JANNY WURTS - Most under-recognized Fantasy author!

Clansman

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Can anyone out there tell me why Janny Wurts does not get more shelf space? Her books are amazing, without any of the regular deux et machina and farm-boy-becomes-mighty-God-king-Dark-Lord slayer cliches. Her work is so original, written so well, and it is so multi-layered, I am just dumb-founded that you can't find her books in a regular book store. You can order them, or get them on-line, but you can't find them otherwise.

If you are reading this post and don't know who she is, she has quite a wide body of work available to read, including several stand-alone novels, the most recent of which is To Ride Hell's Chasm, two short series (she co-authored the Empire series with Raymond Feist) and her dead brilliant The Wars of Light and Shadow (series of 8 completed books, with three remaining). This series is so incredible I cringe when I walk into a bookstore and see stacks of Wheel of Time or Sword of Truth first-print hardcovers in the bargain bins (not to single them out, but there it is), and can't find one paperback Wurts book in the regular stacks (even though I know a new one has just been released)! AAAAAARGH! I cannot understand for the life of me why the same old tired stuff gets thrust on readers and the good authors don't get the attention they need (and deserve) to keep writing. Look what it took for Erikson's amazing Malazan series to get some decent attention. I had to buy his books from overseas for a while. This is precisely what I had to do with the latest book in The Wars of Light and Shadow, namely Stormed Fortress, because Wurts' North American publisher closed its doors in early 2007. Stormed Fortress was released in October 2007, and it really is an incredible book. But you can't buy it in the USA or Canada!

Sorry for the rant, but I am defensive of good books, and can't stand the marketing of shoddy ones. Does anyone agree, or disagree?
 

Giovanna Clairval

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As I was beginning to say on the Female Authors' thread, The Empire Trilogy, written with Raymond E. Feist, had some success in France.

The culture of the Empire is of Corean inspiration. In this world, there's a rift that leads to Feist's univers (Sorry, I can't remember its name, but you surely do)...

I personally liked Daughter of the Empire more than the other two instalments of the trilogy. Great rendering of the culture. And I don't like Feist, usually, so it must be Janny's writing that appealed to me.
 

Pyan

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Well, I loved the Kelewan/Midkemia collaborations with Raymond Feist, so much so that I've tried to read Curse of the Mistwraith, Stormwarden, Ships of Merior, and Fugitive Prince, and got nowhere with any of them.

No idea why, but they just didn't engage me as the collaborations did....:(
 

Brittani_banana

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I love Janny's War of Light and Shadow series that leads into her Alliance of Light series. She is by far my favorite author. My very favorite book of her has to be Ships of Merior. For those who do not yet know she just recently published Stormed Fortress and it was absoultely amazing!!!!!.

Janny blows the competition out of the water!!! She is so imaginative and sneaky in all the right ways.

I am with you though Pyan the first book of her I read was Curse of the Mistwraith and I owned it for two years before I actually picked it up and finished it. It took me a little while to get interested but now that I am WHOO!! I am hooked for life!!!


I agree whole heartedly Clansman. I had to pay an arm and a leg to get my copy of Stormed Fortress. Worth every penny I might add. Janny's books are awsome and she really deserves to be on more bookshelves!!!!
 

steve bolger

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I've read and thoroughly enjoyed the empire series, but i haven't read anything else by Janny wurts.I'm looking forward to trying some of the books mentioned above!
 

Rosemary

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I've had no trouble finding Janny Wurts books over here. My favourite is The Cycle of Fire... a nicely moving story, great characters and magic! I started reading The Wars Of Light and Shadow but after the first two books I found I wasn't enjoying them very much.
 

Werthead

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The Empire Trilogy is excellent and The Master of Whitestorm was entertaining. However, Wurts is a rather off-beat author. Her writing style is very difficult to penetrate, not because it's over-literate or anything, but she overwrites everything to the point of tedium. I think it was Feist's more relaxed writing style combined with Wurts' more nuanced approach to characterisation that made The Empire Trilogy so good.

I have tried to start her massive mega-series several times and never gotten anywhere with it, unfortunately.

And the series is well-marketed in the UK. The whole series was reissued last year with new covers, for example.
 

biodroid

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I think she likes to mince her words when its not necessary. I tried Curse of the Mistwraith and got about 100 pages. I could not carry on
 

GOLLUM

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I've read everything Janny has written and like her work quite a bit. I also have no problem in getting her stuff off the shelf or in any library, so I have to asume it's the Canadian market?

You're right about her, a somewhat underrated author although I can assure you she has a very loyal band of fans even if they're not large in number. She might be a bit like Donaldosn, you either like their style or otherwise. I find Paul Kearney is another underrated author, you might like to check him out too.

I also correspond with Janny, so I might ask her about this and post a reply here...:)
 

Giovanna Clairval

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I find Paul Kearney is another underrated author, you might like to check him out too.

Sorry for off-threading, but I wanted to say that Paul Kearny has his followers in France (another one I have never read in English).

