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  1. #1681
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fumarole's Avatar
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    I'm reading The Long Earth by Pratchett and Baxter. So far it seems more the latter than the former, but I'm only a hundred pages in or so. I quite like it, but it took me few chapters to grasp what was happening properly and appreciate the commentary on how humanity would deal with the sudden influx of unlimited land and natural resources.
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  2. #1682
    Network Hub Koobazaur's Avatar
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    Reviving from the dead - Just wrapped up The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett and started really good but got a bit eh towards the end.

    I love the premise and there's definitely a thought put into the Corelings, Core, and where/how they came about, and I am really curious to find out. It was also interesting to see glimpse into the medieval-esque, fear-ruled society and how (realistically) messed up it is with violence or rape (hello Witcher or Game of Thrones), if tending too much towards sexism.

    HOWEVER, what starts quite interesting end very predictably trope-y by the end. The characters all grow from the typical "messed up kids" to archetypal "heroes" (tho it's kinda funny how it matches game tropes with the tank, healer/mage and bard heh). Worst is the warded man itself who goes from a little kid to superhuman powers in literally blink of an eye; I know the book skips like a decade but still, the transition was pretty jarring (I didn't think the brief episode in the desert was sufficient to explain it).

    Will I continue on book two? Kinda want to. Still curious about the coreling mythos, warded man's link to the creatures, and the mentions of ancient technology, but I also fear the books will just get more and more predictably tropy which is kinda boring to me personally.

    ----------

    Also I got some 70 pages into The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time) and it was starting pretty good, just got to the bit where main cast left their home and just arrived at first town but then my library lease ended and I had to return it :| The book is apparently in high demand, a bummer given how thick it is, and it reads kinda slow (especially the "mythical/prophetic/lore" descriptions I tend to gloss over)
    Last edited by Koobazaur; 22-09-2013 at 05:56 PM.
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  3. #1683
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koobazaur View Post
    Also I got some 70 pages into The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time) and it was starting pretty good, just got to the bit where main cast left their home and just arrived at first town but then my library lease ended and I had to return it :| The book is apparently in high demand, a bummer given how thick it is, and it reads kinda slow (especially the "mythical/prophetic/lore" descriptions I tend to gloss over)
    Jesus Christ, stop it while you can. The series has some redeeming qualities - but it becomes a long, slow, torturous slog spanning a dozen volumes with countless in-series memes repeating ad-nauseum and characters acting like idiots 99% of the time. I hear the series gets better at the end, but that's only because the original writer died and a much better one (Sanderson) took over and finished it off. Wouldn't know about it myself, though, as I stopped at tome number nine and swore never to touch this manure again.

  4. #1684
    Vector Jams O'Donnell's Avatar
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    By about book eight of the Wheel of Time, Rand's magic is powerful enough to light a match.

    Slowest. Story. Ever.

  5. #1685
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koobazaur View Post
    Worst is the warded man itself who goes from a little kid to superhuman powers in literally blink of an eye; I know the book skips like a decade but still, the transition was pretty jarring (I didn't think the brief episode in the desert was sufficient to explain it).

    Will I continue on book two? Kinda want to. Still curious about the coreling mythos, warded man's link to the creatures, and the mentions of ancient technology, but I also fear the books will just get more and more predictably tropy which is kinda boring to me personally.
    This is explained a little better in book two. I started on book three which came out this year and I had to stop. I really enjoyed the first two books, but there's just something about the third. The tone in which the characters talk goes from "slight country bumpkin" to "I am a Tom Sawyer extra" and it just god modes characters. Inerva's childhood (Jadirs wife if you havent met her yet) is the focus of much of the third book and at age 10 or something she's already a super kung fu master who lightning reflexes, vast knowledge and can hand carve a set of whats essentially a set of dungeon and dragons dice collection in the dark.

    I'll go back to it to give it another shot, but it really disappointed me to have to put it down.
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  6. #1686
    Lesser Hivemind Node eRa's Avatar
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    Lawrence Osborne - The Wet and The Dry.

    The author goes on an epicurean drinking tour through the middle east. Hilarity ensues. Like when he goes up to a group of white-clad men in front of a madrassa asking where to get a drink. Other highlights include looking for alcohol in the middle of a civil war. The way he describes the people he meets on his journey is usually acerbic and quite fitting.

