As this is our first article, I would like to explain a little bit about Worthy Fantasy. First off, why did we name it Worthy Fantasy? We named it this because it can mean so many things, all of things that are good. To clarify, however, since we are a group of Christians, when we say 'Worthy', we do not mean we are worthy of our Salvation, of Christ, or the incredible mercy God has on us. The Bible says very clearly that we are not. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"-Romans 3:23.
So, what do we mean exactly by worthy? Our goal at Worthy Fantasy is simply to explore the fantasy genre, whether it be Christian, or secular, with a Christian world-view. We want to bring up undiscovered fantasy books and get them into the hands of the reader.
However, that's not the only thing we're here to do. We're not just going to do a few book reviews here and there, a newsletter about new books coming out. We want to explore and discover every part of the genre that is fantasy. Races, worlds, plants, kingdoms, weapons. The list goes on for quite some time.
Now, on to some of the little details. We're a non-profit group, and we don't ask, or allow donations. Most of us are in our teens, and don't need the money. However, what we do ask is that if you like our articles drop a comment, follow us, we really do appreciate knowing that our work isn't in vain. And, if you really want to get involved, shoot us an email at worthyfantasy[at]gmail[dot]com, in the email let us know if you would like to become an author, work on the site, or anything else to contribute.
However, since this is a non-profit, however much we enjoy and want to do this as often as possible, we do have other things that are demanding, such as school, eating, sleeping, and with our small team, it's hard to get content out on a regular basis, so please be patient with us.
Now, that being said, let's go into the first article of our first post on Worthy Fantasy.
Glossary Versus No Glossary
Now some of you readers may think, “Is this guy some super geek that cares about the difference of having a glossary or not having a glossary?” Well to answer you question, if caring about having a glossary means I am, then yes, I am. I have read books with and without a glossary, which do I like better?
But interestingly enough, when I do have a glossary you never catch me reading it. I pondered why that is, and came up with this: If the book requires a glossary to be read properly there hasn’t been enough specific character development/terrain and plot development. But if the book doesn’t require ANY sort of glossary, then maybe they didn’t introduce enough new topics.
Take the book, Raising Dragons by Bryan Davis, it had a glossary in the front; did I need it to fully experience the book? Shucks no, things were explained very adequately for me at least from chapter one on. Yet, if I really wanted to delve deep into Raising Dragons I could have through the glossary.
Tolkien is a glossary brick, and for that he gets mention. But he is just that, a glossary brick. His glossaries in the three main Lord of the Rings books are unwieldy at best, hampering at worst. I believe there is such a thing as too much background information. Though some would claim that one of the reasons for Tolkien’s amazing stories are all the extra background information he put into his books.
However, as a general rule of thumb, if the glossary covers more than six pages, then it is too long. If the information is absolutely vital, then it shouldn’t be in the glossary. If it is page filler, then cut it. Tolkien gave lots of information, but I prefer to go with an Associate’s degree in glossary, not Masters.
What about the book The Door Within by Wayne Thomas Batson. It also had a glossary in the front, but not just a glossary of people and places but a small map as well. In The Door Within’s glossary was mostly a usage of pages I believe. Even as big a fan of him that I am, I can’t remember ever needing to read the glossary to figure something out. Inside the book it gave me all the information I desired without having to read the glossary. I would ask you readers of The Door Within who actually learned something from it? Perhaps some did, in any event I did not.
Glossaries can be wonderful things! They can be used to spin a tighter tale of woes, or sorrow, of joy, of excitement.
Or, they can be used to fill pages at the beginning of the book, or please an editor. What do you think? What was the best glossary you have ever read? What was the worst?
Note that we are not here to slam books, just discuss glossaries.
Starlighter Book Review
So if you follow Christian Fantasy, especially teen Christian Fantasy, the name Bryan Davis ought not be a new one to you. Author of fifteen or so books including bestselling series Dragons in Our Midst, Oracles of Fire, and Echoes from the Edge, Mr. Davis has made quite the name for himself.
Recently he has started a new series entitled Dragons of Starlight. In this story world there will be, I believe, four books for teens and two books for adults. The adult series is to be published with AMG Publishers beginning with Masters and Slayers. The teen series begins with Starlighter, to be released next month.
Those who pre-ordered/won copies of the book received the book early and, as I was one of those people, I have decided to write an in depth review of the book.
From the Back Cover
Those who pre-ordered/won copies of the book received the book early and, as I was one of those people, I have decided to write an in depth review of the book.
From the Back Cover
Dragons are enslaving humankind and a black egg signals the end of the world. Jason Masters must journey to another realm and join forces with a slave girl named Koren to rescue the captives and save two worlds from destruction. What if the Legends Are True? Jason Masters doubted the myths: people taken through a portal to another realm and enslaved by dragons. But when his brother is taken, he must uncover the truth and find the portal before it's too late. Once he's through the portal, he meets Koren, a slave in the dragons' realm, who struggles to destroy a black egg prophesied to doom all mankind. Jason and Koren must work together to save their two worlds before the dragons learn that their secrets have been discovered. In Starlighter, bestselling author Bryan Davis masterfully weaves fantasy and inspiration into a captivating novel for young adults.
