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  1. #1041
    Lesser Hivemind Node squareking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a_bullet View Post
    Well I just finished Abhorsen. I started with Sabriel around the turn of the millennium. Clearly, the digital age has yet to kill patience.
    I really enjoyed that trilogy. Something about the bells really brought the lore to life. Mogget and the Disreputable Dog helped, too. Had to check out the audiobook after finishing the series and Tim Curry does an excellent job; might be worth a look.

    Check out Shade's Children if you haven't already -- it's another interesting, quick-reading Nix flavor.
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  2. #1042
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    I have read the first five or so books of Nix's The Keys to the Kingdom series. As a 13 year old reading that stuff I liked the fact how coherent the narrative was despite the surreal themes. To me, Garth Nix seems like the best kind of YA fiction.
    Last edited by Shane; 02-06-2012 at 03:43 AM.

  3. #1043
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shane View Post
    I have read the first five or so books of Nix's The Keys to the Kingdom series. As a 13 year old reading that stuff, I liked the fact how coherent the narrative was despite the surreal themes. To me Garth Nix seems like the best kind of YA fiction.
    Couldn't really get into the Keys to the Kingdom but I think I came to it too late - already in my 20s. Loved the Abhorsen series though, every element of it was fascinating. From the disreputable dog, charter magic and The Wall between the Kingdom and Ancelstierre (?), to the bells and the gates of death, was such a great change from the generic magic/myth of most fantasy series, even when falling back on old tropes such as necromancy and The Old Ones.

    Oh and Shade's Children was very good if incredibly bleak. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for Clariel when it come out.
    Last edited by Theblazeuk; 01-06-2012 at 06:09 PM.

  4. #1044
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    Reading Farseer I.

    Somehow, it feels like reading a story in Skyrim.

  5. #1045
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Vexing Vision's Avatar
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    Finally finished that atrocious Gotrek & Felix second Omnibus. Uninspired combat-scenes, "I am so intelligent and insightful" self-explorative feelings of the main protagonist and I am still amazed how boring you can make one of the coolest fantasy settings there is by making all the evil guys evil and all the good guys good and just ignoring how fine the temptations of true chaos is, and how the byzantine politices of the Empire really work.

    But enough grumbling!

    I finally got my hands on "Snuff" and loving it so far. Vimes has always been one of my favourite characters (with the exception of Jingo). Now there's emo-self-exploration done right!
    My games-related Twitter: VexingVision

    Currently playing: Hearthstone; Blood Bowl; Dominions 4
    Currently waiting for: Wildstar; Darkest Dungeon

  6. #1046
    Network Hub Rakysh's Avatar
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    So I am reading Orcs. I am not sure how to feel about this. It is good for when my brain is burnt out from revision, but I'd hesitate to say this means it's actually ​good.

  7. #1047
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fumarole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rakysh View Post
    So I am reading Orcs. I am not sure how to feel about this. It is good for when my brain is burnt out from revision, but I'd hesitate to say this means it's actually ​good.
    That's pretty much how I felt about it. Of course it probably doesn't help that my girl told me that every time she saw me reading it she mentally inserted a D before the title of the book and would grin when we made eye contact.
    The Medallion of the Imperial Psychopath, a Napoleon: Total War AAR
    For the Emperor!, a Total War: Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai AAR

  8. #1048
    Network Hub Rakysh's Avatar
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    I mean, the world building has clearly had a lot of work put in (even if most of that work consisted of reading Lord Of The Rings) but the writing, I'm almost entirely certain, is fairly objectively dire. Maybe that's supposed to reflect the Orcs anti-intellectual character though? Something in me doubts it. Despite all this, I'm now on page 351 after three days. I think I have a problem.

  9. #1049
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    A couple of months ago I played Rogue Warrior. I was vaguely aware of Dick Marcinko before. His portrayal in the game is very entertaining and it made me curious about the real man. This made me read a bit about him and then I bought his autobiography, Rogue Warrior.

    This is one of the most entertaining books I've ever read. The stories, all the way from his childhood to his imprisonment, are all very interesting. Of course, some parts and names are modified (there's a disclaimer and he often points out when an account is altered) but overall he ain't bullshitting. I had a good laugh reading some negative reviews and then comparing them to verified facts - the man tells it like it is. He's got a huge ego and loves to point out how awesome he is, and that only makes it even more entertaining. He does point out his own mistakes, but usually it's all buried under the enormous macho-man figure. Some of the most hilarious stories emerge from the conflicts between his explosive personality and the bureaucracy.

    I might buy some of his fiction books too! He has a credited ghostwriter, of course, but it doesn't matter. Rogue Warrior is the book the term "explosive" was invented for. The writing is so fucking badass to the point where I'd be perfectly happy with it being all fictional.

    Let's put it this way: if you like Sven Hassel, this is Sven Hassel x 1000, plus it's actually real.

