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[Book]: Rhymes With

1434446484955

Posts

  • GrudgeGrudge blessed is the mind too small for doubtRegistered User regular
    Ah, I wish I could experience starting the Expanse all over from the start without any prior knowledge again. It's a great ride, sure there are a few ups and downs, but in general it's very high quality.

    Also, I can really recommend The Long Price - it is very... different... from any other fantasy I've read. Weird and thoughtful, slow and complex.

    Dagger and Coin was ok, can't say I really ever connected much with the main characters, the villain was just much more interesting. Felt a bit like a big hodge-podge of ideas that didn't really fit together. Also ended with a big "oh shit, things are just getting started", but then it seems like there are no plans for a follow-up?

  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    Just finished Velocity Weapon by Megan O'Keefe.

    Overall, I liked it. There were parts I liked more than others, though. I especially like
    the early twist that the entire premise - that Sanda was 200 years into the future with Ada and Icarion left in rubble - was a total lie. I did not see that coming, as it was all the plot summary I remembered.

    The part I didn't enjoy as much is the bit set on Atrux. There wasn't anything particularly wrong with it, but it didn't mesh for me. It always felt like it was taking me out of the main stories (Sanda and Biran). Hopefully the sequels pay it off.

    Speaking of which, I'm not exactly raring to go after the sequels. I'm interested in the Big Mystery (after all, that's what I was looking for!), so I'll eventually read the next one. Aside: I just looked up the next two titles. Chaos Vector and Catalyst Gate. They almost sound like parody titles. :biggrin:

  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    I feel like Holden is the Lawful Good Paladin in exactly the way that drives everyone nuts, and so its interesting seeing a bunch of people react to that in various ways.

    "I will write your name in the ruin of them. I will paint you across history in the color of their blood."

    The Monster Baru Cormorant - Seth Dickinson

    Steam: Korvalain
    EchoFrozenzenredxN1tSt4lkerwebguy20Moridin889
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    credeiki wrote: »
    I started reading the first book of The Expanse (maybe 70 pages in); I like the writing style a lot. So far there's just the right amount of setting exposition at the right pace, and vivid but not overwhelming detail on places, actions, characters, etc. And I'm curious about the factionalism plot that seems to be unfolding, as well as the mystery. I haven't seen any of the show but I hear people say good things about both the show and the books.

    I will say I'm 0% interested in Holden, the guy from the transport ship, and like 90% interested in Miller, the spindly space detective. Even though he's such a caricature of a detective, I am really interested in the factional politics bit and his identity as a guy from the outer reaches of space. Holden seems to have pretty much nothing that makes him interesting (maybe he's a bit more ethical than a regular person?) and I suspect maybe the reader is supposed to use him as an 'easy' or 'relatable' perspective, who knows. But the stuff happening around him is pretty interesting so far, so that's ok.

    Thing is with Miller is kind of on purpose. He's picked up the silly affectations of noirish detective as a personality trait and rightly gets made fun of for it.

    shryke
  • EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    dennis wrote: »
    Just finished Velocity Weapon by Megan O'Keefe.

    Overall, I liked it. There were parts I liked more than others, though. I especially like
    the early twist that the entire premise - that Sanda was 200 years into the future with Ada and Icarion left in rubble - was a total lie. I did not see that coming, as it was all the plot summary I remembered.

    The part I didn't enjoy as much is the bit set on Atrux. There wasn't anything particularly wrong with it, but it didn't mesh for me. It always felt like it was taking me out of the main stories (Sanda and Biran). Hopefully the sequels pay it off.

    Speaking of which, I'm not exactly raring to go after the sequels. I'm interested in the Big Mystery (after all, that's what I was looking for!), so I'll eventually read the next one. Aside: I just looked up the next two titles. Chaos Vector and Catalyst Gate. They almost sound like parody titles. :biggrin:

    I know I read it, but I couldn't remember a damn thing until I read the spoiler and went "oh, that one".

    Yeah, kind of feeling the same about it - not bad or anything, just nothing really memorable. Will probably read the sequel though, some times you just want a Big Mac real quick.

    dennis
  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    edited May 24
    I had always categorized Sanderson with the like of Kevin J. Anderson (and the rhyming doesn't do anything to help). But that was entirely based on the second hand opinions of a coworker who was a big WoT fan. He fell in my mental box of "workman" rather than "artist": could produce things that are technically novels.

    I was surprised when I jumped on this thread and there was a decent amount of praise for him.

    dennis on
    Mojo_Jojo
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    edited May 24
    I'm reading the fifth Malazan book (Midnight Tides). About halfway through, very much enjoying it so far. I've come to appreciate Erickson's writing style; it's dense and sometimes purposefully vague, but not to the point of being frustratingly obscure (some disagree on this point). This wasn't how I felt at the beginning of the series, so either he's improved a lot, the style has grown on me, or some combination of the two. I like the structure of this book a lot; it essentially bounces between two opposing factions with about equal time spent on both. The pacing is great in that he switches right when I'm thinking "haven't read about those other guys in a while." A couple of the earlier books were a bit too jarring in the frequency of their transitions between characters; the first book was especially egregious in this, but even books two and three sometimes felt like there wasn't enough time spent on each subplot before switching to the next. This volume chills out a bit in that regard, and I feel the story benefits from giving the reader more of a chance to settle into each setting/group of characters.

    I also love Tehol Beddict and Bugg. Tehol is up there with Kruppe for my favorite character in the series.

    Erickson has finally stopped describing every mannerism as a grunt or a scowl, which is relieving. And everything isn't ochre anymore. However, he still loves the following words:

    Gelid
    Torpid
    Lurid
    Fetid

    It's easy to overuse words and phrases when writing ten 1000pg books, but man do those words pop up a lot in this series.

