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Thread: What book are you reading?
20-03-2014, 12:28 AM #2001
Big Dune fan here. I found the two follow up books to be pretty dissatisfying. The writing team of Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson did a pretty poor job of continuing the story. They did six prequel books before doing "Dune 7 parts 1 and 2", not to spoil anything, but they do seem to assume that you read them too. For so many books they wrote together, the plot is thin, about half of each book is just recapping stuff that happened to the bland one dimensional characters in the previous chapter. I think it's very telling that they did in 2 books (I'm being generous in not including the prequels) what Frank Herbert planned to do in 1. Unless you really really really need to know how the series ends, I'd stay clear of the follow ups.
20-03-2014, 02:00 AM #2002
24-03-2014, 02:07 AM #2003
God damn, Den Patrick's The Boy With The Porcelain Blade is unexpectedly awesome. Wonderful Italianate medieval fantasy with court intrigue, backstabbing, dark magic and genuinely disturbing genetic mutations. The writing wavers a little, here and there - the guy's not quite a poet - but he can come up with a nice turn of phrase, and it's been a pleasure to read so far. Fantastic character development, some real thought over how his gimmicks would affect the world his characters live in (particularly the way people with mutations are treated, and how, despite the fact they're people, they're still living with horrific handicaps) and a cracking adventure cutting back and forth between past and present timelines (to show how things ended up going so horribly wrong in the here and now). The fact it's the first in a planned trilogy is about the biggest black mark I can give it. (Though it is a little frustrating he's gone to all this trouble with his world-building and then called his hub city "Demesne". THAT IS A FANCY WORD FOR "KINGDOM" AND IT MAKES YOU SOUND A BIT STUPID, SIR. Other than that, though, it's gold.)
25-03-2014, 12:27 AM #2004
- Join Date
- Aug 2012
Finished up Lord of Light, aka Hinduism IN SPACE. Awesome stuff, and apparently a huge influence on Gaiman and GRRM. Will definitely be picking up the rest of Zelazny's work.
Edit: I think the first lines sell it better than I ever could:
"His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god. He preferred to drop the Maha- and the -atman, however, and called himself Sam. He never claimed to be a god. But then he never claimed not to be a god. Circumstances being what they were, neither admission could be of any benefit."
Last edited by wrestledwithgod; 25-03-2014 at 05:58 PM.
25-03-2014, 04:49 PM #2005
30-03-2014, 09:31 PM #2006
- Join Date
- May 2012
- On the other side of the world
Reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. I only read the introduction, but it seems interesting enough. Reading it in the original Spanish, so I have to check a dictionary every few pages, but I think it will go along well.
I've heard of Lord of Light, maybe I'll put it in the queue for reading next if I can find a copy around.
31-03-2014, 03:26 PM #2007
Finished The Fell Sword by Miles Cameron. I liked it, but not as much as the first book. The first book was VERY focused (it was all set over the course of a few months during a siege) whereas this one is spread out across four or five different plots, each in a different and largely unconnected areas. The Queen, Thorn, The Black Knight, and Bill (yeah...) are all clearly setting up the third book and the overall plot of the series, but it would have been nice for more to have happened with them. All of those arcs kind of just fizzle out and have a "To Be Continued" pasted on top.
That being said, the Red Knight himself aka The Captain aka Ser Gabriel Murien aka The Duke, is still a very interesting story. Essentially, he finds himself in charge of the capital of the Empire during yet another siege (sort of) and he once more applies his tactical mind and his magic abilities to save the day. And it is fun. Plus, Cameron is making him more "human", so there is a lot of fun interaction between him and his close friends in The Company (the ongoing jokes about what they are supposed to call him are particularly fun). And I love the fact that, even though he is the protagonist and a viewpoint character, many of the big revelations and character development aspects come from OTHER characters. Things like finding out his true motivations and just what is going on inside. It is an interesting approach that I would usually not like, but it works in this case.
A new character, a warrior priest (Father Armaund?) is a particular joy. He starts off being a bit too stodgy, but he fits in perfectly with The Company and works well as providing the perspective of "a good man confronted with necessary evils". Similarly, his unique position of being outside of the command structure allows for him to actually call out The Red Knight on his bullshit in a fairly public fashion, which is nice. In the first book, Sister Amicia (and sort of Mag and Hermodius) would do the same, but generally in private. Whereas Father Armaund comes dangerously close to outright undermining his authority, but in all the right ways.
That being said, I also feel that Cameron dropped the ball a bit on some aspects. A good example is the Princess whose actions and motivations seem drastically at odds with her POV chapters. She is constantly depicted as an evil and conniving shrew, but her actual POV chapters just make her seem like an incompetent. With The Red Knight, the reveals actually fit how the character was depicted (and makes a lot of off-hand remarks make sense). With The Princess, it just doesn't mesh. But that may be setting things up for book three.
Unfortunately though, the book kind of just ends. There is not much closure and a lot of plot threads are still left hanging. One can sort of argue that The Red Knight arc is brought to a decent close, but even that just feels like a case of Cameron saying "Yeah, we are done here" rather than actually tying off the threads that would get him ready for the next book.
And I still love how Cameron handles the darker aspects of war and the era. Yes, there is rape, but it is handled carefully. It is mostly used "offscreen" to show how evil certain factions are, and the one "onscreen" occurrence focuses on the evil and doesn't feel exploitative. And it isn't purely reserved for the "evil" characters as The Red Knight has a wonderful line of (paraphrasing) "And our most excellent friend, Wilful Murder, just wants a bit of rape". Admittedly, that is said in the context of The Red Knight and Ser Michael protecting the women but it also does a good job of establishing that there is a reason it is called "raping and pillaging" and Wilful Murder doesn't really come across as "evil" so much (even though his name is "Wilful Muder"...) as just a product of his time and profession. It is less that The Company are all virtuous and heroic beings so much as the main characters hold themselves to a higher standard.
