Reviews: Limyaaels Fantasy Rants

Take With A Grain Of Salt

Limyaael is well read in and passionate about the fantasy genre and she is a writer as well as reader. She knows, what she is talking about.

Her "rants" cover a wide range of topics, styles and plots. Some are very specific, (Rant about healers), some deal with very basic stuff (making a stand-alone). All of them are written with verve and wit.

She hates tropes for the sake of tropes and suspects that many old fantasy cliches are there because the writer just never thought about them. There is an undercurrent of "fantasy could be so much more if..." She is inventive, finding ways to twist an old idea, pointing out how even the most typical fantasy tropes can be bypassed and describing new ideas she has. She is very good at making one aware of tropes used and avoided.

But there are two problems I have with the "rants". The first, and more troublesome: She mixes up her personal tastes with objective quality. While she often mentions that the rants are about what she likes, the write ups don't reflect this awareness. She likes clear, clipped prose, therefore a flowery one is "purple". She prefers novels to beginn with a character, therefore beginning with a location is boring. She prefers cynical works and treats idealistic ones as stupid.

The other is a personal peeve of mine. Being a writer, Limyaael could talk about her own troubles and successes, speak to aspiring writers as a fellow toiler and encourage new writers instead of intimidate them. But she has a patronizing streak and unfortunately only mentions her works when describing how she did something "right". This style also makes the readers grovel, don't expect much real discussion in the comments.

I think new and insecure writers best profit from the rants by keeping firmly in mind what they want in their work. If the rants point out something one only does because everyone does, maybe the story would be better without it? And be also ready to keep a trope, even if it's just been ripped a new one by Limyaael, because no matter what she thinks, you're just as suited to define what fantasy is and should be.