10 November 2011
Post 446: Theft of Swords
With as much as I bitch about the formulaic tendencies of Mystery novels, many fantasy novels suffer from the same issue. Theft of Swords definitely suffers a bit from formula: most of the plot elements are fairly predictable, there's a bit of Side Quest Syndrome, and the female characters are, uh, flaky, even the ones who aren't supposed to be. But somehow this doesn't bother me as much with fantasy books and there's probably a good reason for that: It's not my world.
Most mystery novels are set in present day or recent history, which I am both familiar with and have a personal vested interest in. The idea of all females being vapid and indecisive is frustrating and obnoxious. However, in fantasy I can kind of let that go a little more and say, "Well, they're referring to a society that purposefully keeps women from being anything but decorations, so..." I know it isn't true, but it does make it easier to not get so angry I throw the book across the room. Also, there tends to be less victim blaming with the Princess in Distress type in fantasy novels (because they are valued as plot points) versus the same type in Mystery novels (because they are devalued as being "sluts" who were "asking for it" or meddling shrews).
Additionally, mystery novels typically don't have unique background elements to hold my interest. Fantasy novels on the other hand, even if they have formulaic elements, usually have different interpretations of elves, dwarves, dragons, magic, etc. Sometimes I like to read fantasy novels just to see how that interpretation works out, much for the same reason I like discussing religion (particularly with people who are not strongly attached to specific religious ideas). And I'm more interested in a society, even if they are full of macho misogynists, than I am in following one misogynist as he tries to discover who murdered and killed the husband of a smokin' hot broad he'd love to bang, but won't because he's a "good guy" and already has a smokin' hot broad for a girlfriend.*
My review can be found on Goodreads.
LibsNote: Review copy provided by Netgalley.
*I know not all murder mystery novels are like this, but I've read enough that have similar problems to not be interested in most of the genre's offerings.