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  1. #2201
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    So, I bought and finished THE LAST WISH (the Witcher one).

    I enjoyed it, but I found it a slightly weird experience. I can't quite decide if it was good or bad. I think it was both. It seemed rather variable in terms of quality (both the stories, the characters and the translation). I can't really say how much of that is down to the translation, but it can't all be.

    I thought the beginning was a bit weak, both in terms of ideas and translation.
    Then I rather liked the middle.. I quite liked the structure of having short story "episodes" woven through a longer one. It made it less of a long slog and more digestible than many epic fantasy novels.
    Then the ending seemed a bit weak again (both in terms of story and translation).

    It didn't seem that the translation was bad exactly, the english seemed fine. But the style/delivery was a bit odd. It often seemed as if the punchline got delivered too early / before the joke. Or as if the characters were a bit ADD at times and couldn't focus on one topic.
    The Geralt character also seemed to vary between being a very experienced bad-ass who could calmly respond to anything thrown at him, and a kind of naive newbie. A few other characters got thrown in with very little introduction.

    Still, it interested me enough in the world and the characters that I really fancy playing the game now, and I might also pick up the later books.

    PS, the titular "last wish" was at the same time rather clever and also an anti-climax due to the delivery. Again they just kinda let the punchline slip indirectly in the middle of something and then mostly ignored it.

  2. #2202
    Lesser Hivemind Node L_No's Avatar
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    I finally bought all of the A Song of Ice and Fire books. It's been a long time since I last read this much of a book in a single weekend. It does help that I've watched most of the series, so it's easier to comprehend who all the different characters are. I imagine it could be quite difficult to keep track of them all if you've never watched the series.
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  3. #2203
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    I was definitely confused for most of the first Song of Ice and Fire book, and a fair bit of the second. But at some point it all clicked.
    I've rather enjoyed the TV show, because while I remember the main points of the books, I've forgotten a lot of the little complexities and details. So the TV show works quite well to remind me of those details, and also to clear up any bits that i'd missed.
    Even the last 2 books, which weren't as well received, I still read through each in short order.

  4. #2204
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L_No View Post
    I finally bought all of the A Song of Ice and Fire books. It's been a long time since I last read this much of a book in a single weekend. It does help that I've watched most of the series, so it's easier to comprehend who all the different characters are. I imagine it could be quite difficult to keep track of them all if you've never watched the series.
    Martin is better than many at handling ensemble casts, but he isn't great. But, mostly, you learn the important characters and the rest you just associate with their House, which is probably what you are meant to do anyway (Freys, with very few exceptions, are assholes. Lannisters, with MAYBE one exception, are money grubbing schemers with kinky sex lives, Starks are morons, etc).

    It also doesn't help that, at any given time, there tend to be three or more major storylines with completely disjoint casts of characters and very little cross-referencing, so you basically need to load a new cache line every other chapter.

    Honestly, I never really had a problem keeping track of what is going on (although, I DID have to look up characters in later books to see if they were in earlier ones), but a good tip might be one I read for people who want to actually read Malazan: Keep a pad of paper nearby and jot down a quick detail of any character you "meet". Even if it isn't an important detail, it associates them with something in your mind and does a good job of keeping track.
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  5. #2205
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    He just has a much BIGGER ensemble cast than most, and you never know who's going to turn out to be important, or turn up again later, or who might seem important but be forgotten. Actually, come to think of it, it was only really the first book where I had trouble, and that was because as well as lots of people being introduced at a high rate, you were also learning the world, houses, politics, law, gods, etc..
    The later books still introduce and manage a large cast, but by then we've at least got most of the world down.

    I still maintain that whoever gets credited in the later books for the stupendously dumb idea to split them geographically was very very wrong. It means that as well as trying to keep track of everything else that's going on, we have the confusing chronology to deal with as well. (Plus it messes up half the momentum etc..)

  6. #2206
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillButNotBen View Post
    He just has a much BIGGER ensemble cast than most, and you never know who's going to turn out to be important, or turn up again later, or who might seem important but be forgotten. Actually, come to think of it, it was only really the first book where I had trouble, and that was because as well as lots of people being introduced at a high rate, you were also learning the world, houses, politics, law, gods, etc..
    The later books still introduce and manage a large cast, but by then we've at least got most of the world down.

    I still maintain that whoever gets credited in the later books for the stupendously dumb idea to split them geographically was very very wrong. It means that as well as trying to keep track of everything else that's going on, we have the confusing chronology to deal with as well. (Plus it messes up half the momentum etc..)
    If you consider the characters who are important, he isn't much bigger than most ensemble-cast books. He just adds in a LOT of fluff characters (which is definitely "world building") whereas many authors will just leave them nameless or merge them where applicable (which the TV show DID do).

    After the first book, you know the main players and are largely set. And by the last two (the ones people didn't like as much), you get a feel for who is important and who isn't and just tune out the unimportant ones, which goes a long way toward making the books seem "bad".

    And Erikson (Malazan) has him beat, with massive casts in each book AND new books with almost no shared cast with the previous ones. One day I WILL read that series, but I will likely need to wait until I find a good note taking app for my tablet so that I can record characters as I meet them :p
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  7. #2207
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Unaco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L_No View Post
    I finally bought all of the A Song of Ice and Fire books. It's been a long time since I last read this much of a book in a single weekend. It does help that I've watched most of the series, so it's easier to comprehend who all the different characters are. I imagine it could be quite difficult to keep track of them all if you've never watched the series.
    Appendix at the back of each book has all the major Houses, Courts, families, factions etc. listing their members, their bannermen, their history, their relations, and more. And, they're spoiler free... the Appendix of the first book is how the Houses stand at the start of the first book, the Appendix of the second book is how things stand at the start of that book, and so on... So skipping to the back and checking something won't spoil any deaths or major changes that occur in that book.

