The following staff members have left the Ranting Dragon team. Their reviews and articles are still a part of the site, though, and we remain thankful for the time they spent here with us.
Brief Bio: Ashik is fond of fine coffee, tea and books. He is also amenable to bribes (See prior sentence for ideas). He spends his time coasting through life on his charm, intellect and appalling arrogance.
What he finds important in a novel: Cleverness, an engaging story and unique worldbuilding.
Favorite Fantasy Authors: Kevin Hearne, Lev Grossman, Brandon Sanderson, George R R Martin, Jim Butcher, Scott Lynch and Douglas Hulick.
Favorite Fantasy Sub-Genres: I find sub-genre a very annoying term, since they are often so hard to define and cross over liberally, but the authors above should aid you in deciding what sub-genres I enjoy.
|Though he retired from The Ranting Dragon to focus on life, you can still find Ashik’s writings here.|
|Location: California, USA
Brief Bio: Benni was born in a theater playing Star Wars, and has loved science fiction and fantasy ever since. She did go through a non-fiction phase, but now that her 50-70-hour/week job keeps her plenty occupied with non-fiction, she escapes when she can into the world of fantasy.
What she finds important in a novel: Though clinically cleared of ADHD, Benni requires constant engagement, whether through good pacing, character development, or world-building. And while she would like to believe that she has more discerning taste than a child, she considers herself otherwise a good measure of whether a book will hold a child’s attention and do well if the movie rights are sold.
Favorite Fantasy Authors: George R.R. Martin, N.K. Jemisin
Favorite Fantasy Sub-Genres: All of them, as well as literary fiction with speculative slants.
|Though Benni is very busy nowadays, she was one of our top writers. Read her articles here.|
|Location: Avignon, France
Brief Bio: Caleigh is a Canadian publishing enthusiast who was introduced to fantasy by Brian Jacques, Lloyd Alexander, David Eddings and Anne McCaffery (not age-appropriate!). Right now she teaches English to unruly French teens, but her next adventure is to return home and study for an MA in English literature at the University of Victoria. Caleigh also has a personal blog where she writes about the publishing industry, internship advice, and other stuff she thinks is cool.
What she finds important in a novel: Complex worlds that challenge or illuminate real-world problems; plausible, imperfect characters; historical accuracy (to a degree…); a ripping good yarn!
Favorite Fantasy Authors: Guy Gavriel Kay, Elizabeth Moon, Robin McKinley, Orson Scott Card, Naomi Novik, George R. R. Martin, Neil Gaiman
Favorite Fantasy Sub-Genres: No preference, if it’s done well!
|Caleigh is a former reviewer and occasional editor who is busy getting a degree, but may be back some day. Read all of Caleigh’s reviews here.|
|Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
About Cameron: Many people think the old adage of being born a nerd is hyperbole, but if they met me, they would know it was true. I have been an avid reader of fantasy for many years now. While most college students find partying to be fun, I typically like being lost in the pages of a book instead. I also enjoy playing a copious amount of video games, and watching a lot of anime.
What he finds important in a novel: Strong characters are the reason that I continue to read a novel. If the characters are badly characterized, then I will most likely drop the book. Interesting magic systems also are a huge positive.
Favorite Fantasy Authors: Brandon Sanderson, Jim Butcher, Guy Gavriel Kay, Patrick Rothfuss, Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, C.S Friedman, J.R.R. Tolkien, Brent Weeks, and Steven Erickson.
Favorite Fantasy Sub-Genres: Epic, Urban, Dark, and Sword and Sorcery.
|Though Cameron retired from the site to focus on the rest of his life, you can read his reviews here.|
|Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
About Dan: Dan is a History and Philosophy graduate from Laurentian University. When he’s not reading an excessive amount of fantasy and sci-fi novels, or putting way too much time into online gaming and forums, he runs a Wine Shop in the north end of Toronto Ontario. A lifelong fantasy reader, and gamer nerd, Dan’s life ambition is to become a librarian.
What he finds important in a novel: Setting, Presentation, Background, Premise.
Favorite Fantasy Authors: Guy Gavriel Kay, Terry Pratchett, Patrick Rothfuss, Robert Jordan, Jim Butcher, Mercedes Lackey, Tanya Huff, Ed Greenwood.
