Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction => Fantasy Book & Author Discussion => Topic started by: Ben on March 08, 2015, 03:34:28 PM

Title: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Ben on March 08, 2015, 03:34:28 PM
I'm sure we all encounter them. Books that everyone who reads the genre loves and recommends to you on a near daily basis.

I'm sure my list runs about waist high in regards to books that people have loved but at this moment I am focusing on Elantris. My wife loves the book, every review I have read of it states that it is a good book but I am struggling with it. I am 37% done and it has been a fight. I don't mind books with moments of devious politicking, and self reflection but this book seems to be nothing but politicking. At least at this point. My wife keeps telling me that it builds momentum as it goes...I hope it does.

So to pass the time, I have also picked up Red Rising.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JMack on March 08, 2015, 03:51:13 PM
A number of folks have commented on Mirror Empire as a tough read. I've currently set it aside, and plan to return at some point soon.

I'd love to know who on F-F has actually read Gormengast, Titus Groan and Titus Alone. I've started the first novel twice. It's incredibly dense, interesting stuff, reminiscent of Dickens if he'd been smoking opium. I keep putting the single-volume version on the Goodwill pile, and keep pulling it back off with some vision of being a more intellectually-focused person than I am actually am.

And then of course... Wheel of Time - any volume past number 5.  But this has been raked over the coals in other threads. Let's not start another discussion of it. Though from what I've heard the bathtub volume would be must-reading if I needed something to read during a root canal.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Eclipse on March 08, 2015, 04:03:02 PM
Terry Pratchett, I've tried but Discworld not for me sorry everyone
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Skip on March 08, 2015, 04:20:07 PM
Name of the Wind.  I found the main character insufferable and the characters trite. Gave up about a third of the way through.

For a different sort of struggle, Dahlgren. I made it all the way through, and the book still lingers in memory, but it was a difficult book to read. It was like reading someone else's dream.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ScarletBea on March 08, 2015, 05:26:55 PM
Neil Gaiman's American Gods - one of the very few books I didn't bother to finish.

As for books I liked, but have definitely not given the cult status/5+ stars that most people seem to give them, hehe, I can list Scott Lynch's Lies of Lock Lamora and Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy (I can hear the cries of "heresy!" in the background ;))
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Nighteyes on March 08, 2015, 07:04:18 PM
Book of the New Sun by Gene Woolf. Read all 4. Still no idea what was going on.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Hedin on March 08, 2015, 07:05:03 PM
For me it's been Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire (plus Prince of Fools).   They are definitely well written books but I can't find myself caring about any of the characters or the results of their actions.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Ryan Mueller on March 08, 2015, 07:15:51 PM
A Song of Ice and Fire. I have to read it a little bit at a time. There are so many characters I just don't like reading about. It's only the few interesting plotlines that keep me going.

Malazan Book of the Fallen. I tried for five books. I really tried. I just can't do it anymore. I don't care about the characters or the world. That's a common theme for me in these dark, gritty fantasies. You have to give me someone to care about, and it just isn't there. When you add the slowness and confusing nature of the plot, it's just too much for me.

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey. I just don't get it. I didn't care about the characters, and I thought the dragons were kind of stupid.

The Darkness that Comes Before by R. Scott Bakker. More of the grimdark that just doesn't do it for me. When I don't care at all about the characters or world, I feel no reason to keep reading. I got through the book, but I feel no desire to pick up another by Bakker.

The First Law trilogy. For the record, I did kind of like it. It just felt like a struggle a lot of the time because, once again, I didn't really like most of the characters or the world they inhabited.

Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson. I ended up liking the trilogy by the end, but this book was a huge struggle because I hated Covenant. It was very hard to build my sympathy for him after the rape scene.

Prince of Thorns. I was okay with the second book, but the first was really difficult to get through because I hated Jorg. Mostly, I think I kept reading in the hope that he might die.

A Wizard of Earthsea. It was okay, but I don't get all the praise heaped upon it.

Zelazny's Amber Books. I read the first five. They were okay, mostly because they weren't very long, but I don't get all the praise for them.

Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionavar Tapestry and Under Heaven. While I loved Tigana, neither of these stories did a whole lot for me.

The first two books in King's Dark Tower series. I do intend to read more, but I felt like these books were a bit boring. Too much walking across barren landscapes for my tastes.

The Black Company. Another one that was okay, but not as good as everyone makes it out to be. It improved for me as the first trilogy went alone. I'm not sure if I'll bothered reading any more.

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold. I've really enjoyed her Vorkosigan saga, but this book felt like a chore to read. It wasn't at all like the Vorkosigan books.


And now for the greatest heresy of all:

Lord of the Rings. Don't get me wrong. I liked the books overall, but if I were ranking fantasy, I wouldn't put them anywhere near the top of my list. I understand the importance Lord of the Rings had for the genre, but by today's standards, I don't think they're the greatest books.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JMack on March 08, 2015, 07:36:49 PM
I've really enjoyed [Bujold's] Vorkosigan saga, but this book felt like a chore to read. It wasn't at all like the Vorkosigan books.
And now for the greatest heresy of all: Lord of the Rings.
Hmm, many sins forgiven for enjoying Miles & Co.
But, I think we have to draw a line somewhere  :o

Inquiring minds want to know: If you were to name three bests for yourself, what would they be, considering the huge list above?  ;)
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ScarletBea on March 08, 2015, 08:01:56 PM
Inquiring minds want to know: If you were to name three bests for yourself, what would they be, considering the huge list above?  ;)
That's what I was wondering when I got to the end of the post ;D
*curious*
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Ryan Mueller on March 08, 2015, 08:10:24 PM
I've really enjoyed [Bujold's] Vorkosigan saga, but this book felt like a chore to read. It wasn't at all like the Vorkosigan books.
And now for the greatest heresy of all: Lord of the Rings.
Hmm, many sins forgiven for enjoying Miles & Co.
But, I think we have to draw a line somewhere  :o

Inquiring minds want to know: If you were to name three bests for yourself, what would they be, considering the huge list above?  ;)

Three is kind of hard. I actually do like quite a few books and authors.

Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorites, though I understand how the extensive focus on the magic systems can bother some people.

Brent Weeks is high on my list as well because his books always keep me turning the pages.

Jim Butcher because he's just plain awesome (both Dresden and Codex Alera, and hopefully the Cinder Spires too).

Rachel Aaron/Bach for her Eli Monpress series and Paradox science fiction trilogy. Both are stories that are just a lot of fun.

On the slower and more traditional side, I really enjoy Tad Williams. It can take me a while to get into his series, but once I do, they're great.

The Name of the Wind (The Wise Man's Fear not as much).

The Warded/Painted Man (the sequels not as much).

The Lies of Locke Lamora.

Daniel Abraham. Like with Williams, it takes me a while to get into his series, but once I do, I really enjoy them. I also really enjoy his work as James SA Corey.

Michael J. Sullivan.

In short, I tend to like my stories with a lot of action, though there are some exceptions to this.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ladybritches on March 08, 2015, 08:59:09 PM
Took me around 200 pages to get into Lies of Locke Lamora. I'd have surely given up had it not come so highly recommended by the people on this forum. I did get really into the last half of the book, but it still wouldn't come close to making my favorites list.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: cupiscent on March 08, 2015, 10:00:55 PM
I whinged my way through Name of the Wind as well. It had so many elements I really liked, but the story didn't seem to be interested in those, and I found what it did tremendously annoying. Haven't bothered with the sequels, no matter how much people rave.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Doctor_Chill on March 08, 2015, 10:14:36 PM
A few I never finished, contrary to rave reviews all around:

The Thousand Names by Django Wexler. Found this flintlock fantasy to be lacking in the pacing department. Boring even if gunpowder was swinging around, and an offender of the "woman must dress as a man to get somewhere in life" trope, one of the very few I cannot stand.

The Alchemist of Souls by Anne Lyle. While the world-building was quite interesting and extensive, there's a reason I don't read Old English for fun aside from Shakespeare. (Actually, I don't read Shakespeare for fun either.) Took me half the book before I realized I hadn't jived with the setting or characters, so I let it pass.

The City and the City by China Mieville. As much as I love noir and detective fiction, this felt too detached and cold for my tastes. For somebody lauded as having flowery prose and thinking fiction, I found it bland, uninteresting, and repetitive. Might have to pick this one up again, however, because I'm curious to see if my sentiments still hold or if it was a one-off grumble of bitterness from too-high expectations.

On the other hand, I've been wary of The Wise Man's Fear. Absolutely nothing happened in TNotW up until the end, so I'd rather not trek through a 1K page slog just to say I did.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on March 08, 2015, 11:43:34 PM
There's probably a few and I will admit that like Ryan, I gave up on Malazan partway through because it just wasn't making me care enough to continue. One that really sticks out in my mind is John Crowley's Little Big and also Mark Helprin's The Winter's Tale. I'd recommend both as cures for insomnia.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JMack on March 08, 2015, 11:59:28 PM
and also Mark Helprin's The Winter's Tale. I'd recommend both as cures for insomnia.
Ah, fascinating beginning, but then... snore and finally DNF pile.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Arry on March 09, 2015, 12:00:52 AM
Ummm. I know I have mentioned this before, but I didn't make it through The Hobbit. I actually didn't make it very far at all. I think I stopped while the hobbit hole was still being described, which should narrow my stopping location down to about 20 pages or so. OK yes, I am exaggerating. But, still. I haven't even tried to read Lord of the Rings.

The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder. This book was not for me. I could at least appreciate why some people might like it, but, yeah, just really not for me. I am sure I listed some reasons why in the book club discussions.


Foundling by D.M. Cornish - Not sure this one should ever count as "highly regarded", but still including it. I still don't understand why anyone likes this book, but yet it averages 3.86 stars on Goodreads. I think I gave it two stars, but really second guess if it was worthy of that. I have nothing nice to say expect that it was grammatically correct. And the concept seems like it could of worked, but it didn't. At least not for me.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Raptori on March 09, 2015, 12:28:31 AM
I'm in the same boat as a few others here for Lord of the Rings and Malazan. I loved LOTR when I first read it as a kid, but can't get through it when I try to re-read it these days. Malazan was just an utter chore to read, and I don't see the point in continuing just on the off-chance that I'll start enjoying it after five or six monolithic books  :P

One series that hasn't been mentioned which I hated was the Soldier Son trilogy by Robin Hobb. We bought all of her books at once, and I thought these were absolutely terrible. Couldn't stand the protagonist, the setting wasn't that interesting to me, and the plot didn't draw me in. Since Hobb's ROTE is my favourite series I forced myself to try to continue in the hope that it would improve, but hated all three books.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on March 09, 2015, 12:47:10 AM
and also Mark Helprin's The Winter's Tale. I'd recommend both as cures for insomnia.
Ah, fascinating beginning, but then... snore and finally DNF pile.
I'm pretty sure that the only reason I got through it was because I was on a 12 hour nightshift, there was nothing else to do and nothing else to read.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Roxxsmom on March 09, 2015, 04:04:20 AM
The first book in the Wheel of Time series.

Could not get past the first chapter. Does that count? Generally if a book's a real struggle, I don't get through it at all, so hmmm, have to think of one I liked enough to finish but it was a struggle.

Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ladybritches on March 09, 2015, 04:11:47 AM

Foundling by D.M. Cornish - Not sure this one should ever count as "highly regarded", but still including it. I still don't understand why anyone likes this book, but yet it averages 3.86 stars on Goodreads. I think I gave it two stars, but really second guess if it was worthy of that. I have nothing nice to say expect that it was grammatically correct. And the concept seems like it could of worked, but it didn't. At least not for me.

Foundling would have been a DNF for me had it not been a book club read.

Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Ryan Mueller on March 09, 2015, 04:43:59 AM
The first book in the Wheel of Time series.

Could not get past the first chapter. Does that count? Generally if a book's a real struggle, I don't get through it at all, so hmmm, have to think of one I liked enough to finish but it was a struggle.

Ah, the first chapter of that one. I believe that was all about nothing happening in a small town in the middle of nowhere. Not only was nothing happening. Robert Jordan had to laboriously describe nothing happening.