    Alternatively, if you need a refresher on a character's history or prior appearances, the dedicated Wikis have character pages with book to book summaries. Just be careful of scrolling too far down... or accidentally seeing the date of their death on the right hand side. The pages aren't spoiler free, but you can see what this guy did in book 1 without spoiling what he does in book 4, with some careful scrolling and averting of the eyes.

    To be fair though, you shouldn't have too much of an issue keeping track of all but the most minor of characters once you're a book or so in... They aren't just family trees with fantastic names, they're all reasonably distinct (except where they're not meant to be), they have their own character and voice, and (spoiler) they keep dying and can eventually be forgotten. Also, when a minor character from book 1 or 2 starts to have a more prominent role in book 4 or 5, there'll usually be a brief reintroduction to them, nothing too overt, but enough to remind you of what's come before.

    Having watched the series will definitely help, but people were getting on fine with the books long before the show came along... don't worry too much about losing track and it'll all come together in the end.
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  8. #2208
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Unaco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    And Erikson (Malazan) has him beat, with massive casts in each book AND new books with almost no shared cast with the previous ones. One day I WILL read that series, but I will likely need to wait until I find a good note taking app for my tablet so that I can record characters as I meet them :p
    I say this as a huge fan of Erikson, who is currently halfway through my 4th reading of the Malazan Book of the Fallen... Aside from a half-dozen terrific duos, and a handful of standout individuals, Erikson has nothing on Martin's characterisation. Aside from volume. Erikson doesn't write books about people, he writes books about Peoples, tribes, nations, civilisations, their cultures and histories. There are some wonderful characters throughout, but they don't match the depth and complexity of Martin's.

    And, if you have issues with ASoIaF and how big/sprawling it is, you'll have even more with the Malazan... Martin will hold your hand a little, Erikson twists that hand behind your back, pushes you forward and kicks you off a cliff.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hypernetic View Post
    I just have an opinion different to your own. Circle jerking is good for no one, be glad somebody isn't afraid to disagree with women on the internet.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hypernetic View Post
    No, you are literally the cancer that is killing gaming.
    Quote Originally Posted by Serenegoose View Post
    Nobody's ever lost sleep over being called a cracker.

  9. #2209
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unaco View Post
    I say this as a huge fan of Erikson, who is currently halfway through my 4th reading of the Malazan Book of the Fallen... Aside from a half-dozen terrific duos, and a handful of standout individuals, Erikson has nothing on Martin's characterisation. Aside from volume. Erikson doesn't write books about people, he writes books about Peoples, tribes, nations, civilisations, their cultures and histories. There are some wonderful characters throughout, but they don't match the depth and complexity of Martin's.

    And, if you have issues with ASoIaF and how big/sprawling it is, you'll have even more with the Malazan... Martin will hold your hand a little, Erikson twists that hand behind your back, pushes you forward and kicks you off a cliff.
    That's just it, Martin's work isn't that sprawling, it is just that he jumps from setting to setting fairly quickly which makes it seem larger than it is. When you actually look at the characters who matter as characters (rather than plot devices), there aren't all that many. The rest are basically "Spear Holder #5", they just have a name and are affiliated with a group.
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  10. #2210
    Lesser Hivemind Node L_No's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    That's just it, Martin's work isn't that sprawling, it is just that he jumps from setting to setting fairly quickly which makes it seem larger than it is. When you actually look at the characters who matter as characters (rather than plot devices), there aren't all that many. The rest are basically "Spear Holder #5", they just have a name and are affiliated with a group.
    In that respect, Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire reminds me of Lord of the Rings. After the first book/movie of LOTR, the Fellowship effectively splits up for the remaining books/movies, and the story keeps skipping between the various members of the Fellowship and their different locations and adventures. I do feel that the LOTR books and movies do a better job at conveying how large the Middle-Earth really is. Martin's world is supposed to be quite large too, but somehow feels smaller than Tolkien's.
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  11. #2211
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L_No View Post
    In that respect, Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire reminds me of Lord of the Rings. After the first book/movie of LOTR, the Fellowship effectively splits up for the remaining books/movies, and the story keeps skipping between the various members of the Fellowship and their different locations and adventures. I do feel that the LOTR books and movies do a better job at conveying how large the Middle-Earth really is. Martin's world is supposed to be quite large too, but somehow feels smaller than Tolkien's.
    I think the issue there is that so little time is spent getting from point A to point B. In that respect, I think the TV show did a MUCH better job of making "Desert land that is way better than the, literally, shitty Westeros" seem massive by spending so much time actually showing Dany and Co traveling. Whereas, in the books, she seemed to almost instantly arrive at each destination and most arcs happened in a single town. Which makes a lot of sense since Martin has a history as a TV writer and knows how to rock a "bottle episode".

    Whereas Lord of the Rings is two (and a half) giant road trips where they are ALWAYS traveling and seeing new places.

    If memory serves, Sanderson recently explained in an interview that one epic fight scene in his latest Stormlight Archives book was more about reminding people how huge the land was (for future books) than JUST being an epic battle that traversed the better part of a continent for Reasons.
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