Like Dragonlance but, uh...better?

Post date: 2022-11-28 08:03:07
Views: 16
When I was eleven or so, I loved the Dragonlance books. I had the calendar and everything.

God only knows what I'd find in them now since the quality of the prose prevents me from rereading them. On the one hand, yes, it seems like they are probably objectively terrible, but on the other hand I am deeply grateful for the hours and hours of delight and daydreaming when I was in junior high - junior high was awful, but the Dragonlance books were amazing. It's not that I didn't read other fantasy - I'd read Tolkien, Dunsany, etc - but the very non-realism and fantastic exaggeration of the Dragonlance books meant that they took me away from horrible, horrible junior high school better than anything else.

Anyway. I would like to recapture some of that feeling with better prose and hopefully politics that are at least tolerable enough to ignore. In particular, I'm looking for:

1. Epic landscapes! Mountains and rivers without end! Galloping through wild country on the back of a unicorn, flying through icy mountains on dragonback, you get the vibe.

2. A very significant quest where we don't put too much pressure on the logic of the thing - saving the world from evil, averting ancient doom, etc. No books where "evil" is, like, racist caricatures, it has to be Evil Gods or something.

3. A band of heroes, ideally somewhat gender-balanced, with the usual "the intellectual one, the cunning one, the nurturing one, the heroic fighter one, the plucky child" thing. Realism is not necessary here - the hero can be 100% chisel-jawed and heroic, the angsty character can be poetically melancholy rather than annoying and derailing, etc. Again, no racist stuff.

4. Produces some sweeping feelings of epicness, melancholy, sensa wonda, etc. Is it the kind of story where a Michael Whelan cover would be appropriate?

5. Is either a bit cheesy or not too removed from cheesiness - seriousness, flawed heroes and moral ambiguity are not necessary and should take a back seat. I have read, eg, The Book of the New Sun, M John Harrison, the Neveryon books and other serious treatments of these themes, and this is not what I'm looking for. I want to feel like small Frowner imagining epic dragon battles in the moonlight over ancient fortresses and and secret elven cities deep in the immemorial woods, etc. None of this "but won't evil persist even after the quest is achieved" stuff, just heroism.

So anyway. Recommend me some doorstop fantasies, the kind that look like they could be illustrated by Michael Whelan
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