I look back now and wonder how I got through that whole series. I guess I liked the characters, and the occasional moments of awesome kept me going through the many boring parts. At least the last book was one long moment of awesome. We had to wait a long time, though.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Lejays17 on March 09, 2015, 06:37:37 AM
I have a tendency to forget about books that I didn't enjoy, but ones that are highly-regarded that I know I haven't enjoyed / struggled through

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant - Stephen Donaldson.  I've read 5 of the series, struggling all the while as they have been highly recommended by a guy whose tastes generally agreed with mine (plus I wanted to impress him, and we all do things we regret later to that end  ;D)

The Wheel of Time series - Robert Jordan.  I bailed after the 3rd (I think!), they just didn't maintain the interest level for me.  And I've never felt any particular desire to read them again either.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms - NK Jemisin.  Not really sure what it was about this that I didn't enjoy, but I wasn't interested enough to pick up the rest of the series.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ScarletBea on March 09, 2015, 07:49:24 AM
Wow, lots of different names and 'fantasy-types' mentioned in this thread.

I think this is a very good sign for the genre, because it means that whatever type of fantasy you write (high, low, noir, urban, historical, steampunk, etc etc), there will be people loving you and people not liking you - so a bit for everyone who loves reading :D
If we had all mentioned the same names, the same type... poor writers of those!
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Idlewilder on March 09, 2015, 08:36:18 AM
I don't seem to get on well with Guy Gavriel Kay, even though I feel like I should. I've a degree in history and all of his books sounds incredible but man alive I find his prose flowery and unbelievably dry. His characters never seem to do anything but get dragged along by the barest whiff of a plot or are pulled into the life of someone far more important than them that we're supposed to feel attached to despite their being entirely unknowable. I've tried Tigana and didn't get very far, and made it to about 75% through The Lions of Al-Rassan before I gave up trying to care.

Richard Morgan's The Steel Remains I found pretty awful. Didn't feel attached to anyone in that book, it was seemingly devoid of humour and yet very, very grim. Really don't understand the love for this series.

This one isn't necessarily universally lauded but I wouldn't be surprised to see it win some popularity contests awards this year: The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss is quite possibly the biggest pile of drivel I've forced myself through. What were you thinking past self?
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Saraband on March 09, 2015, 09:29:42 AM
I don't seem to get on well with Guy Gavriel Kay, even though I feel like I should. I've a degree in history and all of his books sounds incredible but man alive I find his prose flowery and unbelievably dry. His characters never seem to do anything but get dragged along by the barest whiff of a plot or are pulled into the life of someone far more important than them that we're supposed to feel attached to despite their being entirely unknowable. I've tried Tigana and didn't get very far, and made it to about 75% through The Lions of Al-Rassan before I gave up trying to care.

It's funny how equally we feel about Guy Gavriel Kay, given that both of us have an academic background in history. I couldn't have put it better what I feel about his books, especially the part where I think I should really like it, but nothing has clicked yet. I still hope The Lions of Al-Rassan make me change my mind, as it is set in a fictional Al-Andalus, but I haven't had a great experience with Guy Gavriel Kay before.

I really loved Peter V. Brett's first book, The Warded/Painted Man, but couldn't make it halfway through the second. I couldn't care less about Jardir's backstory, and the infantile caricature of Islamic culture felt almost bigoted. Which is a shame, because the first book really felt engaging and fresh.

I am a huge fan of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, but damn, A Feast for Crows almost made me cry from boredom, but it couldn't be exciting enough even for that. Fortunately I endured (and cheered my other half as he struggled too) and A Dance of Dragons brought redemption.

I struggled to get through The Name of the Wind, and don't think I will ever read the remaining books.

And, finally, Joe Hill's Horns. Well-written, but such a horrible story, it couldn't even entertain me. I was just made uncomfortable and put it down at around 60%.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ultamentkiller on March 09, 2015, 10:42:30 AM
Alright, so here we go.
Brandon Sanderson's Elantris and Warbreaker novels. I heard these were awesome. Picked them up. Boring as hell. I got at least 100 pages into both.
Lord of The rings. I tried it once, couldn't make it. Plus, I hear people tell me about 3 page descriptions of trees as I go on, and that's even more discouraging.
Shadow Saga. The first one was awesome, the second one I got bored through.
Book of The Black Earth. I tried the first one, hated it. Seemed too much like he was trying to rip off avatar and Game of Thrones all at once.
Shadow Ops. It's not as much that I don't like this series, it just amazes me that it's so high on the list of top 50 books. I would hope there was a bunch of stuff better than that.
Mortal Instruments. Just... Why? The first book was alright, the second one really good, but the third one? That ending was awful! So clichet and entirely predictable. It was like watching a bad TV show where they have to keep all the main characters alive, no matter what. And everything has to end happily. No. No no and once again no! I love happy endings, but for the love of God make them interesting.
Sorry, got a bit passionate there.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Raptori on March 09, 2015, 11:02:22 AM
Even though I'm a fan of Sanderson, I have to agree with @Ben (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=32840) and @ultamentkiller (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=40103) about Elantris (and Warbreaker to a lesser extent). If I had read that book first, I probably would not have picked up any of his other novels.  :-\
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JMack on March 09, 2015, 11:03:09 AM
You all are ragging on my boy, Tolkien just a wee much!  :o >:( :'(
But I guess I'm a sucker for the language. I do rate Dicken's Bleak House as the greatest novel ever written (cuz, like, of course I've read all the novel's ever written so... I would know?  ;D ) and that probably shows just how in the bag I am for white, male, Anglos of the nineteenth century. (Oh, Tolkien was 20th. Who'd have thunk it?)
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Hedin on March 09, 2015, 12:24:10 PM
Looking through the answers in this thread, caring about the characters in the novel seems to be the most important factor over any worldbuilding, prose, plot, etc.  Sure all of those things have a factor on how we view the characters but if it seems that if you don't care about the characters then all of that other stuff doesn't matter.  It kind of seems intuitive that we would need to like the characters to like a book (after all we're going to be spending several hours with these people, you wouldn't want to spend hours with someone you hate) but it's still interesting to see most of us mention that when we describe the books we don't like.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: MurchadsGrandson on March 09, 2015, 12:33:10 PM
Richard Morgan's The Steel Remains I found pretty awful. Didn't feel attached to anyone in that book, it was seemingly devoid of humour and yet very, very grim. Really don't understand the love for this series.


I love that series, it's not exactly a laugh riot but I'd prefer a lack of humour to bad attempts at it (that's actually also my standard defence of Christopher Nolan's Batman movies when they get accused of being po faced). It's set in the typical pseudo medieval fantasy world but there's also a high fantasy vibe (almost science fiction esque at times). The action is well written & the prose is flowing but not overtly dense. There's an implied backstory that's interesting but it doesn't get bogged down in long flashback sequences. The characters aren't the most loveable, but I think Morgan does a good job at writing complete bastards (second only to John Gwynne imo) that make the protagonists easier to root for.

I can understand why people that don't like the darker end of the fantasy spectrum mightn't be into the series though.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Idlewilder on March 09, 2015, 12:54:22 PM
Richard Morgan's The Steel Remains I found pretty awful. Didn't feel attached to anyone in that book, it was seemingly devoid of humour and yet very, very grim. Really don't understand the love for this series.


I love that series, it's not exactly a laugh riot but I'd prefer a lack of humour to bad attempts at it (that's actually also my standard defence of Christopher Nolan's Batman movies when they get accused of being po faced). It's set in the typical pseudo medieval fantasy world but there's also a high fantasy vibe (almost science fiction esque at times). The action is well written & the prose is flowing but not overtly dense. There's an implied backstory that's interesting but it doesn't get bogged down in long flashback sequences. The characters aren't the most loveable, but I think Morgan does a good job at writing complete bastards (second only to John Gwynne imo) that make the protagonists easier to root for.

I can understand why people that don't like the darker end of the fantasy spectrum mightn't be into the series though.

Not sure this thread is where we need to start defending these series/books. It could get out of hand very quickly otherwise. I hated The Steel Remains but it's pretty much the only 'grimdark' fantasy I haven't enjoyed - I'm not in that group who don't like the 'darker end of the fantasy spectrum'.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elvraie on March 09, 2015, 02:43:44 PM
Hello everybody,
First post on that forum! ;D
Well, I couldn't be less amused than with the Hitchiker's guide to the galaxy. The humour didn't do it for me at all.
Foundation by Asimov is another one. No characterization and a style as flat as a pancake.
There was also Hyperion, which was a bore and I had to stop after 50 odd pages.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Raptori on March 09, 2015, 03:35:48 PM
Hello everybody,
First post on that forum! ;D
Well, I couldn't be less amused than with the Hitchiker's guide to the galaxy. The humour didn't do it for me at all.
Foundation by Asimov is another one. No characterization and a style as flat as a pancake.
There was also Hyperion, which was a bore and I had to stop after 50 odd pages.
Welcome!  :)

I didn't like Hitchhiker's Guide either, and Hyperion was horrible.

I love Foundation though, but that's because I found the ideas behind it compelling. Completely agree about the writing though, it's definitely sub-par when you compare it to modern stuff.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: xiagan on March 09, 2015, 03:36:38 PM
Bakker's Darkness that comes before and Cook's Chronicles of the Black Company were books I only finished because of the book club.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Nighteyes on March 09, 2015, 06:56:03 PM
Oh yes Richard Morgan 'The Steel Remains.' A book on paper I should have loved, and adored by many readers whose tastes corelate with mine. But as Idlewilder will tell you, it failed our shaving in shit filled piss water test.  This is a test a small group of us conceived - basically if at various points in a novel you read about characters engaging in menial but horrendously gritty or grim tasks - the novel is grimdark for grimdark sake. See also Straight Razor Cure by Daniel Polansky. (BTW everyone who designed this test are all Joe Abercrombie and Martin fans - so we do enjoy gritty fantasy.)

And second Peter V Brett's nomination. Warded Man was great fun, with some really great ideas in but some problematic flaws (treatment of women and non Christian culture) which become bigger and bigger issues in his further books with less and less of the fun and great ideas.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Ben on March 09, 2015, 07:54:37 PM
I'll add in.

I loved the Tolkien books growing up, but I can barely get through them now.

I tried The Steel Remains but it falls into the didn't finish. I couldn't get through The Fionavar Tapestry by GGK. I read up to book 9 of The Wheel of Time. I had to give up on The Fell Sword. The Django Waxler books were another series I started and couldn't get into.

I am glad to see some other books that I did enjoy like the Rothfuss and Abercrombie books making appearances in this topic. Parity is a good thing.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Nighteyes on March 09, 2015, 07:57:34 PM
I'll add in.

I loved the Tolkien books growing up, but I can barely get through them now.

I tried The Steel Remains but it falls into the didn't finish. I couldn't get through The Fionavar Tapestry by GGK. I read up to book 9 of The Wheel of Time. I had to give up on The Fell Sword. The Django Waxler books were another series I started and couldn't get into.

I am glad to see some other books that I did enjoy like the Rothfuss and Abercrombie books making appearances in this topic. Parity is a good thing.

No! Everyone must have the same tastes as me! Or I will smite them and have an online tantrum!
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ultamentkiller on March 09, 2015, 09:39:34 PM
I don't know whether to be happy, or sad to see some authors I like not being put on someone's hated list. Is it because they're just that awesome? Or not as popular as I would like? The mystery.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on March 09, 2015, 10:49:58 PM
Looking through the answers in this thread, caring about the characters in the novel seems to be the most important factor over any worldbuilding, prose, plot, etc.  Sure all of those things have a factor on how we view the characters but if it seems that if you don't care about the characters then all of that other stuff doesn't matter.  It kind of seems intuitive that we would need to like the characters to like a book (after all we're going to be spending several hours with these people, you wouldn't want to spend hours with someone you hate) but it's still interesting to see most of us mention that when we describe the books we don't like.
You've pretty much nailed it with me, Hedin. I have to like or care about the characters. I don't even mind if I actively hate them, if it's a villainous character and I feel like hissing every time that they stroll onto the page then in my opinion the author has done their job. I'm meant to dislike this character and I do. I find Martin is very good at doing that, although his greatest achievement in ASoIaF was to turn one of his main characters from a total black hat to a hero during the books. I never thought I'd be up and cheering that character, but I was. What does tend to turn me off is that if I'm reading about someone and I think, you know this book could probably be massively improved if you simply dropped down a hole and ceased to exist. The books that I've struggled through tend to contain a large amount of that for me.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Ben on March 10, 2015, 02:51:46 AM
I'll add in.

