I was fifteen when I stopped reading fantasy novels.

I remember the book that killed my interest. I’m not going to name it, only to say it’s considered one of the greats of the genre. My father had loaned it to me, the book pulled from his wall-to-wall collection of battered SFF paperbacks after I’d asked him for something to read. Something for “grown ups” (this was in the mid-90s or so, before the YA boom filled in that transitional gap between growing and grown). He took Famous Fantasy Novel from its shelf, and handed it to me. “Read this,” he said. “It’s a classic.”

I didn’t make it through the first fifty pages.

“It starts slow,” Dad said. “Stick with it.”

But I wasn’t worried about it starting slow. I worried about it starting wrong. I worried about it starting as a story of a farmboy and his farmboy friends, and the One Girl In The Village.

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