September 16, 2019, 01:48:12 PM

Author Topic: The Painted Man / The Warded Man  (Read 51199 times)

Offline AlmightyZael

Re: The Painted Man / The Warded Man
« Reply #135 on: October 14, 2016, 08:37:20 PM »
Guess I'm one of the few that doesn't really want a movie. I'd hoped they'd forgotten about it :(
Nope, agree with you 100%

I feel the same about all adaptations tbh. Same with games being turned into movies. I think it's a lot to do with reading a book being such a personal experience, that a movie aimed at millions of people just removes all value the work/idea has :(
Yes, and it's also the power and depth of words in your brain vs. a purely visual experience of a movie.

Pluuuuus, the characters look and sound how you want them to, not how the producer under pressure to appeal to as many people as possible sees them.
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Offline D_Bates

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Re: The Painted Man / The Warded Man
« Reply #136 on: February 05, 2019, 06:03:02 PM »
Apologies for bumping this thread, but it seemed more appropriate to continue a previous discussion than starting a fresh post.

I've just finished 'The Painted/Warded Man' and have mixed feelings on it that I felt the need to express in a wall of text. Having read this whole thread, I'm curious to press people's opinions, new or old, and whether they've changed in the years since they first made them. Because there were a lot of things in this book I liked, but a lot that annoyed me immensely, so I'm trying to delve into what makes readers tick that may be different to how I read, or whether I just have a poor understanding of the world as a whole.

The Krasia concerns intrigued me, because I never had a problem with it. Maybe that's because I've not read the second book and I got the impression a lot of the strong opinions were based on that, but yeah, okay, it was obviously cliche middle-eastern culture. But in terms of being offensive, I guess I was numbed against the insinuations because all throughout, no matter the region, every man who wasn't a protagonist or a father figure to one of the protagonists came off as a thug obsessed with sex. And every woman, if they weren't sleeping around with everybody in sight, was preoccupied getting their husband into bed in order to 'put a baby in her belly'. At least the Krasian men seemed organised against the obvious world threat, and the women seemed to be running businesses and holy orders, even if they still fell back into one of many wives trope.

I noticed the story got a lot of praise for world-building, but I wonder if anyone might elaborate on what about it took your fancy. For me personally, I found there were a few too many non-consequential characters. I was pummelled with names of residents, names that I recognised because of their weird spellings, but never remembered quite who they were because there was never enough detail for them to impress on my memory.

I liked the magic system, but found it did have a lot of holes in it, such as why the offensive glyphs were lost to time. It's not like they're nuclear weapons that can be used to cow human civilisations. They have no power over anything but demons, so if you're going to remember the defensive wards why lose the offensive ones?

I also had an issue with how the wards worked. It seemed they were impregnable until they weren't. In places the demons breach the glyphs when a rabbit scuttles over them or a body of villager crosses it. So, um, later we learn these are intelligent beings, right? Even if they aren't, has it never occurred to them to just tear down a branch and scratch or put it across the circle? I had the same issue with Arlen's tattoos. He's getting cut up and covered in blood whenever he goes on his superscion runs, but none of this impairs his glyphs. Yet a bit of soot from the burning town renders those ones entirely useless. I was also curious as to why these demons didn't just rise up in the streets behind the wards. Or inside one of the portable circles, which themselves ranged from being 1-50 metres in diameter whenever the scene required. It often felt the wind demons could fly over them, but just chose not to.

That said, I loved the concept of the elemental demons, the forgotten ruins, and the intrigue of where they came from and why. But I came away wishing there had been far more on this and far less of the interpersonal character drama that I found, quite frankly, mostly ridiculous to the point of wanting to gouge out my eyes.