    Kaputa on
    credeikiWearingglasses
  • EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    Kaputa wrote: »
    It's easy to overuse words and phrases when writing ten 1000pg books, but man do those words pop up a lot in this series.

    I make a mental checkmark any time I see "nictitating" in a Neal Asher novel. And he sure seemed to like "jangle" in his recent short story collection.

  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    No one will ever top Stephen R. Donaldson for obscure word repetition.

    AiouaMahnmut
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    I just wish I either A) wasn't so picky with books, or B) stuck waiting for library books.

    "I will write your name in the ruin of them. I will paint you across history in the color of their blood."

    The Monster Baru Cormorant - Seth Dickinson

    Steam: Korvalain
  • AiouaAioua Ora Occidens Ora OptimaRegistered User regular
    with this much Sanderson talk it seems obligatory:

    i-vVtgTc4-X3.jpg

    life's a game that you're bound to lose / like using a hammer to pound in screws
    fuck up once and you break your thumb / if you're happy at all then you're god damn dumb
    that's right we're on a fucked up cruise / God is dead but at least we have booze
    bad things happen, no one knows why / the sun burns out and everyone dies
    Hahnsoo1shrykeBrodydennisBogartKanawebguy20A Dabble Of TheloniusMahnmutknitdanhtmKaputaTiger BurningSatanic Jesus
  • TomantaTomanta Registered User regular
    The only Sanderson I've read is Mistborn, which I really enjoyed but felt was repetitive.

    I'd like to read his mega epic, but I'm avoiding unfinished epics in general nowadays. And maybe one day I'll finish Wheel of Time since I was a big fan, but I have a bad memory so I'd need to start over and that's a depressing thought.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Grudge wrote: »
    Ah, I wish I could experience starting the Expanse all over from the start without any prior knowledge again. It's a great ride, sure there are a few ups and downs, but in general it's very high quality.

    Also, I can really recommend The Long Price - it is very... different... from any other fantasy I've read. Weird and thoughtful, slow and complex.

    Dagger and Coin was ok, can't say I really ever connected much with the main characters, the villain was just much more interesting. Felt a bit like a big hodge-podge of ideas that didn't really fit together. Also ended with a big "oh shit, things are just getting started", but then it seems like there are no plans for a follow-up?

    There were absolutely plans for follow-ups. Abraham said at one point he was basically planning to be writing books in that setting for the foreseeable future while he was writing that series.

    I don't know that he's actually written any novels on his own since the series ended though. He seems to have been doing nothing but The Expanse since that blew up.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Kaputa wrote: »
    I'm reading the fifth Malazan book (Midnight Tides). About halfway through, very much enjoying it so far. I've come to appreciate Erickson's writing style; it's dense and sometimes purposefully vague, but not to the point of being frustratingly obscure (some disagree on this point). This wasn't how I felt at the beginning of the series, so either he's improved a lot, the style has grown on me, or some combination of the two. I like the structure of this book a lot; it essentially bounces between two opposing factions with about equal time spent on both. The pacing is great in that he switches right when I'm thinking "haven't read about those other guys in a while." A couple of the earlier books were a bit too jarring in the frequency of their transitions between characters; the first book was especially egregious in this, but even books two and three sometimes felt like there wasn't enough time spent on each subplot before switching to the next. This volume chills out a bit in that regard, and I feel the story benefits from giving the reader more of a chance to settle into each setting/group of characters.

    I also love Tehol Beddict and Bugg. Tehol is up there with Kruppe for my favorite character in the series.

    Erickson has finally stopped describing every mannerism as a grunt or a scowl, which is relieving. And everything isn't ochre anymore. However, he still loves the following words:

    Gelid
    Torpid
    Lurid
    Fetid

    It's easy to overuse words and phrases when writing ten 1000pg books, but man do those words pop up a lot in this series.

    IMO, Midnight Tides is the last good one and up there with my favourite entries in the series. Although I was never a huge fan in the first place.

  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    Thats around when the series starts spinning out too many new plotlines and never settling into them.

  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    Tomanta wrote: »
    The only Sanderson I've read is Mistborn, which I really enjoyed but felt was repetitive.

    I'd like to read his mega epic, but I'm avoiding unfinished epics in general nowadays. And maybe one day I'll finish Wheel of Time since I was a big fan, but I have a bad memory so I'd need to start over and that's a depressing thought.

    Actually, Tomanta, you did finish it. But then you forgot it.



    Hope that saves you some time.

  • A Dabble Of TheloniusA Dabble Of Thelonius It has been a doozy of a dayRegistered User regular
    Granted, I'm the big malazan fan, but I think the series absolutely holds its quality all the way through. Midnight Tides is actually the low water point for me.

    vm8gvf5p7gqi.jpg
    Steam - Talon Valdez :Blizz - Talonious#1860 : Xbox Live & LoL - Talonious Monk @TaloniousMonk Hail Satan
  • TomantaTomanta Registered User regular
    dennis wrote: »
    Tomanta wrote: »
    The only Sanderson I've read is Mistborn, which I really enjoyed but felt was repetitive.

    I'd like to read his mega epic, but I'm avoiding unfinished epics in general nowadays. And maybe one day I'll finish Wheel of Time since I was a big fan, but I have a bad memory so I'd need to start over and that's a depressing thought.

    Actually, Tomanta, you did finish it. But then you forgot it.



    Hope that saves you some time.

    I mean, that's probably the attitude I'll take. Maybe after I'm retired and stuck at home all day I'll read them. And I did spoil myself on the ending (and have since forgotten it).

    dennis
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    edited May 24
    Granted, I'm the big malazan fan, but I think the series absolutely holds its quality all the way through. Midnight Tides is actually the low water point for me.
    A funny thing I've noticed while reading threads about Malazan on reddit and elsewhere is that, even among fans of the series, opinions on the individual books are wildly divergent. For me, Gardens of the Moon was the only weak entry so far, which is a common although not ubiquitous viewpoint. I found his writing to improve a lot after the first book, and GotM's pacing was way too scattershot.

    Memories of Ice is a lot of people's favorite, while I found it a bit underwhelming, and preferred House of Chains and Deadhouse Gates by a wide margin. Toll the Hounds seems equally divided between people who think it's the shittiest shit and those who say it's the best in the series. You point to Midnight Tides as a low point, but as of the halfway point it's my favorite in the series. I look forward to each chapter and enjoy each POV character, whereas each of the prior books had at least one character or section that felt like a chore to read through (looking at you, Kalam Mekhar).

    It's a stark contrast to, say, A Song of Ice and Fire, where like 90% of fans will (correctly, IMO) put A Storm of Swords at the top and A Dance With Dragons at the bottom. Like, a ranking of ASoS > AGoT > ACoK > AFfC > ADWD would probably be agreeable to about half of the fanbase, whereas getting more than 1% of Malazan fans to fully agree on a ranked list sounds implausible (admittedly, with 10 books rather than 5 that becomes far more mathematically unlikely regardless of subjective assessment of quality). Or Wheel of Time (which I haven't read), where the general consensus is that the first few books are good, then it drags into tedium, then picks up for the last few.

    I dunno what it is about Malazan that leads to such variation in reception of each book, but I find it interesting.

    Also, after reading four books in this series, I've noticed that Erickson continually trips me up by robbing me of my expected climax and doing some weird shit instead.
    Gardens of the Moon spends a lot of time building up the Jaghut Tyrant into this terrifying being capable of destroying gods and conquering the world. His march on Darujhistan is fittingly epic, with him fighting off dragons and wounding the sleeping goddess under the planet's crust. Then he shows up at the party and gets merc'd by Quick Ben and some marine with explosives before a random tree thing that has never been mentioned before eats him.

    In Memories of Ice, you expect this titanic clash of godlike beings like Caladan Brood, Anomander Rake, and Lady Envy against the Pannion Seer and his zombie dinosaur army. Instead, Malazan marines sneak ahead for some reason and basically get slaughtered en masse in a much more conventional battle. This was probably my least favorite climax in the series as it did not make a whole lot of sense to me.

    House of Chains takes the bait and switch to almost comic levels. The entire book is a build up to the clash of a vengeful Malazan army and the murderous rebel forces, with the personal clash of the two sisters at their heads. Instead a ghost army and some demon doggies basically come out of nowhere and totally massacre the rebel army, then Tavore unknowingly kills Felisin without any real confrontation between the two.

    Deadhouse Gates is the exception; Coltaine's Chain of Dogs has a fittingly climactic conclusion. It's probably my favorite climax so far in the series, despite (or because of?) being the most traditional.

    In a way I like that he does this, as it subverts my expectations and avoids falling into tropes. But at the same time it makes me feel like there might be a reason that the more cliched types of climactic endings became common in the first place, and my reaction to most of the endings so far has been more along the lines of "...huh" rather than "fuck yeah that was awesome" or whatever.

    Kaputa on
    A Dabble Of Thelonius
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    dennis wrote: »
    I had always categorized Sanderson with the like of Kevin J. Anderson (and the rhyming doesn't do anything to help). But that was entirely based on the second hand opinions of a coworker who was a big WoT fan. He fell in my mental box of "workman" rather than "artist": could produce things that are technically novels.

    I was surprised when I jumped on this thread and there was a decent amount of praise for him.

    IMO he's steadily improved over time. His latest works compared to Elantris are far better paced and thought out. Stormlight's heavy focus on mental health is also a nice change of pace I wasn't expecting I'd enjoy.

    CptHamiltonShadowhopeMoridin889Nobody
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Granted, I'm the big malazan fan, but I think the series absolutely holds its quality all the way through. Midnight Tides is actually the low water point for me.
    A funny thing I've noticed while reading threads about Malazan on reddit and elsewhere is that, even among fans of the series, opinions on the individual books are wildly divergent. For me, Gardens of the Moon was the only weak entry so far, which is a common although not ubiquitous viewpoint. I found his writing to improve a lot after the first book, and GotM's pacing was way too scattershot.

    Memories of Ice is a lot of people's favorite, while I found it a bit underwhelming, and preferred House of Chains and Deadhouse Gates by a wide margin. Toll the Hounds seems equally divided between people who think it's the shittiest shit and those who say it's the best in the series. You point to Midnight Tides as a low point, but as of the halfway point it's my favorite in the series. I look forward to each chapter and enjoy each POV character, whereas each of the prior books had at least one character or section that felt like a chore to read through (looking at you, Kalam Mekhar).

    It's a stark contrast to, say, A Song of Ice and Fire, where like 90% of fans will (correctly, IMO) put A Storm of Swords at the top and A Dance With Dragons at the bottom. Like, a ranking of ASoS > AGoT > ACoK > AFfC > ADWD would probably be agreeable to about half of the fanbase, whereas getting more than 1% of Malazan fans to fully agree on a ranked list sounds implausible (admittedly, with 10 books rather than 5 that becomes far more mathetmatically unlikely regardless of subjective assessment of quality). Or Wheel of Time (which I haven't read), where the general consensus is that the first few books are good, then it drags into tedium, then picks up for the last few.

    I dunno what it is about Malazan that leads to such variation in reception of each book, but I find it interesting.

