It's that time. We're close enough to publication that I'm looking for a few readers to get an advance copy of Beggar's Rebellion, the first book in The Resonant Saga, to read it and post reviews when it goes live on Amazon this January.
That's right, free book. Before everybody else.
Copes are limited. Get at me.
Like many of us book-lovers, I got started young. In an advanced reading class in third grade I read the Hobbit, then devoured the Lord of the Rings (weeping at Gandalf's death--spoiler!), moved on to the Chronicles of Narnia, the Shannara books, and a whole host of other now-classic fantasy series that gradually filled the headboard of my bed then spilled over onto the dresser, the floor, the walls...
Amongst them were two beloved quintologies: The Belgariad and the Malloreon, by David Eddings. Maybe you read these books. Maybe you loved them and had your mind blown by them as much as I did. Maybe you are even tempted to reread them now, decades later...
I was. And I am here to say times have changed. I don't want to cast aspersions on our hallowed fantastical forebears, but... this book would not see the light of print in today's genre. Let me just traipse through the tropes:
A magical prophecy (see title).
An inactive-but-destined-for-greatness main character (see also title).
A Gandalfian traveling wise wizard.
An orphaned main character growing up in rural obscurity dreaming of getting out of Tattoine-I-mean-Sendaria.
A Nazgulian race sent to scare and watch over said rural orphan.
A wild flight through strange lands barely seen, followed by a meeting of Good Guys to discuss what to do about the Ancient Powers Awakening...
Basically, you could call Pawn of Prophecy The Fellowship of the Rings Redux, with shallower world-building and a less-intriguing main character. And yet I loved this book, and all the ones that followed it. As a later generation loved the Eragon series that old stogies called a rehashing of earlier tales.
The point of this is not to avoid the favorite books of your youth lest they disappoint you (as the metal bands I liked in the late 90s often do). The point is that everyone enters the realm of fantasy somewhere, and as we read more we figure out what we like and gravitate towards that. And as a genre, that mass gravitation drives publishers to find what's on the leading edge and authors to stay ahead of that, by avoiding or subverting or reimagining those tropes, before they go stale on the bookshelves of young impressionable new fans.
And, that there is a way to read these calcified-to-tropian elders of the genre that doesn't totally steal their magic, in the same way we watch Schwarzenegger's Conan films  or listen to Korn: with an appreciation for what it meant to us then, an eye for what's still good in it, and enough suspension of anachronistic disbelief that we can still get sucked into that fantasy world, whether it's Sendaria or Shannara or the Death-Gate Cycle.
That said, my grand plans to read through the Belgariad have been put on indefinite hold. Kind of like you don't need to watch Conan the Destroyer after seeing Conan the Barbarian, I think I got all my appreciation and groans in on book one. I do hope young Garion eventually finds a backbone and his world gets a little more interesting, but I'm going to leave the answer to the rose-tinted glasses of memory, and return to the genre edges I find so lovely today--to read , and to write.
 Expertly analyzed by friend Mike Haspil in episode one of his new podcast.
 At the moment, the Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks. Hot damn. Have you read this?
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