Oh, and I have read book 2 of the Empire trilogy in English (I wrongly remembered reading all the trilogy in French).

I will try Feist again to check the differences, Werthead.
 

Overread

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So far I agree - though I have only read "To Ride Hell's Chasm" it was a gripping read - she certainly shows tallent, yet all I can ever find of hers in most bookstores is the last book of her mistwriath series and the book I read. The rest of the series makes no appearence. I think part of hte problem is that her name tends to end up on the bottom of a shelf - out of the browsers eyeline, so she gets overlooked (look at many of the popular authors and they are sitting in eyeline much of the time - and I think it was George Orwell (I think) who used a pen name spcifically to get onto the eyeline section of the shelf by the spelling of the name
 

Connavar

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I plan on reading Empire series but i wonder which of her solo books are best to start with ?
 
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GOLLUM

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I planned on reading Empire series but i wonder which of her solo books are best to start with ?
Umm...to get a good feel for her style of writing I recommend her stand-alone novel To Ride Hell's Chasm. It's been out for 2-3 years so you should be OK getting a copy. Janny is an author where I enjoy the prose more than the storyline. It seems as if every word has been carefully chosen. Also don't worry if you find some passages confusing when she gets into "technical" details, you're not alone, you'll still get the gist....:)
 

Overread

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I second that suggestion - Hells Chasm is a great book and thrusts you right into the worldset within moments

if you find some passages confusing when she gets into "technical" details, you're not alone, you'll still get the gist....:)


just think of it like a space opera book or star trek -- ok its as bad as understanding sciency stuff ;)
 

dekket

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I have recently finished Stormed Fortress (the 8th book in the "Wars of Light and Shadows" series) and it really was brilliant. I recommend it to everyone (just please read the first 7 first).

As a Feist fan I was first introduced to Janny's work through her collaboration in the Empire trilogy. In fact, it was probably the quality of the Empire trilogy that kept me going with the whole Midkemia/Kelewan universe.

From there it was a short step to the Cycle of Fire trilogy, which is one of the most interesting series I have ever read. From memory I believe that it was the first time I had come across a fantasy (magic, swords, etc) story set in the distant future.

Then I came across Curse of the Mistwraith, and my love affair with Janny's books has not stopped.
It has everything I enjoy in a thrilling story: A great cast of characters (with plausible justifications for their actions), a "I cant put it down style of storytelling," a mesh of plot lines which thread their way throughout the series without being lost or forgotten, an intriguing depth of history, a fully fleshed out society, and a system of magic that actually feels like it really could function (on Athera at least).

As a fan of J R R Tolkien, Ray E. Feist, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Katherine Kerr, Sara Douglas (and many more), I really must say that I believe that Janny's work really does leave them all in the dust.

I am enjoying the wait until the next book, as it is giving me plenty of time to read the books again, as every time I do I find another facet that I hadn't noticed before.

Buy Janny's books, they are in print here in Australia (and the UK, etc), and available online from Amazon, etc.
 

Quokka

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As others have said her books are widely available in Australia, loved the Empire series but the only other ones I've read is the Cycle of Fire Trilogy which I enjoyed but didn't find all that memorable. Might have to check out her more recent works.
 

DarthJazy

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I was supremely mad when I found out that Janny was not published anymore in USA. Her Wars of Light and Shadow are by far my favorit Fantasy series taking only 2nd to star wars books. Stormed Fortress Rocked to no end and now wait on baited sith for the next one. The cycle of fire was both intreging and origional. the other of Jannys works I have read is Master of Whitestorm which i will reread from time to time just for she pleasure. I love is cockyness in everything and was always surprised by how he got out of problems. I even have named my son after one of the brothers in wars series and prey her books are out again soon on my shelves.
 

Cerigwen

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I have to admit that Mistwraith took a while for me to get through but it was well worth it. I've always admired Janny's strength of character development starting with Master of Whitestorm. She is a top writer on a par with Stephen Erickson (another little known fantastic writer). Why oh why is her latest book not published in the U.S.?
 

starstorm

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Cerigwen, she isn't currently published in North America because her publisher (Meisha Merlin) closed down due to financial reasons. It's really a shame, because they produced absolutely beautiful hardcovers of To Ride Hell's Chasm and Traitor's Knot. Janny has said on her forum that she is continuing the search for a US publisher.

Just to throw in my 2 cents, I will say that Janny's work is not what I would consider a light read, so if that's what you're looking for don't bother... BUT if you're looking for something character-based that is substantial, with a lot of depth and nuance, Janny won't disappoint. She has consistently been in my Top 5 list of favorite authors since I started reading her about 12 years ago on the recommendation of a friend.

And just because it sometimes helps to know who what other authors someone reads (one of those, "if you like author x, then maybe you'll also like Janny" sort of things :D), rounding out the rest of my Top 5 are Carol Berg, Guy Gavriel Kay, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Tad Williams.


~Anna
 

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