I have a secret. I’m an avid Fantasy novel fan.
I’ve been reading this much-maligned genre under the covers for years. Ever since I managed to get my sticky hands on a copy of The Hobbit in primary school, I’ve been hooked. I graduated to Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, The Wheel of Time.
I’ve lately culminated in Mark Lawrence’s grown-up series, The Red Queen’s War trilogy. This is anti-hero Prince Jalan’s reluctant quest to save the world. Cowardly, untrustworthy and very flawed, he’s everything the usual Fantasy hero isn’t.
It’s very funny and relatable, which grounds some of the more abstract magic that tends to put non-fantasy readers off. It’s a similar playful, modern tone as something like the Gentleman Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch or The First Law series by Joe Abercrombie.
Fantasy is a strange genre: once you can get your head round it, there’s so much creative scope and wonderful plotting as HBO can testify. But why then is it my embarrassing secret?
Read: For a modern, relatable take on fantasy. Also after the other books in the series- no matter how funny the characters are, you’ll be lost within 20 pages otherwise.