Personally, I found the plot thoroughly enjoyable. Who doesn't enjoy stories of other worlds? Dragons? Fantasy period? The story was fast paced and exciting. But some basic story elements were a first for Bryan Davis. For one, the dragons in this tale were evil. The villains were the creatures we came to love in his previous series. Secondly, none of this tale takes place on earth, and in the story world earth is nonexistent. Finally, I thought a lot of creativity went into this plot. Nothing came across cheesy, as things did in some of his other works, and in fact I was surprised by many of the fantasy elements in Starlighter.
The story has five or so main characters (two girls, two boys, enemy dragons) and I found them to be quite real. Each one has a very distinct personality, to the point that if you presented me with a line or two of dialogue, I could tell you which character spoke it. In this I believe Mr. Davis succeeded. However, I did not feel a serious connection with any of the characters. I identified with them, but because there were 4 heroes, two main villain-ish characters, and a deep plot, I do not think Mr. Davis had the time to create the connection. Keep in mind, however, that this is the first of a longer series, so I expect to gain that intimacy later. My favorite character was one that kept me on the edge the whole time, I am still analyzing his actions.
Mr. Davis is a very well rounded storyteller. Exempting one or two points the dialogue was excellent, the detail was spot on, and the flow was perfect. As I said, I found a line of seemingly contrived dialogue and I was hazy on details in one particular scene, but overall the writing was wonderful.
The theme of this story is perhaps my favorite part of the book. The allegorical aspects are flooring and worded in my favorite way. Of course, I may be biased because of its similarities to my novella. :-P The theme was this one: the world is lost and needs delivering; though some will refuse bring the Lost Ones home. Beautiful if you ask me.
The story ended on a cliff-hanger of sorts. Some serious questions were left unanswered and I am dying to know their conclusion. Some things worth noting: I was a bit lost at the beginning of the book, terms were being thrown around that I didn't know the meaning of (and still don't) but that may just be because of my limited vocabulary, once the story really began things became easier to follow. Basic positive elements include: sacrifice, brotherly love, love between friends, non-romantic companionship between boys and girls, honorable men and women, loving adults, clearly defined good and evil. And I was going to put negative elements...but I can't think of any :P I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Highly recommended.
Be sure to check out the book trailer as well as Bryan Davis's website, blog, and the national tour schedule. Also, Mr. Davis is hosting a huge contest! See his blog for details! Zondervan will be hosting a contest shortly as well.
To buy the book from the author click here!
From Amazon, click here!
Siege Warfare or Guerrilla Warfare
Do you prefer siege warfare, or guerrilla warfare? For this article of Worthy Fantasy we ask the readers opinion, I Millard will try to present a balanced opinion. If you find that you feel I slanted the view one way or the other, please comment! Tell me where I did this, and how you would have presented the material, or not presented it in some cases. So, let us begin:
That is the question I pose to the noble readers is, which do you prefer: A long arrow shooting fire hurling siege battles? Or, perhaps the cunning raids, and daring deeds of a Guerilla warfare battles. First, to give this article some order I will present the pros’ and cons’ of Siege warfare. Then follow in the same order with guerrilla warfare.
First of all, one thing I notice is that you can easily differentiate the pecking order and jobs of all involved that you come across. You have the arrow maker, the scout, or the general. Names and jobs are easily connected. You can bring in many minor characters that add character to the story, and subplots can run alongside the main plot with little interference. Another thing that I as a reader thoroughly enjoy is the earth shaking explosions! The catapult hurling stones of mass destruction or the occasional flaming hail bails. The writer can give the reader an apt feel of time passing as the siege wears on. Connecting the reader to the plot and giving him a time and diplomacy like few other situations lend too.
Now we know that you can’t have a double scope of ice cream and chocolate sauce, so how about some of the downfalls of the Siege oriented books.
Right away I notice that a book with long sieges can quite frankly, become boring. Not what the author wants to hear from a reader! Being a slower style of battle and perhaps some would say less exciting in certain ways it appeals to different, or maybe even fewer readers. The ability to add minor characters and subplots may overpower the author, leaving us the reader, with characters we know nothing about! And characters that don’t impact the story positively instead distracting us from the hero. I believe a proper realistic siege is hard to be done well. Easily lots more time needed to research the wall scaling attacks. As the story is slowed down to accommodate the siege, the lull in action must be remedied or the story will be slowed far to much for the reader to enjoy; after all, you can only shoot target practice so much, or train on a wooden urchin with your sword.
We have traversed the discussion on the Pros and Cons for Siege warfare! Now to our second option, Guerrilla warfare, what are its pros and con’.
