Day 49: What in Hael?

I have always hated fantasy novels, despite the fact I've never read a single one (except Harry Potter, which doesn't count because it's in a league of it's own).

I don't know if I could ever put my finger on why I never gave them a chance in the first place, but I can list a whole lot of reasons that I don't like them.
  • I like books that are either nonfiction, philosophically interesting, award-winning or considered classics. P.S. "NY Times Bestseller" is NOT an award title
  • I hate when anyone in America spells the word "fairy, "faerie," or demon, "daemon."
  • I don't like gnomes, wizards, animal-human hybrids or Medieval power structures
  • Unless it's Harry Potter, you should only be aware of one world, and it should not be called a "Realm" 
Due to these facts and countless others, you should be surprised when I tell you that on day 49 I started reading a fantasy novel.

Now, I am not one to invest much money in fantasy novels, so I picked this one up at the Dollar Tree. It was called "The Purple Emperor" from the "Faerie Wars Chronicles." Apparently this was a good book because the author was a New York Times Bestseller (you know how I feel about that).

The back cover started out with "When Henry Atherton returned to his own life in the suburbs of London, he thought all was well in the Faerie Realm..." Everything I hate all in one sentence (except the fact that he was not an animal-human hybrid, bummer). So I thought it was perfect for me to buy. If I'm going to buy a genre I hate, go all out, right?

So I was flipping through the book and ended up on A GLOSSARY PAGE. No piece of fiction needs a glossary page unless you are reading your first chapter book in third grade out of a textbook. Further, the Glossary had a "Key" to help you decode it--"FOL" Faerie of the Light, "FON" Faerie of the Night, "HMN" human.

I think that amounts to "FML".

Even better, while perusing the glossary, I came across this nugget,

"Hael--Polite Name for Hell."

No, "hael" is how the old ladies of the South say "hell."

I jumped into my cozy bed and opened to page one. There I was embarking on a story about how Lord Hairstreak (This author literally named a villain hair streak?) was trying to kill Prince Pyrgus who is about the become the Purple Empereor in the Fairy Realm (I will not stoop so low as to call it the "Faerie Realm"). Pyrgus's sister, Blue (yes, that is her name), is a fairy in love with Henry from London in the "Analogue World," but the portal between the worlds is closing! AH!

And then, after 100 pages, I started thinking to myself that I never gave this book a chance at all. Not even a little bit. I bought it at a Dollar Tree for $1.04, got it because the title was funny, and made fun of the content before I even started reading. This is the wrong way to approach a challenge. Maybe I should try reading something like "The Hobbit," or another classic to give a fair shot to the genre.


Anyone know of any well-written fantasy books that I should try? I'll attempt to make another "New Thing" out of finishing a fantasy book.


    1. I'm also not a lover of fantasy novels or science fiction, which I kind of group into the same category. I also throw magical realism into there too, cause honestly, my general reaction to those novels are wtf?

      That being said, I did enjoy Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Stranger in a Strange Land. Not true fantasy, more science fiction though.

      I've also heard excellent things about the Hunger Games series, which is an apocalyptic fantasy novel. Maybe worth a shot?

    2. Katie, you always pull through when I need suggestions!

      Great advice on the Hunger Games series! I'll check that out and let you know how it goes.

      And funny you bring up sci-fi, because I'd like to try that this year, too! Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy sounds like a good place to start...and it's practically a classic, right? That makes up for so much.

    3. Pick up Golden Compass, especially if you haven't seen the movie yet. It's pretty good.

    4. I completely empathize with you Leah!! If other reputable people aren't reading the book, I feel like it has no value, and it's probably a waste of my time. lol But, I will tell you that in middle school, I was LITERALLY addicted to the novels of David Eddings. I found them well-authored with a witty, sardonic humor. Quite a pleasure to read. I rank them one rung below Harry Potter novels.

    5. I got super excited about giving you suggestions when I first started....but everything pretty much falls into the faerie/daemon/other realm category.

      You might try Brandon Weeks. He's got a trilogy (Way of Shadows, Beyond the Shadows, and one other I can't remember the name of right now) out that's pretty good and I'm pretty sure it doesn't break any of your rules.

    6. Eric, definitely will read the cover of Golden Compass, I remember a whole lot of people saying how it was one of their favorite books a long time ago.

      JT-So glad you see my POV and will give David Eddings a shot.

      And Courtney, I'm willing to venture into other realms so long as the books are really well written and the villian character's name doesn't reference hair styling :)

      Thanks all for the suggestions friends, keep em coming!

    7. Oh, I just remembered! Neil Gaiman! I've never read him but he is a wildly popular fantasy writer. He wrote Coraline if you've seen that movie. He's won a ton of awards for his writing too, including the Newbery Medal and the Hugo Award which is for the best fantasy/science fiction novel of the year. Probably his most famous novel is American Gods. I would so give him a shot!

      ... I'm such a librarian. I just love books.

    8. Yes! Neil Gaiman! I need to finish American Gods now that I think about it... Golden Compass is more of a kids book like Harry Potter, but still good. Depends on what kind of mood you're in.

    9. *hops on the Neil Gaiman bandwagon* Completely forgot about him.

      Also, if you're not looking for something earth shattering, the Percy Jackson books are pretty good. I mean they're written for kids, so the writing isn't the deepest thing in the world, but they're fun and cute.

      Honestly, I could probably think of enough books to keep you entertained until summer if I sat and thought about it long enough. Guess it comes with working where I do...

    10. Sounds like a resounding Neil Gaiman. So glad to have book lovers, a librarian, and a book store enthusiast on my side!

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    12. A few days late to chime in, but I'll agree with the Neil Gaiman suggestions. Tad Williams' "War of the Flowers" and Brandon Sanderson's "Elantris" are also really good as stand-alone fantasy novels (which are hard to come by since fantasy novelists always want to tell epic stories).

    13. Yay for more options! I haven't bought a fantasy book yet, so I'll read the back covers of all of those to get an idea of what to read.

      Thanks for chiming in!

    14. I agree, Hunger Games is awesome! But I wouldn't count it as Fantasy or Sci-Fi.
      For Science Fiction, I'd recommend Anne McCaffrey's Dragonrider books. There are tons of them, so Dragonflight would be the one to start with. And for general Fantasy, its not all fairies/other worlds/etc. An author I love is Kristin Cashore, who write about awesome women, Graceling and Fire are great. All I ever read is Fantasy Fiction and Sci-Fi, but those are the ones I can think of that it sounds like you might not hate.