I loved the Tolkien books growing up, but I can barely get through them now.

I tried The Steel Remains but it falls into the didn't finish. I couldn't get through The Fionavar Tapestry by GGK. I read up to book 9 of The Wheel of Time. I had to give up on The Fell Sword. The Django Waxler books were another series I started and couldn't get into.

I am glad to see some other books that I did enjoy like the Rothfuss and Abercrombie books making appearances in this topic. Parity is a good thing.

No! Everyone must have the same tastes as me! Or I will smite them and have an online tantrum!

Speaking of Gariath. I struggled with Tome of the Undergate too.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Koteric on March 10, 2015, 05:38:01 AM
For me (and I stand alone most of the time here ) Song of Ice and Fire is just awful.  I don't care about any of the characters at all. 
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Nighteyes on March 10, 2015, 06:17:54 AM
I'll add in.

I loved the Tolkien books growing up, but I can barely get through them now.

I tried The Steel Remains but it falls into the didn't finish. I couldn't get through The Fionavar Tapestry by GGK. I read up to book 9 of The Wheel of Time. I had to give up on The Fell Sword. The Django Waxler books were another series I started and couldn't get into.

I am glad to see some other books that I did enjoy like the Rothfuss and Abercrombie books making appearances in this topic. Parity is a good thing.

No! Everyone must have the same tastes as me! Or I will smite them and have an online tantrum!

Speaking of Gariath. I struggled with Tome of the Undergate too.

Can't say I loved loved it. (Don't ask why I am Gariath. There was a reason but it's long forgotten.)
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: AzWingsFan on March 10, 2015, 08:10:25 AM
Gene Wolfe- Book of the New Sun. Clawed my way through. Soo much I disliked about it. Very difficult to finish.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Mark Lawrence on March 10, 2015, 10:38:44 AM
Took me around 200 pages to get into Lies of Locke Lamora. I'd have surely given up had it not come so highly recommended by the people on this forum. I did get really into the last half of the book, but it still wouldn't come close to making my favorites list.

I was much the same with this one - perhaps 100 pages though.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elvraie on March 10, 2015, 10:49:50 AM
Hello again,
The others I couldn't get into are any books by Michael Moorcock. The prose was like treacle, not engaging at all. Gave up after 2 pages.
The first Mieville I read was Iron Council. I didn't like the main character or some of the settings and I gave up after 100 pages. Unfortunately, that left me a bit prejudiced towards Mieville and didn't pick up another of his books for a year or so. Then, I decided to give a try to Kraken, loved it, read the rest of Mieville books and he is one of my favourite, now. But I haven't attempted to read Iron Council again.
Only once in a great while, thank God, I encounter one of these books I think I would love and don't. Over Easter, I plan to read Gormenghast, which is a literary work of art and I hope I will slide happily into it.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: madfox11 on March 10, 2015, 11:47:36 AM
Over the last few years I have developed a strong dislike for novels that switch between the point of view of different characters, not as a side track, but as the main part of story. It means I certainly have not been able to finish some of the acclaimed work or at the very least struggled with it a few of which that have already been mentioned here (Game of Thrones, Wheel of Time). I also dislike the assassin series by Robin Hobb. I finished it, but it was depressing to such an extend that I have not yet bothered trying some of her other books.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Nighteyes on March 10, 2015, 11:58:18 AM
Took me around 200 pages to get into Lies of Locke Lamora. I'd have surely given up had it not come so highly recommended by the people on this forum. I did get really into the last half of the book, but it still wouldn't come close to making my favorites list.

I was much the same with this one - perhaps 100 pages though.

It does have a few engaging female characters and no rapeiness ...
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ScarletBea on March 10, 2015, 12:34:35 PM
Took me around 200 pages to get into Lies of Locke Lamora. I'd have surely given up had it not come so highly recommended by the people on this forum. I did get really into the last half of the book, but it still wouldn't come close to making my favorites list.

I was much the same with this one - perhaps 100 pages though.

It does have a few engaging female characters and no rapeiness ...

Are we back to assuming everybody must like the same stuff, then? ::)

(in my opinion, I found the female characters on Mark's books quite engaging, and judging 3 books by something that happens in a few lines is extremely limiting)
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: CameronJohnston on March 10, 2015, 12:38:01 PM
Took me around 200 pages to get into Lies of Locke Lamora. I'd have surely given up had it not come so highly recommended by the people on this forum. I did get really into the last half of the book, but it still wouldn't come close to making my favorites list.

I was much the same with this one - perhaps 100 pages though.

Same here, took me 100-odd pages before it dragged me in, but quite enjoyed the rest of it.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Mr.J on March 10, 2015, 03:25:56 PM
Going to prepare myself for the expected (and perhaps just) booing and throwing of an assortment of vegetables here, but despite loving Patrick Rothfuss, marveling at his fantastic erudite writing, and having read and enjoyed both of the Kingkiller Chronicles books, it's only now after a couple of years after reading them that I can't remember a god damn thing that happened in them.

I vaguely recall events and some characters, but almost nothing has been left imprinted on my mind at all compared to a lot of books I've read years ago and can still recall (whether I've enjoyed them or not).

I remember Kvothe and his weird fairy sex story, he goes on a quest with some people looking for something, he plays some songs and does some magic I think? The dude he lives with in the inn in the narrative framework, the girl he likes and some teacher.

No idea why this is either, it saddens me :(
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: DrNefario on March 10, 2015, 07:51:11 PM
Hello again,
The others I couldn't get into are any books by Michael Moorcock. The prose was like treacle, not engaging at all. Gave up after 2 pages.
The first Mieville I read was Iron Council. I didn't like the main character or some of the settings and I gave up after 100 pages. Unfortunately, that left me a bit prejudiced towards Mieville and didn't pick up another of his books for a year or so. Then, I decided to give a try to Kraken, loved it, read the rest of Mieville books and he is one of my favourite, now. But I haven't attempted to read Iron Council again.
Only once in a great while, thank God, I encounter one of these books I think I would love and don't. Over Easter, I plan to read Gormenghast, which is a literary work of art and I hope I will slide happily into it.
I had a similar experience with Mieville. Perdido Street Station didn't do a lot for me, so I thought he wasn't for me for quite long time, until I read The City and the City, which I really liked.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: DBASKLS on March 10, 2015, 08:24:35 PM
Wheel of Time - gave up after book 5
Malazan
Book of the New Sun
Gormenghast
The Way of Kings
I haven't read A Dance with Dragons because I refuse to read any more until he's finished.

There are a number of series where I have read the first book but not felt inclined to continue. With the ones above with the exception of WoT and ASOIAF I couldn't get through the first books.

Ryan Mueller - what do you like LOL!
Hedin - spot on about caring for the characters - that's why I love Robin Hobb so much.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on March 11, 2015, 12:12:25 AM
Hello again,
The others I couldn't get into are any books by Michael Moorcock. The prose was like treacle, not engaging at all. Gave up after 2 pages.
The first Mieville I read was Iron Council. I didn't like the main character or some of the settings and I gave up after 100 pages. Unfortunately, that left me a bit prejudiced towards Mieville and didn't pick up another of his books for a year or so. Then, I decided to give a try to Kraken, loved it, read the rest of Mieville books and he is one of my favourite, now. But I haven't attempted to read Iron Council again.
Only once in a great while, thank God, I encounter one of these books I think I would love and don't. Over Easter, I plan to read Gormenghast, which is a literary work of art and I hope I will slide happily into it.
I had a similar experience with a couple of Moorcock's that I tried, but that was many years ago, and I really should give him another go. I found that when I first read Susannah Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell I didn't like it at all and couldn't see what the fuss was about, then years later I had another go at it and it rose a great deal in my own estimation (I rated it as one of my favourite fantasy books by author's with C surnames). I'm similar to you with Mieville as well, in that I tried reading Embassytown and it turned into a DNF, but then I read Perdido St Station and totally adored that. Because Mieville has a stated intention to try and write at least one book in every genre he can think of, this could happen.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Annomander Matt on March 11, 2015, 02:36:53 AM
I'm pretty anal about finishing series, and I must say that I've felt rewarded thus far for sticking with Wheel Of Time despite being annoyed at books 8,9 and for not giving up on Chronicles of Amber as well.

The only book I can recall not forcing my way thru was Return of the King from LOTR, as embarrassing as that is to say. Got about halfway thru. I think the fact I honestly liked the movies better made me justify giving up in my head.

I'm pretty close to giving up on ASOIF for the same reason, since I like the show and hated books 4 and 5. I also don't like the idea of waiting 6 more years or so for the darn thing to be finished. Seeing how the show will almost certainly finish before the books, I'll give myself a pass there. I just don't see myself being able to keep up with all of the characters without a reread, and there's no way I try to tackle Feast or Dance again...

Kingkiller is one I think I'll give a chance to despite not loving book two.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ScarletBea on March 11, 2015, 07:44:19 AM
I found that when I first read Susannah Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell I didn't like it at all and couldn't see what the fuss was about, then years later I had another go at it and it rose a great deal in my own estimation (I rated it as one of my favourite fantasy books by author's with C surnames).

Sometimes I do wonder about that one - I read it about 6-7 years ago, and although I finished it, I didn't like it much, and think it's very much overrated.
Now I wonder if I were to read it now, after all the fantasy I've now read, I would see it differently... but then again, I'm not keen on victorian literature, Dickens style, and all that, so maybe I'd still feel the same.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on March 11, 2015, 08:20:34 AM
I found that when I first read Susannah Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell I didn't like it at all and couldn't see what the fuss was about, then years later I had another go at it and it rose a great deal in my own estimation (I rated it as one of my favourite fantasy books by author's with C surnames).

Sometimes I do wonder about that one - I read it about 6-7 years ago, and although I finished it, I didn't like it much, and think it's very much overrated.
Now I wonder if I were to read it now, after all the fantasy I've now read, I would see it differently... but then again, I'm not keen on victorian literature, Dickens style, and all that, so maybe I'd still feel the same.
I still think it's probably overrated, but very little could live up to the hype around that book. It's just that I gained a different appreciation for it in the years between the two readings. I was never very keen on the faux Austenish style, I found that a little gimmicky, and thought that Caroline Stevermer and Patricia Wrede did a much better job with that in the Kate and Cecelia books, especially the first one (Sorcery and Cecelia) which was done in a very effective epistolary style.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: AzWingsFan on March 11, 2015, 09:14:18 AM
Book of the New Sun by Gene Woolf. Read all 4. Still no idea what was going on.


Amen...every character was on acid, why couldn't anyone have a normal conversation?
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: DrNefario on March 11, 2015, 01:51:16 PM
I'm a huge Gene Wolfe fan, but unlike most people I don't especially love the Book of the New Sun. I much preferred his standalones, and the Soldier in the Mist books. Definitely at the arty end of the scale, though.

It took me two goes to get through The Two Towers, way back when I read it, in the eighties. I have no real desire to read it again.

Titus Groan was quite hard work, and I've never felt much inclination to read the rest of the series, but I kind of admired it. Way too heavy on the descriptions for my taste.

SF, rather than fantasy, but I have still never made it through Dune Messiah, despite really liking Dune.

Can't think of too much else. I struggled a lot with Gardens of the Moon, but I don't think that's uncommon.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ZeroEcho99 on March 13, 2015, 11:35:13 AM
I've given up on two of the big ones so far - Wheel of Time and Malazan.

I've got as far as book 9 in WoT and feel I should push myself over the finish line but I don't think I can do it.  As for Malazan I've attempted the first book twice and got as far as 100 pages but I just wasn't feeling it and decided against it.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Justan Henner on March 13, 2015, 04:24:47 PM
I've got as far as book 9 in WoT and feel I should push myself over the finish line but I don't think I can do it.  As for Malazan I've attempted the first book twice and got as far as 100 pages but I just wasn't feeling it and decided against it.

