It’s the last week of July and that means I get to write a review and pretend it’s part of my weekly series!
I was gonna talk about Sense8, the wonderful new show on Netflix, but I talked about a Netflix show last month, so we’re going into read’em material again instead.
So over the last couple months I’ve been reading this fantasy series, two books, by Karen Miller, the Kingmaker, Kingbreaker Saga. The books are called The Innocent Mage and The Awakened Mage. I finished Awakened Mage towards the end of June, but I’ve been ruminating on it for a good long while, considering it, and I want to now talk about it a bit and explain why it inspires me even though it wasn’t one of my favorite things this month.
Set in a unique fantasy world. The author has so much respect for her characters and the world they inhabit. The sense of it being lived-in is very strong, like it truly is a place somewhere just beyond your ability to see it.
After the first hundred pages almost nothing had happened in a traditional fantasy story sense, and at first I was frustrated by it. I value brevity and minimalism in stories more than almost anything else as far as structure and description is concerned, but after those pages I realized the story being told was meant to be this slow burn. The more time you spent with these characters in their (relatively) mundane lives, learning, living, loving, growing, the more I just wanted to sit down and read about their lives, their interactions.
This is, as I understand it, the world-builder’s wet dream. There exist a group of fiction fans that want all this extra backstory, and world-building, and description. It falls into the same general category as Wheel of Time or Brandon Sanderson’s novels. People want it, and though I often don’t because the imagination provides, there’s definitely something there. That sense of otherness, that going away to visit a world that FEELS like it should exist because it has been so lovingly and skillfully rendered. I get it.
It might never be how I write, but it very much informs the worlds I create. If I can bring that sense of otherworldliness to someone, that sense of escape from the mundane, perhaps I’m doing something worth doing.
The imagination is vast; respect it and mine it. Run away with it when you can, let worlds envelop you as you explore them. And always remember to write the hell on.