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Re: The Wheel of Time
Gentlemen Bastards still not finished, and I have decided to not read unfinished sagas (thanks to GRRM and Pat Rothfuss).

If you go for Blood Song, I would highly recommend to read only the first book. While the second book in the trilogy is acceptable, the third one is one of the worst fantasy books I have read.

The ending of the first book works fine by itself, so no cliffhanger or anything. After all, it was started to be a standalone book but then Anthony Ryan milked it and somehow what could have been considered as a classic, now is that great book in that goddamn awful trilogy.
The difference there is that GB doesn't have as much of an overarching story as the others, so each individual book works on its own. Makes me more inclined to read it!

Ahh yeah I remember you mentioning that now, shame. Might skip it for now in that case, since I've got ~100 books in my tbr list, no point starting something like that when there's tons of other stuff that's meant to be good all the way through.

The first one is excellent. It also finishes the story. Then Ryan decided to extend the story and did a bad job on it.

Would still recommend to read the first one, but then stop there. As long as you don't start the next book, the ending of the first one is great and works perfectly well. It was his original vision after all.

October 03, 2015, 04:50:14 PM
Re: Half a War - *** Spoiler Discussion ***
I finished it last night, and I think I agree with most of the comments in this thread, especially Yarvi ending up being similar to Bayaz, and the use of 'elf weapons' as a cop-out.
It wasn't that bad though, and I'll still buy the paperback when it comes out to complete my collection (I read this one from the library), but I think I felt the YA thing a bit too much...

My favourite book of the 3 is still Half a king.

Half a King was the best for me too.

While Yarvi started as a young Glokta, it was clear from the second book (or even from the ending of the first book) that he was going to be a Bayaz type of character. I think that was excellent.

Liked the series near as much as The First Law.

October 08, 2015, 06:35:48 PM
Re: Shadows of Self
I'm a third of the way through this now, and I'm really impressed. I thought Alloy of Law was entertaining but fairly shallow, so far this one just feels a lot stronger.

The world feels more alive and vivid, the characters feel more real (especially secondary ones), the plot is more engrossing and better connected to the world. There hasn't even been any of the prose problems that generally trip me up in Sanderson's writing, and the comedy has actually been funny! I think I laughed at Wax and Wayne more times in the last couple of chapters than I did in the whole of AoL, and they've both grown on me a lot already.

At this point I'd say it's on par with my favourite Sanderson book so far (The Emperor's Soul) and could easily top that if it carries on like this.  :o

Around a third on the way too. I loved the Misbotn trilogy, but didn't like at all The Alloy of Law. This seems a big improvement on that. The characters now have more depth, and the story seems much more interesting. Favorite moment so far:

Spoiler for Hiden:
Sazed/Harmony talking with Wax.

October 12, 2015, 08:20:41 PM
Re: What are you currently reading? Just finished Ship of Magic, I liked the book a lot. Thought that it had a very good writing, an interesting story and quite complex characters. Better than anything in Farseer (although no character was as good as Fitz).
October 21, 2015, 02:48:28 PM
Re: What are you currently reading?
Just finished Ship of Magic, I liked the book a lot. Thought that it had a very good writing, an interesting story and quite complex characters. Better than anything in Farseer (although no character was as good as Fitz).
Good to hear, always thought they'd be a much better fit for your tastes than Farseer!  :P

Yep. Multiple POV are my favorites. Especially if there are with complex gray characters.

I habe been a bit ill in the last 2 days, so I am spending most of the time reading. Already read 1/5 of the Mad Ship.
I guess you'll find Kennit as interesting as I did then!  :P

That's one of the few benefits of being ill I guess!  :D

Yep. Kennit is my favorite character. Althea at the beginning was the most interesting, but by the end of the first book I was far more interested in Kennit and Wintrow.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Have a feeling that Amber is the Fool. She is speaking quite weirdly, at times like the fool in Farseer (though doesn't abuse anyone).

October 21, 2015, 11:57:58 PM
Re: 'New' V 'Old' Fantasy Worlds
For me as a reader there are three different aspects to worldbuilding - depth, breadth, and originality. To be honest, Harry Potter falls flat on the first two (though when I was less well-read I probably thought it was good in both respects), and only average to good on the third.  :P

Some series that I've read and how I rate their worldbuilding (extremely arbirtarily and without much consideration ):

Seriesd, b, o   total
Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson   4, 5, 514/15
Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham4, 4, 513/15
Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan5, 5, 313/15
Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding2, 3, 510/15
Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb3, 2, 38/15
Powder Mage by Brian McClellan2, 2, 37/15
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson1, 2, 47/15
Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron1, 2, 47/15
Codex Alera by Jim Butcher2, 1, 36/15
Harry Potter by JK Rowling1, 1, 46/15
Riyria by Michael J Sullivan2, 1, 25/15

So yeah, in a lot of cases some of those aspects are sacrificed, in many they're still there. Ryan's definitely right that it's a trade-off between detail and pacing - Stormlight, Long Price, and WoT are all much slower than your average book and they're the only ones with lots of detail - but I do think Ketty Jay shows that you can have a very fast moving plot yet still have a brilliant and fascinating world.

