Sunday, July 23, 2006

It's epic!

I got the book Irresistible Forces, which is a collection of short stories, because I wanted to read "Winterfair Gifts" by Lois McMaster Bujold. I was really excited because it's a Miles Vorkosigan story covering Miles and Ekaterin's wedding. I just read A Civil Campaign in which these two get engaged and I LOVED it. So, obviously I want to hear about their wedding.

But the story felt a little flat to me. It's told from the point of view one of Miles's armsmen, Roic. It was okay, but it didn't really focus on Miles and Ekaterin very much, which was disappointing to me. And if I didn't know who all these people were from reading an earlier book in the series, I think I would have been really, really confused. She doesn't give much exposition at all.

But part of my disappointment might be because I don't generally like short stories. I don't read them very often. I always feel that the moment I make friends with the characters and start to care about them, the story is over. I understand that the short story can be an art form, and a skilled author can pack a lot of punch in a limited word count. But I prefer full-length books, and I really love GREAT. BIG. FAT. books.

Twin and I once saw an interview with Peter Jackson talking about the Lord of the Rings movies. And he kept saying "It's EPIC!" in that New Zealand accent with the great inflection on the "e" in epic. I swear he must have said it five times. Now we always say the word that way. (I'm not making fun of the accent, I'm jealous of it. It's so much cooler than us flat-voiced Americans.)

So some of my favorite eeee-pics:
  • The Far Pavillions by M. M. Kaye - (1135 pages) A book so big, they had to put it in two volumes. A classic about forbidden love between an Englishman and an Indian princess.
  • The Order of the Phoenix - (870 pages) Here's hoping #7 is the longest yet.
  • Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman - (703 pages) I heart Llewelyn Fawr, Welsh prince and LEGEND.
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - (850 pages) I didn't like the sequels, but you just have to love this first one.
  • Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati - (876 pages) Also the first in a series, all of which I love. New one out in October!!
  • Desiree by Annemarie Selinko - (495 pages) As a young woman, she is engaged to and then dumped by Napoleon, then later ends up being the Queen of Sweden.
  • Kathryn in the Court of Six Queens by Anne Merton Abbey - (454 pages) Spans all six of Henry VIII's wives.
Now that I'm looking at this list, I notice that except for Harry Potter, they're all historical fiction. I guess it's just a genre that lends itself to epics. :)


Marg said...

Historicals certainly do lend themselves to the epic tag. There was a time when I used to choose books solely based on how big they were, and I found some fantastic books that way!

Mailyn said...

two more aweosme ones: War & Peace, The Count of Monte Cristo

can't wait for HP7!!!!!!

jmc said...

Sharon Kay Penman writes amazing stories, doesn't she? Her mystery series, set during Richard I's reign, is much shorter because of the genre. Although I enjoy them, I always miss the epic-y feeling.

Jennie said...

Marg-I always scan the bookstore shelves for fat ones. Doesn't mean I'll buy it, but I always take a look.

Mailyn-I plan to read Monte Cristo someday, but I don't know about War&Peace. I'm scared of it. >:0

jmc-SKP is great--a very recent find for me. I bought the first of her mystery series, but I haven't read it yet. Haven't been in a mystery mood in a while.

Amarjaa said...

You have great taste in epic books. I mean, The Far Pavillions! Outlander! ;) I've never read Here Be Dragons, but I really want to now, if Llewelyn is that awesome.

As for historical're right. I'm not sure I know of any contemporary epic stories. Maybe 'Lace' and its sequels? Though I'm not sure those would count. ;)

Mailyn said...

lol don't be scared! it's a great book!!!

ames said...

Kathryn in the Court of Six Queens sounds interesting. I love reading about King Henry and all his wives.
Outlander I've read. I enjoyed it, but didn't have the urge to read any of the sequels.

Any "Kushiel" book by Jacqueline Carey is pretty long. Kushiel's Scion was 753 pages.

Jennie said...

Amarjaa--I highly recommend Here Be Dragons. The heroine is nothing to gush about, but I am seriously in love with Llewelyn!

Ames--Kathryn is an old favorite of mine. It's sadly long out of print though and copies are hard to find. But it's really worth it if you can find one.

I haven't read any of the Kushiel books, though they look interesting.

ames said...

They are. I'm such a book pimp - but only for these books. LOL