Maybe I should clarify that a little. I hate the fae.
No, I can do better than that. I hate when the fae show up in fantasy books that I’m really enjoying. They ruin everything.
And yet, I’m almost 400 pages into Cold Days, the latest fae-saturated book in The Dresden Files.
The real question to ask is why am I still reading this book? Why did I bother picking it up at all, much less buying it, if I knew there would be stupid, annoying, “I’m pretty/powerful/scary/insane because I’m” fae in it?
Jim Butcher is a fantastic writer. His skill and ability as a writer has grown tremendously since the days when The Dresden Files was a SciFi Original Series that lasted, sadly, for only one season. I’ve never read Fool Moon, not caring much about the Alphas, and I think it would hurt me to read it now, since Butcher has developed so much as a writer.
Now, I must fully admit that my issues with the fae come from a bad history in reading about them. The tendency seems to be I enjoy something, fae are introduced and further assert their bland stereotype, the book then goes downhill.
If you write a story about the fae and say, “My main characters are all fae,” then you have one of two options. You can either break the stereotype and develop complete, rich characters, or you can present the fae just like everyone else does and end up with a rough book. Oddly, I find that the books that are about fae deal with them much better than Butcher or Rothfuss might. I’ve never been able to buy the fae as anything other than a bland intruding presence.
This is my prejudice. I know that this is totally in my head, especially if I’m enjoying Cold Days as much as I have been. The book is a solid B so far, in part because the writing gets an A. Right now, a lot of people are tired of reading about vampires, or dystopian stories.
We all have things that we inherently say no to. Maybe we’ve read these things too often. Maybe we just get burned when those subjects and stories come up. It could be any number of things, but there’s one thing that’s absolute: good writing can tear down the barriers of prejudice, or at least dodge them enough to lead a reader into a story.
Now that you’ve heard what sorts of elements I’m prejudiced against in fiction, I have to ask, what sorts of things turn you off in your reading? Do you think good writing could get you to stomach those elements?