I started reading a new book last night, a fantasy story. The tale is set in a mythical place and all of the characters and towns and countries have strange names like Zork and Drude and Zerkdom.
I seldom read fantasy, and ten pages into this story I realized why. With all these strange names, it takes work to keep track of who is who, and where towns are in relationship to each other. Basically, I grasped that I’m a lazy reader. I like to concentrate on the prose and the skill of the storyteller, but not work overly hard to keep the characters and places set in my head.
The other issue I have with this read is that each time a new off-the-wall name is presented, it pulls me out of the story when I think to myself: Where the hell did he come up with that one?, which happens about three times per page. I’m hoping that as the story develops, fewer new names will be thrown at me and I’ll become accustomed to the ones already there.
There have been a few fantasy books that I have relished. Lord Of The Rings springs to mind, but there have been several others. Still, fantasies are never my first pick. I suppose what’s important to me in a story is interesting characters (flawed), the story’s premise, the plot’s structure, and quality of the prose. Placing the story in a mythical land, in my viewpoint, only heaps more frosting onto the cake, and I don’t have a sweet tooth.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not trying to sway readers away from fantasy novels, or suggest that those novels don’t have interesting characters and plot development. And I know many readers love these stories because they can be a delightful escape from the norm.
My only point is that I have a defect. I’m a lazy reader, someone who enjoys a complicated story as long as I don’t have to work too hard to muddle through it.