    If you know an aspiring alcoholic, this is the book to buy.

  7. #1687
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mrpier's Avatar
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    I'm reading Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson. First in the Kharkanas trilogy, it seems to be a sort of prequel to the malazan books, with the action taking place some few thousand years before I suppose. Pretty good so far, and I'm about one third in.

  8. #1688
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Read both Riyria Chronicles books over the past week or so.

    Have to say, I REALLY liked them. I don't like the supporting cast as much (Pickles and Gwen have nothing on Arista and Myron), but Sullivan has become a master at the interplay of Hadrian and Royce. And it is interesting in that they really aren't the same characters they were by the time of the Revelation series. Royce is still (mostly) Duster and is actually a scary character (as opposed to "He is totally a bloodthirsty badass. Now watch as he hugs a bunny" which the original books suffered from) and it is interesting to watch as Hadrian manages to become hardened by the world while still staying, fundamentally, a nice and trusting guy. Even IF he is the most happy-go-lucky blood knight ever...

    And I timed things (almost) perfectly, as Sanderson's Steelheart comes out tomorrow.
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  9. #1689
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    And I timed things (almost) perfectly, as Sanderson's Steelheart comes out tomorrow.
    Oho. I've got a small backlog of books to read (Hat full of sky and Wintersmith by Pratchett, the Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi, and More Than This, by Patrick Ness, but I guess that means I'll just have to up my pace. Oh, and Republic of Thieves, the newest of the Locke Lamora series by Scott Lynch is out soon too. Wow. Busy busy reading.

    Gotta admit, out of all of these I'm most excited for More Than This - Patrick Ness is an amazing writer.

  10. #1690
    Network Hub Koobazaur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mouton View Post
    Jesus Christ, stop it while you can. The series has some redeeming qualities - but it becomes a long, slow, torturous slog spanning a dozen volumes with countless in-series memes repeating ad-nauseum and characters acting like idiots 99% of the time. I hear the series gets better at the end, but that's only because the original writer died and a much better one (Sanderson) took over and finished it off. Wouldn't know about it myself, though, as I stopped at tome number nine and swore never to touch this manure again.
    Thanks for the heads up, I cant deal with slow stories so wont be going back to that; plenty of faster moving fantasy books to pick from.
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  11. #1691
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    Currently reading The Firm by John Grisham. Also just finished up on A Storm of Swords by GRRM and a couple of Dortmunder books. I don't think I am going beyond A Storm of Swords for now, the next two books have pretty average reviews and the story is still in a cliffhanger.

  12. #1692
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snorcack View Post
    Currently reading The Firm by John Grisham. Also just finished up on A Storm of Swords by GRRM and a couple of Dortmunder books. I don't think I am going beyond A Storm of Swords for now, the next two books have pretty average reviews and the story is still in a cliffhanger.
    Storm of Sword is the SoIaF book I enjoyed the most. The next two are certainly flawed. I'd say that your waiting plan sounds good.

  13. #1693
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serenegoose View Post
    Oho. I've got a small backlog of books to read (Hat full of sky and Wintersmith by Pratchett, the Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi, and More Than This, by Patrick Ness, but I guess that means I'll just have to up my pace. Oh, and Republic of Thieves, the newest of the Locke Lamora series by Scott Lynch is out soon too. Wow. Busy busy reading.

    Gotta admit, out of all of these I'm most excited for More Than This - Patrick Ness is an amazing writer.
    Yeah, usually I just add stuff to my goodreads "to read" list and keep going, but the timing was pretty much perfect, so I figured I would just wait a day.

    Quote Originally Posted by snorcack View Post
    Currently reading The Firm by John Grisham. Also just finished up on A Storm of Swords by GRRM and a couple of Dortmunder books. I don't think I am going beyond A Storm of Swords for now, the next two books have pretty average reviews and the story is still in a cliffhanger.
    I fully support that motion. The later Song of Ice and Fire books are somewhat of a slog (there was supposed to be a time skip... it really shows) and they do a lot to make the majority of the series feel like a shaggy dog story.
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  14. #1694
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Unaco's Avatar
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    I'd say you were missing out... Feast for Crows and Dance with Dragons are brilliant. They're like Act 2 part 1, if the War of the Five Kings was Act 1... plenty of things being set up, proper introduction for Dorne and the Vale, and the Iron Islands I guess, set up for the main antagonist, great progression for the 3 "main characters" (Jon, Dany, Tyrion), answers to questions from the 1st book, Jaime back on form and in POV this time, Tyrion's drinking tour, Brienne being Brienne.