So yeah, I'm in the camp that, were I Brett's editor, I'd have told him to scrap the entire Leesha story arc. Literally the entire thing. Even beyond 'that scene' at the end, I found nothing redeemable in it, so I'm curious what those who loved her up until the end saw that I missed. A synopsis of Leesha's story for me went as thus:
- 13 year old girl procrastinates that she hasn't 'bloodied the sheets' yet and can't have sex with her husband to be who is so big and brave and handsome.
- girl is hounded by husband to be for sex, and almost goes through with it, but decides to wait because mum banging her boyfriends dad in the next room is distracting.
- girl is bullied by town because boyfriend claimed he took her flower, consoles herself with crone healer
- Cue multiple chapters where crone discusses girl's boy issue, pointing out how voluptuous her figure is and that no man can control himself around her and she should learn to let her hair down and have fun
- 10 years later, girl leaves town with handsome wolfish messenger who she likes and he likes back.
- During trip, messenger attempts to rape girl, but she comes prepared with powder to give limp-dick and laughs it off, because you know, them boys gonna be boys.
- 5 or so more years pass, and girl is being made fun of by her nurse peers for still being a virgin
- Cue chapter of new younger version of crone healer taking up the mantle to discuss in detail why girl should find herself a man and start making babies.
- girl hears news that her old town and beloved father has fallen sick, makes arrangements with messenger who tried to rape her to go there, volunteering to have sex with him to pay the fare, but backtracks when said sex happening in a hallway instead of a bed is 'too crass'
- girl goes on trip with new friend, gets gangraped off page...

And most know what happens next.

That was the Leesha story I read.

I actually like xiagan's explanation of the pregnancy as to why she bedded down with Arlen. I never got that, so I don't know whether I missed something in the text, or if that's a rational that's been created to explain it. But it works for me, were I not having an issue with the claim that Leesha never wanted children. That's not the Leesha I knew. Why do you need to wait for your period to have sex if not to sprout a bump? Even in the closing sentences, she says to Arlen 'what if it's three?' If that doesn't suggest she wants a child what does?

But my bigger issue with the Leesha Arlen relationship is that it goes completely against Arlen's character too. His whole story actually WAS about not nesting down while a demon threat is out there. I think Brett was going for the idea that Arlen was having a crisis of faith because he 'gave the demons the rapists', and maybe his having sex is to 'reclaim his humanity', but geez louise. And what I find a true shame is that Arlen's arc and theme is a legitimately good one, of a boy who has an idealistic view of the world and is repulsed by the cowardice of adults, yet in his quest for vengeance teeters on that fine line of becoming the very monsters he's fighting against. This was all great stuff. And then it boiled down to gotta get together with the token female who'll fix all my emotional issues malarkey.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2019, 06:07:02 PM by D_Bates »
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Offline xiagan

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Re: The Painted Man / The Warded Man
« Reply #137 on: February 05, 2019, 06:47:54 PM »
Great post.

I don't think you should read the next volumes. Parts are entertaining but a lot of the things that frustrated you in book one, will continue to frustrate you. So if you aren't able to see them humorous, don't read them. ;)
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Re: The Painted Man / The Warded Man
« Reply #138 on: February 05, 2019, 07:45:15 PM »
I didn't read any of those things (I used to suspend my disbelief when reading), but I really recognise them!
 I also think it's a great post, I wonder if it would annoy me on a reread. At least my enjoyment went down with each book, although I found them entertaining enough
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Offline tebakutis

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Re: The Painted Man / The Warded Man
« Reply #139 on: February 05, 2019, 08:05:38 PM »
So yeah, I'm in the camp that, were I Brett's editor, I'd have told him to scrap the entire Leesha story arc. Literally the entire thing. Even beyond 'that scene' at the end, I found nothing redeemable in it, so I'm curious what those who loved her up until the end saw that I missed. A synopsis of Leesha's story for me went as thus:
- 13 year old girl procrastinates that she hasn't 'bloodied the sheets' yet and can't have sex with her husband to be who is so big and brave and handsome.
- girl is hounded by husband to be for sex, and almost goes through with it, but decides to wait because mum banging her boyfriends dad in the next room is distracting....
(snipped rest)

Holy cow that sounds horrible. Like, that is not something I'd write or want to read. The crazy thing is I remember reading The Warded Man (the first book, I think?) and don't recall this sticking out as badly as it is described here (I didn't like it enough to read the sequel). But laid out as you have, it's not an arc I'd want to read in any book.

Offline Hedin

Re: The Painted Man / The Warded Man
« Reply #140 on: February 07, 2019, 08:45:12 PM »
I would also advise against reading more if you didn't like the first book.  To me the first book was the best book of the series (I never bothered to read the 4th at all) and it went downhill after that so if you have problems with it already you will have problems with it going forward. 

