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Author Topic: Return of the Book Thread  (Read 602124 times)
Khaldun
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Reply #6440 on: September 28, 2018, 03:18:43 PM

I can't get any further in the third book in that series--I stalled out halfway through. I liked the first two. There's just something about this one that is killing my desire to move on.
Salamok
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Reply #6441 on: September 28, 2018, 03:20:24 PM

I admit I'm a Brandon Sanderson fan boy but I'll also admit that the first Mistborn trilogy wasn't his best.  I've enjoyed everything else he's written though. Even his 1,000 page epics like Way of Kings.

Oathbringer was pretty shoddy, like a deadline was imposed and he had it half written then scrambled to cram his notes in to complete the book.
Reg
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Reply #6442 on: September 28, 2018, 04:31:20 PM

Hmm. I didn't get that feeling at all. It tied up just enough plotholes to keep me from thinking he was turning into Robert Jordan.
Chimpy
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Reply #6443 on: September 28, 2018, 04:48:04 PM

Hmm. I didn't get that feeling at all. It tied up just enough plotholes to keep me from thinking he was turning into Robert Jordan.

I think it is just that the pacing is different, and it is a LOT longer than the other two which are really long. I just finished re-reading all of them last week and I keep picking up on little foreshadowing things in every book that I had missed.

The biggest problem with the third book, I think, is that the book focuses pretty much all of the flashback parts on Dalinar who is the character with the least depth of any of the main characters which causes it to suffer a bit.

'Reality' is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
Salamok
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Reply #6444 on: September 28, 2018, 06:04:09 PM

Hmmm, I just felt like it was a nonlinear version of a Stephenson ending.  Where Stephenson has this linear story arc that just terminates before it reaches the ending, Sanderson had a completed outline that he was fleshing out in parallel then just decided okay let's wrap all these scattered loose ends up cause I am done with this.  The first 2 books were much more polished.
Chimpy
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Reply #6445 on: September 28, 2018, 07:54:05 PM

Hmmm, I just felt like it was a nonlinear version of a Stephenson ending.  Where Stephenson has this linear story arc that just terminates before it reaches the ending, Sanderson had a completed outline that he was fleshing out in parallel then just decided okay let's wrap all these scattered loose ends up cause I am done with this.  The first 2 books were much more polished.

I give a little more latitude to a series book ending abruptly simply because you know there is still a plot line ahead.

I love Stephenson stories but his abrupt "Oh shit, I am only allowed 900 pages and I am on page 875" endings on stand alone books is annoying as shit.

'Reality' is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
Reg
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Reply #6446 on: September 28, 2018, 08:11:58 PM

We should bear in mind that this is intended to be a 10 book epic. He has plenty of pages to tie up loose ends. Sanderson amazes me that he can write books like this as well as fun little stories like Steelheart on the side.
BobtheSomething
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Reply #6447 on: September 28, 2018, 09:49:23 PM

I just read a graphic novel called Wrenchies.  I'm not sure how I would describe it other than that in some places it feels like the Road, in others like Watchmen, with a heavy dose of the Illuminatus! Trilogy.  It's a nonlinear story that follows three different kids, or groups of kids, going through either a personal or a post-apocalyptic crisis.  It's weird.
NowhereMan
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Reply #6448 on: September 29, 2018, 09:17:48 AM

I admit I'm a Brandon Sanderson fan boy but I'll also admit that the first Mistborn trilogy wasn't his best.  I've enjoyed everything else he's written though. Even his 1,000 page epics like Way of Kings.

Hell same! The original Mistborn is fun but the writing is fairly clunky. Sanderson is a really great background/scheme guy i.e. he comes up with really interesting ideas for worlds and good plots but he hasn't been that strong in executing them. I think he's improved massively in that regard.

The Wax and Wayne books are much better written than the original Mistborn trilogy. Same planet but one that has moved on from the medieval era of technology the Lord Ruler imposed into early industrial with an associated 'loss' of power for magic users (spoiler for not particular reason, nothing plot based just world information but in case someone wanted to go into them with no idea)
I'll warn you that Wayne is sometimes pretty hard on the 'lolrandum' style humour. A lot of people really love him but I go between laugh out loud to finding him really grating. In the outline for Mistborn there's meant to be an urban fantasy style trilogy after this.

Also if you (Ironwood) enjoy the world building you can have a crack at Secret Histories afterwards, it focuses on Kelsier initially but does have some spoilers for the Wax and Wayne stuff too. Though I don't think it's the kind of thing you'd like all that much (too much 'look at all this shit that was going on at the same time as all these other things you've already read about').

"Look at my car. Do you think that was bought with the earnest love of geeks?" - HaemishM
RhyssaFireheart
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Reply #6449 on: October 01, 2018, 10:45:23 AM

Hmm. I didn't get that feeling at all. It tied up just enough plotholes to keep me from thinking he was turning into Robert Jordan.

I think it is just that the pacing is different, and it is a LOT longer than the other two which are really long. I just finished re-reading all of them last week and I keep picking up on little foreshadowing things in every book that I had missed.

