This is a topic I’ve been thinking about for awhile now. If you’re anything like me, you’re not interested in all those so called “steamy” or “spicy” scenes in books. A lot of what I see on Bookstagram and the like are often about those types of books. Hot and spicy romance which is really just long extended sex scenes that I’m really not interested in reading. I want world building, character development and plot twists, not fifty pages of his “rod” or her “love juices” *gag*
I scrolled through my entire read list on Goodreads to try to come up with as many fantasy books/series with as little sex as possible in them. This was more difficult than I anticipated. Surely I must have read at least one series that didn’t have any sexy time, right? Well, yes and no. Just about every fantasy book I’ve read has a love interest or romantic subplot of some kind. So with that in mind, here is the best I could do based on my own read, fantasy novels with (almost) no sex in them:
Sevenwaters Series by Juliet Marllier
Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis
Codex Alera by Jim Butcher
Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
Riyria Revelations by Michael J Sullivan
Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey
Princess series by Jim C Hines
Cloud Mages by S.L. Farrell
Tears of Artamon by Sarah Ash
Deverry series by Katharine Kerr
These are the ones I came up with though keep in mind that some of these I haven’t read for years and I can’t remember precisely if they had sex scenes or not. Some, like the Sevenwaters series, have romantic plots in them but no long descriptive sex scenes.
If you have any to add to this list, I’d really love to know, so please leave titles and/or authors in the comments.
For a few years now I’ve been saying that I want to read books that the series is completed and I own all the books. I even made a shelf on Goodreads to help me track it. Have I done well at this? Well, it started with nearly 100 books on it and is now down to 53.
I realize that 2023 is already more than half over, but now is as good of time as any to start tracking this in a different way. This year hasn’t been a great year for reading for me. I’m hoping keeping track on the blog will help motivate me as it’s more than just updating a list. I can write down my thoughts and moods here to help me keep going.
So, I will do my best to post updates on this at least once a month, sharing which books I finished, what I am currently reading, what I plan to read next along with why I have or haven’t stuck to the Goodreads list, if I deviate, why. I really feel like this will help keep me motivated as I also reread some books before finishing off the series.
So, let’s get started.
What book did I just finish?
Son of the Shadows Book 2 of the Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier.
Was this book on the list? No
Why did I read it? It was a reread as I need to refresh on the beginning of this series before finishing it.
What am I reading now?
Child of the Prophecy Book 3 of the Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier
Was this book on the list? no
Why am I reading it? Same reason as above
What am I reading next?
Seer of Sevenwaters Book 5 of the Sevenwaters Series
Companion animals in fantasy books is a fairly common trope I’d say. Animals, that are magical in some, that bond with a human (or other race of) character. Animals choose people for a purpose. So what are some books that feature companion animals?
The Heralds of Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey (and other authors) is probably one of the best examples I can think of of companion animals in fantasy books. The Companions themselves are beautiful white horses with blue eyes that choose people to be Heralds. The Heralds then travel the land acting as judges and settling disputes. They also fight in wars when required.
Companions and Heralds also share a telepathic link, so they are in contact with one another even when not physically together.
In the vast world that is the Valdemar series, there are others types of companion animals as well, including birds and cats. These animals don’t “choose” their people to be anything more than just people. They simply exist together as companions.
This is a very long series, with well over 20 books published and more continuing to be released. If you have a hankering for companion animals in fantasy books, the Valdemar books are a great place to start!
Another great example of companion animals in fantasy is the Crossroads Trilogy by Kate Elliott. In this trilogy, giant eagles choose people to become Reeves. The Reeves, much like the Heralds of Valdemar mentioned above, travel the land acting as judges and settling disputes as needed.
Unlike the Valdemar series, the eagles and Reeves don’t share a telepathic connection. They are bonded though, because if an eagle dies it’s Reeve dies too. Though if a Reeve dies, the Eagle can survive and choose another Reeve.
If you’re looking for Urban Fantasy, I would highly recommend checking out The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. The main character, Atticus, has an Irish wolfhound that he has bonded to telepathically. As the books are told mostly from Atticus’s perspective, we are often treated to his conversations with Oberon, his dog, to much delight. Oberon is actually the best character in this series. He’s smart, funny, and sarcastic. What more could you want in your companion animal?