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Re: The Painted Man / The Warded Man
« Reply #141 on: February 08, 2019, 07:57:05 AM »
I would also advise against reading more if you didn't like the first book.  To me the first book was the best book of the series (I never bothered to read the 4th at all) and it went downhill after that so if you have problems with it already you will have problems with it going forward.
Interestingly, @Hedin, I thought that book 4 recovered a lot and was the second best of the series, and finally the last was ok as a normal book but not as the end, wihich felt really rushed.
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Offline Hedin

Re: The Painted Man / The Warded Man
« Reply #142 on: February 08, 2019, 01:17:09 PM »
Interestingly, @Hedin, I thought that book 4 recovered a lot and was the second best of the series, and finally the last was ok as a normal book but not as the end, wihich felt really rushed.

Book 4 might have been a good bounce back but after Books 2 and 3 I had no desire to go back unless it was a GOAT level book and even then I don't know if I would have.  I almost didn't even read 3 after 2 but at that point I was at 1 decent and 1 not so good book so I'll give one more to break the tie and it broke it for sure.  I can't even remember at this point everything about them that I didn't like but I do know one of my main sticking points was that Arlen turned into a completely different character and it just threw me off.

Offline Neveesandeh

Re: The Painted Man / The Warded Man
« Reply #143 on: February 08, 2019, 06:34:28 PM »
I read these books a few years back and loved them, but as I look back now I'm a little less forgiving of their flaws. The 'rape as character development' thing doesn't end with Leesha, and is just as unnecessary in book two.

As for the portrayal of Krasia, I've spent three years at university learning about Islamic cultures and it does recycle the same (inaccurate) orientalist tropes. To his credit, Brett does portray a lot of Krasians as sympathetic in the later books, but even so, it's uncomfortable. I've often checked the map on his website of all the countries where the first book is available, and there aren't too many predominantly Islamic countries on it. I think it's available in Turkey, though. I'm curious as to what people there think of it.

If you didn't like the soap-drama-ish elements of the first book I wouldn't recommend reading the others. That kind of thing pretty much becomes the story. I still quite liked them, but if you're after the demon slaying bits alone then I wouldn't bother.

Offline D_Bates

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Re: The Painted Man / The Warded Man
« Reply #144 on: March 02, 2019, 10:20:12 PM »
I appreciate the responses and probably will skip the second book since I got the impression that's what the majority of more questionable feelings referred to. Moved on to Feist's 'Magician' now, which is a significant change in tone indeed!

My former post was more negative than I intended, so I'll try and balance by pointing out there were a lot of things I did like on the character side of things. In particularly I loved the idea behind Arlen, a boy disappointed in his father because he sees him as a coward, and who's drawn into what is essentially an extremists lifestyle, obsessed with revenge and needing to live up to some impossible standard of what a 'man' should be. I wish there had been more scenes showing him turning into the Painted/Warded Man. But even that controversial incest scene near the start, while crudely done, I got the point of it to show how the dad understands what's going on, and nearly--so very nearly--steps up to intervene but still bottles it. Of course I thought it unfair to have expected him to do something under the circumstances, and there's the small issue that Arlen didn't understand the full context at that point--not to mention that using incest is heavy handed to the point of being difficult to impossible to see past--but there at least I understood and respect what Brett was trying to achieve beyond simply being shocking or as a cheap plot device to make a villain.

Anyway, I'll end by saying that it was great to hear the stories from those looking back and thanks for giving me the time. For me, books should provoke thought, and in many ways the power of story lies in the shared discussions that come after. And as wrong as Brett portrayals in some areas may have been, at least he accomplished that.


Edited by SB, changing Feist to Brett :)
« Last Edit: March 03, 2019, 09:35:18 AM by ScarletBea »
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Offline D_Bates

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Re: The Painted Man / The Warded Man
« Reply #145 on: March 04, 2019, 01:17:25 AM »
Edited by SB, changing Feist to Brett :)

Thank you! I sometimes get my names muddled up :(

You looking for a full time editor job btw Bea? ;p
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Re: The Painted Man / The Warded Man
« Reply #146 on: March 04, 2019, 08:31:57 AM »
You looking for a full time editor job btw Bea? ;p
Don't joke, I'm the one who always notices all the errors in the powerpoint presentations :-[ (but I don't say anything unless the person is doing something for me)
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