  10. #1050
    Lesser Hivemind Node fiddlesticks's Avatar
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    I just finished "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald and I can't help but feel somewhat disappointed in it. It's a good book to be sure, extremely well written and featuring great characters, I just don't see why so many consider to be the apex of American literature. Maybe as a non-American I simply lack the necessary cultural and historical background to fully appreciate it. Then again, I absolutely adore the works of Twain, Steinbeck and Harper Lee and their novels tend to focus strongly on American culture/history as well. Maybe I'm just crazy.

  11. #1051
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    News of Bradbury's passing reminded me to pick up Something Wicked This Way Comes. Ordered Kim Stanley Robinson's new novel 2312 too. God knows when I'll get around to reading either.
    Last edited by Rii; 08-06-2012 at 09:02 PM.

  12. #1052
    Lesser Hivemind Node Keep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiddlesticks View Post
    I just finished "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald and I can't help but feel somewhat disappointed in it. It's a good book to be sure, extremely well written and featuring great characters, I just don't see why so many consider to be the apex of American literature. Maybe as a non-American I simply lack the necessary cultural and historical background to fully appreciate it. Then again, I absolutely adore the works of Twain, Steinbeck and Harper Lee and their novels tend to focus strongly on American culture/history as well. Maybe I'm just crazy.
    Ah that's a shame but ferry nuff.

    What really impressed me about it - like you say, very well written and great characters, but what really impressed me - was how tight the plot was. How all these disparate elements were presented to you so naturally and then everything, like a puzzle-box, ended up clicking in together in one event. Everything led up to it ingeniously, everything fell out from it ingeniously. Brilliant.

    And then, on top of that, that that event and all that prefigured it and all it signified was so thematically powerful! Everything fed into everything else through not just how the narrative unfolded but in terms of the core ideas, I was very impressed.

    I don't know if it's a cultural thing. I ain't American. I read it at a time when Gatsby's situation had some similarities to my own, and that gave it a great resonance. At the same well, but that I was attuned to those ideas, would I really have noticed them? So maybe it is cultural in a sense.

    I think it's the apex of American literature though. The craft, the mastery, of the writing as a skill - and put to such powerful use! I don't know of a higher-quality novel.
    Last edited by Keep; 08-06-2012 at 09:31 PM.
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  13. #1053
    Lesser Hivemind Node fiddlesticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keep View Post
    What really impressed me about it - like you say, very well written and great characters, but what really impressed me - was how tight the plot was. How all these disparate elements were presented to you so naturally and then everything, like a puzzle-box, ended up clicking in together in one event. Everything led up to it ingeniously, everything fell out from it ingeniously. Brilliant.
    I can agree with that. Some time ago, a friend gave me a brief summary of "Gatsby" and I thought the events he described felt rather disjointed, but after reading the book myself they fit together really well. Again, I think this is due to the fantastic characterization. Everyone's actions feel like a natural extension of their beliefs and desires. In the hands of a less skilled author the ending could easily have felt like an unsatisfying cop-out, but Fitzgerald manages to portray it as not only a fitting conclusion, but as the only logical outcome. The tragedy of the whole story lies in its inevitability.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keep View Post
    I don't know if it's a cultural thing. I ain't American. I read it at a time when Gatsby's situation had some similarities to my own, and that gave it a great resonance. At the same well, but that I was attuned to those ideas, would I really have noticed them? So maybe it is cultural in a sense.
    Cultural was probably a poor choice of words on my part, I think it's more personal than that. My problem was that I lacked the necessary involvement to truly relate to the characters. I didn't really share their situations or their ideals so while reading I always viewed them from a bit of an emotional distance. Ultimately, to me the best novels are always the ones that resonate with your own decisions and beliefs in life. Insofar "Gatsby" could be the most masterfully crafted piece of literature ever written, I would still never find it quite as good as, say, "To Kill a Mockingbird". Not because it's worse, but because it doesn't affect me on the same personal level.

    Regardless, thank you for sharing your opinion. It's always nice to see someone who's passionate about the books he/she read.
    Last edited by fiddlesticks; 08-06-2012 at 11:15 PM.

  14. #1054
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    A Forest of Stars, by Kevin J Anderson - second book in an epic sci-fi series
    The Digital Plague, by Jeff Somers - second book in a sci-fi noir series
    Flatland, by Edwin Abbott - read and reread this one multiple times since college. Geeky and satirical is just the right mixture.

  15. #1055
    Network Hub Rath's Avatar
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    I recently finished "Accelerando" by Charles Stross. One of those books that leaves you thinking "This would be unfilmable". It ends up in such a radically different place than where it began, it was at times a struggle to reconcile the stated time frames within it with such a rapid pace of technological development, but that's sort of a theme of the book as a whole; that once the ball gets rolling on the way to The Singularity, it just gathers pace and momentum ever more rapidly until the snowball becomes orders of magnitude larger.

