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Author Topic: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through  (Read 44237 times)

Offline MurchadsGrandson

Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #30 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.

Offline Idlewilder

Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #31 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'.
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Offline Elvraie

Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #32 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.
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Offline Raptori

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Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #33 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.
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Offline xiagan

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Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #34 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.
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Offline Nighteyes

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Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #35 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.
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Offline Ben

Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #36 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.

Offline Nighteyes

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Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #37 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!
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Offline ultamentkiller

Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #38 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.

Offline Elfy

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Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #39 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.
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Offline Ben

Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #40 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.

Offline Koteric

Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #41 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. 

Offline Nighteyes

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Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #42 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.)
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Offline AzWingsFan

Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #43 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.
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Offline Mark Lawrence

Re: Highly Regarded Books that You Have Struggled Through
« Reply #44 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.