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Messages - Lionwalker

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406
I was just thinking about all the books I have read in my life and how some of them are incredibly clear, but I can't for the life of me remember their title or who wrote them.
This series was one of the few I remembered, after some serious head scratching.

I was wondering if anyone else has read it? If you did, do you remember it being incredibly weird and the ending being pretty messed up? The subjects in the book are incredibly well visualized, which is a problem sometimes as some of things he describes are so gruesome you wouldn't want to picture them. I think I enjoyed this book, but also think I was slightly traumatized as I read it in my mid-teens :)

So, I was just wondering if anyone else has read it and what you thought of it?

407
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Sam Sykes
« on: May 18, 2012, 02:45:03 PM »
I feel a bit like the odd man out. I bought Tome of the Undergates due to all the positive reviews it has received from numerous review sites. I was exceptionally disappointed. It is one of the few novels I was unable to finish.

This novel and John R Fultz's Seven Princes hold the dubious honour of being the only books in the last year I have been unable to finish, and I bought both of them due to online recommendations. Fortunately I have found other books by the same method so I'm not too worried, it's all a matter of finding reveiwers with the same tastes as you.

What I didn't like about the story (that everyone else raves about) is the opening 200-page battle scene. I'm all for war and battle, if it drives the plot forward, but this didn't. The characters weren't really revealed, you knew who they were in the first couple of pages and they didn't change, no background was given on them, and the fights were pretty much exactly the same except the carpet of bodies they had to stand on to fight was thicker.

If you have such a fight, I like to feel like I understand the stakes, and I didn't get that here. I mean these are the 'heroes' of the book, you know nothing is going to happen to them, so it's almost like watching a matrix movie and knowing Neo is going to defeat whatever's thrown at him, except the action sequences weren't as good.

The shifting POV seemed random to me, why show the POV of Lenk killing someone and just before he strikes shift to the about to die person's POV? I don't care what they feel about their imminent death (cold I know) I want to know what Lenk is thinking. (Not much apparently :) )

I stopped reading when all the action crashes to a halt and they all stop for a nice multi-page chat/info dump to establish the stakes of the battle that is already over.

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I think with a better editor it would be good book, it just seems like it was rushed into publication IMO. Or not...

Before anyone says you need to stick it out, I stuck it out with Steven Erikson and was rewarded because of the world and characters were interesting and involving and I could deal with no knowing what was going on. With this book, I knew what was going on, although the 'why' was never explained, but the repetitive battles and juvenile dialogue started to wear me down. I couldn't understand why these 'adventurers' were so intent on staying together, I have read reviews that say it all makes sense in the end, but I would have at least liked a hint or some suggestion there is more there than insults and dismissal. Each character seemed to have one trait and that was them, I would have liked to see a bit more depth.

This book is not fast paced, a lot of action happens but that is not pace. In fact, I would say the first couple of hundred pages of this book are quite similar to WOT's Crossroads of Twilight, where there are pages and pages of prose and no plot movement at all.
I know a lot of people enjoyed this book, and each to his own and all that, personally, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone, and it's a shame because I know how much effort it takes to write a book and having it slated (even by a nobody like me) is a bit harsh.

408
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Fantasy-Faction Reviews
« on: May 17, 2012, 02:07:08 PM »
Great, thanks. It be working all fine now.

Very interesting seeing all the covers next to one another, and deciding which one you would read if you just judged books by their covers....which, of course, we would never do...

409
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Fantasy-Faction Reviews
« on: May 17, 2012, 10:24:27 AM »
FYI The link is broken  :'(

410
Erikison is one of my favourite authors, and it is a common gripe about the shifting viewpoints and lack of explanation. Unfortunately, that is par for the course with this author and you either can accept it or not. Personally, I think it is well worth the effort of sticking it out as this world, story and people are amazingly realized. I completely agree with your comments on his world building and how you get a sense of vast history at any location in this world, they could stop for a rest by an old road and somehow you would understand the age and history of just that road and the lost empire that created it thousands of years before, it is amazingly well done, and due, in a large part, to Erikson being an archeologist, which almost explains his writing. When you first start a dig you have no idea where you will begin or what you will find and you just have to go for it and all will be slowly revealed, and also it explains his world building.
I find it quite funny when people complain about lack of understanding when they begin. I actually read Memories of Ice first (it was the first one I found in the library and didn't realise it was part of a series - I was young :) ) then read Deadhouse Gates, and then Gardens of the Moon. After that I read them normally. I'm not sure if it made it easier, but it is a testament to his writing that although I was incredibly confused with Memories of Ice when I began, I continued to read. I think it did make the first two books easier to digest though.

I didn't understand you rating for plot though.