    Reviews are wrong, neither book is average... they're both great. The problem people had/have with Feast is that, it's kind of showing the calm (before the storm), after the War of 5 Kings, there's no large battles or action like that, and it doesn't have the main 3 (J, T, D). Similar complaints with DwD, that something huge is going to happen, but we just don't quite get there... although I'd argue that, although we don't get there with the events, the characters (J, T and D especially) get there, they're all at the place they need to be by the end of it. Which, I guess, does feed into the cliffhanger complaint... those characters being where they need to be, means you know things are going to kick off next book. But it's so well done, the movement of the characters if not events, and it's a great alternative to what GRRM was planning, with the gap/time skip... instead of flashback or montage, we actually get to see these characters change, and move forward.

    If you really, really can't stand the cliffhanger aspect of it, then yeah, wait. If you don't mind that too much though, give them a read.
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  15. #1695
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    I dunno, for me it was more that it shifted the focus to a character that Martin just isn't qualified to write about (seriously, Dany is, at best, a mary sue character who never does anything of worth but that we are all supposed to tolerate) and that it largely pushed away from what made Martin's work "unique", the political intrigue and shades of grey politics (it wasn't, but it is the first exposure most people had in the context of fantasy), into a much more traditional story of "Exiled princess uses dragons to save us from the evil King/Queen and the Orky Ice Zombies" (just with a much more rapey and violent setting). And all the parts I DID like are a shaggy dog story. It doesn't matter if it is a Lannister, a Crannister, a Stark, or a Flark on the throne. When the Ice Zombies come, it is gonna be Dany and the Dragons who save everyone.

    I wouldn't call them bad books, but they aren't books for me. And it is kind of hard to say what really happened in the most recent book (I guess one could argue it was a book entirely about getting people in position for the next one), which I DO consider to be a slog. Pretty much the only novel-writing author I would tolerate that from is Sanderson, and that is just because that man writes five or six books a year so he can get away with spending an entire one as a glorified montage. If Martin were more timely* it wouldn't be as painful, but it instead felt like a slap in the face.

    Fortunately though, Martin's popularity opened the doors for lots of other writers who start with similar premises but have very different executions. And hell, I will probably keep reading them as they come out because, while I don't feel this is the kind of series I like anymore (seriously, it is just rapey fantasy now), I do want to know how the story ends and Martin is a rather good writer. But I also am not gonna be recommending it (in fact, I have told a few of my friends to just stick with the TV show for the time being as there is a good chance of that being the definitive ending of the series anyway).

    *: Nothing against Martin for that. I like both disturbingly prolific authors and the kind who write one book every few years. Just so long as they understand their strengths/weaknesses and adapt accordingly. Someone like Sanderson can make a filler book as the readers won't have to wait long for the next. Someone like Martin needs to consider the eight year wait for said filler book :p
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  16. #1696
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Unaco's Avatar
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    I think we must have read different books/characters completely. Dany a Mary Sue? Really? And stepping away from intrigue and politics to Dragon Princess saviour? This going to have be spoilered, but... She doesn't even use the Dragons, she keeps them locked up and 1 fucks off and flies away. It's only in that final chapter of hers that we see her, possibly fulfilling Quaithe's prophecy and beginning to properly embrace what the Dragons are... Monsters. Child killing, mass slaughtering weapons of annihilation. But her Monsters. She never does anything of worth? Except challenge and smash the entire Eastern slave trade, then attempt to bring peace and freedom to a corner of the world, even though it's costing her her own "birthright". And what is the whole of Meereen and that story line if not Intrigue, Politics and Shades of Grey? She doesn't even succeed... she tries and fails, leading to the war with the Yunkish and the Volantenes etc. And if you think that Dany is going to just waltz in and save the world from the Others, then I don't think you've got what GRRM has been doing. Remember what he did to the King in the North, who everyone thought was going to avenge his father's death?