The biggest problem with the third book, I think, is that the book focuses pretty much all of the flashback parts on Dalinar who is the character with the least depth of any of the main characters which causes it to suffer a bit.

Each book's flashback parts focus on a different character and Sanderson has already said that said character doesn't necessarily need to be alive to be a flashback focus (e.g. Eshonai will supposedly be a flashback char). 

Way of Kings = Kaladin
Words of Radiance = Shallan
Oathbringer = Dalinar

I actually enjoyed his flashbacks for learning more about the character since he did a total 180 from youth to middle-age.  Book 1 was a lot of world-building, too, which made it interesting and book 2 expanded more upon what was going on.  Now we're getting into moving the story along and I can see how that change in pace would feel much slower.  Supposedly, there will be a year time-skip between Oathbringer and book 4, which makes sense IMO because otherwise, the story would be bogged down in little daily stuff.  It would be better to present large events as a fait accompli and if any explanation is needed, it'll be done through flashback or interludes.

lamaros
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Reply #6450 on: October 16, 2018, 08:11:01 AM

Got around to reading The Three Body Problem.

Anyone read the rest of the series, worth pursuing if I generally enjoyed the first?

Expect poison from the standing water.
Khaldun
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Reply #6451 on: October 17, 2018, 08:39:32 AM

I haven't gone on to the rest of the series. I liked Three Body Problem but I also found it slow-going and abstract at times.

Just read a series by Meghan Whalen Turner that I was surprised to find is classed as a YA series, as it feels fairly sophisticated to me--starts with the book The Thief and ends with A Conspiracy of Kings. Has a lot of expected plot twists but the character work is fairly engaging.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2018, 07:15:34 PM by Khaldun »
BobtheSomething
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Reply #6452 on: October 17, 2018, 03:06:05 PM

I'm enjoying a series called The Murderbot Diaries, which also seems to straddle the line between YA and adult sci fi.  The books are quick, amusing reads.
MahrinSkel
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Reply #6453 on: October 17, 2018, 03:56:12 PM

I endorse Murderbot, fwiw. Quick fun stories that take themselves just seriously enough.

--Dave

--Jello Biafra: "If evolution is outlawed, only outlaws will evolve."
Viin
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Reply #6454 on: October 17, 2018, 08:11:02 PM

A bit expensive for Kindle though. But they are fun reads.

- Viin
MrHat
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Reply #6455 on: October 18, 2018, 10:19:29 AM

Got around to reading The Three Body Problem.

Anyone read the rest of the series, worth pursuing if I generally enjoyed the first?

Do it. Second and third book really blow up the scale of what's happening and I found them really interesting. 
MahrinSkel
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When she crossed over, she was just a ship. But when she came back... she was bullshit!


Reply #6456 on: December 20, 2018, 10:11:14 PM

Just thought I would bump the thread for a quick mention of the Ember War (and some spinoff series) by Richard Fox. It's not High Lit, just space opera with an Oo-Rah subtext. But it's fun, and cheap ($4 each and Kindle Unlimited).

--Dave

--Jello Biafra: "If evolution is outlawed, only outlaws will evolve."
Cyrrex
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Reply #6457 on: December 21, 2018, 02:55:44 AM

Nice, I am a sucker for that kind of space opera schlock, and all the better that it tends to be the sort of thing they put on Unlimited.

Never, ever assume someone that short and fat has their shit together. - Schild
justdave
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Reply #6458 on: December 23, 2018, 09:47:50 PM

A bit expensive for Kindle though. But they are fun reads.

Literally my only complaint; they all should have fairly been one novel or the lot of them a shitload cheaper, honestly.

"They started to resist with a crust that was welded with human brain and willpower."
NowhereMan
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Reply #6459 on: December 28, 2018, 07:40:32 AM

Mr. Norrell and Mr. Strange was on sale for Kindle so I bought it. I really wish I'd read this earlier now, if you have any kind of love for English Classics and that 18th/19th century writing style combined with fantasy you will absolutely love it. It's definitely not an action type book but I really love the description of magical study and it rings true for the general approaches scholarship took in that time period. I'm more than halfway through and kind of feel that I'm just getting to a more traditional fantasy plot taking off (rather than the more abstract 'return of magic as a part of British society and governance' plot). Heartily recommend.

"Look at my car. Do you think that was bought with the earnest love of geeks?" - HaemishM
Ironwood
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Reply #6460 on: December 28, 2018, 08:01:36 AM

Yeah, but as we've hashed out previously, the end is very Stephenson and divides the audience.

I'm reading thin air and wish I wasn't. Morgan is paying the mortgage with this one. Its sad.

"Mr Soft Owl has Seen Some Shit." - Sun Tzu
HaemishM
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Reply #6461 on: January 08, 2019, 03:26:35 PM

Thanks to some inexplicable Amazon Kindle Store credit, I bought the first two books in the Laundry Files series. I've finished the first (Atrocity Archives) and am reading the 2nd (Jennifer Morgue). I dig it - it's a bit goofy, very British and very Stross.