I’m going to include the Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb here, though these books may not quite fit with what some might think of as companion animals. The Realm of the Elderlings is made of a few separate trilogies that extend off one another. In the first trilogy, the Farseer Trilogy, the main character, Fitz, has the ability to bond with animals and share a telepathic connection with them. This power isn’t common in this world and is actually considered to be taboo by most. People discovered to have this ability would be persecuted. Fitz is able to hide his ability while still having canine companions, most notably the wolf Nighteyes.
The Rain Wild Chronicles is a bit different. This part of the series is all about dragons coming back to the world. A group of people are recruited to help the dragons find a more suitable place to live as where they hatched can’t sustain them. Though the people do bond with the dragons, there is no telepathic connection and the dragons see the humans as servants more than actual friends.
I’m sure there are many more examples out there of fantasy books featuring companion animals that I have yet to read. Dragon Riders of Perne for instance or the Inheritance series ( I only read Eragon).
What are some fantasy series you’ve read with companion animals? Have you read any of the ones I’ve listed here? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!
I have been reading fantasy novels basically as long as I could read. For the sake of argument, I’ll say I’ve been reading adult fantasy novels for over 25 years. In that time, I’ve read several hundred books and I’d like to share something that has really come to bother me in the last little while.
How many characters is too many characters? 10? 20?
Fantasy is often made up of sweeping epics that can get quite long. It’s fairly normal for a fantasy novel to have 500 – 1000 pages. In a lot of these novels, there are a lot of characters. Though some may die throughout the series, there’s always more being introduced. As I’ve been reading my current book and going through these different characters points of view, I’m wondering, was that really necessary? Is this character actually adding anything to the overall story here? Would it have made a difference if this character never existed?
Epics like A Song of Ice and Fire, The Wheel of Time, Dragonlance, etc, have so many characters that it becomes difficult to keep track of them all. And when you go to a new chapter and suddenly you’re following a new character (and a character you don’t even like) it can be somewhat jarring. It can take you out of the story as you now have to adjust what this person is doing instead of the person before.
Honestly, this is one of the biggest reasons why I only read two books of the Song of Ice and Fire series. I didn’t like most of the characters, which means I didn’t care about them, so I didn’t care about the story. I only actually liked two or three characters and naturally one of them dies by the end of the first book. I couldn’t keep going.
I can only think of one series (that I’ve read) that has a first person point of view that stays with the same character. Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Legacy series sticks with the same character from beginning to end for each of the 3 trilogies that make up the series. You never see what other characters are doing except from the main character’s perspective. This may be one of the reasons I love this series so much. Do you know of any others? I’d really love to know!
This turned into more of a rant than I had intended. I would like to know what other people’s opinions on the subject are. Do you prefer to read from the first person point of view of only one character, or do you enjoy getting into the minds of various different people? Let me know in the comments.
A bit of a disclaimer to start. It has been many years since I’ve read this manga or watched the adapted anime so if I get any details wrong, I apologize in advance.
Not too long ago, I saw a post on Reddit asking if it was worth finishing Monster. I can’t remember how far along in the story the poster was, but I gave them my honest advice based on my opinion of both the manga and anime. I was then shit upon by another Redditor for having a poor opinion of what is generally a well received and highly praised work. Apparently not agreeing with the majority is no longer allowed.
It all starts out really well. Dr. Tenma is a Japanese brain surgeon working in a hospital in Germany. He is praised as a brilliant doctor and is engaged to the daughter of the head of the hospital. His life seems to be going only in the right direction when a young boy comes into the hospital with a bullet wound to the head. At the same time, prominent figure (I think it was the mayor) is brought in ( I think he had a heart attack). The head of the hospital orders Tenma to operate on the Mayor, but Tenma has a moral problem. The child is clearly in more danger of dying than the mayor and he is the better doctor to treat the boy. Ultimately, Tenma chooses to operate on the child, saving his life.
This doesn’t sit well with the other employees in the hospital. The mayor dies and Tenma is blamed since he didn’t treat the mayor. Tenma loses his job and his finance leaves him. Before he departs the hospital, he sits by the child’s side and confesses out loud his frustrations with the other doctors and their behavior to the unconscious boy. Not long after, the boy wakes up, disappears from the hospital and the doctors who Tenma complained about are found dead. It doesn’t take long before it becomes obvious that the boy, Johan, is responsible for the deaths of the doctors. It’s at this point that Tenma realizes that by saving the child and confessing what he did that he is responsible for the deaths of the other doctors.