Malazan is an interesting one. I gave up twice on the point it shifts to Kruppe and the other Daru, but on the third go I hunkered through, and now it's one of my top 3 of all time. I think it was the same problem both times, the lack of time to get attached with the characters before it jumps to the next ones, but by the end of a few books you really get that context, of course, that's a lot to read to get there. (it's part of the reason I've suggested reading chronologically. It's a lot easier to get into Karsa or Trull Sengar than it is the Gardens of the Moon cast.)
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Anna Smith-Spark on March 13, 2015, 04:29:45 PM
I struggled through Gardens of the Moon, hated it as I didn't care about any of the characters, found the whole 'root races' thing really difficult to cope, found it humourless and grim, dark without being grimdark [sorry, seems vaguely witty to me] and kept resolving to give up.

But.... it now haunts me, I find myself thinking about it constantly and am seriously considering reading the rest of the Marazan books.

This is irritating. But I suppose it probably means it's a good book.
 
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Raptori on March 13, 2015, 05:21:37 PM
I struggled through Gardens of the Moon, hated it as I didn't care about any of the characters, found the whole 'root races' thing really difficult to cope, found it humourless and grim, dark without being grimdark [sorry, seems vaguely witty to me] and kept resolving to give up.

But.... it now haunts me, I find myself thinking about it constantly and am seriously considering reading the rest of the Marazan books.

This is irritating. But I suppose it probably means it's a good book.
I'd say that means its setting and/or something about the plot or premise interest you, rather than it necessarily being a good book. I've felt compelled to read books that I hate before because they have a premise that is really interesting, but wouldn't consider them good books. For that you need at least a pass in all three of character, setting and plot. GotM utterly fails in the character department imo.  :-\
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Wizard Police on March 13, 2015, 06:09:58 PM
A Shadow In Summer. That was one of the hardest reads for me, I had to force myself to sit down and get through to the end of the chapter.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Saraband on March 13, 2015, 10:26:29 PM
A Shadow In Summer. That was one of the hardest reads for me, I had to force myself to sit down and get through to the end of the chapter.

I'm reading A Shadow in Summer now, and it took me about 30 pages to really get into it (I almost gave up, but all the praise I had seen kept me going). I am now halfway through and absolutely hooked!  :)
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on March 13, 2015, 11:35:57 PM
A Shadow In Summer. That was one of the hardest reads for me, I had to force myself to sit down and get through to the end of the chapter.

I'm reading A Shadow in Summer now, and it took me about 30 pages to really get into it (I almost gave up, but all the praise I had seen kept me going). I am now halfway through and absolutely hooked!  :)
I haven't read them, but people do say that about the books, even those that liked them. I find it interesting and keep wondering if I should read them, because I connected with The Dragon's Path almost immediately.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JMack on March 13, 2015, 11:43:28 PM
I haven't read them...
Wait a second. Wait a second! Call the newspapers, hold the front page!
"I haven't read them"
Is this really Elfy, or an impostor?!  ;) ;D
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on March 13, 2015, 11:45:33 PM
I haven't read them...
Wait a second. Wait a second! Call the newspapers, hold the front page!
"I haven't read them"
Is this really Elfy, or an impostor?!  ;) ;D
There's a whole heap of stuff I haven't read. Why do you think my TBR pile is so damn big?
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Conan on March 14, 2015, 02:58:13 AM
Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica,
Thus Spoke Zarathustra,
The Heart of Darkness,
Iliad,
Kitty wants a Box
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Wizard Police on March 14, 2015, 03:39:20 AM
A Shadow In Summer. That was one of the hardest reads for me, I had to force myself to sit down and get through to the end of the chapter.

I'm reading A Shadow in Summer now, and it took me about 30 pages to really get into it (I almost gave up, but all the praise I had seen kept me going). I am now halfway through and absolutely hooked!  :)

The one thing that's really turned me away from it is the worldbuilding. It's unique and innovative, but I just can't get behind it. The whole "pose" thing feels like a gimmick for me. It would just work so much better as a movie because we'd be able to see what these poses are instead of reading "he did a pose to say hello" and not know what it looks like.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Raptori on March 14, 2015, 06:54:09 AM
A Shadow In Summer. That was one of the hardest reads for me, I had to force myself to sit down and get through to the end of the chapter.

I'm reading A Shadow in Summer now, and it took me about 30 pages to really get into it (I almost gave up, but all the praise I had seen kept me going). I am now halfway through and absolutely hooked!  :)
I haven't read them, but people do say that about the books, even those that liked them. I find it interesting and keep wondering if I should read them, because I connected with The Dragon's Path almost immediately.
Interesting that you connected with The Dragon's Path so easily, I read a few sample chapters and just didn't get it. And I loved the Long Price quartet. It's definitely one of those that pay off more as you go along though, the worldbuilding is exceptional, but the plot is a bit slow and the characters not very memorable. I think the best character by far (or at least the most interesting) is Seedless. I think I was in the mood for something a little slower and more contemplative when I read them though, so it really hit the spot.  :)
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Spicy Fried Lamp on March 14, 2015, 01:59:43 PM
Like others have said, this thread is a really interesting read!

Books that stick in my mind as being a struggle are Lord of the Rings and more recently, Samantha Shannon's The Bone Season. I managed to finish LotR and can understand why people enjoy it, but it just wasn't for me - the descriptive language Tolkien uses could almost be described as too much of a good thing. I didn't get very far at all with The Bone Season as I didn't really connect with any of the characters and found the excessive jargon irritating. It's a shame as I think there were some interesting ideas in the book and it had great potential.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Davis Ashura on March 14, 2015, 02:39:39 PM
I can generally get through a more modern book without too much trouble, but the older ones, like The Worm Ouroboros or The Gormenghast series, were a chore. I got a lot out of Gormenghast, although I felt like my brain was being squeezed to a pulp at the end, but The Worm Ouroboros was just hard and nearly unreadable for me.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JMack on March 14, 2015, 03:08:08 PM
I can generally get through a more modern book without too much trouble, but the older ones, like The Worm Ouroboros or The Gormenghast series, were a chore. I got a lot out of Gormenghast, although I felt like my brain was being squeezed to a pulp at the end, but The Worm Ouroboros was just hard and nearly unreadable for me.
Gormenghast has been sitting like a brick on my shelf for years. Glad to know someone here has read it and "enjoyed" it (sort of?). Stays in the TBR pile.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Doctor_Chill on March 14, 2015, 03:55:14 PM
I can generally get through a more modern book without too much trouble, but the older ones, like The Worm Ouroboros or The Gormenghast series, were a chore. I got a lot out of Gormenghast, although I felt like my brain was being squeezed to a pulp at the end, but The Worm Ouroboros was just hard and nearly unreadable for me.
Gormenghast has been sitting like a brick on my shelf for years. Glad to know someone here has read it and "enjoyed" it (sort of?). Stays in the TBR pile.

Mine too. Was hoping to tackle it this summer when my mind's not reeling from exams.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Davis Ashura on March 14, 2015, 05:43:44 PM
Mine too. Was hoping to tackle it this summer when my mind's not reeling from exams.

Reading Gormenghast after your brain has recovered is a good idea. The books are so dense.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on March 14, 2015, 10:17:49 PM
I can generally get through a more modern book without too much trouble, but the older ones, like The Worm Ouroboros or The Gormenghast series, were a chore. I got a lot out of Gormenghast, although I felt like my brain was being squeezed to a pulp at the end, but The Worm Ouroboros was just hard and nearly unreadable for me.
I found the same with The Worm Ouroboros, but I think that had a lot to do with the style of language Eddison decided to use to tell the story.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: DrNefario on March 15, 2015, 10:17:51 AM
I've had a copy of The Worm Ourobouros for years, possibly decades, now, and I have yet to make it past the first two pages.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JMack on March 15, 2015, 10:49:53 AM
Has anyone read Lord Dunsany's books? My brother had King of Elfland's Daughter and Charwoman's Shadow when we were young. I just ordered Charwoman for cheap - why not?
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Lejays17 on March 15, 2015, 11:29:59 AM
Has anyone read Lord Dunsany's books? My brother had King of Elfland's Daughter and Charwoman's Shadow when we were young. I just ordered Charwoman for cheap - why not?

Elfy read the first one a few years ago - review here: http://travelsthroughiest.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/king-of-elflands-daughter.html (http://travelsthroughiest.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/king-of-elflands-daughter.html).  He enjoyed it, from what I can remember!
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: onceWICKED on March 15, 2015, 06:54:45 PM
The First Law Trilogy- I mean the writting was great and I kinda cared for the charactes until I figured the kind of book I was reading. I really dont get gritty books where charcters get what they dont deserve and lose the thing they do the entire ride. After book 1 the rest, I struggled like I was Logen in the giant grip.
West Dies and the asshole noble becomes a puppet king. Bayaz was behind evrey mystrey the cripple ecounterd. Just testing the spoiler tags
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on March 16, 2015, 12:47:29 AM
Has anyone read Lord Dunsany's books? My brother had King of Elfland's Daughter and Charwoman's Shadow when we were young. I just ordered Charwoman for cheap - why not?

Elfy read the first one a few years ago - review here: http://travelsthroughiest.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/king-of-elflands-daughter.html (http://travelsthroughiest.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/king-of-elflands-daughter.html).  He enjoyed it, from what I can remember!
I've only read The King of Elfland's Daughter, but yes I did thoroughly enjoy it. Hope Mirlees Lud in the Mist, is in a similar vein and also well worth reading. I only recently found out that Dunsany was the older brother of Admiral Drax, who leant his name to the villain of Fleming's Moonraker and also the villain in the Eon film of the same name, which really only shares a name with the book.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ultamentkiller on March 17, 2015, 01:18:28 AM
I'll add another one for myself.
Red Country by Joe Abercrombie.
The only reason I kept on after a certain point was because of a certain character, but even then. I almost made it to the end. In fact, I thought I was at the end. but then I saw part V and went, oh no, there can't be more!
This book has made me realize that I hate journeys. They're absolutely boring, especially when you know where you're going in the first place. Journeys are only cool in my mind as long as there's another plot going that I can entertain myself with. I have no clue how this became the second best book of 2012.
Sorry. I'm done ranting now.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Wizard Police on March 18, 2015, 09:12:10 PM
The First Law Trilogy- I mean the writting was great and I kinda cared for the charactes until I figured the kind of book I was reading. I really dont get gritty books where charcters get what they dont deserve and lose the thing they do the entire ride. After book 1 the rest, I struggled like I was Logen in the giant grip.
West Dies and the asshole noble becomes a puppet king. Bayaz was behind evrey mystrey the cripple ecounterd. Just testing the spoiler tags

Me too, but not for those reasons. Nothing about it grabbed at me in any way. I've actually have yet to complete it.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Anna Smith-Spark on March 21, 2015, 05:50:11 PM
I read the whole of Gardens of the Moon and kind of loved and hated it at the same time. I found it relentless and rather one-note, and I really didn't care about any of the characters apart from Anamanda Rake. But I've been told the series gets better, so I may return to it. Can anyone confirm or deny this before I invest a substantial portion of my life on Deadhouse Gates?

Also, has anyone managed The Worm Orouboros by Eddington? The title is so superb it makes me shiver, then I have a look inside - it appears to be an unholy alliance of Dune and Ivanhoe
... Scares me witless.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: xiagan on March 21, 2015, 09:51:49 PM
I read the whole of Gardens of the Moon and kind of loved and hated it at the same time. I found it relentless and rather one-note, and I really didn't care about any of the characters apart from Anamanda Rake. But I've been told the series gets better, so I may return to it. Can anyone confirm or deny this before I invest a substantial portion of my life on Deadhouse Gates?

Also, has anyone managed The Worm Orouboros by Eddington? The title is so superb it makes me shiver, then I have a look inside - it appears to be an unholy alliance of Dune and Ivanhoe
... Scares me witless.
If you are unsure about GotM, you should definitely read Deadhouse Gates. It is a very different book and both together should give you a good idea how the series is. :)
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on March 21, 2015, 10:48:06 PM
I read the whole of Gardens of the Moon and kind of loved and hated it at the same time. I found it relentless and rather one-note, and I really didn't care about any of the characters apart from Anamanda Rake. But I've been told the series gets better, so I may return to it. Can anyone confirm or deny this before I invest a substantial portion of my life on Deadhouse Gates?