Read only Wheel of Time, Mistborn and Realm of the Elderlings from your list, but definitely agree with your rating. Although, Wheel of Time should get a higher grade than maximum when it comes to breadth. It really is unmatched in that aspect.

My list would be something like:

Seriesd, b, o   total
A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin   5, 5, 414/15
The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan   5, 6, 314/15
The Kingkillers Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss   5, 3, 513/15
The Lord of the Rings by John RR Tolkien   3, 5, 513/15
The Black Company by Glen Cook   2, 4, 39/15
The First Law by Joe Abercrombie   3, 3, 39/15
Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb3, 3, 39/15
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson2, 2, 48/15
The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence   2, 3, 38/15
The Shattered Sea by Joe Abercrombie   2, 2, 26/15
Raven's Shadow by Anthony Ryan   2, 2, 26/15

Surprisingly, this sorted list is almost exactly on how much I like the books. I said 'surprisingly' cause I always thought that characters, followed by story are the most important thing, followed by world building and writing (around the same level). Maybe, I need a list on story and characters.

October 31, 2015, 10:16:08 AM
Re: 'New' V 'Old' Fantasy Worlds
On the original question - old vs new. I think Tolkien has the originality of being one of the first big fantasy writers. His world has an added sense of depth as he hints at a far greater history which he had mapped out in his mind (hence the Silmarillion). Other, old authors, such as Edgar Rice Burroughs are OK but don't have that depth and so not all old authors necessarily get it spot on. I think that's also true of newer authors and J K Rowling was unique in her own way and therefore stands out. So I think the split is not easy to make and each author stands alone on merit regardless of when they wrote. The main difference is the newer themes such as Urban Fantasy. Is that uniquely new? Is Harry Potter Urban? I have no idea.

On the second question of marking books on world building. That's interesting but I disagree about Jordan being high. I loved his earlier books but couldn't read books 9-11 as they were so dull. It's all individual opinion though.

The problem there was the plot, which was almost inexistent (well, for books 9 and 10, book 11 developed the plot a lot), not the world building.

I really don't see some other saga (haven't read Malazan) that is close to WoT when it comes to breadth. It really has so many detailed cultures in the main continent. ASOIAF is brilliant in that aspect too, but still it doesn't come close in breadth (it must be said though, that it may have better depth).

October 31, 2015, 12:39:49 PM
Re: October Reads - Come share your list and thoughts Three Dunk and Egg novellas are really great. Fast and nice reading, with two good characters and a ton of backstory for ASOIAF.
November 02, 2015, 07:21:47 PM
Re: Any good dark heroic fantasy? You cannot go wrong with Abercrombie.

While in his books there is a ton of violence, a lot more is based on emotions and the characters. He is quite unique in that aspect, and probably the author which has gone closest to not having a good vs bad concept. The First Law is a masterpiece of fantasy IMO, and then continuing with three standalones. Best Served Cold is an absolutely fantastic book, arguably the best standalone fanatsy book I've read. The Shattered Sea trilogy is completely unrelated, and a lighter reasing but still very good.

Lawrence is an interesting one. Probably even more violent than Abercrombie. Wouldn't say as good as him, but it is still a great author and The Broken Empire is both interesting and unique, with one of the most complex characters ever written in the genre.

Have heard great words for Bakker, but have still to read him.

The Black Company by Glen Cook is an another option. It is very dense and it is written as a chronicle, so not many descriptions. Very fast paced and very good.

Well, I guess that ASOIAF from Martin counts as dark too, and it is a must read for everyone IMO.

Hope this helps!

November 06, 2015, 11:04:11 PM
Re: Any good dark heroic fantasy?
Lawrence is an interesting one. Probably even more violent than Abercrombie. Wouldn't say as good as him,
Let's agree to disagree ;)

And SarahW, I'd give Tom Lloyd's Twilight Reign series a try too. It's not particularly dark in the first book, but it soon goes into the depths.

From all fantasy authors who bother to write more than a book per decade, Abercrombie is easily my favorite. I like Lawrence, but I really think that Joe is on an another level. Anyway, both are great authors and reading both of them is a great thing to do.

Nah Abercombie much better in my view  :D Lawrence first two books in the broken Empire are brilliant but the third was a disappointment to me, he might change my mind with his The Red Queen's Wars but that's way down my TBR pile

I second the Black Company

I would avoid Bakker

I found Emperor of Thorns the best book on the trilogy (obviously it helps that it has a bittersweet ending, which is my favorite type of ending), followed by Prince. Not a very big fan of King of Thorns.

November 07, 2015, 01:34:01 PM