First out of the barrel is the aptitude it lends for mind blowing action packed fun! With the ever present danger of discovery, betrayal, or capture the reader’s heart beats in time with the stories rhythm and they are sucked into the tale without realizing it. The hit and run warfare gives us a picture of what the combatants are like under pressure. Are they loyal to a fault or would they betray for a single coin? A freelance fighter or a sidekick? Noble or dastardly? The pressure packed situations are sure to tell you. Guerrilla warfare battles give free reign for the author to unleash their hidden tactician and bring the reader with them. To wax on the art of surprise, and to plot on the subterfuge required for a proper ambush. Last but surely not least, everyone likes the underdog! Against all odds the hero or heroine fight on with a band of warriors or perhaps even by themselves, fighting against superior odds with only their cunning, wit, and weaponry skills to depend on.
But as I said before, you can’t have the best of both worlds. Not even in fiction. Now, on to the cons of guerrilla warfare.
With so much action the plot can be weak as it doesn’t have the time or atmosphere to develop well. Also suffering from the fighting can be the characters, they suffer from being underdeveloped unless the writer spends much time on dialogue between them, or we get a look inside their heads. Sometimes there is just too much action! I want to know the characters not watch them slice and dice the enemy all the time. As all writers have to watch this I decided to add it, the unrealism of the hero or heroin winning against all odds. Again, and again, and again. Many readers want to go on adventures, to be taken on travels of lands afar, survey barren plains, and gaze upon the lush mountains. Guerrilla warfare doesn’t often lend to exploration as well as other types of battle types do.
So, now you the reader must decide, which do you prefer and why.
Epic Fantasy Versus Modern Fantasy
Lord of the Rings-Harry Potter, Inheritance-Dragons in our Midst, the White Lion Chronicles-Legend of Robin Hood. You may notice a difference between the first in each pair and the last in each pair. The first takes place in a world completely other then the real world, while the last take place in our world. They both have something in common though, they’re both fantasy. For now I’ll give them two separate names: Epic Fantasy, and Modern Fantasy.
Epic fantasy is where the story either takes place in a completely different realm, or most of the story takes place in another realm. For example, Lord of the Rings is a story that takes place in a completely different world. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is a story where the majority takes place in a completely different world. The latter is usually called portal fantasy, but for now we’ll group it with epic fantasy.
Modern fantasy is where the story takes place in the real world. There are various subcategories for Modern fantasy but they all take place in the real world. Examples of this are Dragons in our Midst [Bryan Davis] and Harry Potter [J.K. Rowling].
Besides being different types of fantasy because of the nature of the two different worlds, there are other key differentiates. One is plot. Just as the author of an epic fantasy book is virtually boundless with their world, they are also virtually boundless with their plot. They can have larger quests, bigger secrets, and more epic battles. That alone doesn’t necessarily make epic fantasy better; it is just one element that adds to the overall subcategory of epic fantasy.
Modern fantasy also has, in a sense, different possibilities for plots. If it takes place in the real world the author can play off of ancient legends, actual mysteries that have not been solved, and many other things. Take for example one of Worthy Fantasy’s favorite series, Dragons in our Midst [You can find the first in the series on the left sidebar, just click the image and go straight to Amazon]. The series revolves largely around Arthurian legend, with a Christian perspective. The author adds much on to the classic legend that makes it stand apart from other Arthurian books. However, if the author had wanted to put the story in a completely different world he would have run into trouble, as he would have to either change the storyline to not include Arthurian legend, or he would have to add a similar legend into his books, plus the actual story.
As I said before, in epic fantasy the author can have much larger battles. Let’s take for example, the Lord of the Rings. In Lord of the Rings, there were over six hundred thousand warriors from Mordor [in the movie, I am not sure if that was the actual number in the books]. That is an outrageous number. You cannot have such large and epic battles in modern fantasy, and if you do, it takes more work to do so and does not often turn out right.
However, just like there can be different possibilities with plot in modern fantasy, so there is with battles. Carrying on the example of Dragons in our Midst, take the last battle in Tears of a Dragon, the last book in the series. Since I cannot assume that all the readers have read the book, I will be brief in the description of the battle. The battle took place over a large lake with many dragons and demons and other creatures as such. The major thing with this battle was that the author could really display every part of the battle, not just one part. With modern fantasy you really feel like you’re in the battle because you can see the entire thing.
There are so many more things that could be discussed about the difference of epic fantasy and modern fantasy. In my opinion I like epic fantasy over modern fantasy. But that’s my opinion. I really enjoy some modern fantasy, but as a reader and a writer I prefer the subcategory of epic fantasy. We’ve presented the facts, you make the decision.
Note: If you find anything wrong with this post or any bad or false statements please let us know through email, not by comment.
Also, thank you to one of Worthy Fantasy's authors, Millard, for the awesome banner!
If you would like to be interviewed, have your book reviewed, or would like to get involved with Worthy Fantasy shoot us an email! We’d be happy to help.