    Also, after reading four books in this series, I notice that Erickson continually trips me up by robbing me of my expected climax and doing some weird shit instead.
    Gardens of the Moon spends a lot of time building up the Jaghut Tyrant into this terrifying being capable of destroying Gods and conquering the world. His march on Darujhistan is fittingly epic, with him fighting off dragons and wounding the sleeping goddess under the planet's crust. Then he shows up at the party and gets merc'd by Quick Ben and some marine with explosives before a random tree thing that has never been mentioned before eats him.

    In Memories of Ice, you expect this titanic clash of godlike beings like Caladan Brood, Anomander Rake, and Lady Envy against the Pannion Seer and his zombie dinosaur army. Instead, Malazan marines sneak ahead for some reason and basically get slaughtered en masse in a much more conventional battle. This was probably my least favorite climax in the series as it did not make a whole lot of sense to me.

    House of Chains takes the bait and switch to almost comic levels. The entire book is a build up to the clash of a vengeful Malazan army and the murderous rebel forces, with the personal clash of the two sisters at their heads. Instead a ghost army and some demon doggies basically come out of nowhere and totally massacre the rebel army, then Tavore unknowingly kills Felisin without any real confrontation between the two.

    Deadhouse Gates is the exception; Coltaine's Chain of Dogs has a fittingly climactic conclusion. It's probably my favorite climax so far in the series, despite (or because of?) being the most traditional.

    In a way I like that he does this, as it subverts my expectations and avoids falling into tropes. But at the same time it makes me feel like there might be a reason that the more cliched types of climactic endings became common in the first place, and my reaction to most of the endings so far has been more along the lines of "...huh" rather than "fuck yeah that was awesome" or whatever.

    I can never remember which book is which, but they have a couple of for reals climactic moments, but I feel like a lot of times the bait and switch/subversion of expected climax is supposed to show that none of the characters are immortal, and that your basic ass human can still fuck things up if they are prepared, or lucky, or you get unlucky.

    "I will write your name in the ruin of them. I will paint you across history in the color of their blood."

    The Monster Baru Cormorant - Seth Dickinson

    Steam: Korvalain
  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    edited May 24
    Quid wrote: »
    dennis wrote: »
    I had always categorized Sanderson with the like of Kevin J. Anderson (and the rhyming doesn't do anything to help). But that was entirely based on the second hand opinions of a coworker who was a big WoT fan. He fell in my mental box of "workman" rather than "artist": could produce things that are technically novels.

    I was surprised when I jumped on this thread and there was a decent amount of praise for him.

    IMO he's steadily improved over time. His latest works compared to Elantris are far better paced and thought out. Stormlight's heavy focus on mental health is also a nice change of pace I wasn't expecting I'd enjoy.

    I really appreciate what he's doing with the mental health stuff, making main characters suffer from and deal with things rather than relegating that representation to some sideline character where being depressed is their whole deal, but it also feels both pretty heavy-handed and kind of sudden. Like the lead-up to certain characters' problems was obviously there in the prior books but the most recent one was just very "AND NOW WE WILL TALK ABOUT THESE PROBLEMS. A LOT."

    CptHamilton on
    PSN,Steam,Live | CptHamiltonian
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    I really like the original Mistborn set, Way of Kings, and a couple of the other adjacent novels. The rest of Stormlight Archive has been manageable, but (and it feels weird to say this as a Malazan stan) its just a lot. A lot of stuff, and not all of it is really that necessary.

    "I will write your name in the ruin of them. I will paint you across history in the color of their blood."

    The Monster Baru Cormorant - Seth Dickinson

    Steam: Korvalain
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Granted, I'm the big malazan fan, but I think the series absolutely holds its quality all the way through. Midnight Tides is actually the low water point for me.
    A funny thing I've noticed while reading threads about Malazan on reddit and elsewhere is that, even among fans of the series, opinions on the individual books are wildly divergent. For me, Gardens of the Moon was the only weak entry so far, which is a common although not ubiquitous viewpoint. I found his writing to improve a lot after the first book, and GotM's pacing was way too scattershot.

    Memories of Ice is a lot of people's favorite, while I found it a bit underwhelming, and preferred House of Chains and Deadhouse Gates by a wide margin. Toll the Hounds seems equally divided between people who think it's the shittiest shit and those who say it's the best in the series. You point to Midnight Tides as a low point, but as of the halfway point it's my favorite in the series. I look forward to each chapter and enjoy each POV character, whereas each of the prior books had at least one character or section that felt like a chore to read through (looking at you, Kalam Mekhar).

    It's a stark contrast to, say, A Song of Ice and Fire, where like 90% of fans will (correctly, IMO) put A Storm of Swords at the top and A Dance With Dragons at the bottom. Like, a ranking of ASoS > AGoT > ACoK > AFfC > ADWD would probably be agreeable to about half of the fanbase, whereas getting more than 1% of Malazan fans to fully agree on a ranked list sounds implausible (admittedly, with 10 books rather than 5 that becomes far more mathematically unlikely regardless of subjective assessment of quality). Or Wheel of Time (which I haven't read), where the general consensus is that the first few books are good, then it drags into tedium, then picks up for the last few.

    I dunno what it is about Malazan that leads to such variation in reception of each book, but I find it interesting.

    Also, after reading four books in this series, I've noticed that Erickson continually trips me up by robbing me of my expected climax and doing some weird shit instead.
    Gardens of the Moon spends a lot of time building up the Jaghut Tyrant into this terrifying being capable of destroying gods and conquering the world. His march on Darujhistan is fittingly epic, with him fighting off dragons and wounding the sleeping goddess under the planet's crust. Then he shows up at the party and gets merc'd by Quick Ben and some marine with explosives before a random tree thing that has never been mentioned before eats him.

