior Enchained, DAW, 1983
    An Oath to Mida, DAW, 1983
    Chosen of Mida, DAW, 1984
    The Warrior Rearmed, DAW, 1984
    Mind Guest, DAW, 1984
    Gateway to Xanadu, DAW, 1985
    The Will of the Gods, DAW, 1985
    To Battle the Gods, DAW, 1986
    The Warrior Challenged, DAW, 1986
    Rebel Prince, DAW, 1986
    The Warrior Victorious, DAW, 1987
    Mists of the Ages, DAW, 1988

  24. CD
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 18:02:47

    GRRM is George RR Martin, who writes a Song of Ice and Fire. I think it's kind of pointless to compare what Briggs does to what he (or Hobbs) does. They're two completely different beasts, both very good in their own ways, both with different focuses and purposes, both with their own areas that could stand improvement. One could say that GRRM could stand to look at Briggs to remove all the bloating in his series and trim it to make as tight a book as she writes. But then, it wouldn't be GRRM any more.

    Well, my opinion is that GRRM is unquestionably a better writer than Briggs in every aspect, but to be fair he’s one of the best writers of any genre so you can’t really hold that against her ;-). If you read any of his standalone novels and novellas even before he started writing Very Long Fantasy Epics, I think you can see that he can write tight when he wants to.

    I do want to stress that I enjoy Briggs a lot – but IMO she’s just not a great fantasy writer. As mentioned, her plots are predictable and often don’t stand up to scrutiny, and her world-building is bland at best and often inconsistent. I don’t think it’s to do with the sort of books she writes – even if you compare her with Robin McKinley’s Damar books for example, which are also short and written for a similar audience, I think it’s clear than McKinley is just better at her craft.

    To give Briggs kudos, she’s obviously aware where her strenghts lie and how far to push her narrative – something which many other fantasy writers [*cough* Robert Jordan] never discovered. And her books are very enjoyable. I just think she’s definitely much more at home with urban fantasy where I think she’s actually one of the better writers of that genre.

    I am a pretty hard core fantasy reader so that probably factors into the equation in terms of what I look for.

    CD- who is GRRM? Love Robin Hobb too. ANy other authors you recommend?

    Well, there’s a whole load of suggestions here and here without even having to leave this site! Apart from Bujold and Carey (obviously), I would recommend the following especially to romance readers: Catherine Asaro, Barbara Hambly, Judith Tarr, Sharon Lee/Steve Miller, Kate Elliot, Juliet Marillier, Martha Wells, Ellen Kushner, Sarah Monette and Michelle West (nee Sagara). Tons of others if you’re not so picky about having a romance subplot…

  25. (Jān)
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 18:29:30

    @CD, I think GRRM is good, and his first book of A Song of Ice and Fire is unquestionably a classic (I’ve been reading fantasy for forty years btw, and GRRM since he started publishing; I don’t think it’s a question of experience). His character Tyrion is one of the most memorable in fantasy. But his books and Briggs have nothing in common except their genre. He writes, or wrote, to his strengths, she writes to hers. It doesn’t mean one is better. It means you prefer one.

    @Heather, I sent a list to Jane of books in my library I was considering reviewing, because either they’re considered classics, or I consider them to be SFR favorites of mine. This is the list. I have no idea how many I’ll get to. I can’t say that I recommend all of them wholeheartedly, but I did enjoy reading them all.