Quote
Plot

The plot was actually very, very good. There were some revelations that will cast the past books plot in a new light and other new pieces of info that add interest to the story. When the whirling begins the pacing of the ploy becomes incredible. Even if some characters are just travelling from place to place in their own isolated group.
Then why did you only score it 5/10?

411
This cover did the rounds of the various F&SF sites fast! Not surprising though :)

Personally, I really dislike these kind of covers and they are partly (mostly) to blame for the bad rep fantasy has IMO. If they are going to use this kind of imagery then they could do it in a similar fashion to Brandon Sandersons, Steven Erikson, R. Scott Baker. Simpler with less going on is better than a busy cover that always looks cartoonish. They also then force a particular image of some of the characters/settings that the reader may not agree with, or like. I think it is better to follow the 'less is more' adage and let the reader's imagination do the rest.
I prefer the covers of the later editions where it is just a simple black cover with the three interwoven rings in a different colour: simple, elegant and if you know the series, very accurate. I also think the covers of China Mieville's books are amazing, their duality is done brilliantly and once you finish them and look at the cover they are very telling and encapsulate the entire book elegantly.
What do you think?





412
Hey Dankepig, (Cool handle, I think I may be reading it incorrectly though  ;) )

C.S. Friedman's Coldfire Trilogy: I read it quite a few years ago, but I remember enjoying it, and it is quite an original setting. I would definitely say give it a go, the writing is quite basic from what I remember, but some interesting characters, and a world/magic I hadn't seen before.

I would agree with most of the recommendations here.
Here are some of my own as well:
Jennifer Fallon's Tide Lords (I've never seen anyone recommend this author, has anyone else read her? It's well-written, character driven, great setting, unique-ish world and magic system, and a very cool ending.)
Janny Wurts The Wars of Light and Shadow (Don't be misled by the title, it is kind of what you think, but then again most definitely not :) )

I really think F-F needs to come up with a list called the 'the usual suspects' because it seems the same books get recommended by most people and don't change no matter the OP's apparent tastes. I'm pretty sure we can take most of the most commonly mentioned/recommended books/authors as a given. I reckon people should be concentrating on recommending books people may not have heard of, as this is part of the wonder of fantasy: finding unknown great reads and sharing them, rather than everyone reading the same stuff and bemoaning the fact that there isn't anything else out there. But, that's just me. :)


413
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Miserable Fantasy
« on: May 17, 2012, 09:01:14 AM »
Hey there,

This is the first time I think I have seen someone ask for bleak, miserable, soul-destroying fantasy - that is still written well.

Some good suggestions in this thread:
I would second R. Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing trilogy, really dark stuff - not graphic but you read it and feel this pressure or weight from the world that tears down everyone in the end, and very well written.
I would also second Stephen Donaldson, but if you want some of the heaviest and darkest story telling I have ever encountered then read his Gap Sequence - it is SF, but from your request, this would be exactly what you're looking for.
In some ways I would also recommend Guy Gavariel Kay's Fionavar Tapestry, brilliantly written, not too long, and has these really dark undertones through out, I finished reading the Summer Tree feeling pretty bad.
Karen Miller's The Godspeaker Trilogy ( I shouldn't in good conscience recommend this as I couldn't finish it due to the writing, but it is pretty miserable).
Clive Barker's Imajica
Ian Irvine's A view from the mirror, and his next quartet.
Glen Cook's The Black Company books
Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen
- It's pretty bleak, as lots of horrible things happen, people are always dying, everyone is pretty depressed most of the time.
Joe Abercrombie - Pretty much anything - more gritty, but most of the characters and settings are pretty miserable.
Haven't read it but I'm planning to: Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast books.
Stephen King's Dark Tower series
Highly recommended: Mark Chadbourn's The Age of Misrule trilogy
C.S. Friedman - Coldfire trilogy
Neil Gaiman - American Gods

I've bolded the ones I think are also great books as well as being pretty dark. I hope you find something you like.

