Not sure if something is wrong with me or if I’m coming down with something but I’m falling out of love with Epic Fantasy. For years, I would say my subgenre of choice was the Epic. I love the whole ‘bigness’ of it all – vast casts, vast worldbuilding and story with such massive consequence. I want it bigger with greater consequences. I want it to take my breath away.
But lately nearly every epic fantasy I’ve read, just fails to deliver for me. The only exception has been Steven Erikson’s Malazan books. I can’t put my finger on just one problem with the others but it’s as if the orchestra is too big for the conductor.
I’ve thought about books I’ve truly loved over the last few years, not just at the time but ones that have stayed with me and proved to be just as excellent during a second read through. And most of them have been swords and sorcery rather than straight up epic fantasy. Lies of Locke Lamorra is a true masterpiece and my favourite debut last year (and a book I just would not shut up about) was Douglas Hulick’s Among Thieves.
True, in this sub-genre blending world that’s not exactly a huge shift, but for me it’s a significant one. I don’t know what impact this will have on my own writing, but my current project that I’m plotting is definitely more a swords and sorcery story than an epic fantasy one. I doubt I’ll totally drop the epic elements as I continue to flesh out ideas so it’ll be interesting to see how this one turns out.