Why You Should Read… Daniel Abraham

If you’d like to contribute a column to this series, please contact Kat.

Our latest guest to talk about a favourite and worthy author is none other than Aidan Moher, the brain behind A Dribble of Ink and contributor to SF Signal. He wants to talk to you today about the author Daniel Abraham.

When I was asked to come up with an author for Why You Should Read…, the answer was easy. Daniel Abraham. Everything about him is perfect under the criteria. He’s a young author, mentored by George R.R. Martin, writes utterly enthralling and envy-inducingly good novels… and is criminally under-read. Surely some other blogger’s ventured to include Abraham’s work in a series of articles highlighting the best the genre has to offer?

No.

Really? For shame. But, luckily I’m happy to fill that gap.

What’s most striking about Abraham’s work is, perhaps, it’s confidence. In a genre full of copycat Epic Fantasies (or try-too-hard-to-be-different Fantasies), Abraham tackles secondary world fantasy with a steady hand. Instead of a faux-Medieval world, Abraham’s Long Price Quartet is set in an Asian setting full of subtle, startlingly real personalities. They’re not cliches or character sketches given dialogue, but well-drawn people with real agendas, emotions, quirks and vices. There are so many cardboard-cutout characters in Fantasy, but Abraham seems unable to craft anyone with less than three dimensions.

Abraham doesn’t subvert tropes for the sake of shocking his audience, neither does he fall into cliches and emulate the successes of the authors he grew up reading; rather, Abraham has carved out a niche of his own, striding confidently into the Fantasy genre and testing its boundaries, pushing against what many expect to find in a stagnant genre. His stories are original and ground-breaking without relying on those attributes as a crutch, freeing him to weave a tale that’s epic and personal at the same time.

In my review of A Shadow in Summer I said:

A Shadow in Summer is adult in every sense of the word, but manages to be defined so without any gratuitous sex, abrasive language or gut-wrenching violence. Instead, Abraham deals with mature themes (whoring, abortion and slavery are conflicts at the heart of the novel) and quiet, subtle characters who face difficult decisions and grow as a result. Much like Guy Gavriel Kay, Abraham tells a story that won’t keep you glued to the edge of your seat, but rather captures you slowly and envelops you with a world and characters that are achingly familiar.

He’s a Hugo Award nominee. His series has been called ‘one of the more accomplished fantasy series of recent years‘. And he’s written the best books I’ve read both this year and last year. Author’s like Abraham don’t come around often. The Long Price Quartet is complete and ready to be purchased and enjoyed by anyone who wants to be wowed again. His next series, The Dagger and the Coin is on the horizon and ready to launch Abraham to the heights he deserves. Where The Long Price Quartet is genre-bending and asks the reader to buy into a world and system of magic that’s unfamiliar, The Dagger and the Coin is Abraham’s take on the adventure novels he loved growing up and set in a more recognizable world based on Medici-era Italy. In his words, The Dagger and the Coin is adventure to The Long Price Quartet‘s tragedy.

And this isn’t even touching on the novel’s he’s written as MLN Hanover.

So, what’re you waiting for? If haven’t read Abraham, you’re missing out on one of the true treasures of the genre. Hell, one of the true treasures of literature as a whole. Like all great authors, Daniel Abraham’s novels always makes me feel like he’s my own little secret. Only, this is a secret I want to share with as many people as’ll listen. So go. Now. Get to the bookstore and buy A Shadow in Summer. You won’t regret it.

I promise.

Thanks so much, Aidan!

If anyone out there reading this would like to contribute an essay on their favourite author, please contact me, Amanda.


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AMANDA RUTTER, one of our guest reviewers, used to be an accountant in the UK but she escaped the world of numbers and is now living in a fantasy world she creates. She runs Angry Robot's YA imprint, Strange Chemistry. And we knew her when....

View all posts by Amanda Rutter (guest)

7 comments

  1. I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t read Daniel Abraham yet. I do actually own The Long Price Quartet but haven’t had a chance to read it. Definitely looking forward to it. Thanks, Aidan!

  2. Thanks, Aidan! I really ought to try Abraham’s epic fantasy sometime. I’ve really enjoyed the Black Sun’s Daughter series so far (the books he writes as MLN Hanover).

  3. I loved The Long Price quartet. Good choice for “Why You Should Read…” He’s definitely become an author I will pick up as soon as published.

  4. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve called the Long Price Quartet one of the best and most-original fantasy epics in years and is an absolute must-read. I’d put it on the top ten of the past decade easily.

  5. The Fantasizer /

    I really like this series of posts, know that your efforts are appreciated and hopefully you’ll continue with “why you should read” posts for the benefit of us all!

  6. James Yarker /

    I’ve yet to read any of Abraham’s fantasy novels and need to correct that. But, I read his collection “Leviathan Wept and Other Stories” and really enjoyed it!!! The opener, The Cambist and Lord Iron, was my pick from the collection.

  7. Well, I have this one on my want list. I’ve heard many great things about it and the author. I am definitely going to have to get to it. Thanks!

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