    In Memories of Ice, you expect this titanic clash of godlike beings like Caladan Brood, Anomander Rake, and Lady Envy against the Pannion Seer and his zombie dinosaur army. Instead, Malazan marines sneak ahead for some reason and basically get slaughtered en masse in a much more conventional battle. This was probably my least favorite climax in the series as it did not make a whole lot of sense to me.

    House of Chains takes the bait and switch to almost comic levels. The entire book is a build up to the clash of a vengeful Malazan army and the murderous rebel forces, with the personal clash of the two sisters at their heads. Instead a ghost army and some demon doggies basically come out of nowhere and totally massacre the rebel army, then Tavore unknowingly kills Felisin without any real confrontation between the two.

    Deadhouse Gates is the exception; Coltaine's Chain of Dogs has a fittingly climactic conclusion. It's probably my favorite climax so far in the series, despite (or because of?) being the most traditional.

    In a way I like that he does this, as it subverts my expectations and avoids falling into tropes. But at the same time it makes me feel like there might be a reason that the more cliched types of climactic endings became common in the first place, and my reaction to most of the endings so far has been more along the lines of "...huh" rather than "fuck yeah that was awesome" or whatever.

    I'd say that's one of his big failings. It's not really subverting expectations so much as it's "random shit just suddenly happens". There's a line between unexpected and unestablished imo and Erikson rarely does the work to make it the first.

  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    Quid wrote: »
    dennis wrote: »
    I had always categorized Sanderson with the like of Kevin J. Anderson (and the rhyming doesn't do anything to help). But that was entirely based on the second hand opinions of a coworker who was a big WoT fan. He fell in my mental box of "workman" rather than "artist": could produce things that are technically novels.

    I was surprised when I jumped on this thread and there was a decent amount of praise for him.

    IMO he's steadily improved over time. His latest works compared to Elantris are far better paced and thought out. Stormlight's heavy focus on mental health is also a nice change of pace I wasn't expecting I'd enjoy.

    I really appreciate what he's doing with the mental health stuff, making main characters suffer from and deal with things rather than relegating that representation to some sideline character where being depressed is their whole deal, but it also feels both pretty heavy-handed and kind of sudden. Like the lead-up to certain characters' problems was obviously there in the prior books but the most recent one was just very "AND NOW WE WILL TALK ABOUT THESE PROBLEMS. A LOT."

    That and the magic experimentation dragged for me. I guess it's cool that I understand sound theory now but I could probably done without several chapters dedicated to it.

    I cracked up when they invented talk therapy though. I was not expecting that in an epic fantasy novel.

    CptHamilton
  • Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Memories of Ice is a lot of people's favorite, while I found it a bit underwhelming, and preferred House of Chains and Deadhouse Gates by a wide margin.

    I think I actually agree with you on this. The first time I read Malazan, my freshman year of college, I bought (via my mom) the first five. I liked Gardens of the Moon, loved House of Chains (as I've said here quite a few other times), then started to lose interest during Memories of Ice. I liked the Karsa story that takes up the first couple hundred pages of Deadhouse Gates and picked up interest again (Karsa's early story was tailor made for an angsty, edgy, fantasy loving teenage boy)... and had to force my way through Midnight Tides. Had no interest in continuing on after that.

    When I tried it a second time, I liked Midnight Tides a lot better. I didn't even really remember anything from it, on my first read through it felt so bland and I paid so little attention. But on my second time, I was way more interested in the interplay between the Letherii and the tribes, seeing the mercantilism, colonialism, and burgeoning capitalism at play.
    I notice that Erickson continually trips me up by robbing me of my expected climax and doing some weird shit instead.

    I know what you mean. I wonder how much of that is because everything that happens across these books are literally just pieces of a much broader RPG that's been going on for decades. That's the reason behind a lot of the quirks we see. It's why we see characters get paired up a lot (like Quick Ben and Kalam, or Kellanved and Dancer), because those were the PCs played by Esslemont and Erikson. It's why we see so many powerful characters in MBotF, because the whole story is basically a meeting of PCs from dozens of D&D campaigns. It's why almost every character is a warrior, mage, or assassin--because they correspond to the character classes of the system they're using.

    The stuff that happens in MBotF could easily have made more sense in context, where something important from a session two years ago affects something in the latest session. To them it's a really cool throwback, but because that old session didn't make it into a book, to us it's kind of out of left field. And they're archaeologists, I'm pretty sure one of them even explicitly said something in an interview like "Yeah, sometimes weird shit in history happens and as a 20th century historian you don't have all the context. Deal with it."

  • Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    dennis wrote: »
    I had always categorized Sanderson with the like of Kevin J. Anderson (and the rhyming doesn't do anything to help). But that was entirely based on the second hand opinions of a coworker who was a big WoT fan. He fell in my mental box of "workman" rather than "artist": could produce things that are technically novels.

    I was surprised when I jumped on this thread and there was a decent amount of praise for him.

    I read a number of KJA books as a kid, got into him because he edited a bunch of the Star Wars anthologies. I remember him being kind of Tom Clancy-esque. There's nothing particularly innovating about his books. There's nothing special about them. They're competently written, you'll have a fun time reading them, and a week after you finish them you won't remember a single thing about them. I think the workman/artist contrast makes a lot of sense.

    Sanderson isn't like that. He has some things that he's very very good at, but also some glaring weaknesses. Depending on how willing you are to put up with those weaknesses, and how much you actually care about the things he's good at, you could love him or hate him or anywhere in between.

    KamiroQuidShadowhope
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    edited May 26
    shryke wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Granted, I'm the big malazan fan, but I think the series absolutely holds its quality all the way through. Midnight Tides is actually the low water point for me.
    A funny thing I've noticed while reading threads about Malazan on reddit and elsewhere is that, even among fans of the series, opinions on the individual books are wildly divergent. For me, Gardens of the Moon was the only weak entry so far, which is a common although not ubiquitous viewpoint. I found his writing to improve a lot after the first book, and GotM's pacing was way too scattershot.

