Monday, March 23, 2009

Book Review of the Day - Michelle Sagara

Outside my comfort zone, I picked up Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara. This is not the type of book I normally read. Though there is no genre on the spine, I would classify it as dark fantasy. But, it had a strong female protagonist, and it was recommended by one of my favorite authors, Tanya Huff, in a cover blurb, so I gave it a shot.

There were certainly things I enjoyed about it. The main character was intriguing. I could identify with her. And I enjoyed the main male character as well, though he does a "very bad thing" that is hard to get past. It's hard for the female character to get past it as well, so I guess that's the point - to have mixed feelings about him. There was lots of good action and intrigue.

And I will say that Sagara has created a rich world, full of interesting and unique species and cultures, all well described. She does everything right. It's just not my thing. I suppose I simply prefer a sparser style without so much world building. Now, granted, this is a weakness of mine. I could likely use more world building in my own writing. And, her rich world building is definitely a characteristic of the genre in which she writes. I'm not saying this is a flaw in any way. I'm saying I'm not really a fan of fantasy.

So, why am I reading fantasy if I don't much care for it? I like science fiction with strong female protagonists. Apparently, I have read all the books that meet those two requirements that have been released in the past six years or so. I walk up and down the aisles of bookstores, searching covers and reading backs of books, and I can't find anything that sparks my interest. And even when I know there is a book coming out that I want, I often can't find it in Barnes & Noble or Borders. Bookstores aren't ordering the books I want to buy.

Now, I understand that stores are cutting back on ordered inventory due to the economy. They don't want to have to return unsold books. But my question is, how can they sell books if they don't have books? And that lack of books drives me to order on the internet because there is no where else I can get what I want. And the internet drives the physical bookstores under. Sigh.

Of course, my husband would say I need to broaden what I read. And I have. I've read some science fiction/romance, some paranormal, some dark fantasy, some standard fantasy, some modern urban fantasy, and some superheroes. And I've found some things that I love in my wanderings. But, with only a few exceptions, they don't satisfy my reading thirst as well.

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