    And I'm not sure what the criticism of it being rapey is about. It's always been a series that focusses on the brutal realities of situations like that (shit, it's the reality of our world that sexual assault happens. A lot. Should it not be depicted? Or explored?), it doesn't gloss over them, but it never depicts them gratuitously. In fact, I'm struggling to think of any on-page rapes. Most of them are back story or implied. And it's never commended, it's always challenged, always made out to be the terrible crime it is... It's ugly. Why shouldn't we depict the ugly? And each one is there for a reason... Robert raping Cersei just shows how absolutely pathetic he is, Tysha's rape is as much an attack on Tyrion by Tywin as it is an attack on her, Pia's rape cements the horrors of war and how terrible Clegane's men, Tywin's dogs, really are, and how it can destroy the victim. Contrast all that happening in Westerosi society with Jon and Ygritte's relationship of consensual sexual freedom. And look at the punishments for rape... beheading and gelding.


    To say "seriously, it is just rapey fantasy now" is incredibly disingenuous, and an inaccurate reading I'd say. If that's all you see in it, then I really don't think you understood what GRRM has been doing. As is saying it's lost what made the series unique early on... it's still doing that in buckets, and although it may look like the standard fantasy conclusion ("Yay, the day is saved") is approaching, well, I'll let Ramsay Snow explain...

    Last edited by Unaco; 24-09-2013 at 03:27 PM.
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  17. #1697
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    I'm with Gundato on this. But I just find them stubbornly dreary reads. The man definitely suffers from logorrhea. Though I think I also had some horrid reaction to lots of fantasy fans telling me how brilliant and adult it was. Just seems like fantasy with more sex (really god awfully written) thrown in, sort of like how Call of Duty is adult because there's blood.

  18. #1698
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unaco View Post
    I think we must have read different books/characters completely. Dany a Mary Sue? Really? And stepping away from intrigue and politics to Dragon Princess saviour? This going to have be spoilered, but... She doesn't even use the Dragons, she keeps them locked up and 1 fucks off and flies away. It's only in that final chapter of hers that we see her, possibly fulfilling Quaithe's prophecy and beginning to properly embrace what the Dragons are... Monsters. Child killing, mass slaughtering weapons of annihilation. But her Monsters. She never does anything of worth? Except challenge and smash the entire Eastern slave trade, then attempt to bring peace and freedom to a corner of the world, even though it's costing her her own "birthright". And what is the whole of Meereen and that story line if not Intrigue, Politics and Shades of Grey? She doesn't even succeed... she tries and fails, leading to the war with the Yunkish and the Volantenes etc. And if you think that Dany is going to just waltz in and save the world from the Others, then I don't think you've got what GRRM has been doing. Remember what he did to the King in the North, who everyone thought was going to avenge his father's death?
    And everything she has done has failed horribly in the long run and been moronic, but any time she actually DOES anything it works out (at least, temporarily) at minimal cost to her. She lost control during the last book, but it also ends with her WELL on her way to taking everything back.

    And the "political machinations" boils down to "Yeah... so and so is screwing her over. Oh well"

    And I'm not sure what the criticism of it being rapey is about. It's always been a series that focusses on the brutal realities of situations like that (shit, it's the reality of our world that sexual assault happens. A lot. Should it not be depicted? Or explored?), it doesn't gloss over them, but it never depicts them gratuitously. In fact, I'm struggling to think of any on-page rapes. Most of them are back story or implied. And it's never commended, it's always challenged, always made out to be the terrible crime it is... It's ugly. Why shouldn't we depict the ugly? And each one is there for a reason... Robert raping Cersei just shows how absolutely pathetic he is, Tysha's rape is as much an attack on Tyrion by Tywin as it is an attack on her, Pia's rape cements the horrors of war and how terrible Clegane's men, Tywin's dogs, really are, and how it can destroy the victim. Contrast all that happening in Westerosi society with Jon and Ygritte's relationship of consensual sexual freedom. And look at the punishments for rape... beheading and gelding.
    My point is that it is just "gritty" fantasy. I have the exact same problem with the Prince of Thorns series. It has rapidly become a cliche story (not that there is anything wrong with that, as I believe tropes exist for a reason) that is only really distinguished by violence and rape in the name of "That is what happens in real life".