Also, has anyone managed The Worm Orouboros by Eddington? The title is so superb it makes me shiver, then I have a look inside - it appears to be an unholy alliance of Dune and Ivanhoe
... Scares me witless.
I've read The Worm Ouroboros. Odd book. The language he used (Jacobean) made it rather hard for a modern reader to get into, and in some ways (it takes place on another planet in our solar system) it could even qualify as planetary romance. Some of his descriptions are brilliant, though, and you see how Tolkien took some of his influences from Eddison.
As @xiagan (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=1148) said The Deadhouse Gates is a totally different book from Gardens of the Moon. I think that may be down to the fact that Erikson, and to a lesser extent Esslemont, spent a long time trying to get Gardens of the Moon (it was originally pitched as a film concept and later a game) published, and The Deadhouse Gates came about with a lot less time, and possibly Erikson was in a different headspace and had a more cohesive idea of what he wanted to do with the world and the series. Having said that, it failed to make me care anymore about the story or the characters.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ScarletBea on March 22, 2015, 11:39:26 AM
Unfortunately my library doesn't have Gardens of the moon - I don't think I want to risk it buying... maybe if I find it second hand... but the charity shop where I volunteer never has 'good' books hehe, I should go on a book-checking spree through all the charity shops.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JMack on March 22, 2015, 11:41:52 AM
Unfortunately my library doesn't have Gardens of the moon - I don't think I want to risk it buying... maybe if I find it second hand... but the charity shop where I volunteer never has 'good' books hehe, I should go on a book-checking spree through all the charity shops.
I own it now. If I hate it, I can always mail it to you.  ;D
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ScarletBea on March 22, 2015, 11:44:35 AM
In exchange for the biscuits? ;)
It would probably cost more in postage hehe - but thanks for the offer!
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JamesLatimer on March 22, 2015, 12:19:17 PM
For those struggling with the Worm Ouroboros (which I loved but is completely unlike anything else I've read), Eddison's 'trilogy' of Zimamvia is written in a more accessible style.  Mistress of Mistresses has some really good feudal bickering (an Edwardian Game of Thrones if you will!).  But overall, unless you can get on with the archaic style it's hard--I still found quite a lot of it a slog, but there are some moments of haunting genius in there that are worth the perseverance.  A bit like Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, actually!

I've slogged through too many 'highly regarded' books by now that I don't see the point any more.  I'm just going to read things that work for me, no matter what others' say--unless I'm absolutely sure it's worth it, I'm not going to push through things I put down and don't want to pick up again (there's a difference between 'want to read' and 'want to have read'!). 
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ladybritches on March 22, 2015, 04:37:02 PM


I've slogged through too many 'highly regarded' books by now that I don't see the point any more.  I'm just going to read things that work for me, no matter what others' say--unless I'm absolutely sure it's worth it, I'm not going to push through things I put down and don't want to pick up again (there's a difference between 'want to read' and 'want to have read'!).

Yes, this.  I'd like to spend the precious few hours I have available reading books that I can't put down, not books that other people couldn't put down.

Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Ryan Mueller on March 23, 2015, 12:54:34 AM
I've slogged through too many 'highly regarded' books by now that I don't see the point any more.  I'm just going to read things that work for me, no matter what others' say--unless I'm absolutely sure it's worth it, I'm not going to push through things I put down and don't want to pick up again (there's a difference between 'want to read' and 'want to have read'!).

I've been trying to adopt this attitude myself. I get that a lot of people love authors like Erikson and Bakker, but they just don't do it for me. I'm not a fan of the Grimdark movement in fantasy. I'll read it occasionally, but I'd rather read stuff I actually enjoy.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Nora on March 24, 2015, 03:29:35 AM
Same feeling here, really. Unless the synopsis really pricks my interest, I don't force myself past the first few chapters if the style or premise isn't up to my taste. I've got dozens of books on my to-read list so no time for the struggles.

The last book I hence gave up on was The Exorcist. I started snickering around the "table the the color of sadness", and then the first actual chapter was just too heavy handed.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JMack on March 24, 2015, 10:54:00 AM
Same feeling here, really. Unless the synopsis really pricks my interest, I don't force myself past the first few chapters if the style or premise isn't up to my taste. I've got dozens of books on my to-read list so no time for the struggles.

The last book I hence gave up on was The Exorcist. I started snickering around the "table the the color of sadness", and then the first actual chapter was just too heavy handed.
I read Exorcist at about thirteen. When I finished reading it, I was in a cabin in the woods, alone. It scared the crap out of me so badly I ran a mile through the dark to where my family were all hanging out at a friend's house.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: CameronJohnston on March 24, 2015, 11:43:50 AM
I've shelved Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun for the moment, finding it a real slog for some reason. Do intend on going back to it at some point though.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: AzWingsFan on March 24, 2015, 07:10:03 PM
I've shelved Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun for the moment, finding it a real slog for some reason. Do intend on going back to it at some point though.

God, I shelved it like 3 separate times. Difficult to stay interested and to care about the story. Finally finished it, not impressed at all.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on March 24, 2015, 11:25:45 PM
Same feeling here, really. Unless the synopsis really pricks my interest, I don't force myself past the first few chapters if the style or premise isn't up to my taste. I've got dozens of books on my to-read list so no time for the struggles.

The last book I hence gave up on was The Exorcist. I started snickering around the "table the the color of sadness", and then the first actual chapter was just too heavy handed.
I read Exorcist at about thirteen. When I finished reading it, I was in a cabin in the woods, alone. It scared the crap out of me so badly I ran a mile through the dark to where my family were all hanging out at a friend's house.
Never done that with a book. It has happened with films, though. Found it very hard to get to sleep the night after I first saw Silence of the Lambs.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Ben on March 26, 2015, 11:15:53 PM
I finally finished Elantris. It took me a month to read it when normally I can get through a book in 4-7 days.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Raptori on March 26, 2015, 11:58:16 PM
I finally finished Elantris. It took me a month to read it when normally I can get through a book in 4-7 days.
If I had read Elantris first, I would probably not have picked up any of his other books. Don't understand how it's so highly rated.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Ryan Mueller on March 27, 2015, 04:59:48 AM
Hmm...I really liked Elantris, and it was the first Sanderson I read. I agree that it's probably his weakest, but that still places it well above most everything else I've read.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on March 27, 2015, 05:39:26 AM
Hmm...I really liked Elantris, and it was the first Sanderson I read. I agree that it's probably his weakest, but that still places it well above most everything else I've read.
To be honest I probably liked Elantris more than the first volume of Mistborn.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Raptori on March 27, 2015, 06:44:52 AM
Hmm...I really liked Elantris, and it was the first Sanderson I read. I agree that it's probably his weakest, but that still places it well above most everything else I've read.
To be honest I probably liked Elantris more than the first volume of Mistborn.
Interesting. I thought the plot was pretty cliché, the characters the worst mary sue and marty stu I've come across in a published work, and the setting not all that interesting... Plus the dialogue and prose in general were fairly uninspiring  ???

Mistborn had a handful of characters who were more rounded, a much more interesting plot and setting, and marginally better dialogue in my opinion :D
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ScarletBea on March 27, 2015, 07:57:21 AM
So, for someone who has only read Warbreaker and the Mistborn series, and quite enjoyed both, which other Sandersons would you recommend?
There are a ton of them, after all...
(I have the feeling I'm going to get conflicting opinions, but I don't mind)
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Nighteyes on March 27, 2015, 08:13:41 AM
TBH I would be careful with reading too much Sanderson. They do get a bit formulaic. I agree with those who had Elantris down as his weakest (on a tie with Alloy of Law.) At his worst his novels can be very vanilla. Some of his short stories and novellas though are exceptional.  I really enjoyed the one in the recent Rogues Anthology (suprisingly dark for Brandonbot) and Legion. Way of Kings was his best for me, but I did worry reading Words of Radiance if he was spreading the story a bit thin.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ScarletBea on March 27, 2015, 08:31:40 AM
Oh, I don't plan on diving into a Sanderson-reading spree, there are far too many other great books for that.
I just wanted to include a couple more during this year, since I enjoyed the others.
And yep, if they're the same story re-hashed then I'm not really that interested - Mistborn was great because it felt quite new to me (and I realise that people's opinions on this, and any other books' plots, depend a lot on what they have read before!)
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Raptori on March 27, 2015, 10:02:37 AM
Stormlight is fairly good, you can see his writing improving in that series. What I'd recommend is what @Gariath (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=272) mentioned - his shorter works. The Emperor's Soul is my favourite of all of his books, Legion has a very interesting concept, Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell (the one Gariath mentioned) is fairly decent. Sixth of the Dusk is okay, but more of his typical flaws seemed to creep in. I think it's definitely a case of him spreading it too thin in his novels, can't think of a single one that would not be a lot stronger if he cut the word count by 30%-50%  :-\
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Ryan Mueller on March 27, 2015, 07:52:13 PM
With the exception of The Emperor's Soul, I've actually found Sanderson's novellas and short stories are my least favorite of his works. That's not to say they're bad. I just really like them instead of absolutely loving them. My favorite is also his longest: Words of Radiance.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on March 27, 2015, 10:54:46 PM

Interesting. I thought the plot was pretty cliché, the characters the worst mary sue and marty stu I've come across in a published work, and the setting not all that interesting... Plus the dialogue and prose in general were fairly uninspiring  ???

Mistborn had a handful of characters who were more rounded, a much more interesting plot and setting, and marginally better dialogue in my opinion :D
That's probably why Mistborn did nothing for me @Raptori (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=38840). I'd already read Elantris and it had all the same flaws you picked up on, and I put it down to it being his first novel. Then I read Mistborn and got exactly the same feel from it as with Elantris and realised that for whatever reason Sanderson and I simply don't click as author and reader. However I still preferred Elantris, it interested me more overall, whereas Mistborn I struggled through.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Raptori on March 27, 2015, 10:59:16 PM

Interesting. I thought the plot was pretty cliché, the characters the worst mary sue and marty stu I've come across in a published work, and the setting not all that interesting... Plus the dialogue and prose in general were fairly uninspiring  ???

Mistborn had a handful of characters who were more rounded, a much more interesting plot and setting, and marginally better dialogue in my opinion :D
That's probably why Mistborn did nothing for me @Raptori (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=38840). I'd already read Elantris and it had all the same flaws you picked up on, and I put it down to it being his first novel. Then I read Mistborn and got exactly the same feel from it as with Elantris and realised that for whatever reason Sanderson and I simply don't click as author and reader. However I still preferred Elantris, it interested me more overall, whereas Mistborn I struggled through.
Yeah makes sense. He does seem to have improved at least, Stormlight is a little better. He's ridiculously prolific though, makes you wonder whether his commitment to producing quantity is impacting the quality...
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on March 27, 2015, 11:00:24 PM

Interesting. I thought the plot was pretty cliché, the characters the worst mary sue and marty stu I've come across in a published work, and the setting not all that interesting... Plus the dialogue and prose in general were fairly uninspiring  ???

Mistborn had a handful of characters who were more rounded, a much more interesting plot and setting, and marginally better dialogue in my opinion :D
That's probably why Mistborn did nothing for me @Raptori (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=38840). I'd already read Elantris and it had all the same flaws you picked up on, and I put it down to it being his first novel. Then I read Mistborn and got exactly the same feel from it as with Elantris and realised that for whatever reason Sanderson and I simply don't click as author and reader. However I still preferred Elantris, it interested me more overall, whereas Mistborn I struggled through.
Yeah makes sense. He does seem to have improved at least, Stormlight is a little better. He's ridiculously prolific though, makes you wonder whether his commitment to producing quantity is impacting the quality...
I have occasionally wondered that myself, although other authors have been prolific without impacting the quality. I immediately think of the late Sir Terry Pratchett.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Raptori on March 27, 2015, 11:13:17 PM

Interesting. I thought the plot was pretty cliché, the characters the worst mary sue and marty stu I've come across in a published work, and the setting not all that interesting... Plus the dialogue and prose in general were fairly uninspiring  ???