Cheers

414
I read one of the above posts that included the reviews of Sword of Truth by NOOK (?). On opening his blog and reading the first part of the review, I was confronted by an odd sight: a link to a review of GRRM GOT. And it was negative! This is somewhat surprising until I read the two reviews by this person (no name mentioned, so I will refer to him as the reviewer).
I am not a fan of ASOIAF, but to say Goodkind is better is just ridiculous - especially when comparing characters and motivations. The whole of ASOIAF is character and motivation, so much so that sometimes it becomes somewhat soap-operaish charting the rise and fall of various characters (well, actually, that's the whole series :) ) but it's very well written and engaging. I'm not going to rag on Goodkind, there's no need as anyone who's ever read him knows its too easy.
I wasn't going to post about this, as this reviewer is obviously writing from an extreme anachronistic perspective, obsessing over Tolkien and ignoring the progression of SF&F over the last half-century (it made me imagine someone who thought the Model-T ford was the best car ever, just because it's considered the first production motor vehicle). Until he made this comment: "to the discerning reader", which got my hackles up -  as this is patently false due to the fact that the 'discerning reader' would have seen the added layers and depth in GRRM's work and seen how shallow Goodkind's is in that respect.
Why I don't like Sword of Truth? The first few books were good, readable fantasy although unoriginal. Then Goodkind discovered his books were selling and they could work as a platform for him to preach to the world. So from Soul of the Fire onward his books became diatribes against anything he disagreed with. I will admit a slight guilty enjoyment of Faith of the Fallen despite it's obvious outdated capitalism vs communism theme. But, if the reviewer can complain about nothing happening of significance in GOT then he has obviously not read Pillars of Creation or Naked Empire, which could be summarised in-depth in about 2 lines. I stopped reading after Naked Empire - who can tell me they honestly enjoyed the speeches of Richard Rahl that went on for pages to rapt audiences, I imagine Goodkind picturing himself as Rahl preaching to the uneducated and misguided masses, which is apparently how Goodkind sees his readers.

415
I prefer reading a series beginning to end, if it is a short series/trilogy.
It also depends on where the series is, as in has it been finished, or is it ongoing? I must say I am bit worried about Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive series, which he cheerfully announced is a planned ten books (essentially committing me to an annoying next 10-12 years of waiting for sequels), which was later modified by his comments that all his books are part of the same universe, so in effect, there will be over thirty novels! Although, there are other novelists who have already completed such an ambitious project - Katherine Kerr (Deverry series, 15 books); Terry Brooks (Shanara series [I tried to read these once, but disliked reading something so derivative and childlike], 20+books. I think only WOT is the only continuous series of over ten books.
 
What i'm trying to say is that on one hand you should be thankful, you are actually able to read all the books, and not be forever waiting for the next one (GRRM's ASOIAF!!!!! - which I can't read anymore after rereading the earlier works too many times in preparation for the sequels which never arrived).

It all depends on the series itself, it shouldn't be a choice whether you read a whole series in one go - if the series grabs you and won't let go, demanding you read the next one to find out what is going on, I would say give in and go ahead; but, if you're forcing yourself to read onward, then don't. Take a break, and read something else. After all, you are supposed to be enjoying the reading and it should never become a chore.
So, in the end, I seem to have actually said nothing  :) and said read as the wind takes you!

416
Sci-Fi, Horror, YA & Urban Fantasy Books / Re: Is Sci-Fi for me?
« on: May 15, 2012, 10:43:37 AM »
Hi there,

Don't feel too bad about not enjoying an SF anthology, especially when you aren't a particularly big reader of SF. Instead of asking whether this genre is for you, perhaps you should first ask, do you enjoy reading short stories? Personally, I find the format rather than the genre to be more of an influence in this case. If you do enjoy short stories, do you read fantasy stories?

I don't think such an anthology is a good place to start, as the stories contained within do rely on the reader generally having some experience with the genre before in order to understand much that is assumed or unsaid by the author because, generally, the readership of such an anthology would be experienced (if that's the right word), in addition, many writers use anthologies and short stories to push the boundaries and experiment with their fiction, so what you are getting are almost experimental works. So, it is understandable if you weren't too enamoured of the genre if that was your first foray.
I am not a particular fan of SF/F short stories, although I do read them.


All this is a long winded way of saying, don't give up on SF just yet, and definitely try some full length novels.

Here are my recommendations (for what it's worth):
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card [classic, read by people of all ages, and well written]
Trading in Danger (book one of vatta's war) - Elizabeth Moon [I'm not a fan, but it is readable and easy to read]
Armour - John Steakley [Brilliant book, one of my favourites, not hard SF, and very action-packed, if you like Abercrombie, you should like this]
Hidden Empire (book one of the saga of seven suns) - Kevin J. Anderson [This would be a good starting off point, and in many respects is similar to some of Fantasy books you've read]
Altered Carbon - Richard Morgan [His Takashi Kovacs novels are great]
Fallen Dragon/The Night's Dawn Trilogy - Peter F. Hamilton [Fallen Dragon is standalone/Night's Dawn is quite an undertaking, but worth it.]

These are just off the top of my head, and there are many more I would recommend. If i think of any more, I'll pop back and post them.
Hope you enjoy 'em!

EDIT: Just saw a post of yours regarding star ratings, and that you rated China Mieville's stuff 1 and 2 stars. On seeing that, I think you will find quite a lot of SF not to your liking unless it is rather simplified, so you might find it difficult to find anything you will enjoy in SF (or rather I am having trouble thinking of titles you may enjoy) either way, good luck and I hope you make the leap to having one foot in fantasy and one in SF. Not sure what'll be in the middle though...

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