As you can probably tell, I'm obsessed with reading and writing right now. I recently heard of reading logs on a podcast (can't recall which one, sorry—but it was probably What Should I Read Next), and thought it would be great to share what I'm reading with all of you!
As I've been reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson, I've been thinking about the comparisons it's received with The Lord of the Rings saga.
The similarities in passion evident in the writing between Erikson perhaps reveal a critical element that makes a high fantasy story truly epic: purpose and intent to exercise real-world skill.
Tolkien was a philologist, Erikson an archaeologist and anthropologist. Tolkien's tales are full of linguistic marvels, while Erikson's exude mystery and depth with their complex civilizations, societies, and customs. History is everywhere in the Malazan world.
The key isn't a skill at storytelling, although that's important. It's what you know outside of the fantasy world you're creating that you can flavor it with that gives it the zest and color needed to make it feel tangible and nearby.
If you're a fan of fantasy and haven't heard of them, I strongly suggest the Malazan Book of the Fallen. It's a truly amazing series.