    Memories of Ice is a lot of people's favorite, while I found it a bit underwhelming, and preferred House of Chains and Deadhouse Gates by a wide margin. Toll the Hounds seems equally divided between people who think it's the shittiest shit and those who say it's the best in the series. You point to Midnight Tides as a low point, but as of the halfway point it's my favorite in the series. I look forward to each chapter and enjoy each POV character, whereas each of the prior books had at least one character or section that felt like a chore to read through (looking at you, Kalam Mekhar).

    It's a stark contrast to, say, A Song of Ice and Fire, where like 90% of fans will (correctly, IMO) put A Storm of Swords at the top and A Dance With Dragons at the bottom. Like, a ranking of ASoS > AGoT > ACoK > AFfC > ADWD would probably be agreeable to about half of the fanbase, whereas getting more than 1% of Malazan fans to fully agree on a ranked list sounds implausible (admittedly, with 10 books rather than 5 that becomes far more mathematically unlikely regardless of subjective assessment of quality). Or Wheel of Time (which I haven't read), where the general consensus is that the first few books are good, then it drags into tedium, then picks up for the last few.

    I dunno what it is about Malazan that leads to such variation in reception of each book, but I find it interesting.

    Also, after reading four books in this series, I've noticed that Erickson continually trips me up by robbing me of my expected climax and doing some weird shit instead.
    Gardens of the Moon spends a lot of time building up the Jaghut Tyrant into this terrifying being capable of destroying gods and conquering the world. His march on Darujhistan is fittingly epic, with him fighting off dragons and wounding the sleeping goddess under the planet's crust. Then he shows up at the party and gets merc'd by Quick Ben and some marine with explosives before a random tree thing that has never been mentioned before eats him.

    In Memories of Ice, you expect this titanic clash of godlike beings like Caladan Brood, Anomander Rake, and Lady Envy against the Pannion Seer and his zombie dinosaur army. Instead, Malazan marines sneak ahead for some reason and basically get slaughtered en masse in a much more conventional battle. This was probably my least favorite climax in the series as it did not make a whole lot of sense to me.

    House of Chains takes the bait and switch to almost comic levels. The entire book is a build up to the clash of a vengeful Malazan army and the murderous rebel forces, with the personal clash of the two sisters at their heads. Instead a ghost army and some demon doggies basically come out of nowhere and totally massacre the rebel army, then Tavore unknowingly kills Felisin without any real confrontation between the two.

    Deadhouse Gates is the exception; Coltaine's Chain of Dogs has a fittingly climactic conclusion. It's probably my favorite climax so far in the series, despite (or because of?) being the most traditional.

    In a way I like that he does this, as it subverts my expectations and avoids falling into tropes. But at the same time it makes me feel like there might be a reason that the more cliched types of climactic endings became common in the first place, and my reaction to most of the endings so far has been more along the lines of "...huh" rather than "fuck yeah that was awesome" or whatever.

    I'd say that's one of his big failings. It's not really subverting expectations so much as it's "random shit just suddenly happens". There's a line between unexpected and unestablished imo and Erikson rarely does the work to make it the first.
    After thinking on this some more, I mostly agree with you. The first book's ending has grown on me over time; I think works pretty well in the context of the series:
    in that it's a cool way to introduce the Azath, which are a powerful and important element of the plot in later books. However, there was basically 0 foreshadowing for it in the book itself, and it was quite anticlimactic, so as an ending to a standalone novel I think it works very poorly.

    Memory of Ice's ending wasn't totally random, but it just felt convoluted.
    I did not find the reasoning for why the Malazans had to rush ahead and get their whole army slaughtered, rather than waiting for the god-like beings on their side to show up and help, at all convincing. It felt like Erickson needed some way to up the stakes after realizing he had set up a one sided battle in favor of the good guys.

    House of Chains fits the "random shit" description well. I guess there was some foreshadowing, but it still felt like an unnecessary curveball that robs the story of much of its potential impact.

    Whereas Deadhouse Gates give you an epic end to an epic saga, and the ending to that book is the only one to really elicit any strong reaction from me.

    So, while I've still enjoyed the series so far for many reasons, I think you're right that writing a good ending is something Erickson has trobule with.

    Kaputa on
    shryke
  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    edited May 29
    I'm about 1/3rd of the way into Dhalgren. Just not feeling it, and it's a slog. Should I stick with it? I know it's a notoriously tough read, but I just wanted to see if it was for me.

    dennis on
  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    edited May 30
    Just finished Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. Overall, I enjoyed it. At first, the premise seemed a little worn: (publisher description paraphrased) Guy wakes up in alternate version of his reality. It follows the multiverse idea where every single possible outcome happens somewhere. Then later it seemed even more worn.
    Shocking twist: The person who sent him to the alternate reality was actually swapping realities with him, so he could replace him and have his wonderful life!

    But then as it got in the latter third, I think it really got interesting.
    After escaping and spending the second third of the book trying to find his way back home to his original reality, he finally makes it. But then he finds out that he's one of numerous versions of him that made it back there, since alternate realities branch off from every decision. All of them equally want the same thing: to overthrow the him that started this whole nightmare and to reunite with his rightful family. But the problem is, none of them are more legitimately him than the others, as they all branched off from the point where he was forced into the alternate reality.