This is an amazing premise and I was absolutely hooked. This was just one volume of the manga after all and there are 18 volumes.
The narrative skips ahead several years. Tenma is trying to locate Johan in an attempt to correct the mistake he made in the past. Throughout most of the story, Tenma is intent on finding Johan and killing him. My interest was held mostly throughout the whole story. I really wanted to know how it was all going to end, but at some point suspense can just become boredom. The author, Naoki Urasawa is considered to be a master of suspense, but if all your story is is on going suspense, it loses it’s appeal. It takes so long for anything to actually be revealed that it got into eye rolling moments when the reader thinks something really important is going to finally be revealed and then – NO. Instead, there’s too many side characters, most of which I can’t even remember. Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m sure the outcome of the entire series would have been the same whether or not those side characters were even there.
During Tenma’s search, any time he heard of a blonde young man doing something even slightly sinister, it had to be Johan. Like, it couldn’t possibly be any other blonde young man – in Germany. Really? Johan is supposed to be some kind of evil genius but his motivations don’t make any sense. Why did he do any of the stuff he did? I can’t remember.
I did stick it out to the end, but there are times I wish I’d just asked the internet what the ending was and not wasted my time. I hated the ending too.
So there’s my unpopular opinion of Naoki Urasawa’s Monster. It starts out absolutely amazing and just goes down into eye rolling boredom. I wish it was better. I really do. It could have been so much better.
Anyway, thanks for reading and please let me know what you thought of this series!
Reading slumps. Every reader has experienced them at one time or another. Maybe you just finished a book, or a series or trilogy and you don’t know what to read next. Maybe you start something new and it just isn’t what you’re in the mood for. You stare at your book shelf (or digital library) and try to decide what to read, what looks good. Nothing appeals to you in the moment so you walk away. But then you stay away.
Now you find something else that grabs your attention. Maybe it’s a TV show, or a jigsaw puzzle. It could be anything. But what does this mean? Well, I’m sorry to say, you’re in a reading slump. So, what should you do about it? There are all kinds of lists and videos by booktubers, booktokers on what to read to get you out of a reading slump. You can certainly try any of those. You may find something you really like.
But, you’re here reading this and not one of those lists, so what is my advice? How should you get yourself out of a reading slump? By not doing anything!
Reading, like all hobbies, should be done because you enjoy it. Forcing yourself to read when you really don’t want to isn’t going to accomplish anything. Instead, do what makes you happy in the moment. Perhaps you’re interested in trying out a new hobby. Or maybe that pile of jigsaw puzzles gathering dust suddenly needs your attention. It doesn’t matter what you do instead as long as you get enjoyment out of what you are doing.
There was a time when I would feel guilty when I was in a reading slump. I’d look at my bookshelf at all my unread books and know that my yearly goal wasn’t going to be achieved and feel like I should be reading, but I just didn’t want to. I’ve learned to get over that. Life is too short to force yourself to do something you don’t want to do.
I am currently in a reading slump, and since this is a book blog, it means I’ve also been in a blogging slump. I wish I could believe that my readers have missed me but I know that I don’t have many readers.
So, what have I been doing instead of reading? Well, I started doing cross stitch and I recently got back into crocheting, which I haven’t done in over a decade. With wanting to do that, I decided to make gifts for my friends this year so I’ve been busy getting that done before the holidays.
I did start reading a new book yesterday and got about 100 pages in (total around 700 pages) so I’m feeling pretty good about that. I’m hoping I can keep that going as I did enjoy reading again. So, hopefully, I’ll be back with a new book review in the near future.
Let me start this by saying that I have absolute respect for J.R.R. Tolkein and what his books have done for the modern fantasy genre, however, in my opinion, these are not good books.
I first read these books when the movies came out so I would have been in my late teens/early twenties. I’d read a few fantasy series before this so I wasn’t new to the genre. Reading these books was an absolute slog! I don’t think it has ever taken me as long to read a single book as it did to read the Fellowship of the Ring. there was nothing intriguing about it, nothing to make me want to keep reading or pick it up again. That novel sat in my night stand for months waiting for me to read it and I just couldn’t. Every time I looked at it, I cringed.
