(Previously posted on one of my old blogs).
To put it short: well-developed relationships. And no, I’m not even talking about romance (but yes, more of it would be cool too).
I’m talking about friends who would do anything for each other, siblings who are different but still love and help each other out in every way possible and daughters/sons/kids who have amazing relationships with their parents. I miss this a lot in the fantasy books I’ve been reading lately and without them the story ends up being hollow, boring and artificial.
I also find it hard to care about characters who don’t care about anything but themselves and their goals. Yeah, I know it’s not necessary to like a character to find them interesting and/or to like the story, but I don’t work that way. I have to like them to truly love the book, and that’s why I end up not caring about most of the books I read. I feel like many fantasy novels worry too much about plot and about creating complex characters and forget to spend some time on the relationships between said characters and how the plot affects them.
I think that this is happening so much because of the trend of making every character an awful person who only do awful things and I could go on and on about how I hate it, but I’ll keep it short: this idea of interesting characters = awful people doesn’t make any sense. It’s simplistic and irrational, and boring. Awful characters are as boring as nice characters who do no wrong.
Sometimes I think the problem is that I’m just reading the wrong books. I’m sure there is fantasy full of well-developed relationships out there. I just need to find them, but it’s hard to get away from the mainstream and, you know, actually find these stories. But, well, hope is the last to die, right?