    It worked for me. But it was also disturbing, as some episodes of Doctor Who were.
    (particularly the one where Amy runs through the Tardis and meets the alternate Rorys)

    Though it left me with the same feeling I always get when I ponder the multiverse theory. It becomes just as predestined as in Determinism. No individual choice actually "matters" because all choices are being made and it's just POV. It makes the idea of us being anything other than meat robots (which, honestly, I already spend too much time being convinced of) even more plausible.

    dennis on
    htm
  • ShadowhopeShadowhope Baa. Registered User regular

    On the “just finished” pile:

    Strong Towns by Charles Marohn - The basic ideas of the book are ones that I strongly agree with. The actual presentation of those ideas falls flat on its face, rolls around in a pool of gasoline, and then gleefully lights a celebratory cigar. At best, this book feels like an a PowerPoint slide presentation or Ted Talk full of anecdotes. For example, there’s a pretty good section comparing an old and decrepit city block that hasn’t been revitalized since the Baby Boomers were in swaddling clothes, and a block with a new restaurant very close by, and how old and decrepit produces more tax dollars for the city and more and better jobs for the community than the new restaurant. There’s some interesting insight into home building and development, and how that’s changed in the past eighty years. But overall, it’s a lot of stories about “I went into this room, and people just didn’t understand, man. People are so dumb!” And it ends with a chapter devoted to post-2016 politics bemoaning the lack of a political centre. It’s just an utter mess of a book, that at the very least needed a good editor. I’d very much suggest stuff like Suburban Nation or The Death and Life of Great American cities over this.

    Piranesi by Susanna Clarke - This fell a bit sour for me; one of the strengths of the novel is the reason why I dislike it. The prose is fantastic, the storytelling method is wonderful, the story itself is fine, and I don’t appreciate the narrator at all. The best way that I can describe how I feel about the main character is to say that I feel like I’m getting into the head of Trump supporter. When presented with new evidence that threatens his worldview, the narrator tends to double down on his delusions. There’s a certain Caverns of Socrates vibe, where Piranesi ignores mounting evidence that the shapes on the wall are not in fact the world entire, only shadows of it. I understand the challenges faced by the character; it is nevertheless a deeply uncomfortable read for me in that respect. This is a bit of a long way of saying that I think that this is a great novel that I did not enjoy. At this point in my read of the year’s Hugo Award nominees for best novel, I feel like it’s the front runner.


    Coming up:

    The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman - I need a palate cleanser, and this seems to be it. I’m only a few pages in, but it seems pretty darn awesome. The first few pages are full of lines like “To walk alone down the White Road through the Forest of Orphans, even on a pleasantly warm late summer day in the month of Ashers, you would have to be a magicker. If you weren’t, you’d have to be a drunk, a foreigner, a suicide, or some sloppy marriage of the three. This one had the look of a foreigner.” So far at least, this is exactly the sort of book that I want to read right now, and right up my alley.

    The Guns at Last Night (audiobook) by Rick Atkinson - This will be my workday white noise for the next week or three. I enjoyed The Day of Battle, his previous book on WWII. Whereas that focused on the war in Italy in 1943/1944, this covers the invasion of France to the end fo the war. One of the things that I really enjoy about Atkinson’s work is that he paints a very vivid picture of places like St. Paul’s School and the gathering of commanders there, the state of London parks after dark, and the brilliant colours of the uniforms of men from all over the world gathering in London at the time, and Churchill in the middle of it all in a frock coat with a Havana cigar. If books were movies, I’d say that he was a master cinematographer, even if the overall story as he tells it sometimes lacks direction or focus, but perhaps I’m biased by how the Italy campaign itself as described in his previous book unfortunately lacked in direction and focus.

    Remember, safety is everyone's concern. We have gone five days without a workplace death.
    htm
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    Just finished Gridlinked, not a bad book. Definitely a lot of stuff that I feel like I have to avoid comparing to The Culture series, as it feels significantly poorer for the comparison, but I don't doubt some of that is just my own preferences. Also, it's a style of book that I don't know Banks would have written, and I enjoyed reading it, so, you know.

    Now to read Black Sun while I wait for the second book from the library

    "I will write your name in the ruin of them. I will paint you across history in the color of their blood."

    The Monster Baru Cormorant - Seth Dickinson

    Steam: Korvalain
  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    edited June 8
    Brody wrote: »
    Just finished Gridlinked, not a bad book. Definitely a lot of stuff that I feel like I have to avoid comparing to The Culture series, as it feels significantly poorer for the comparison, but I don't doubt some of that is just my own preferences. Also, it's a style of book that I don't know Banks would have written, and I enjoyed reading it, so, you know.

    Now to read Black Sun while I wait for the second book from the library

    I feel like he really developed the world a lot more in the next two books. Going back, Gridlinked actually feels like half-baked Polity to me. I feel like Asher generally (as long as he's not grinding his libertarian axe in the Owner trilogy) puts out a very consistently good "product." Not great, but good. I love Banks, but I felt blown away by some of his (scifi) books and unimpressed with others, though the great majority of them fell in the good-to-really-good band.

    Fully-baked Polity is still very similar to the Culture, of course.

    dennis on
    Echohtm
  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    edited June 8
    Brody wrote: »
    Just finished Gridlinked, not a bad book. Definitely a lot of stuff that I feel like I have to avoid comparing to The Culture series, as it feels significantly poorer for the comparison, but I don't doubt some of that is just my own preferences. Also, it's a style of book that I don't know Banks would have written, and I enjoyed reading it, so, you know.

    Now to read Black Sun while I wait for the second book from the library

    You read Against a Dark Background?

    Actually, I've read Gridlinked it's less of a weird rompy thing than that.

    redx on
    This machine kills threads.
    htm
  • WearingglassesWearingglasses Of the friendly neighborhood variety Registered User regular
    Man, Deadhouse Gates....

    Mannn, Coltaine and the Chain of Dogs....

    Also, fuck Kallor!

    A Dabble Of TheloniusBrodyKaputaSolomaxwell6htm
  • FrozenzenFrozenzen Registered User regular
    Man, Deadhouse Gates....