    It's available for free on FeedBooks if anyone's interested.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerando_%28novel%29

  16. #1056
    Lesser Hivemind Node westyfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kstress71 View Post
    A Forest of Stars, by Kevin J Anderson - second book in an epic sci-fi series
    How are you finding it? I stopped with that series (The Saga of Seven Suns, if anyone's interested) after Scattered Suns (book 4). I got sick of how there were often gaps where nothing really would happen, and it felt like Anderson was dicking over his characters on purpose (there's one potential romance that gets thwarted multiple times per book, due to miscommunication or people not being in the right place at the right time, etc.). Also Chairman Wenceslas was a complete tosser, he seems to be an arse to the king for no other reason than to remind us he's the bad guy.

    /rant.

  17. #1057
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    Quote Originally Posted by westyfield View Post
    How are you finding it?
    I like it a lot, but I haven't yet experienced the frustrations you had at Book 4 compared to my halfway point in Book 2. I love how epic it is, and the fact that it spans over many gaps of years at a time with little happening doesn't bother me so much because I believe that that is what would happen if the events of such an intergalactic conflict actually took place. That conflict would likely span decades, to be honest.

    I'm sure I know which romance you're talking about, and yes, it is already grating on me how it's such manufactured that "they just can't be together yet..." Ugh that it apparently gets worse.

    As for Wenceslas, yes, he is too narrowly characterized as the evil facist leader-behind-the-scenes.

    My biggest problem is that I have a real love-hate relationship with the way this book is written. Similar to Game of Thrones, for example, the chapters are focused on specific characters, and that's fine, given that they are experiencing very different and often disconnected parts of the overall story and there are quite a lot of them. So I like that. But what I don't like is that if you are going to devote entire chapters to a each of wider array of characters, you'd better damn well make them ALL interesting enough to hold up entire chapters, and some of these characters just flat-out aren't that interesting. Cesca Peroni, Rlinda Kett, Jess Tamblyn, Tasia Tamblyn, Nira Khali.... every time a chapter starts with them in the title, I just groan and often set the book aside for something more interesting. So while I love the scope of the books overall, it's not fun to wait 5-6 chapters before I get to read more about characters that are the most interesting to me. Did you experience this?

  18. #1058
    Lesser Hivemind Node westyfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kstress71 View Post
    But what I don't like is that if you are going to devote entire chapters to a each of wider array of characters, you'd better damn well make them ALL interesting enough to hold up entire chapters, and some of these characters just flat-out aren't that interesting. Cesca Peroni, Rlinda Kett, Jess Tamblyn, Tasia Tamblyn, Nira Khali.... every time a chapter starts with them in the title, I just groan and often set the book aside for something more interesting. So while I love the scope of the books overall, it's not fun to wait 5-6 chapters before I get to read more about characters that are the most interesting to me. Did you experience this?
    Yeah, to a degree. I quite liked Cesca Peroni and Tasia Tamblyn (Tasia was probably my favourite character in the series, actually), but I found the other ones you mentioned fairly boring. Nira Khali's chapters in particular were really dull, if I saw her name I knew I had to grit my teeth and prepare for several pages of just how handsome Jora'h was, and how unusual it was for Nira to have fallen in love with someone she wouldn't ordinarily have been expected to like. Pretty much all of the Therons were super boring, and the Hydrogues didn't really do much for me as antagonists - they seemed overpowered, but failed to exploit their massive advantage in favour of being inscrutable and alien.
    I really enjoyed the action scenes though, I think Anderson has quite a talent for writing tense scenes like those. I'm quite a military sci-fi fan though, so make of that what you will.

    I might go through a recap of the series on Wikipedia and pick up where I left off, it's been a couple of years since I read Scattered Suns and I can't be bothered to read through all the previous ones before starting Of Fire And Night.

  19. #1059
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus squirrel's Avatar
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    Just finished Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korean by Ms. Barbara Demick.

    About hard lives of 6 North Koreans from a large 500K populated industrial city called Chongjin (if you translate the Chinese name to its English meaning, it is the "Clean Flowing Water", which is very ironic since it is one of the most populated industrial region in the world), located close to the Chinese border. How they endured the economic hardships that made them almost starved to death. They survived it (with exception of JunSang, since all the stories are based on their own testimony, JunSang confessed that he was living a adequate if not affluent live, due to his family background of Pro-Communist regime Japanese immigrants), disappointed by the regime which exploited its subjects without reservation, claimed all the power over all North Koreans yet failed to fulfill its very first obligation to ensure the survival of its countrymen. They defected to the South (and JunSang who used to have a bright future in the North, thought he should be allowed to achieve an even greater good. I dont think his defection had much to do with Mi-ran, his first love).

    From this book, almost everyone in North Korea is suffering from all kind of economic hardship. All except the Kim family. In the ending chapter, comment from Ms. Demick was no one really understand why this evil regime can survive that long, while other communist regimes (in my opinion, most of them are not evil, those communist regimes did their job to build up their nations futures. It's just "their historic mission is over" and they had to retire.). She doesn't understand because she is a westerner.

  20. #1060
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    Anyone know what's up with the Baxter/Pratchett collaborative novel The Long Earth? Strikes me as an awkward pairing to be honest...

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