I Am So Sick(!) of Buxom Wenches…

Image result for images of visions of light and shadow by allison reid

I’ve just received my copy of Visions of Light and Shadow by our esteemed colleague, Allison Reid (we know her here as “Weavingword”), Book No. 3 of her Wind Rider Chronicles. I’m looking forward to reading it as soon as I catch up on some other assignments. I know it’ll be good–in fact, a good book to read in bed.

One of the things I love about her books is that Allison has female protagonists who don’t conform to fantasy cliches, but instead are kind of normal people, albeit interesting ones,  who happen to be caught up in extraordinary events. This helps me to believe in the story as I’m reading it.

The fantasy genre–these books are fantasy novels–is smothered in cliches. For an art form that leans so heavily on the imagination, these toweringly unimaginative touches constitute literary crimes. The genre is notably poverty-stricken in its cast of female characters.

I can’t decide which female fantasy cliche I detest the most–The Invincible Female Warrior or The Buxom Tavern Wench. Their presence in so many fantasy novels is almost mandatory. From the moment each is introduced, you know exactly, down the most minute detail, what she is going to say or do in any situation–because you’ve already seen it hundreds of times before. They tend to form tag-teams with the male cliches, like The Thief With A Heart Of Gold or The Brawling Lusty Barbarian Warrior Who Can Drink Any Norse God Under The Freakin’ Table. These are not the only trite and overdone characters in fantasy, not by a long shot–The Know-It-All Fantastically Handsome Elf springs to mind–but it’s a rare story which doesn’t stifle the reader’s imagination with these.

Anyway, Allison’s books are all available in paperback now; and if you enjoy fantasy but hate cliches, try ’em, you’ll like ’em.

4 comments on “I Am So Sick(!) of Buxom Wenches…

  1. It astounds me, sometimes, how entrenched some cliches have become. I’ve met their tavern wench character and several of the others you mention. In “The Walking Dead”, which, for the record, I do NOT watch, there’s a female character that is very handy with a sword; uncannily so. I sat through a couple of episodes for social reasons and thought how utterly predictable the characters were.

    One other cliche I disdain is having characters in antiquity brimming with modern behaviors and speech patterns. Life was quite different, even 100 years ago, and many of the things we take for granted today were impossible back then.

    As I mentioned in earlier posts, “Anne With An E” was a “reimagination” of Anne of Green Gables and that production was chock-full of anachronisms in both speech and behavior. It really detracted from the story.

  2. Thanks Lee! I just finally saw this–guess I’m a little late to the party. 🙂 It has been a crazy month, I hardly know where the time has gone already. It means a lot to me that my characters feel real to you, because I know you read a LOT of fantasy books. Really hope you enjoy this one once you get to it.

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