Today marks a rather sad day for me, why? I hear you ask, because i have just finished the Rose and the Thorn by Michael J Sullivan, book two of the Riyria Chronicles and the last book...at least for now.
The world of Riyria and the world of Elan represent something (at least for me) in the over crowded world of fantasy. That of a tradition that is somewhat lost and i believe that Michael J Sullivan and others are bringing back.
Mr Sullivan states on his website that the Lord Of The Rings was a book that changed his life in many ways, and this has clearly impacted his writing of the Riyria Revelations and Chronicles. The books are traditional fantasy in every sense, what is this i hear you ask?, Essentially this is fantasy that is not heading down the dark, grim route that many authors are taking, not that there is anything wrong with this, many of them are fine writers.
Michael J Sullivan's writing in the world of Elan is traditional in the sense there is no damsel in distress, it is not a grimdark world, very traditional sword and sorcery and discovery of who you are and your place in the world. This is coupled with some hair raising escapes and great interplay between the central characters that is really easy to read. This is the same as the work authors such as Brandon Sanderson are doing and i have to admit, it really is quite refreshing.
Traditional fantasy is a real joy to read, the Riyria Revelations and Chronicles being perhaps the best example of recent fantasy fiction, the story are all individual but connected across the three books of Revelations making them very enjoyable to read. It however increases the need to find out what happens next in their adventures and thus the revelations continue!
Traditional fantasy is very much alive and well, championed by Michael J Sullivan and others such as Brandon Sanderson. It has not faded away but rather crafted a niche within the fantasy genre and continues to thrive and be championed. While Fantasy has taken a new direction down the grim, dark world of others, tradition cannot be forgotten as in so many other cases.