Speaking of books that handle darker themes of war in a more respectful and careful manner, a question for anyone who is still reading: I read The Prince of Thorns a year or so ago and loved the universe but hated the protagonist and most of the characters and I wasn't huge on how it handled dark themes (it gets a bad rap for being called "The Rape Book", but it definitely felt like the author was just hitting checkboxes to call it "dark and gritty"). How are the later books in the series? Are they still unnecessarily "dark and gritty" or does the focus shift more toward the universe and plot rather than cashing in on Martin's success?
31-03-2014, 03:37 PM #2008
31-03-2014, 09:03 PM #2009
Years late to the party, but I just started reading the first wheel of time book. I'm about twenty chapters or so in, and finding it interesting so far. Very similar notes to the lord of the rings so far, but I'm hoping that it branches away from that soon.Please feel free to visit my Deviant Art page.
31-03-2014, 09:56 PM #2010
Ah yes Wheel Of Time one of those books that had interesting ideas but frustrated a lot by focusing on different things other then those ideas. I should probably try and get back to it and read it since its finished now.
01-04-2014, 11:30 AM #2011
01-04-2014, 09:05 PM #2012
I'm not reading it, but am instead listening to the audio book of The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie that was part of a Humble Bundle a ways back. I've only just begun, but am liking it so far and am quite eager to see what all the hubbub caused by this book back in the late '80s was about.
02-04-2014, 12:58 AM #2013
A much better example would be, say, the misogynist, patriarchal warrior dudes from Guy Gavriel Kay's A Song For Arbonne, where the whole raping and pillaging and burning at the stake approach is clearly designed to push the modern liberal reader's buttons, but at the same time there's enough attention given to how these people think, how their society functions and how it can still spawn "good" (if flawed) characters that I never felt entirely alienated. It wasn't first and foremost a narrative convenience, which is what not-France in Cameron's world kinda feels like every now and again (like, how in God's name can you have pitched battles between armies of magical monsters, sorcerors flinging magical energy around etc., etc. and yet have a country practically right next door where no-one in a position of power is prepared to even credit these things actually happened?).
02-04-2014, 03:50 AM #2014
Was reading when the stars fade. Got annoyed last night by the obnoxiously "fun" pilots last night and the completely moronic position that nobody understands the ftl drive that humanity fucking developed. But the premise is interesting and I got a freespace vibe to the space dogfighting. Then the author introduced the antagonist :Jonah blightman... So I am done with that book and annoyed enough to write this rant with my tablet. Time to browse goodreads for a new book.
Bah, not even worth the two bucks
02-04-2014, 05:43 AM #2015
02-04-2014, 01:14 PM #2016
Finally finished reading The Hobbit last week. It's... ok. Certainly nothing I need to read again anytime soon, though.- If the sound of Samuel Barber's "Adagio For Strings" makes you think of Kharak burning instead of the Vietnamese jungle, most of your youth happened during the 90s. -
06-04-2014, 11:23 PM #2017
Does anyone know of any non-fiction books about mining at the turn of the century? Specifically diaries of Cornish miners and their myths, such as Knockers (or Tommyknockers)? I'm interested in reading about what miners had to endure down there in the darkness.
My interest in this subject began after reading Fall of Giants by Ken Follett two years ago, a story of the first world war which begins down in t'pits of a small town in Wales. My interest has recently peaked again after playing Ether One.
On current reading material I'm reading two books, which is unusual for me - I normally stick with one book at once, Jackdaws by Ken Follett (I do enjoy Follett's books, I now have all of them), this one is about a group of English resistance fighters in France during the second world war...all of them women. I'm also reading Andy McDermott's latest The Valhalla Prophecy.
If you've not had the pleasure of Andy yet you should start with The Hunt for Atlantis. He's written nine books in the Eddie Chase/Nina Wilde series and they're all fantastic...well, apart from Empire of Gold which was pants. Take Indianan Jones, transplant him to modern day, change his sex but don't turn her into Lara. Give her a bodyguard in the guise of an ex-SAS tough guy with receding hair and stir in treasure hunting, conspiracies, death, murder and booby-traps...oh and plenty of bloody violence and strong language (Eddie's favourite line is "buggeration and fuckery"!) and that's an Andy McDermott novel.
Anyway if all that sounds tempting give 'em a whirl - they're pedal to the metal and easy reading (probably too easy TBH, very simple like a Dan Brown).
Last edited by soopytwist; 06-04-2014 at 11:25 PM.
07-04-2014, 04:29 PM #2018
08-04-2014, 04:43 PM #2019
So i just finished reading Metro 2033 and what a powerful experience! Pulling you in, fast and slow, burning in your mind a horrible vision that wisely reflects all the main philosophies of the mankind... and when you think that you know how it ends it turns everything upside down with a powerful beautifully crafted twist.
Now i'm off to videogame :3
08-04-2014, 05:36 PM #2020
Still reading The World Turned Upside Down - Christopher Hill it's a fascinating read regarding the various trends of intellectual and radical thought throughout the English Revolution of the 17th Century. I would definitely recommend it to anyone with an interest in history. People like the Levellers were espousing things remarkably similar to communism and universal democracy back in the 1640s.
EDIT: Also Complete Case Files of Judge Dredd Volume 5 APOCALYPSE WAR!