    CATCH THE LIGHTNING by Catherine Asaro
    THE BLACK JEWELS SERIES by Anne Bishop
    WAR FOR THE OAKS by Emma Bull
    SHARDS OF HONOR/A CIVIL CONTRACT by Lois McMaster Bujold
    A THOUSAND WORDS FOR STRANGER by Julie Czernada
    DANCER OF THE SIXTH by Michelle Shirey Crean
    TAM LIN by Pamela Dean
    SPACE BEAST by Max Daniels (aka Roberta Gellis)
    TAMING THE FOREST KING by Claudia J Edwards
    STARDUST by Neil Gaiman
    MOONHEART by Charles DeLint
    STRANGER AT THE WEDDING by Barbara Hambly
    THE THREAD THAT BINDS THE BONES by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
    THE FIRE’S STONE by Tanya Huff
    HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE by Diane Wynne Jones
    SWORDSPOINT by Ellen Kushner
    THE FIRE ROSE by Mercedes Lackey
    LIADEN SERIES by Miller and Lee
    TEA WITH THE BLACK DRAGON by RA MacAvoy
    THE CHANGEOVER by Margaret Mahy
    SEVENWATERS TRILOGY by Juliet Marillier
    DRAGONFLIGHT by Anne McCaffrey
    THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD/THE CHANGELING SEA by Patricia A. McKillip
    THE BLUE SWORD by Robin McKinley
    THE DARKANGEL TRILOGY by Meredith Ann Pierce
    TIGER AND DEL SERIES by Jennifer Roberson
    ARCHANGEL by Sharon Shinn
    ALIEN TASTE or TINKER by Wen Spencer
    A COLLEGE OF MAGICS by Caroline Stevermer
    THE BLOSSOM OF ERDA by LA Taylor
    INTO THE DARKLANDS/CAST IN SHADOW by Michelle Sagara
    STARDOC by SL VIEHL
    SORCERY AND CECILIA by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

  26. Aoife
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 18:32:47

    Well, my opinion is that GRRM is unquestionably a better writer than Briggs in every aspect, but to be fair he's one of the best writers of any genre so you can't really hold that against her ;-).

    I don't think it's to do with the sort of books she writes – even if you compare her with Robin McKinley's Damar books for example, which are also short and written for a similar audience, I think it's clear than McKinley is just better at her craft.

    Hmm. I don’t agree with this. I’m not a fan of GRRM, but very much enjoy most of the other authors listed, so it’s not a matter of liking or being familiar with Fantasy. I’ve been reading SF and F for over 40 years, and there is plenty of variation in the verbosity, world-building, and styles of very fine, and very different writers. Briggs just writes a different type of story than GRRM, that doesn’t make her a lesser writer. Comparing what she writes to McKinley’s Blue Sword or Hero and the Crown is also inaccurate, since McKinley’s books were written for a much younger audience, and Briggs is likely to include very non-YA topics in everything she’s written. Different strokes and all that.

  27. Aoife
    Jul 23, 2009 @ 18:36:38

    @Jan Yes, please, please review Stranger at the Wedding! I wish more people knew about this wonderful book.

  28. Selene
    Jul 24, 2009 @ 00:51:47

    @Jān )

    I think first person is hard to pull off really well; it requires more skill than third person, where you can fudge things more. Briggs did a fair job, IMO, and avoided some of the more common traps, but I don’t think these books are masterpieces of writing craft. It’s certainly possible to characterize other characters without being in their heads–heck, I think I know some people fairly well, and I’m never in their heads. :-)

    Anyway, I know what you mean about filling in the gaps. That happens to me too sometimes. It’s like the author’s voice sparks my imagination in some fashion and fleshes out the book.

    @Heather
    I’ve read a lot of fantasy, but I’m rather new to Romance, which I’ve only been reading for a year or so. Some of my favorites (that haven’t been mentioned already):

    In Legend Born, by Laura Resnick. Wonderful characterizations, no “greater evil enemy”, a love-story that spans the trilogy. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. Beautiful worldbuilding, great characterizations. A gritty caper novel in a Renaissance-type fantasy world. Dark Sun Rising by Friedman. Morally ambiguous characters for those of us who value “interesting” above “sympathetic”. (Some are sympathetic, too :-)) Very thought-out, detailed worldbuilding that is integral to the plot.

    Selene

  29. MaryK
    Jul 24, 2009 @ 09:48:18

    @(Jān): That looks like a great list. I’ve read a few of them (love Howl’s Moving Castle and the Spencer books) and quite a few of the others are on my list to read sometime. I’ll look forward to any reviews you can manage.

%d bloggers like this: