Sometimes I feel that this whole blood-and-guts approach is merely disguising the fact that some of these books aren’t that inventive. Still, it’s a trend that I don’t think will go away any time soon.
An interesting point. I’ve seen it again and again, talk of gritty fantasy for a dozen novels, but the sooner ‘gritty’ becomes a marketing category, the better. Why? Because it’s becoming clear that casual discussion across the blogosphere is making the mistaken connection that gritty automatically equals good. And I agree with James – sometimes there is a reliance on ‘grit’ to disguise the fact that there’s not much else going on beneath the surface. That we mistake it for a bravery in terms of prose and character and theme – which isn’t to say that such a bravery does not exist in gritty novels, but we’re losing sight of what is the actual brave thing.
Gritty is just an aesthetic. That there is more blood and guts in a novel does not make that novel inherently adult, or even a ‘better’ novel than one without blood and guts. (And I say this as a writer who doesn’t shy away from the grit.)
What does everyone else think?