Mistborn had a handful of characters who were more rounded, a much more interesting plot and setting, and marginally better dialogue in my opinion :D
That's probably why Mistborn did nothing for me @Raptori (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=38840). I'd already read Elantris and it had all the same flaws you picked up on, and I put it down to it being his first novel. Then I read Mistborn and got exactly the same feel from it as with Elantris and realised that for whatever reason Sanderson and I simply don't click as author and reader. However I still preferred Elantris, it interested me more overall, whereas Mistborn I struggled through.
Yeah makes sense. He does seem to have improved at least, Stormlight is a little better. He's ridiculously prolific though, makes you wonder whether his commitment to producing quantity is impacting the quality...
I have occasionally wondered that myself, although other authors have been prolific without impacting the quality. I immediately think of the late Sir Terry Pratchett.
Isaac Asimov also springs to mind. I guess it just depends on the writer.  :-\
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on March 27, 2015, 11:16:30 PM
A lot of the older ones were prolific. In some ways I think it may have been because a lot of their work was serialised in the pulps and they were paid by the word. Alan Dean Foster shocked me when I looked at how much he had actually written, over 100 books in all, and that's just the novels. In the 80's he was regularly releasing 3 - 4 books a year, and they weren't all tie ins. Seanad McGuire is another one who seems to hit the 3 novels a year mark.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Raptori on March 27, 2015, 11:21:04 PM
Yep, plus in a lot of cases they were pioneering their genre, so it's possible that they didn't have to work as hard to come up with something original. Nowadays if you think of something cool, chances are it's already been written... :-\
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on March 27, 2015, 11:22:14 PM
Yep, plus in a lot of cases they were pioneering their genre, so it's possible that they didn't have to work as hard to come up with something original. Nowadays if you think of something cool, chances are it's already been written... :-\
I think there's a saying that there are only 5 original ideas and they've all been done. Everything else is a variation.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Raptori on March 27, 2015, 11:24:43 PM
Yep, plus in a lot of cases they were pioneering their genre, so it's possible that they didn't have to work as hard to come up with something original. Nowadays if you think of something cool, chances are it's already been written... :-\
I think there's a saying that there are only 5 original ideas and they've all been done. Everything else is a variation.
That's probably more a fact than a saying  :P
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on March 27, 2015, 11:26:25 PM
Yep, plus in a lot of cases they were pioneering their genre, so it's possible that they didn't have to work as hard to come up with something original. Nowadays if you think of something cool, chances are it's already been written... :-\
I think there's a saying that there are only 5 original ideas and they've all been done. Everything else is a variation.
That's probably more a fact than a saying  :P
It's kind of like the one about good songs only have 3 chords and great ones only having 2.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Ryan Mueller on March 27, 2015, 11:29:26 PM
Yeah makes sense. He does seem to have improved at least, Stormlight is a little better. He's ridiculously prolific though, makes you wonder whether his commitment to producing quantity is impacting the quality...

I don't think there's any issue with the quality. It's probably just a matter of reader taste. No author is going to appeal to every reader. That doesn't mean they're necessarily a bad writer, especially when they're as popular as Sanderson.

For example, I don't get on with Malazan, but that's more because it's not my type of story or writing style. For people who enjoy that kind of thing, Erikson does a great job.

It might just be that Sanderson isn't your cup of tea, and that's fine. There are a lot of writers out there for everyone.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Raptori on March 27, 2015, 11:36:41 PM
Yeah makes sense. He does seem to have improved at least, Stormlight is a little better. He's ridiculously prolific though, makes you wonder whether his commitment to producing quantity is impacting the quality...

I don't think there's any issue with the quality. It's probably just a matter of reader taste. No author is going to appeal to every reader. That doesn't mean they're necessarily a bad writer, especially when they're as popular as Sanderson.

For example, I don't get on with Malazan, but that's more because it's not my type of story or writing style. For people who enjoy that kind of thing, Erikson does a great job.

It might just be that Sanderson isn't your cup of tea, and that's fine. There are a lot of writers out there for everyone.
That's just the thing - I like Sanderson's books. But whenever I read one of his novels, the flaws in his writing grate a little. Less so with his more recent books, hence my feeling that his standards are improving.  :-\
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ScarletBea on March 28, 2015, 08:22:49 AM
With the exception of The Emperor's Soul, I've actually found Sanderson's novellas and short stories are my least favorite of his works. That's not to say they're bad. I just really like them instead of absolutely loving them. My favorite is also his longest: Words of Radiance.

Not replying specifically to you, but this post highlighted something important for me: I don't care much for 'short books' (<200-300 pages). I've realised that if I read a book in a couple of days (and not the intensive reading of a lot of hours in the day), I just don't connect with the characters, don't care, they go in and out of my brain very quickly, without the chance to touch the emotional chords...

Of course then what I do also has some downsides: I finish a huge trilogy, 1500-2000 pages later, and I look around the world and it's hard to integrate again, hehe
(for example, it happened with the Liveship Traders, and with the Lightbringer's first 3)

But thanks for all the ideas you've put in me about Sanderson.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Raptori on March 28, 2015, 10:46:42 AM
With the exception of The Emperor's Soul, I've actually found Sanderson's novellas and short stories are my least favorite of his works. That's not to say they're bad. I just really like them instead of absolutely loving them. My favorite is also his longest: Words of Radiance.

Not replying specifically to you, but this post highlighted something important for me: I don't care much for 'short books' (<200-300 pages). I've realised that if I read a book in a couple of days (and not the intensive reading of a lot of hours in the day), I just don't connect with the characters, don't care, they go in and out of my brain very quickly, without the chance to touch the emotional chords...

Of course then what I do also has some downsides: I finish a huge trilogy, 1500-2000 pages later, and I look around the world and it's hard to integrate again, hehe
(for example, it happened with the Liveship Traders, and with the Lightbringer's first 3)

But thanks for all the ideas you've put in me about Sanderson.
Yeah I generally get the same feeling, but I've recently found that reading a short story or novella eases the transition back into the real world, and make it easier to get into the next series much faster.  ;) It's definitely unusual to get a connection to the characters in a shorter work though, but that's just a natural limitation to the length.  :-\
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: onceWICKED on April 05, 2015, 09:08:52 PM
With the exception of The Emperor's Soul, I've actually found Sanderson's novellas and short stories are my least favorite of his works. That's not to say they're bad. I just really like them instead of absolutely loving them. My favorite is also his longest: Words of Radiance.

Not replying specifically to you, but this post highlighted something important for me: I don't care much for 'short books' (<200-300 pages). I've realised that if I read a book in a couple of days (and not the intensive reading of a lot of hours in the day), I just don't connect with the characters, don't care, they go in and out of my brain very quickly, without the chance to touch the emotional chords...

Of course then what I do also has some downsides: I finish a huge trilogy, 1500-2000 pages later, and I look around the world and it's hard to integrate again, hehe
(for example, it happened with the Liveship Traders, and with the Lightbringer's first 3)

But thanks for all the ideas you've put in me about Sanderson.
Yeah I generally get the same feeling, but I've recently found that reading a short story or novella eases the transition back into the real world, and make it easier to get into the next series much faster.  ;) It's definitely unusual to get a connection to the characters in a shorter work though, but that's just a natural limitation to the length.  :-\
You got that right.
After reading the Stormlight Archives, I tried reading Mistborn and I had a really hard time imaginong Scardial with all the Ashes and a red sky not to mention the yellow plants.
But after I read Legion (also by Brandon) it was a diffrent story entirley.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Yora on April 05, 2015, 09:20:53 PM
I read 80 pages or so of Gardens of the Moon. Since nothing happened by that point and even people who read the whole series didn't really know what it was about, I just stopped it there.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JMack on April 05, 2015, 09:32:39 PM
I read 80 pages or so of Gardens of the Moon. Since nothing happened by that point and even people who read the whole series didn't really know what it was about, I just stopped it there.
Hmm. I'm 200+ pages and at least a little bit has happened.  ;)
It doesn't bother me as long as I have a sense things are going to get there and that I'm getting lots of pure info dump.
I'm enjoying GOTT so far.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: xiagan on April 05, 2015, 09:47:00 PM
I'm enjoying GOTT so far.
Not sure if you wanted to write GOTM or GOAT.  ;D
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JMack on April 05, 2015, 10:04:58 PM
I'm enjoying GOTT so far.
Not sure if you wanted to write GOTM or GOAT.  ;D
I now need to write a story called "Gardens of the Goat"
 ;D

So far, I need to write a story for @Lady Ty about humans having to get permission from fairies for a construction project; a story about all the bad smells in the "best/worst smell" thread, and now "Gardens of the Goat".
We need to start talking about our TBW pile in addition to our TBR.  ;D
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Yora on April 05, 2015, 10:14:58 PM
Make it "Garden of a Goat", which then would be abbreviated to GOAT.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JMack on April 05, 2015, 10:16:03 PM
Make it "Garden of a Goat", which then would be abbreviated to GOAT.
Yes! Done.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: RussetDivinity on April 05, 2015, 10:58:09 PM
These are books that were recommended to me when I was a good bit younger, and I enjoyed them the first time I read them, but on returning, I couldn't see past every single cliche: The Belgariad (and its sequel series, the Mallorean) and Terry Brooks's Shannara series.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Yora on April 05, 2015, 11:05:07 PM
Make it "Garden of a Goat", which then would be abbreviated to GOAT.
Yes! Done.
Wait, that doesn't make any sense. I've already been up to long. But what would work would be "Tears of a Toad" Which doesn't have any resemblance with the original title anymore.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Raptori on April 05, 2015, 11:34:08 PM
Make it "Garden of a Goat", which then would be abbreviated to GOAT.
Yes! Done.
Wait, that doesn't make any sense. I've already been up to long. But what would work would be "Tears of a Toad" Which doesn't have any resemblance with the original title anymore.
Lol Tears of a Toad would be TOAT, I think you mean Gardens of a Toad  :D
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on April 05, 2015, 11:46:12 PM
Make it "Garden of a Goat", which then would be abbreviated to GOAT.
Yes! Done.
The problem is if you let an actual goat loose in a garden, it would immediately proceed to eat everything in sight. I now have an image of a protective garden gnome chasing a goat around a garden, trying to save its beloved garden, in my head.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JMack on April 06, 2015, 02:33:35 AM
Make it "Garden of a Goat", which then would be abbreviated to GOAT.
Yes! Done.
The problem is if you let an actual goat loose in a garden, it would immediately proceed to eat everything in sight. I now have an image of a protective garden gnome chasing a goat around a garden, trying to save its beloved garden, in my head.
Goats of Anoch Tilgally

Total b.s., but that would work.  ;)
Love the gnome.  :D


p.s., just started the story  :)
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on April 06, 2015, 05:59:20 AM
Make it "Garden of a Goat", which then would be abbreviated to GOAT.
Yes! Done.
The problem is if you let an actual goat loose in a garden, it would immediately proceed to eat everything in sight. I now have an image of a protective garden gnome chasing a goat around a garden, trying to save its beloved garden, in my head.
Goats of Anoch Tilgally

Total b.s., but that would work.  ;)
Love the gnome.  :D


p.s., just started the story  :)
We have at long last found a practical use for a garden gnome. There's one in my backyard. He stands under the lemon tree. He wears a Richmond jumper. I call him Jack.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Druss on April 10, 2015, 09:50:21 AM
WOT All of it. I'm totally 'meh' about the whole thing.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Lady Ty on April 10, 2015, 12:03:34 PM
The Thomas Covenant books were a hard drag, because although I wanted to know what happened, Thomas was such a self absorbed misery. I can take an evil or unlikable protagonist, but he was pathetic and it ruined the trilogy as a whole.  I tried Donaldson again with Mordant's Need but that seemed weird beyond my comprehension and gave up on book and author.

I am struggling with the Kingkiller Chronicles because they are so long and detailed. I liked Name of the Wind but it has taken me ages to finish and am reluctant to start Wise Man's Fear. I get easily distracted with lighter fantasy or short stories and know once I start WMF it will need to be a concentrated read.



Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: FogAlchemist on April 10, 2015, 07:44:13 PM
It has been quite a while since I posted here. Anyway, I thought I'd jump in on this topic. There's been many books I've struggled through and I thought I'd share.