Somehow, I did eventually read all 3 of the novels. That was only because at that time in my life I refused to not finish a book. I honestly wish I’d never picked these books up. They were so bogged down with needless description and no sense of urgency whatsoever. I didn’t care about the characters in the least or the story. Honestly, couldn’t the golden eagles have taken the ring and just dropped it into Mordor? Problem solved. Story over.
The endings went on forever. Yes, endings. There were several endings that just kept adding needless information that I really didn’t care about. And when they put all that into the last movie it was painful to sit through in a movie theatre. It was boring and I didn’t care.
I know the Lord of the Rings is a beloved classic and J.R.R. Tolkein is considered the “father of modern fantasy” but I honestly believe that if he hadn’t ever written anything, someone else would have come along and written an epic fantasy series that would take the world by storm and everyone else would copy for generations to come.
And now, with the new show, Rings of Power, it feels like the producers or anyone who benefits from this production are just milking the franchise for all it’s worth. I haven’t watched any of it so I won’t comment further on that except to say that people getting upset about black elves and dwarves need to get over it already.
It’s unlikely that anyone will actually read this post so thankfully I won’t have hordes of die hard fans screaming at me and sending death threats in the comments, but if anyone should read this and is interested in friendly discussion, I’m always open for that.
Beautiful, majestic creatures synonymous with purity. The legend around unicorns doesn’t vary much by country, or really since they were first believed to exist. Many believed that unicorn horns contained magical properties and could cure any illness. Therefore, unicorn horns were widely sought after, and fake ones were often pedaled as the real thing. It was believed that a young maiden could entrance a unicorn, that if she sat calmly a unicorn would come, lay down and put it’s head in her lap. This was supposedly the method used to capture unicorns.
Now a days, unicorns are every where. I don’t think I can go into a store of one kind or another and not see something with a unicorn on it. Granted, these unicorns are more the cartoon-y type ones as opposed to the majestic, graceful ones. Not that there’s a problem with this. I myself have several of the TY unicorns, in varying colours.
Where I don’t see unicorns very much is in fantasy novels. As I was thinking of writing this article, I realized I could only think of 3 instances, that I’ve read, of unicorns in books. The Last Unicorn, The Obsidian Trilogy and The Twelve Kingdoms. And to be fair, in the Twelve Kingdoms, they are Kirin, the Japanese version of unicorns.
A quite search on Goodreads for the word “unicorn” brought up mostly children’s and middle grade books about unicorns. There was very little that I could see that would be YA or adult fiction. Why is this? Are unicorns not a staple of the fantasy genre? When you think of “fantasy” do unicorns not come to mind?
Do you know of some fantasy fiction about unicorns? Do you want to see more unicorns in fantasy novels? Why do you think unicorns are written about as much as some other fantasy creature?
What do you think of when you hear the word “fantasy?” Does it make you think of magic and far off places? Heroes going on epic quests? Fantastical creatures? Dragons?
Years ago, I was reading advice published from a fantasy author to aspiring authors. Her advice to those wanting to break into the genre was to never write about dragons. Why? It’s overdone, she said. I remember reading this and feeling a bit confused. Why shouldn’t fantasy authors write about dragons if they want to? Aren’t dragons a staple of the fantasy genre? Aren’t they popular for a reason?
I can also understand that some fantasy novels may throw dragons into their stories because of some sort of expectation that a fantasy novel or series should have dragons in it. I’m sure there was a point in time where every fantasy book had at least one dragon thrown in there are one point or another. After all, Tolkein had a dragon, so shouldn’t all fantasy have dragons?
Well, the answer to that would actually be no. And I think that is the beauty of fantasy, you don’t have to have certain things to have a successful novel. Authors are literally making it all up in their heads! They can do anything they want. So, you want dragons? Yes, have dragons! You want other mystical creatures, great! There are no set rules.
Now, you may think that you don’t want to read or write a book just like every other book currently out there. You want something new! Something unique. And why shouldn’t you? No one is forcing you to read or write about dragons but, admit it, you are a fantasy fan you and love dragons!
Like many other magical creatures, the role of dragons has changed over the years. At one time, dragons were only a monster to defeat, an obstacle for the hero to over come in order to carry on with his quests. Knights would rescue damsels in distress who had been kidnapped by dragons (because everyone knows dragons love maidens). They’ve gone from being evil or an enemy to companions and even gods.
I personally love to read novels about dragons. I’d love to read even more! Got any recommendations for me?
What are some of your favorite dragon books? Let me know in the comments!