Sometimes an author stops appearing on your to-be-read pile, and there are plenty of reasons for that. Today’s video on my YouTube channel is about five authors I no longer read and why. If you’d prefer to watch and hear my list, check it out in video form! If you’d rather read it, read on.
1. Robert S. Stone
Robert S. Stone is the dark fantasy author of The Chronicles of the Unbinding, which was meant to be a five-book series. Both book one Hazard’s Price and book two Dark Waters were published in 2001, and nobody’s heard from this author since. I really enjoyed the books that are published, Dark Waters in particular, but nearly 20 years later it’s time to accept that I won’t be reading books three, four, and five.
2. Patrick Rothfuss
Before everyone takes up arms and tells me I’m crazy, hear me out. I love The King Killer Chronicles, and I’m still going to put The Doors of Stone high on my TBR as soon as it’s released. But there, right there, is the problem. The Name of the Wind was published 13 years ago. The Wise Man’s Fear was published 9 years ago. Even the smallest peeks into the world Rothfuss has given us while we wait since book two, the novella A Slow Regard for Silent Things and the short story The Lightning Tree published in the anthology Rogue, were published 6 years ago. We know book three will be long, but at this point, that’s not the reason the book is taking so long.
Other epic fantasy authors like Brandon Sanderson publish more words and pages than the entire published canon in the King Killer story so far in just a handful of years. Children born the year The Name of the Wind was published are now teenagers, and we’ve only been waiting on two novels to follow it.
It’s like Rothfuss has made a pact with George R. R. Martin to release their next books at the same time, as fans have also been waiting since 2011 (The Wise Man’s Fear) for the release of The Winds of Winter.
3. George R. R. Martin
Speaking of, George R. R. Martin is another author I no longer read. Unlike the previous two names, whose new works I would snap up in a heart beat if they ever publish a new novel, I’m done with Martin. I read the first two books of A Song of Ice and Fire, and I have no desire to finish the series, nor am I motivated to put his Science Fiction title on my shelf any higher on my TBR than perpetually on the very bottom. Okay not quite the very bottom. There are two true crimes with big romantic plots my Mom left behind hoping I would enjoy that are lower on the list, but those aren’t even on the book shelf. They’re tucked neatly away in a cupboard.
My biggest problem with Martin is the way he writes women. News flash, most of us are not thinking about our own anatomy most of the time. I won’t deny that Martin writes very real, very flawed people of all sexes and genders. He definitely does. Aria is one of my favourite characters. Cersei is a fantastic lawful evil villain. Brienne is an exceptionally well written strong female warrior in a setting that doesn’t treat female warriors well or take them seriously.
Daenarys is just plain weak, most of the time, and apparently quite obsessed with the feeling of how whatever she’s wearing moves against her small breasts. (That isn’t a dig at the size of her chest; Martin was careful to have her note the size of her own chest when we first met her.) Sansa can’t get her head out of her own butt for far too long. A lot of small role female characters exist purely to Tyrion or Jaime can have some fun. Too many of his female characters think about their own physicality far too often. Several of his “not bad, just very flawed” female characters seem to have heads full of thoughts that came straight from a 1990s teen chick flick trope list, tailored slightly to fit the setting.
Beyond this, he juggles too many POVs in his books. I like the omniscient power I have as an author, too, and sometimes it’s hard to pick a POV character. Many stories are indeed better served when told from more than one perspective. A Song of Ice and Fire has too many. I want to read Tyrion’s perspective. I want Aria’s. Jon’s always getting into some interesting forms of trouble. I understand that there’s a need to cover more than just what’s happening at their locations, and more than just what they know is happening, but I don’t want to wait 200 pages to hear from them again.
And was it really necessary to kill all the wolves?
4. Patricia Briggs
I discovered Briggs by accident. I was hanging out on my university campus waiting for it to be time to catch the bus to work, and I realized I had left my book at home. I had nothing to entertain me on my hour long lunch break, or the wait I would have after my shift before my husband (then fiancé) picked me up. I needed something to read! So I went to the scant selection of fiction on spinner racks in the noisy commons area of the on campus library and browsed. The cover of a fantasy novel caught my eye, because it featured a beautiful chestnut horse. (What can I say, I’m a simple woman at heart. I see a horse, I pick the book up!) That novel was The Hobb’s Bargain, and I couldn’t put it down.
The next time I was at my local book store I looked for this author’s name and found Masques. I tore through that one, too, but I finished on a long weekend at the cabin with no bookstore within a few hours’ drive. I knew Masques had a sequel, so I hopped on Kobo Books and bought the ebook. Then I found all the Sianim books as ebooks as well. I even bought an ebook copy of The Hobb’s Bargain, just in case I wanted to read it again.
I love the Sianim books because although they’re all set in the same world, and reading more than one does give you a deeper understanding of the magic system, you can read just one, and you can pick any of them to start with. Most are stand-alone plots with fresh casts, and the ones that aren’t are duologies.
But then I ran out of Briggs’ high fantasies. I discovered that everything she’s written in recent years belongs to a handful of interwoven series featuring werewolves and other were-canine creatures, modern world gritty who-dunnit plots, and a lot of romance. The covers all feature scantily clad ladies with paw print tattoos in suggestive places. The plot synopses sound like a female lead fan fiction of The Dresden Files.
Clearly these books are appealing to a big enough audience, since she’s still publishing them, and she’s traditionally published. Publishers don’t hang on to names that aren’t selling. But these books haven’t peaked my interest, and I long to return to Sianim, so for now Briggs is not on my TBR, and I don’t know when she’ll get back on it.
5. Kevin Hearne
Similar to Patricia Briggs, I love Kevin Hearne’s writing, and I devoured his Iron Druid Chronicles. Siodhachan O Suileabhain, or Atticus O’Sullivan as he goes by in the modern world, is a Druid. A real one! In fact, he’s over 2,000 years old. The thing is, every pantheon of gods out there from every religion and mythology the world has to offer actually exist, and most of them have a vendetta for Atticus. Most of it’s even deserved.
I own every novel, every novella, and every short story with these characters. As an author, I’m inspired by them. If I still had a LARP or tabletop RPG group to play with, I’d be basing a few characters on Atticus and Granuaile. So why is this author not still on my TBR? He’s still publishing. His covers don’t feature she-wolves with frontal tramp stamps. The thing is, The Iron Druid Chronicles has come to an end, and I feel like we the loyal readers were not warned. Sure, the final book felt a little lacklustre. In hindsight, it’s pretty clear Hearne’s heart wasn’t in it anymore. In the moment, we had no idea that this was the final story. We didn’t know his next book would be the start of a new series. The last Iron Druid book felt left open for another.
One day we all read his announcement on a Facebook status that his new book was a new series, and that Iron Druid had come to an end. Off the top of my head I cannot tell you what that new book’s title is. I haven’t picked it up purely because I still feel cheated out of a good ending for Atticus. It’s been a few years now since I’ve read the last Iron Druid novel, I can’t remember who was left alive, but it’s one of those worlds where anybody is fair game to come back to life, and high profile deaths have been faked. I know I came out the other end of that book feeling like the story could continue.
I hear there’s a new series coming this year in Atticus’ world, but with a new lead character, and the synopsis is compelling. I didn’t know that when I made this list and filmed the video nearly 3 weeks ago, so Hearne may indeed return to my TBR list very soon. I’m just not likely to ever pick up that other series. Call it spite.
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