Favorite Fantasy Sub-Genres: Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy, Adventure, Dark fantasy.
|Dan was our team philosopher. As such, his articles are always intriguing to read. He’s moved on to other things, but you can still find his articles and reviews here.|
|Location: Massachusetts, USA
About Jake: Jake Hasson looks younger than he is and acts younger than he looks. An avid reader and aspiring author of science fiction and fantasy, he lives in Massachusetts with a poet and their combined flock of four imaginative kids, three wacky cats, and thousands of books. Despite any obstacles the universe hurls at him, he remains perpetually happy. He‘s easily befuddled when writing of himself in the third person, and is now gaping perplexedly at the screen (and drooling on the keyboard).
What he finds important in a novel: Jake likes compelling characters, interesting new worlds, and compelling storytelling (that doesn’t sound cliché). He loves uniqueness and surprise. What’s most important to him is that the author had fun, put their heart and soul into a story, and created a novel that challenges his convictions and engages his emotions, while he ponders the possibilities. He wants to be whisked away into the unknown, but still be able to return for dinner.
Favorite Fantasy Authors: George R. R. Martin, Robert Jordan, Douglas Adams, Brandon Sanderson, J.V. Jones, Peter F. Hamilton, Neil Gaiman, Ursula K. LeGuin, Alastair Reynolds, Terry Pratchett, and many, many more. He respects anyone who dares pour their souls into a story and then selflessly gifts it to the world.
Favorite Fantasy Sub-Genres: He thinks every story has a genre all its own, but, if forced to pick, he would chose the sub-genre of… awesomeness.
|Jake was a regular reviewer on our team. Read all Jake’s reviews here.|
|Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Brief Bio: James is 21 years old and has been described as many things in life – pop music lover, book nerd, movie geek, cookie nommer, bookshelf filler, tortured writer, tech dork, television watcher, webcomic addict, fierce supermodel, crazy cat lady, musical fanatic, a loyal Hufflepuff, GLEEk to the Nth degree, pizza eater, future librarian, a horrible procrastinator, Poké-freak, eyeglass wearer, a lover of the arts, and a zombie unicorn that sparkles in the night (well, actually that might’ve just been once). He prefers to describe himself as “a man of odd enthusiasms.”
What he find important in a novel: Diverse, believable characters, an interesting and well thought out setting, sophisticated writing, a decent amount of suspense, a lot of foreshadowing, a great story and a bit of humor.
Favorite Fantasy Authors: Brandon Sanderson, Sharon Shinn, J.K. Rowling, Mercedes Lackey, Jonathan Stroud, Robert Jordan, Ursula K. Le Guin
Favorite Fantasy Sub-Genres: Epic Fantasy, Urban fantasy, Superhero stories, Old-fashioned Sword and Sorcery, Heroic Fantasy, Adventure, and Young Adult (yes, it’s a genre).
|James is a former writer of The Ranting Dragon. You can still read his old articles here.|
|Location: Michigan, USA
About Janea: Janea is an avid fantasy reader who after college inexplicably found herself working in a library. She was the only one surprised by this strange turn of events. When not surrounded by books, she enjoys working on her own fantastical fiction (thereby restoring order to her universe by having a book nearby), as well as making music (clarinet, vocals, renaissance recorder), cooking, and honing various skills made obsolete by the industrial revolution.
What she find important in a novel: Relatable and multi-dimensional characters, internally consistent and well executed world building, and a clear writing style.
Favorite Fantasy Authors: While she hates picking favorites (There are so many! How to choose just a few?), authors who’s work she consistently enjoys are (in no particular order) Jim Butcher, Sherwood Smith, Cherie Priest, Kristen Britain, Sarah Monette, Brent Weeks, Mercedes Lackey, Sharon Shinn, and many many more.