The Night Angel Trilogy: Okay, so I love Brent Weeks' writing style, but I am having a hard time getting through his debut trilogy. Got the omnibus and read through the first one like there was no tomorrow, but it was a bit too rapey. Granted the world he created made it at least understandable as to why the first book felt that way, and then I started the second one and oh my gosh it's slow. I really like his characters in this series (in some cases more than in Lightborn, which I adore), but man am I ever still stuck on that one.

Dune: I think there's a great book inside of Dune, I've just ended up shelving it a couple times because I was more interested in delving into ASoIaF at the time. I'm planning to delve into this one. There's a lot to like from what I've read, but I've just not had the motivation to currently.

The Erevis Cale Trilogy: A DnD book? Yep, I'm including this one. I really liked Paul S. Kemp's Star Wars novels, so I was really eager to read his darker Forgotten Realms stuff. Another one that I picked up the omnibus for and I was done by the end of the first of three books.

Falconfar Saga: I adored the concept of this one, a lot, but the execution was severely lacklustre. I've thought of going back to see if I could get to the end of the trilogy, but the motivation kind of flees when I try.

Eye of the World: Like many others here, I find the first book of Jordan's Wheel of Time to be a slog to get through. There's some really cool stuff in it, but it also meanders a lot. I stand by my statement that 300 pages in, I reached the equivalent to the crossing over to Bree from The Fellowship of the Ring. 300 pages. That's a lot. I do like some of the characters though, mainly Nynaeve and Lan.

Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ultamentkiller on April 13, 2015, 10:45:38 PM
The Night Angel Trilogy: Okay, so I love Brent Weeks' writing style, but I am having a hard time getting through his debut trilogy. Got the omnibus and read through the first one like there was no tomorrow, but it was a bit too rapey. Granted the world he created made it at least understandable as to why the first book felt that way, and then I started the second one and oh my gosh it's slow. I really like his characters in this series (in some cases more than in Lightborn, which I adore), but man am I ever still stuck on that one.
I feel like you got Light Bringer and Mistborn mixed up there for a sec. Heh.
Anyways, I agree for the most part. I love the Night Angel Trilogy to death, but Light Bringer is way better on so many levels. Sure, it doesn't have as much action, but the plot makes up for it.
I promise you though, if you push through until roughly the second half of Shadow's Edge, it's worth it. Beyond The Shadows doesn't drag, so you'll definitely be alright there.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: pencilneckgeek on April 14, 2015, 03:39:59 AM
I could not get into Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell--got about 100 pages in and had to put it down. All my fantasy-loving librarian friends swore by it but I just couldn't do it.

I also had a hard time reading the Wheel of Time--just couldn't hold my interest. But, strangely enough, listening to them on audiobook really sparked my interest and I tore through the whole series. Must have been the readers.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Lady Ty on April 14, 2015, 05:19:51 AM
I could not get into Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell--got about 100 pages in and had to put it down. All my fantasy-loving librarian friends swore by it but I just couldn't do it.

I also had a hard time reading the Wheel of Time--just couldn't hold my interest. But, strangely enough, listening to them on audiobook really sparked my interest and I tore through the whole series. Must have been the readers.

I read JS and Mr N, truly liked the story which was so unusual, and quite a new track for fantasy, but agree it is very hard going. It has been deliberately written in the style of the period it is set in, early to mid 19th century,  and is dense with detail and long passages of thoughts and description, such as you might get in English classics. Hope you give it another try sometime, I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't end up as a film one day, which could be either brilliant or ghastly ;) 
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on April 14, 2015, 06:19:32 AM
I could not get into Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell--got about 100 pages in and had to put it down. All my fantasy-loving librarian friends swore by it but I just couldn't do it.

I also had a hard time reading the Wheel of Time--just couldn't hold my interest. But, strangely enough, listening to them on audiobook really sparked my interest and I tore through the whole series. Must have been the readers.

I read JS and Mr N, truly liked the story which was so unusual, and quite a new track for fantasy, but agree it is very hard going. It has been deliberately written in the style of the period it is set in, early to mid 19th century,  and is dense with detail and long passages of thoughts and description, such as you might get in English classics. Hope you give it another try sometime, I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't end up as a film one day, which could be either brilliant or ghastly ;)
I had to read it twice before I appreciated it. The footnotes are a story in themselves.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ScarletBea on April 14, 2015, 07:51:39 AM
I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't end up as a film one day, which could be either brilliant or ghastly ;)
I'm pretty sure they made a TV series, that will start soon (I think I've added to my NeverMiss) - let me check.

Here you go: http://www.bbcamerica.com/jonathan-strange-and-mr-norrell/ (http://www.bbcamerica.com/jonathan-strange-and-mr-norrell/)

Personally, I read it all, but also can't get the big fuss - I suppose exactly because of what you said:
Quote
It has been deliberately written in the style of the period it is set in, early to mid 19th century,  and is dense with detail and long passages of thoughts and description, such as you might get in English classics.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Eclipse on April 14, 2015, 07:52:42 AM
I could not get into Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell--got about 100 pages in and had to put it down. All my fantasy-loving librarian friends swore by it but I just couldn't do it.

I also had a hard time reading the Wheel of Time--just couldn't hold my interest. But, strangely enough, listening to them on audiobook really sparked my interest and I tore through the whole series. Must have been the readers.

I read JS and Mr N, truly liked the story which was so unusual, and quite a new track for fantasy, but agree it is very hard going. It has been deliberately written in the style of the period it is set in, early to mid 19th century,  and is dense with detail and long passages of thoughts and description, such as you might get in English classics. Hope you give it another try sometime, I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't end up as a film one day, which could be either brilliant or ghastly ;)

I believe there's a tv series coming out soon
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Lady Ty on April 14, 2015, 08:19:11 AM
Thanks for the link ScarletBea, I followed up from there and Eclipse, you're right, it is coming out on BBC One soon and hopefully we will get it here after a while. BBC usually do things well and the casting and images look good.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Bridgeburner_Ash on April 14, 2015, 09:50:33 AM
I have to agree with a few of you here about the Wheel of Time, I think I got to about book 5 and just couldn't psuh myself to read any further. Maybe one day I will pick the books off my shelf, dust them off and try again but for now there they will stay
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: sennydreadful on April 14, 2015, 09:52:00 AM
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell just seems to be one of those books. I adore it, but it took me three attempts to read the whole thing.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Raptori on April 14, 2015, 10:26:30 AM
That reminds me of A Canticle for Leibowitz. It took me five or six attempts to get past the first couple of chapters, but now it's one of my favourite books.  :)
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Nora on April 14, 2015, 03:48:49 PM
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell just seems to be one of those books. I adore it, but it took me three attempts to read the whole thing.

Loved that book. I read it in one go, but I was well aware of what a drag it sometimes was. I think i got lucky, some other time I could have struggled, it just came up at a good time in my reading life.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: sennydreadful on April 14, 2015, 04:18:40 PM
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell just seems to be one of those books. I adore it, but it took me three attempts to read the whole thing.

Loved that book. I read it in one go, but I was well aware of what a drag it sometimes was. I think i got lucky, some other time I could have struggled, it just came up at a good time in my reading life.

Funnily enough, getting the kindle version solved it for me in the end - I think humping around the giant hardback was beyond my endurance ;)
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JMack on April 14, 2015, 04:19:50 PM
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell just seems to be one of those books. I adore it, but it took me three attempts to read the whole thing.

Loved that book. I read it in one go, but I was well aware of what a drag it sometimes was. I think i got lucky, some other time I could have struggled, it just came up at a good time in my reading life.

Funnily enough, getting the kindle version solved it for me in the end - I think humping around the giant hardback was beyond my endurance ;)
For me it was getting the recorded version from the library, then finishing in the actual book when I could get enough done on the commute.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Timothy L. Cerepaka on April 14, 2015, 05:28:55 PM
I had a hard time reading through Lord of the Rings when I read it. I did manage to finish it and I understand why so many people like it and it definitely isn't a bad book at all, but I doubt I will reread it again.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: FogAlchemist on April 14, 2015, 06:01:46 PM
The Night Angel Trilogy: Okay, so I love Brent Weeks' writing style, but I am having a hard time getting through his debut trilogy. Got the omnibus and read through the first one like there was no tomorrow, but it was a bit too rapey. Granted the world he created made it at least understandable as to why the first book felt that way, and then I started the second one and oh my gosh it's slow. I really like his characters in this series (in some cases more than in Lightborn, which I adore), but man am I ever still stuck on that one.
I feel like you got Light Bringer and Mistborn mixed up there for a sec. Heh.
Anyways, I agree for the most part. I love the Night Angel Trilogy to death, but Light Bringer is way better on so many levels. Sure, it doesn't have as much action, but the plot makes up for it.
I promise you though, if you push through until roughly the second half of Shadow's Edge, it's worth it. Beyond The Shadows doesn't drag, so you'll definitely be alright there.

I'm going to pretend that I'm a smart person who didn't mix those up  ;D

As to the Night Angel Trilogy, I'm really trying to slog through that and am hoping to get to the third book. Part of the perks of having the omnibus is taking a quick peek at the next book and I am totally on board for getting through this trilogy. As to the Lightbringer (got it right this time!) I agree that it is better on so many levels. The plot is interesting and a bit different from the usual epic fantasy fare and it makes it a truly engaging read.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on April 15, 2015, 12:57:29 AM
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell just seems to be one of those books. I adore it, but it took me three attempts to read the whole thing.

Loved that book. I read it in one go, but I was well aware of what a drag it sometimes was. I think i got lucky, some other time I could have struggled, it just came up at a good time in my reading life.
It is one of those polarising books. I broke it up into 3 books with the reread. So, I'd read up until that particular section of the story finished, take a break and read something different, then go back to it. Oddly enough I find it a better read that way.
Funnily enough, getting the kindle version solved it for me in the end - I think humping around the giant hardback was beyond my endurance ;)
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: pornokitsch on April 15, 2015, 11:06:46 AM
Silmarillion.

Malazan.

Umm... probably a lot more. But definitely those two.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Idlewilder on April 15, 2015, 11:12:38 AM
Silmarillion.

Malazan.

Umm... probably a lot more. But definitely those two.

I'd have said The Silmarillion too, but I can't as I didn't even manage to struggle through it.

The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan would be one for me. I finished it, but it was like wading through a very bloody treacle.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JMack on April 15, 2015, 11:13:08 AM
Silmarillion.

Malazan.

Umm... probably a lot more. But definitely those two.
I almost don't think of Silmarillion as a book. I'm the maybe the forum's biggest Tolkien fan, but I think of the S as more like a... reference book.  ;)
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Raptori on April 15, 2015, 11:18:28 AM
Silmarillion.

Malazan.

Umm... probably a lot more. But definitely those two.
I almost don't think of Silmarillion as a book. I'm the maybe the forum's world's biggest Tolkien fan, but I think of the S as more like a... reference book.  ;)
Corrected that for you. (http://www.smiley-faces.org/smiley-faces/smiley-face-angel-006.gif)
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ScarletBea on April 15, 2015, 12:15:24 PM
Silmarillion.

I'd have said The Silmarillion too, but I can't as I didn't even manage to struggle through it.

Now that you guys mentioned it, I remember I tried to read it after LotR, I was probably 18 or something. Sorry Tolkien, but I didn't go very far...
My sister must have the book, I don't remember seeing it in a long time (we shared all books back then, all living in same place).
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Nighteyes on April 15, 2015, 12:29:48 PM
Silmarillion.

Malazan.

Umm... probably a lot more. But definitely those two.

I'd have said The Silmarillion too, but I can't as I didn't even manage to struggle through it.

The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan would be one for me. I finished it, but it was like wading through a very bloody treacle.

I think I read Steel Remains fairly quickly but yeah, didn't get the hype and a lot of people whose tastes I respect adored it.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Saraband on April 15, 2015, 12:37:01 PM
Silmarillion.

I'd have said The Silmarillion too, but I can't as I didn't even manage to struggle through it.

