[DWJ] Dragonkeeper and Victorian Fantasy

Farah Mendlesohn farah.sf at gmail.com
Tue Aug 7 05:09:33 EDT 2007

If you want an un -arch Victorian Fantasy, try Jo Walton's Tooth and Claw.


On 07/08/07, Aimee Smith <aimees001 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Lili,
> 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
> actually
> WRONG with it. I just feel like there is a bit of an oversupply of
> Slightly
> 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.
> Aimee.
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