Saturday, October 2, 2010

Urban Fantasy

Hi my dear readers! I know it´s been a while, Well okay, two days but for me it seems like quite a while. September was special for me because I only read books by male authors as kind of experiment for myself. I also had a few of my blogger friends over to share their favorite books written by male authors, There is one gest post I haven´t been able to post in time however. My whole family has come down witha very nasty flu… in the last two days, my head hurt as well as my eyes, nose, throat, every limb and even my hair. Yes, when I´m sick I like to wallow in self-pity from time to time. Now that it seems I might live through it, I´ve decided I can safly start blogging again. :)

So, here´s the very last guest post I want to present to you! Please all welcome Pam from The Midnyte Reader! Also, please make sure to chekc out her blog, she writes really insightful reviews and is totally awesome!

Midnyte reader

Christine of Reading on the Dark Side was one of the first people who reached out to me when I first started blogging and I have found her blog to be interesting, fun, clever, unique and thoughtful. So I was extremely honored when she asked me to do a guest post for her MANtasy feature. In fact, I was darn near speechless! But that is counterproductive to a blogger, so I got work right away.

When I asked Christine the reason behind MANtasy she told me that she realized that she didn’t one book by a male author. “I started to ask myself why it is that I seem to prefer female authors… because I can identify more with a female character or if there simply aren't that much male authors writing Urban Fantasy or PNR… “

I agree that the market of urban fantasy and PNR is mostly female. Male authors seem to abound in the Horror and Thriller section. (In fact, one author said in a recent seminar I attended, “…Nicholas Sparks writes love stories NOT romance.” Ha, funny.) Is this the typical male and female stereotypes? Women want romance and action and men want action and action? With sex? Or is this an unfair portrayal and maybe we are just victims of the publishing industry and what they put on the shelves?

Instead of dissecting stereotype dilemmas and gender publishing issues, I’m just going to point out a few authors who happen to be male and have written absolutely wonderful Urban Fantasy books.

Charles de lint Charles de Lint – Before I even knew that Urban Fantasy was a genre I was reading Charles de Lint. I consider him the King of Urban Fantasy and he just happens to be my favorite author. De Lint writes strong female characters as well as male. His writing is, in a word, beautiful. He is also a musician and brings this talent to his prose. His words are melodic, his dialogue lyrical and his characters are strong notes and the basis of his stories. The people he writes about are real and his stories have heart. He has written books that were what my soul ached for and I wish I could live on his pages.

De Lint is lauded for writing female characters realistically. They are relatable, varied, interesting, strong, smart, and cool and I want to hang out with most of them. Many have overcome tremendous heartache or are forced to learn about themselves and the world around them or both. There is even some romance among his stories.

Check out this interview on his website and cursor down to “Female Characters.” He discusses his view of female characters and his insights on why he writes them so well.

never never William Shetterly – Imagine that the Faery Realm has appeared in our world and there is a place called Bordertown that lies on the edge of our world that leads to theirs. Magic exists, but technology is iffy and life on the Border can be both beautiful and dangerous. The Borderlands was created by Terri Windling as a shared universe and several authors have written books and stories that take place there.

Shetterly wrote Never, Never and Elsewhere which both take place in this realm. In Never, Never, main character Ron goes to Bordertown to discover the reason for his brother’s suicide. He meets a host of other colorful people and begins to feel comfortable and accepted in his new life. But of course things start to fall apart and Ron undergoes drastic changes. Elsewhere is the follow up book where the reader discovers how Ron has adapted to these changes. Shetterly drew me into Ron’s life and his life in B-town. Both books have a realistic and dark edge to them. All the characters are fun, real and interesting. Both stories drew me in. Urban Fantasy at its best. (For other books that take place in Bordertown, check out Terri Windling and Emma Bull).

Summer countryJames A. Hetley – This author wrote a novel titled The Summer Country about Maureen, a troubled young woman who is drawn into forces beyond her control because s he is one of the “Old Ones” right out of Celtic mythology. Maureen has to quickly determine that what is happening to her is not her own mental issues. She uses her intelligence to overcome the frightening and deadly situation she has found herself in. Hetley portrayed Maureen as kind of rough and dark, but I liked her uniqueness as a character. She definitely has flaws, just like everyone! Hetley’s world portrays a magical fantasy land as it might exist in today’s world, but with a very dark element. Some people felt it was too violent, so be warned.

the mysteriesLisa Tuttle – And on the flip side this female author wrote The Mysteries, about a male protagonist. Ian Kennedy is a P.I. who discovers his missing person’s case is an Irish Faery Tale come to life. Ian is complex, multi-layered and done very well. He is someone the reader empathizes and sympathizes with as he unravels not only the mysterious case, but his own past. The folklore aspect is well researched and very well done. The Faery Realm aspect doesn’t take over which makes the Faery part of the story more believable and mysterious and Tuttle has a unique take on life in the Fey Court. The way the story unfolds is intriguing and thrilling. (p.s. - Tuttle’s other book The Silver Bough is one of my favorites!)

These books differ from many Urban Fantasy books that are so hot right now. While there is nothing wrong with bodice ripping, ongoing love triangles, and characters who have magic powers, amazing fighting skills, oh and happen to be really hot, the above suggestions are a different approach to Urban Fantasy. They seem to handle the genre in a different way. I felt I discovered the magic right along with the characters as opposed to needing to accept a different kind of world right from the get go. They are gentle in their approach, letting the reader sink in to the story, but this in no way makes them any less powerful. These books and authors made a huge impact on me and if you do check them out, I hope you love them as much as I do.

 

 

Thank you so much Pam for your post! Seems like I´ve found more books to add to my wishlist!

Have a great weekend all of you! And try to stay away from people who have the flu. It´s no fun. Even reading hurts. :(

5 comments:

Tahlia said...

Thanks for this, it's good to hear about some males writers that write women well. This has opened up a whole new bunch of possibilities for me.

I just found your blog and wanted to contact you, but couldn’t see where, so I’m putting this here. I hope that’s okay. After reading your blog, I thought that you might like my new YA fantasy novel, 'Lethal Inheritance’. You’ll find ch 1 of it at http://publishersearch.wordpress.com/lethal-inheritance/
If you like it, I’d appreciate it if you could mention it to your readers.

Vampires and Tofu said...

Ok...I NEED de Lint and Summer Country.
Wonderful post (as always =)

yllektra (force-oblique) said...

Thanks for this post!
I think you are right.. Gosh I cant even remember if I have read a UF novel by a male author! o_0
I will check the books out though!
Thanks for the recs!

Chrystal said...

Hew follower here. :)

I must pick up that book by Charles de Lint - I keep seeing it at my local used book store and well must be a sign I should buy it. :)

Midnyte Reader said...

I've never been disappointed with a Charles De Lint book.