    Mannn, Coltaine and the Chain of Dogs....

    Also, fuck Kallor!
    Which tribe is the strongest of them all?

    The wiccans! The wiccans! The wiccans!

    God i love Deadhouse Gates. So many incredible moments.

    BrodyWearingglassesSolomaxwell6htm
  • EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    dennis wrote: »
    Brody wrote: »
    Just finished Gridlinked, not a bad book. Definitely a lot of stuff that I feel like I have to avoid comparing to The Culture series, as it feels significantly poorer for the comparison, but I don't doubt some of that is just my own preferences. Also, it's a style of book that I don't know Banks would have written, and I enjoyed reading it, so, you know.

    Now to read Black Sun while I wait for the second book from the library

    I feel like he really developed the world a lot more in the next two books. Going back, Gridlinked actually feels like half-baked Polity to me. I feel like Asher generally (as long as he's not grinding his libertarian axe in the Owner trilogy) puts out a very consistently good "product." Not great, but good. I love Banks, but I felt blown away by some of his (scifi) books and unimpressed with others, though the great majority of them fell in the good-to-really-good band.

    Fully-baked Polity is still very similar to the Culture, of course.

    Yeah, Gridlinked has a somewhat generic-feeling setting, it's the sequels that really start the Polity worldbuilding.

    htm
  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    edited June 8
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Memories of Ice is a lot of people's favorite, while I found it a bit underwhelming, and preferred House of Chains and Deadhouse Gates by a wide margin.

    I think I actually agree with you on this. The first time I read Malazan, my freshman year of college, I bought (via my mom) the first five. I liked Gardens of the Moon, loved House of Chains (as I've said here quite a few other times), then started to lose interest during Memories of Ice. I liked the Karsa story that takes up the first couple hundred pages of Deadhouse Gates and picked up interest again (Karsa's early story was tailor made for an angsty, edgy, fantasy loving teenage boy)... and had to force my way through Midnight Tides. Had no interest in continuing on after that.

    When I tried it a second time, I liked Midnight Tides a lot better. I didn't even really remember anything from it, on my first read through it felt so bland and I paid so little attention. But on my second time, I was way more interested in the interplay between the Letherii and the tribes, seeing the mercantilism, colonialism, and burgeoning capitalism at play.
    I notice that Erickson continually trips me up by robbing me of my expected climax and doing some weird shit instead.

    I know what you mean. I wonder how much of that is because everything that happens across these books are literally just pieces of a much broader RPG that's been going on for decades. That's the reason behind a lot of the quirks we see. It's why we see characters get paired up a lot (like Quick Ben and Kalam, or Kellanved and Dancer), because those were the PCs played by Esslemont and Erikson. It's why we see so many powerful characters in MBotF, because the whole story is basically a meeting of PCs from dozens of D&D campaigns. It's why almost every character is a warrior, mage, or assassin--because they correspond to the character classes of the system they're using.

    The stuff that happens in MBotF could easily have made more sense in context, where something important from a session two years ago affects something in the latest session. To them it's a really cool throwback, but because that old session didn't make it into a book, to us it's kind of out of left field. And they're archaeologists, I'm pretty sure one of them even explicitly said something in an interview like "Yeah, sometimes weird shit in history happens and as a 20th century historian you don't have all the context. Deal with it."

    They aren’t wrong, even popular and well known historical stories tend to go off the narrative rails.

    Like the resolution to the Three kingdoms era:
    So after joining up with his frenemy to spoil the bad guys plan and building a kingdom, the hero becomes emperor right?

    No, he and the bad guy both die before the kingdoms are united, the bad guy’s side ends up winning but not before being hijacked by some rando general.

    Oh.. Well at least China gets united and a new stable empire forms right?

    Well not really, the new guy’s great grandkids have a big succession war that destroys the dynasty, barbarians take over most of China after that.

    ...

    Jealous Deva on
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    redx wrote: »
    Brody wrote: »
    Just finished Gridlinked, not a bad book. Definitely a lot of stuff that I feel like I have to avoid comparing to The Culture series, as it feels significantly poorer for the comparison, but I don't doubt some of that is just my own preferences. Also, it's a style of book that I don't know Banks would have written, and I enjoyed reading it, so, you know.

    Now to read Black Sun while I wait for the second book from the library

    You read Against a Dark Background?

    Actually, I've read Gridlinked it's less of a weird rompy thing than that.

    I actually did the Spatterjay trilogy first, and then let it mellow for a while, but was looking for some fun, crunchy-ish milscifi, so I figured I'd try and start more towards the beginning.

    "I will write your name in the ruin of them. I will paint you across history in the color of their blood."

    The Monster Baru Cormorant - Seth Dickinson

    Steam: Korvalain
  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    Brody wrote: »
    redx wrote: »
    Brody wrote: »
    Just finished Gridlinked, not a bad book. Definitely a lot of stuff that I feel like I have to avoid comparing to The Culture series, as it feels significantly poorer for the comparison, but I don't doubt some of that is just my own preferences. Also, it's a style of book that I don't know Banks would have written, and I enjoyed reading it, so, you know.

    Now to read Black Sun while I wait for the second book from the library

    You read Against a Dark Background?

    Actually, I've read Gridlinked it's less of a weird rompy thing than that.

    I actually did the Spatterjay trilogy first, and then let it mellow for a while, but was looking for some fun, crunchy-ish milscifi, so I figured I'd try and start more towards the beginning.

    One thing I constantly have to wrap my head around: the first Spatterjay book is set 600 years after Gridlinked. And that's perhaps a criticism of his work; I can't honestly tell much difference between the world in times 1,000 years apart (Prador Moon to Hilldiggers).

    htm
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