a/Fantasy · 3 Subscribers
Generally, Michael Swanwick's books are depressing as fuck. But he specifically wrote the Iron Dragon's Daughter as a reaction against mass-market pulp fantasy. From the wikipedia article: "The novel constantly subverts fantasy tropes and archetypes. Swanwick admits having written it both as a homage to J.R.R. Tolkien and in reaction to a handful of writers he claims exploit Tolkien's milieu and the readers' imaginations with derivative, commercial fantasy:
' … The recent slew of interchangeable Fantasy trilogies has hit me in much the same way that discovering that the woods I used to play in as a child have been cut down to make way for shoddy housing developments did.' "
I picked this book up expecting a coming of age power fantasy. It's set up as a slave-escape-and-return-for-vengeance story, but goes off in unexpected directions instead. This book is darkly depressing and nihilistic, expressing a suicidal rage at existence itself. Game of Thrones has nothing on this one for impact. No fantasy book has hit as hard as this one. I'd love for someone to see this recommendation, read it, and talk about it here.