Now that you guys mentioned it, I remember I tried to read it after LotR, I was probably 18 or something. Sorry Tolkien, but I didn't go very far...
My sister must have the book, I don't remember seeing it in a long time (we shared all books back then, all living in same place).

I absolutely loved The Silmarillion, being the massive Tolkien fan that I am. However, I just can't get through his arthurian poem, The Fall of Arthur.

From all the Discworld novels I've read (only about 10), Faust Eric was the one I enjoyed the least, but fortunately it is a very short book.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ScarletBea on April 15, 2015, 12:47:07 PM
I'm maybe the forum's biggest Tolkien fan
being the massive Tolkien fan that I am.

Fight? ;D
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JMack on April 15, 2015, 01:07:21 PM
I'm maybe the forum's biggest Tolkien fan
being the massive Tolkien fan that I am.

Fight? ;D
He's immune to goats. I don't stand a chance.  >:(  ;D
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: DrNefario on April 15, 2015, 01:13:51 PM
It's not totally relevant, but I've just realised that I don't own a single Tolkien book, and never have. (Does that mean my membership is revoked?)

I borrowed them all off a friend* when I first read them, way back when, and I've never felt inclined to read them again.


*I haven't seen or been in touch with him since about the late-90s. I have a feeling I might have lent him the first 4 Discworld books before we moved away from each other. They've definitely disappeared from my collection. To be fair, I do have a book and a musical instrument that belong to him.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Arry on April 15, 2015, 01:34:12 PM
It's not totally relevant, but I've just realised that I don't own a single Tolkien book, and never have. (Does that mean my membership is revoked?)

I borrowed them all off a friend* when I first read them, way back when, and I've never felt inclined to read them again.


*I haven't seen or been in touch with him since about the late-90s. I have a feeling I might have lent him the first 4 Discworld books before we moved away from each other. They've definitely disappeared from my collection. To be fair, I do have a book and a musical instrument that belong to him.

Hey, you're doing better than I am. I could not get into Tolkein, so I have not fully read a single one of his books. They'll have to kick me off before they get to you :)

No matter how wonderful a book is, I think it will never work for the entire audience of SFF readers. There's just too much variance in preferences and styles for there to ever be something that will work for everyone. It doesn't mean they are not worthy of the praise and love they get.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JMack on April 15, 2015, 04:43:33 PM
It's not totally relevant, but I've just realised that I don't own a single Tolkien book, and never have. (Does that mean my membership is revoked?)

I borrowed them all off a friend* when I first read them, way back when, and I've never felt inclined to read them again.


*I haven't seen or been in touch with him since about the late-90s. I have a feeling I might have lent him the first 4 Discworld books before we moved away from each other. They've definitely disappeared from my collection. To be fair, I do have a book and a musical instrument that belong to him.

Hey, you're doing better than I am. I could not get into Tolkein, so I have not fully read a single one of his books. They'll have to kick me off before they get to you :)

No matter how wonderful a book is, I think it will never work for the entire audience of SFF readers. There's just too much variance in preferences and styles for there to ever be something that will work for everyone. It doesn't mean they are not worthy of the praise and love they get.
Hear, hear!
But, but, JRRT... I mean.......  ;)
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Nighteyes on April 15, 2015, 05:14:46 PM
It's not totally relevant, but I've just realised that I don't own a single Tolkien book, and never have. (Does that mean my membership is revoked?)

I borrowed them all off a friend* when I first read them, way back when, and I've never felt inclined to read them again.


*I haven't seen or been in touch with him since about the late-90s. I have a feeling I might have lent him the first 4 Discworld books before we moved away from each other. They've definitely disappeared from my collection. To be fair, I do have a book and a musical instrument that belong to him.

You are tolkien the piss, aren't you?
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Steerpike on April 15, 2015, 10:26:10 PM
I not only struggled through Finnegan's Wake, I gave up and threw it against the wall part way through. Not fantasy, but there you have.

I don't know that I've struggled with any SF/F books that were well regarded, though I've struggled with a few that were horribly written.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on April 16, 2015, 12:53:10 AM
Silmarillion.

Malazan.

Umm... probably a lot more. But definitely those two.
Doesn't nearly everyone struggle with the Silmarillion? I've only met one person who said that their eyes didn't glaze over after the first 50 or so pages, and he admitted that was only because he was on a long flight and had no inflight entertainment and nothing else to read. I got to that 50 page mark and gave up. I made it as far as halfway through the 3rd book of Malazan with the same result.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Timothy L. Cerepaka on April 16, 2015, 01:33:47 AM
Silmarillion.

Malazan.

Umm... probably a lot more. But definitely those two.
Doesn't nearly everyone struggle with the Silmarillion? I've only met one person who said that their eyes didn't glaze over after the first 50 or so pages, and he admitted that was only because he was on a long flight and had no inflight entertainment and nothing else to read. I got to that 50 page mark and gave up. I made it as far as halfway through the 3rd book of Malazan with the same result.

I've never read the Silmarillion before. How long is it in comparison to Lord of the Rings?
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JMack on April 16, 2015, 01:53:52 AM
Silmarillion.

Malazan.

Umm... probably a lot more. But definitely those two.
Doesn't nearly everyone struggle with the Silmarillion? I've only met one person who said that their eyes didn't glaze over after the first 50 or so pages, and he admitted that was only because he was on a long flight and had no inflight entertainment and nothing else to read. I got to that 50 page mark and gave up. I made it as far as halfway through the 3rd book of Malazan with the same result.

I've never read the Silmarillion before. How long is it in comparison to Lord of the Rings?
Approx 150k words in S, and about 500k in LOTR. S is a collection of mythology, stories from the 1st and 2nd ages primarily. The style is more formal than LOTR.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: ScarletBea on April 16, 2015, 07:53:40 AM
Doesn't nearly everyone struggle with the Silmarillion? I've only met one person who said that their eyes didn't glaze over after the first 50 or so pages, and he admitted that was only because he was on a long flight and had no inflight entertainment and nothing else to read.
Well, you now know another one:
I absolutely loved The Silmarillion,
;D
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: CameronJohnston on April 16, 2015, 08:45:16 AM
Doesn't nearly everyone struggle with the Silmarillion? I've only met one person who said that their eyes didn't glaze over after the first 50 or so pages, and he admitted that was only because he was on a long flight and had no inflight entertainment and nothing else to read.
Well, you now know another one:
I absolutely loved The Silmarillion,
;D

I really enjoyed The Silmarillion as a teenager and had no problems reading it in a few sittings. Doubltess I would find it more of a struggle now though.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Saraband on April 16, 2015, 09:51:21 AM
Doesn't nearly everyone struggle with the Silmarillion? I've only met one person who said that their eyes didn't glaze over after the first 50 or so pages, and he admitted that was only because he was on a long flight and had no inflight entertainment and nothing else to read.
Well, you now know another one:
I absolutely loved The Silmarillion,
;D

It may have somewhat to do with my background in History. We've had some academic seminars on Tolkien at Lisbon's University, and you'll always see historians (alongside philologists) go crazy about The Silmarillion. And while there were some stories within the S which I found less compelling, I was completely gripped the whole way through, and still think that the tale of Beren and Lúthien is one of the most beautiful love stories ever. :)

But it all evens out, as I found some very popular authors completely boring, such as Patrick Rothfuss and Peter V. Brett. @Arry (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=8809) had it right when she said that we can't expect such a diverse community to completely agree over matters of opinion.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Steerpike on April 17, 2015, 12:09:12 AM
I struggled a bit with the Silmarillion. Love the Malazan books, though.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JustLie on April 17, 2015, 08:44:48 PM
Oh gosh, am I glad to see I'm not alone with some of the books mentioned here.
First and foremost, The Book of the New Sun. My partner recommended this to me when we first started dating, and frankly it's a miracle we're still together ;), because those books are just as boring as. Nothing happens, except for a lot of ego-stroking/casual misogyny.
Perdido Street Station would have been a much better if it had been lots shorter, as it was I nearly quit a few times while reading. Same deal with Mr Norrell and Jonathan Strange. Both of these books became decent at the final hurdle, maybe I should've started reading them halfway through..
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Ryan Mueller on April 17, 2015, 10:58:58 PM
Perdido Street Station was a weird one for me. The first 200 or so pages were so boring to read. But once the plot got rolling, I was hooked.

I found that The Scar was more even throughout.

On the Mieville subject, I didn't really get the appeal of Kraken. It was okay, but I've read much better.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Elfy on April 18, 2015, 01:27:24 AM
I approached Perdido St Station with a bit of trepidation, because my previous Mieville experience (Embassytown) turned into a DNF. I will admit that Perdido St Station does take a bit of getting into, but I stuck with it and was rewarded with some of the most extraordinary world building I've been privileged to read.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Rostum on April 19, 2015, 03:04:22 PM
Simarillion got me three times. There is only so much of the 'I am now talking about a different elf with a 12 letter name but, 11 of those are the same as the last elf' I could cope with.

Everything I tried to read by Thomas Pynchon
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: xiagan on April 19, 2015, 03:23:47 PM
Simarillion got me three times. There is only so much of the 'I am now talking about a different elf with a 12 letter name but, 11 of those are the same as the last elf' I could cope with.
So true. I think I made it to page 100, but the 'this elf is called this and this and this which sounds similar to this other elf's second name but I will mention only one of those names at a time' wore me down.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: JMack on April 19, 2015, 03:33:54 PM
Simarillion got me three times. There is only so much of the 'I am now talking about a different elf with a 12 letter name but, 11 of those are the same as the last elf' I could cope with.
So true. I think I made it to page 100, but the 'this elf is called this and this and this which sounds similar to this other elf's second name but I will mention only one of those names at a time' wore me down.
Like I said: reference book.
I did read it long ago, and enjoyed it up to a point. Or maybe I skimmed it. It's all a fog now.  8)
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Yora on April 19, 2015, 07:03:47 PM
It's good. It just isn't a novel and people won't get what they expect from a novel.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Eclipse on April 19, 2018, 08:44:14 PM
Think I’m the only one here who doesn’t like The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers reminds me of  the Star Trex Tv series and I’m not fond of that either ????
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Alex Hormann on April 19, 2018, 09:39:07 PM
I wasn't a fan of Long Way . . . either. It's one of those books where nothing seemed to happen.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Dark Squiggle on April 20, 2018, 07:07:15 PM
Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn. I had just finished Way of Kingds and it felt like the same characters all over again and done poorly. I only finished it because a friend of mine would not let DNF, and kept checking up on me.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Rostum on April 20, 2018, 07:40:55 PM
Anything by Thomas Pynchon
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Yora on April 20, 2018, 08:31:48 PM
The Copper Promise is a book I really wanted to give a chance. The required pieces are all there and there aren't any glaring flaws, but I just never felt the spark for it.

Same with The Lies of Locke Lamora. Though with this one I also failed to see what the actual plot is.

I did not finish either.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Ryan Mueller on April 21, 2018, 01:45:39 AM
Malazan. I don't hate it or anything. I just find it a bit of a chore to read at times.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: J.R. Darewood on April 21, 2018, 05:28:50 AM
*Everything I've tried to read by Sanderson
*Tess of the d'Urbervilles  I had to read it for English in 10th grade and it was so monotonously dreary, no point where anything good happens just a endless spiral of negativity.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: Lady Ty on April 21, 2018, 05:51:07 AM
*Tess of the d'Urbervilles  I had to read it for English in 10th grade and it was so monotonously dreary, no point where anything good happens just a endless spiral of negativity.

Agree, you have just described every single novel Hardy ever wrote. the worst of his is Jude The Obscure. That makes you wish  the main two characters had been strangled at birth to save them from their pointless lives of complete misery.
Title: Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
Post by: J.R. Darewood on April 21, 2018, 11:38:26 AM
*Tess of the d'Urbervilles  I had to read it for English in 10th grade and it was so monotonously dreary, no point where anything good happens just a endless spiral of negativity.

Agree, you have just described every single novel Hardy ever wrote. the worst of his is Jude The Obscure. That makes you wish  the main two characters had been strangled at birth to save them from their pointless lives of complete misery.

Yeah he didn't get that memo about audiences needing relief in there somewhere.

Orwell is one of my heroes, and 1984 is unquestionably visionary, but I sorta felt that way about that book too.