[DWJ] Dragonkeeper and Victorian Fantasy

Aimee Smith aimees001 at gmail.com
Tue Aug 7 04:45:56 EDT 2007


A fantasy title HAS won more recently - Dragonkeeper by Carole Wilkinson
(who happens to be my mother) won a couple of years ago for the young
readers award.

Oh! Your mum wrote that?
I've been eyeing it off on the shelves for a couple of years now, and  
my education tutor at uni came in raving one morning about how  
wonderful it was. I wasn't really reading much at that stage - final  
year had settled over me like a blanket - but I've been looking  
forward to reading it for some time now. Every time I see it I  
remember my tutor (a non-fantasy reader, though we conned her onto  
Pratchett for the humour) praising it, and I promise myself I will  
get hold of a copy.

I have to say I wasn't crazy about MBT. It's good, there's nothing  
WRONG with it. I just feel like there is a bit of an oversupply of  
Arch Victorian Fantasy for Middle Years. Every day we get a new one in
here. I have a theory that says: Most publishers don't like fantasy, so
they don't read it. But they know that kids like fantasy (Harry  
Potter), so
therefore they need to publish it. But because they don't KNOW fantasy,
they all end up publishing the same, not-terribly-original stuff. Set in
pseudo-Victorian times. With Not-as-Good-as-Dickens character names like
Merriwibble and Hinkywhatsit. Instead of unreal unique different fantasy
like DWJ and Scott Westerfeld and Holly Black and Justine  
Larbalestier and
Margo Lanagan etc etc.

I have noticed this too. While I applaud the increase in fantasy on  
the shelves, I don't have any idea how good it all is (mostly because  
I haven't read it all, which is mostly because they all look the  
same). I've been eyeing off a new book in the library awaiting  
computerisation: The Inventions(?) of Hugo Cabret. I'm interested  
because the main character lives in an old Paris train station and  
there's a picture of a beautiful library in it somewhere. I did buy  
my sister one of the child/YA Victorian fantasies - the Mysterious  
Adventures of somebody who wasn't Jonathan Strange. I didn't finish  
it though. Which reminds me: I still haven't read... (I almost admit,  
blushing furiously).

I think I would like the genre, if I could ever get around to reading  
a good example of it.


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