The sticking point, for me, is the description of the novel as ‘fantasy’. Turns out that I have quite set expectations of ‘fantasy’ novels – that there will be a resolution to a specific problem being one of them. I can cope with an unusual fantasy protagonist – our hero/heroine/main interest character doesn’t need to fit the traditional handsome (and maybe hidden) prince model for me to read on happily. I can cope without romance, and in fact found the constant ‘princess’ tribute by Axl pretty annoying, though it was clear that he truly loved Beatrice. I don’t need dragons or witches or spooks, black cats or shape-shifting baddies.
What I do want in a fantasy novel is plot, character-driven plot for preference.
I now think that what made me so uncomfortable was the lack of resolution in The Buried Giant. I loved the writing, and I think that, had the novel been described differently, I may have been more relaxed with it.
Genre, genre. Ever since The Game of Thrones (ie George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire) killed off Ned Stark in Book 1, I’ve been floundering!