    The actual plot has pretty much boiled down to "Rightful King is murdered. Child of Rightful King must explore the world and awaken his/her powers to restore the throne and save everyone from the ice zombies". Admittedly, it is interesting in that determining who the "rightful king" is is somewhat difficult, but it is rapidly becoming a very cliche story (again, nothing wrong with that) that is just distinguishing itself with violence and "the horrors of war".

    Should it be displayed? Maybe, maybe not, depends on the style. But it is the WAY it is depicted. It feels like Martin is just going down a checklist.

    Also, an interesting counterpoint: one of my favorite serieses in the "genre" is the Night Angel Trilogy. And that actually has the rape of a frequently recurring supporting character occur "on screen" as it were (with many more occurring off screen) in the form of a viewpoint chapter (from her viewpoint). And it is truly horrifying. And it works all the better because it simultaneously advances the plot, shows just how evil the occupying force is, and sets the stage for a REAL gutpunch of a revelation later on. It is dark, it is horrible, and it is depicting what happens when an occupying force with VERY different values conquers a city. But everything also happens to advance the plot (often in multiple ways at once since it is the kind of series where shit happens and you suddenly see scenes in VERY different lights).

    I dunno, Martin's work has largely started to feel like the vast majority of Marvel's "adult" comics (the MAX imprint) in that it feels like he is just running off a checklist. And the problem, much like with modern horror films, is that it just desensitizes the reader.

    In a lot of ways, I view Martin as doing for "dark fantasy" what Frank Miller did for comics. The series he is most known for (Song of Ice and Fire/Dark Knight Returns) did a lot of interesting stuff (that, admittedly, had already been done in a lot of ways) and did a damned fine job of it. But it was also VERY flawed and went off the deep end in some ways. But what is most important is that it opened the doors and allowed MUCH better writers to do similar stuff, but better/different.
    Last edited by gundato; 24-09-2013 at 03:44 PM.
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  19. #1699
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Unaco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    And everything she has done has failed horribly in the long run and been moronic, but any time she actually DOES anything it works out (at least, temporarily) at minimal cost to her. She lost control during the last book, but it also ends with her WELL on her way to taking everything back.
    Errr... No. Spoilers... It ends with her, most likely, going to have to abandon everything she's been trying to achieve in the East. A peaceful Meereen, showing she can rule, avoid war with the Yunkish etc. is going to end up a charred ruin.

    You seem to contradict yourself... If she's a Mary Sue, then why does she keep failing? She fails horribly, but everything works out for her? In the short term, it does... but in the long term it doesn't. And THAT is what's going to cost her... the long term effects of what she's doing.

    ASoIaF is far from standard, gritty, dark fantasy... if only you realise the subversion of the genre that GRRM is performing.
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  20. #1700
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unaco View Post
    Errr... No. Spoilers... It ends with her, most likely, going to have to abandon everything she's been trying to achieve in the East. A peaceful Meereen, showing she can rule, avoid war with the Yunkish etc. is going to end up a charred ruin.
    Then it is a good thing the only thing the deserty land seemed to exist for was to keep Dany off somewhere while Martin was doing interesting things and now to group her up with the fan favorite.

    You seem to contradict yourself... If she's a Mary Sue, then why does she keep failing? She fails horribly, but everything works out for her? In the short term, it does... but in the long term it doesn't. And THAT is what's going to cost her... the long term effects of what she's doing.
    One of the biggest Mary Stus on TV is Patrick Jane from The Mentalist. EVERYTHING he does works, outside of the required "He caught the killer before the second commercial break. It is going to fail".

    And maybe the long-term effects will, but they have no sign of doing it thus far and, to me at least, largely feel like "Hmm, I want to keep her off to the side a bit longer. Take away the army!"

    ASoIaF is far from standard, gritty, dark fantasy... if only you realise the subversion of the genre that GRRM is performing.
    Apparently I don't. I think he has done a very interesting take on it, but I would far from call it a subversion. But that is kind of the issue with anything that is meant to "subtly subvert tropes": How much of that is just fans wanting to think it is better?

    TB touched on it with his Deadpool review. It was a pretty crappy game with LOTS of flaws that poked fun at the conventions of the genre and TB assumed it was a parody meant to poke fun at it, but, at the end of the day, it was still just a shitty game with lots of blatant tropes.
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