Fantasy Friday: How do you like yours served?

August 6, 2010 at 12:12 am 4 comments

On the recommendation of Corey, I read The Magicians this week. We generally like the same books, and so it was no surprise to me that I also found it compelling, brilliant and both the antidote and the perfect companion to Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia.

But while I was wondering why Harry had never managed to make a pan-Anarctic trek armed with nothing but a few spells, I found myself vaguely disturbed by the way Lev Grossman had plundered the entire fantasy genre and given it a half-turn. He made giant bunnies creepy again; he robbed Aslan of a little of his magic. And while he did it brilliantly and actually vaguely respectfully, I kind of missed the “fluffy” fantasy I know and love. If there are going to be talking animals, they should be cuddly, in my opinion.

That’s not to say I don’t love dark fantasy — take a look at my Neil Gaiman and China Mieville posts if you want proof, and I could not have gotten through the Sandman series if I couldn’t take a little bit of twist in my fantasy. But there are two distinct types of magical fiction, and this got me wondering: which one do you prefer, readers?

Do you like your talking animals to be cuddly, or don’t you care? Do you prefer the almost horror-like fantasy in Sandman, twisted fantasy a la Grossman, or more along the “everything ends happily” lines of Rowling and Lewis? Tell me all about it below!



Entry filed under: Fairy Tale Friday, Fantasy. Tags: , , , , , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Corey  |  August 6, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    I’m so glad you liked The Magicians! And in answer to your question, I think it depends a lot on my mood. Most of the time, I’m an “everything ends happily after much adventure” type of fantasy reader, but then again I did deeply like Grossman’s version, too. (This being read a day after leaving GVSHP, so I was in a slightly darker or more morose mindset than usual!)

    As a general rule, I definitely like my fantasy to be whimsical which tends to include more of the cuddly variety of talking animals than not.

    • 2. Kate  |  August 8, 2010 at 9:15 pm

      My fantasy preference often depends on mood as well — I would never read Sandman if already depressed, but a good reading of Neverwhere would lift me out of a funk, where The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe might not be able to. Odd!

      And I am with you on the whimsy, buddy. The more whimsy, the better, I say!

      • 3. Corey  |  August 9, 2010 at 9:49 am

        Wow, Neverwhere is that good? I may need to hasten to the library and fetch it!

  • […] yawn. While realism isn’t something I’ve ever craved in my fantasy novels (bring on the talking animals!), I realized that real emotions and realistic reactions to events are something I do want and are […]


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