Favorite Fantasy Sub-Genres: As you can see from the above list, Janea likes epic fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk, and just about anything else out there. Really, why chose a few when you can choose them all?
|Janea was one of our lead content creators. Though she’s moved on to other endeavors, you can still read all of her reviews and articles here.|
|Location: Somewhere in Northern Ontario
About Julia: Julia grew up reading anything and everything she could get her hands on, eventually stumbling upon The Wheel of Time, thus solidifying her fate as a life-long fantasy nerd. Recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Julia enjoys long winded discussions about the state of the world and feminist politics. Her favourite things (in no particular order) are cats, ABBA, wine and laughing so hard her insides hurt. If Julia could have any career in the world, she would be an astronaut. However, since she has terrible eyesight and little motivation to become physically fit, she is setting her sights on an entry level position pretty much anywhere. In her spare time (when she’s not reading or working on RD stuff), Julia watches terrible TV shows, goes hiking, sits on couches in trendy coffee shops and listens to music much too loudly.
Favorite Fantasy Authors: Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, Scott Lynch
Favorite Fantasy Sub-Genres: High/epic fantasy, adventure
What she finds important in a novel: Creative and thoughtful worldbuilding; intricate plots and political intrigue; strong, believable female characters; and a little bit of humour.
|While Julia was famous for her editing, she occasionally wrote reviews as well. Read her reviews here.|
|Location: Somewhere between the Capital Region and New York City
About Marty: Marty is a 20 year old English Major and Theatre Minor, and while he still possesses his youthful idealism, hopes to become a writer/actor/improv comedian when he grows up. When that will happen, no one truly knows. Since a young age, he has never been without a book close by, and most likely never will be; this is most likely his parents’ fault. Marty hopes to one day write something memorable. Hopefully, this will occur more than once, fingers crossed. Thank you for coming and enjoy the site!
What he finds important in a novel: Marty enjoys a novel that doesn’t take its reader by the hand, but throws them headlong into the story, filled with an engaging plot, a creative world, beautiful prose, and inventive magic. But none of it means anything if we aren’t invested in the characters, ya dig?
Favorite Fantasy Authors: Neil Gaiman, Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Sam Sykes, Joe Abercrombie, N.K. Jemisin, Joe Hill, Scott Lynch and George R.R. Martin
|Marty was one of our regular reviewers. You can read all of Marty’s reviews here.|
|Location: Melbourne, Australia
About Michelle: Michelle is an Australian university student, bookseller, voracious reader and fantasy geek. Although her major is in Behavioural Ecology she has a passion for literature of all kinds. When she isn’t reading or stalking wildlife she can be found lurking among the shelves at her workplace, telling bad jokes, unintentionally traumatising delivery men, small children and the elderly or drinking ridiculous amounts of coffee with various enablers. Some (aka. Stephan) speculate that Michelle never sleeps and possesses slight, and mostly useless magic powers that allow her to guess almost anything correctly. These rumors are yet to be scientifically confirmed. She also keeps a personal blog of book reviews (various genres), and other assorted ramblings (some of which are actually coherent).
Favorite Fantasy Authors: Brandon Sanderson, Robin Hobb, Sara Douglass, Neil Gaiman, George R. R. Martin and many more!
What she finds important in a novel: Michelle values originality, sophisticated prose, complex world building, an engaging and well executed plot, and developed multi-dimensional characters. She also appreciates a writer who can surprise or thrill her and the odd humorous moment will not go amiss either. Flat, personality-challenged female characters are a sure way to put her off a book, as is an author who condescends to their readers.
Favorite Fantasy Sub-Genres: Epic, Dark, Literary, Alternative History, Steampunk. Almost anything if it’s well written!
|Michelle used to be our all-round superstar writer. Read all of her reviews, lists and interviews here.|
|Location: Sydney, Australia
Brief Bio: Michael is a lifelong Fantasy reader and a History teacher by profession. Given his love of Ancient and Medieval times, he has toyed with the idea of writing historical Fantasy in those settings. Michael will always be thankful to his 6th grade teacher who suggested he read The Hobbit. He is not sure whether or not to thank the high school friend who introduced him to The Wheel of Time.
What he finds important in a novel: Michael loves writers who avoid patronising the reader and telling them all about their invented world but show their characters and setting through intense action and crackling dialogue.
Favorite Fantasy Sub-Genres: Epic fantasy seems to be my staple, but my tastes are evolving into Urban and Sword and Sorcery.
Favorite Fantasy Authors: George R. R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson, Robin Hobb, Kate Elliott, Daniel Abraham, Peter V. Brett and Robert Jordan.
|Michael is a former reviewer and also used to write other cool stuff. Read it all here.|