I am a big fan of WOLAS and a number of other series, (first part obvious since I'm here). My question to everyone is how to actually describe fandom of WOLAS and have them understand why we love this series so much.
My partner doesn't read sci fi or fantasy at all so we simply just do not discuss it or my own writing as it falls under the same paradigm.
But others whom do read within the genre but don't seem to *get* Jannys books, how do you explain why you like this series so much.
The reason I want to ask is that I have seen some reviews of reins and they were not particuarly good, a couple of them were downright dismissive of Jannys style, and these are people who read fantasy and sci fi.
I've always seen Jannys work as fantasy for those who love fantasy and sci fi depth and an authors author. But seeing these people not get it makes me want to understand why they don't get it but I do?
Hey, people, help Joshua out! Might you?
This information could help me immensely - (explaining the book to marketing/sales force - helping to inform staff who have not read this work/assisting the publicist to work up press releases for signings)
Not to mention, assisting ME to know how the blurbs might be tailored....
I've only finished the first couple of books, but I'll have a go at answering this.
Fantasy / sic fi has a particular reputation, and is usually held to a particular standard, especially by people who aren't fans of the genre. They expect certain situations, certain characters, a certain standard of writing, actually that's wrong, a certain way of writing.
Jannys books don't have a traditional hero / villain dynamic. The characters don't confirm to the fantasy stereotypes, nor thte traditional fantasy situation of a quest to save the world. Is Arithon a good guy? Perhaps, but he's done some unquestionably evil things. Is Lysaer a good guy? Perhaps, but again, he's done some unquestionably evil things. For a lot of fans of the genre this is a hard thing to get their heads around. Aragorn is a hero, Tanis is a hero, Belgarion is a hero, and everything they do is the right thing, cos their foes are evil and WRONG.
This moral ambiguity is something I love about the series, but for a lot of fantasy / sci fi fans its a difficult thing to accept.
I love the flow of Janny's writing, I love the way it flows like music, but again, this is nit something that is usual within the genre. Most fantasy, at least in my experience, is written in a much more straightforward manner.
There are somethings that attract people to different series. My girlfriend loves A Song of Ice & Fire because of the different historical elements within the series, but dislikes other fantasy series because they lack these elements
Just my two pence worth.
I think you've nailed it, Stephen. There's moral ambiguity, there's depth, and there's somewhat difficult prose. When I first started Curse of the Mistwraith, I admit struggling over her style for a while. I was intrigued enough to persevere, however, and I soon developed a rhythm with the style such that by the end of the book I was cutting through it like a buzz saw through soft pine, if you'll forgive the hackneyed phrase. I felt a definite wrench when it was over. I had a lot of tension between my shoulder blades, hot tears behind my eyes, and a lot of tightness in my throat.
I was so 'in love' with Arithon that I was awfully glad I had the next book and was ready to go. Everything came alive for me, and I didn't stop until I'd finished Stormed Fortress.
But WoLaS is definitely not for sissies. It requires effort and thought. I had to reread. I've read the whole series twice, and a couple of books 3 times. And I'm still working things out. I plan another reread to bone up for Initiate's Trial in October.
It's so intriguing to me that the hero of the story is a Master Bard who can literally move mountains with his music, heal grievous wounds, and bleed off the energy of the flux created by our arch villainous, Selidie/Morriel Prime. And Wurts creates that same rhythm with her prose. I laugh when I read people who say she 'uses too many adjectives.' It reminds me of Mozart in the movie, Amadeus, when the king said of his music that he uses 'too many notes.' Ha! I once heard a woman say that a beautifully landscaped and wealthy subdivision in the town I was living in as 'all overgrowed'. And yes, she used 'overgrowed' instead of 'overgrown.'
All right, I'm being a bit of a snob here, but I have little patience with laziness. If you want to blitz through 7 or 8 books in 7 or 8 days, and not have to struggle to understand what's going on or say to yourself, 'hey! wait a minute, what'd I miss' and have to go back and reread, then this series is probably not for you... But I strongly believe that we get rewarded for what we have to work for, and that is definitely the case for this series. It tears my heart up with sorrow and then it makes my heart soar with joy. What else can you ask for in a fantasy series?
I've read the first two books of the GRRM series and I loved the first one, got bored with the second as the plot moved about half an inch forward, and don't know that I have enough interest to continue. But this one I'm waiting for. Can't wait until the last two books are written!
I like lots of authors and their books but would never consider signing up for a forum or chat area for any of the others. While I like most of Janny's books, I was never inspired to collect all of them till I had read the WoLaS series, the only other book of Janny's where I grew as attached to the characters was Ride to Hells Chasm. It is the way Janny has brought her characters to life in the series that makes me want to read more about them. They are not just characters, they are people she brings to vivid life for us, each one no matter their part in the story is interesting. The other reason I love reading the series is the complex and multi layered story, as we get further into the story, re-reading the books will change what we see in them and how we interpret what is happening. I am always a sucker for a good mystery and have never encountered another series where the author has tempted us so much to delve into a world that changes in complexity depending on how we look at it, how many books we have read and how much time we have invested in re-reading the books. Janny has obviously put a lot of love, time and thought into the series, and planned it all out before she started. Other series are often just books that got too big for one, or just further adventures of the characters, but WoLaS is a story that evolves and and grows with each book, and each book affects how we interpret the previous ones. The books are not seperate but each a well polished gem part of one setting, as each is discovered the whole piece becomes more complex and stunning.
I think the only thing I can contribute is why 'I' like the books because the why of others liking what they like is, by and large, unexplainable. We like what we like 'because' we like it. Often times there is no real explanation beyond that.
But as to Janny's books...
I like them for the prose. The style and vocabulary light up mind. The descriptive passages paint images such that I can see myself in that world.
I like them for the non-standard plots. Good vs. Evil can only go so far and, in my opinion, GvE is a narrow perspective on reality and reality is far more complex (and simple at the same time). Janny deals with a richer and more layered tapestry than GvE.
I like them for the characters. Nothing is more important to me than having characters react to and grow from their experiences in the story. Static characters don't really work for me. I threw one book across the room because the character had NOT changed from the previous book... he was still whiny and complaining after experiencing a significant life changing event.
I like the WoLaS books for how they deal with the very underpinnings of the universe: energy.