Auto-buy Authors definition: You don’t have to know anything about their latest book, you just buy. As soon as the release hits the shelves.
It’s been a while since I last wrote about my auto-buy authors (in the romance genre), but here’s the fantasy edition. Even before I was a romance reader (and by that, I really mean before I was allowed into the Romance aisles in the bookstores), you would find me camped out in the SF/F section (and yes, it’s arguable whether some of the books in this section were more age-appropriate than those in the Romance section). I pondered whether to tackle the two genres together, but decided to give each of them their own page time.
My auto-buy authors in the fantasy genre:
This post would have been very different had it been written when I first started my blog back in 2006. Back then, it would have been all about Laurell K Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, Kelley Armstrong… Now the latter two are wrapping up the main series that made them bestselling authors (and while I’m sad to say goodbye to their characters, it’s the right time IMO). As for LKH – well, I’m not quite sure where she’s going with the Anita Blake series, but it’s probably crossed over into erotica.
But then again, back in those days, vampires/werewolves/[name your paranormal creature of choice] was so rare that having them in a book pretty much guaranteed I would read it. Talk about change.
Back to my current autobuy authors – I have the obvious ones: Seanan McGuire, Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews, Jim Butcher. Or should I say Toby Daye, Mercy Thompson, Kate Daniels, Harry Dresden. Long-running series are obviously the way to go in urban fantasy – not that I’m complaining, as I’m hooked on the various series arcs and completely invested in the outcome.
Less frequently mentioned online (though I may just be hanging out in the wrong places), but very much auto-buy authors for me: Karen Chance, Kalayna Price, Eileen Wilks. All three have created worlds that stand out from the many other UF series out there, whether it’s by having a time-travelling seer as a protagonist, a rather sexy Death as a love interest, or a Chinese-American heroine and a werewolf figuring out how their lives fit together.
I don’t think I read a lot of YA UF, with the exception of Sarah Rees Brennan – I find her writing hilarious (in a good way!) plus I really loved her Demon’s Lexicon trilogy.
I kind of steer away from the bigger names in this genre – I’ve not read any of George RR Martin’s books and while I like Brandon Sanderson’s works well enough, I’m no die-hard fan (and I haven’t read Wheel of Time either). Raymond Feist and Terry Brooks were on my bookshelves when I was growing up, but I’ve a feeling I DNF’d their latest releases that I borrowed from the library.
My fantasy credentials (or lack of) established – here are my auto-buy authors:
Andrea K Höst*: The newest addition to my list of autobuy authors, but two of her books made my top favourites of 2012 (plus I cheated and counted omnibuses as one book). I really enjoy her refreshing take on fantasy tropes.
Juliet Marillier*: Lyrical, captivating, and romantic historical fantasy. I adore her Sevenwaters books.
Jacqueline Carey: Her Kushiel series leans towards dark fantasy and captured my imagination. She’s just ventured into urban fantasy (which I’m also liking).
Kristin Cashore*: I wasn’t convinced by GRACELING (*ducks*), but FIRE and BITTERBLUE made her very much an auto-buy author.
Megan Whalen Turner*: Smart, clever, twisty writing.
Tanya Huff: I fell in love with her latest releaseTHE SILVERED, though I also like her urban fantasy books (most recently, the Gale Family books, though her Blood books are probably better known). And her high fantasy books were mainstays on my bookshelves when I was a teenager.
Sharon Shinn*: I’ve loved pretty much all of her fantasy books – I first started with her Samaria books (reading them well out of order and ruining the twist, but never mind), then devoured her standalones, and finally fell in love with her Twelve Houses books. Like some of the other authors, she’s started writing in the urban fantasy genre – it’s a trend.
Tamora Pierce*: Unlike the other YA authors in this list, I actually did read Tamora Pierce when I was a teen. Her Alanna books are on my favourite-series-of-all-time list, and her other books aren’t far behind. I love how her females totally hold their own – Alanna was doing the kick-ass heroine thing before UF made an appearance on the block.
I debated whether to include Mercedes Lackey in the list above, and reluctantly decided not to. I loved all her Valdemar books when I was a teenager, but I’m a lot more selective about which of her recent releases I buy nowadays. And when I do buy, it’s more out of nostalgia than anything else.
Also, the asterisks indicate if the author writes YA as well (or exclusively). I actually had the YA authors in a separate list, but then realised there was so much overlap that it didn’t make any sense.
I know. The categories I’m using is somewhat arbitrary (okay, very), but hey, my blog. So other authors that don’t fit into my urban/traditional categorisation are Diana Gabaldon (I don’t know – time-travel? Historical?) – her last Jamie/Claire book was so heavy that I had to read it with the book propped up on pillows, but she is very definitely an auto-buy for me.
And Wen Spencer – I came across her when someone recommended her Ukiah Oregon books (which are urban fantasy and which I glommed), but her more recent Tinker books are this hybrid of elves-technology-magic which somehow totally works.
I think that’s it for me – tell me your auto-buy authors writing fantasy today?