Posts Tagged ‘trilogies’

I’m Sensing a Trend

Happy Tuesday, squiders! I just finished reading The Riddle-Master of Hed by Patricia A. McKillip, which is the first of a fantasy trilogy and was published in 1976.

Do you know what the book reminded me of?

The Finnbranch trilogy that we did the disastrous readalong of over the summer last year.

I mean, The Riddle-Master of Hed is a much better book, but it involved a lot of the same elements: young man whose destiny has been determined far in the past, a bunch of supernatural people, shape-shifters from the sea, a lot of wandering around, and a bunch of pretty thick mythology.

(Wikipedia tells me that the book features themes from Celtic mythology, which Finnbranch did as well, though McKillip is not quite so obvious about it.)

From this, I can only conclude that this was a fairly active fantasy subgenre in the late ’70s/early ’80s. I mean, what are the odds that the two fantasy novels from essentially the same time period (As I said, this one was published in 1976, and the first Finnbranch novel, Yearwood, is from 1980) I’ve picked up in the last six months would be so similar in tone and themes?

(I suppose it could say more about me than the publishing trends of the time. Obviously something drew me to pick up both trilogies, whatever the heck it was. This is what happens when you hoard books for years. You have no idea what you were thinking.)

Does anyone read more of the period of fantasy/remember this period in fantasy? Was this a trend? If so, what would you say is the quintessential book of the “destined young man who is more than he seems with story drowning in mythology” genre so I can get it out of the way? (Or avoid it entirely. Still not sure.)

I wish I’d done this trilogy first. It’s probably way more enjoyable without the Finnbranch flashbacks. I will probably read the next two books, because now I’m invested, and also the third book was nominated for the Hugo and a bunch of other awards.

Read this series, squiders? Thoughts? (No spoilers yet, please!)

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Following a Series Real-Time

Yesterday, I finished the last book in Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy, Morning Star. I picked the first book up right after it came out in early 2014, thanks to a note about it in the newspaper, and have read each subsequent book within a month of them being released.

It’s the first time in a long time that I have followed a series so closely. In fact, Harry Potter was probably the last example, and it wasn’t until Order of the Phoenix that I actually started paying attention to the releases for those. Normally I come in after the series is all the way out, or when it’s most of the way finished, like Harry Potter. So it’s been an interesting experience, you know, actually having to wait for the next book.

At first I thought I’d talk about Morning Star exclusively, but then I realized that it wasn’t the only series I’d been following. I also recently finished the second book of Erika Johansen’s Tearling books. A few months after it came out (last July, I believe), but still fairly timely, and definitely ahead of the next book (which is due in November).

Very different animals, these two trilogies. And so has been my reaction to both of them.

  • During the actual reading of each of the Red Rising books, there were points where I contemplated dropping the series, because the main character is sometimes not an easy person to ride along with, and there’s a lot of moral ambiguity throughout. But always at the end, the book would catch my interest again so that I not only knew I’d read the next book, but that I’d look for it actively. The end of Morning Star was also satisfying for the whole trilogy, even though, for a while, it didn’t look like we were going to get there (the main character became an unreliable narrator there for a bit, which was jarring but also awesome, and I am conflicted about the whole thing).
  • The first Tearling book, The Queen of the Tearling, was awesome. I really really liked it. The second book (Invasion of the Tearling) I did not like. At all. It’s different in tone, subject matter, characterization. So, now I find myself wondering whether or not to look into the third book. Am I invested enough now that I have to see it through to the end? Do I want to see it through to the end?

What do you prefer, Squiders, reading each book as they come out, being up to date and on the edge? Or waiting until all the books are out so you don’t have to wait (and, presumably, can tell better if a series will fit your tastes all the way through)?

(Red Rising is far future scifi with a dystopian bent, the Tearling books are high fantasy with a scifi-y-ish twist, if those sound interesting to you.)