Chimpy
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Reply #6462 on: January 08, 2019, 04:36:41 PM

I bought the best children's book ever that got delivered today.

P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever

'Reality' is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
Ard
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Reply #6463 on: January 09, 2019, 11:25:12 PM

Thanks to some inexplicable Amazon Kindle Store credit, I bought the first two books in the Laundry Files series. I've finished the first (Atrocity Archives) and am reading the 2nd (Jennifer Morgue). I dig it - it's a bit goofy, very British and very Stross.

I like that series quite a bit, but he needs to stop pretending he can write female characters.  That said, this series actually delivers on it's premise and doesn't just become monster of the week status quo, so you've got that to look forward to.
Mandella
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Reply #6464 on: January 13, 2019, 12:32:44 PM

Thanks to some inexplicable Amazon Kindle Store credit, I bought the first two books in the Laundry Files series. I've finished the first (Atrocity Archives) and am reading the 2nd (Jennifer Morgue). I dig it - it's a bit goofy, very British and very Stross.

I was really liking the Laundry Files, but then I made the mistake of reading some non-fiction rants by Stross and, well, I don't think I like him very much.

I need to get over that though, since separating the art from the artist is pretty much necessary for enjoying any creative work, from Picasso to Jagger.
Khaldun
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Reply #6465 on: January 13, 2019, 01:10:15 PM

Stross' writing sometimes gets pulled into his view of life, the universe and everything a bit much, but he keeps it pretty clear. Not like, say, John C. Wright, whose most recent stuff is vanishing down the black hole of his current politics in a really depressing way.
NowhereMan
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Reply #6466 on: January 15, 2019, 12:41:23 PM

The series itself is also suffering a bit from general stakes inflation. There's a Big Bad Thing happening in the future and as they progress closer and closer to it the world loses its ground somewhat.

Stross has also admitted that Brexit actually fucked his writing somewhat as he wanted the book to reflect British government and culture and essentially he couldn't really figure out how to fit Brexit into the world he'd crafted. The utter cockwomble that is the UK government response also makes any kind of competent response to Cthuluesque nightmare invasions seem even more unrealistic than Cthulu wandering up Oxford Street. I get the impression he's also hit a bit of a Jim Butcher type creative problem, where the series has started departing from the original premise and he's much less inspired to write.

Unless I've missed another release? I have really enjoyed it though. If you haven't read any of the Rivers of London series that's worth a look at as well if you're enjoying the Laundry Files.

"Look at my car. Do you think that was bought with the earnest love of geeks?" - HaemishM
RhyssaFireheart
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Reply #6467 on: January 15, 2019, 01:49:32 PM

...a bit of a Jim Butcher type creative problem...

Don't remind me.  I don't think we'll ever get the ending of the Dresden Files.  He has put out some short stories though, so maybe there's hope.

I recently got "The Armored Saint" by Myke Cole as a free Tor book club ebook, read that and enjoyed it enough that I'll pick up the second one "A Queen of Crows" and he's said the third is done with edits, so that's good.  Might wait until the third is out to pick both up.

Just got the email that the next free Tor ebook is "The Only Harmless Great Thing" by Brooke Bolander so I'll download it to read next. 

NowhereMan
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Reply #6468 on: January 15, 2019, 03:07:57 PM


Don't remind me.  I don't think we'll ever get the ending of the Dresden Files.  He has put out some short stories though, so maybe there's hope.

He has apparently had quite a lot of personal life issues that have stopped him writing that are, slowly, being worked through. It doesn't sound like he's creatively wiped on the series so much as it's become hard work and his personal life imploded a few times. Stross I feel is more towards the 'I do not know what to fucking write next' side of things. He switched it up with PoV changes for later novels, which were a bit surprising but worked but I feel like that might be an effort to actually put off dealing with the more fantastical turn the world is, necessarily, taking. I think he's a bit intimidated with making a magical apocalypse pay off.

"Look at my car. Do you think that was bought with the earnest love of geeks?" - HaemishM
Ard
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Reply #6469 on: January 15, 2019, 04:42:56 PM

I'm not entirely sure Stross is without a plan at this point. Each of the POV change characters is converging on Bob's power level, so it's likely building up a cast with high enough power to deal with it.  We'll see though, it's possible the plot has gotten away from him.
Khaldun
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Reply #6470 on: January 15, 2019, 06:35:10 PM

Finally finishing Novak's Napoleonic dragon series, which went on about five books too long. The last one has a few of the charms of the series restored, but the characters are so static in odd ways so that they continue to be resonantly "Napoleonic" when they should really be insanely divergent. I actually thought she was heading towards having dragons be writers in the Scottish Enlightenment rather than what's actually happened, which is a mish-mash of Rowling-level gesticulation towards wokeness with genre fanfic. She's really great when she's on point--Uprooted was a terrific read, and the early books in this series were great too. This one not so much.
Viin
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Reply #6471 on: January 15, 2019, 10:29:35 PM

I really enjoyed Noumenon, which is a sci-fi story about a multi-generational trip to visit a star "acting weird" - could be a Dyson sphere, could be a signal, who knows!

It was actually pretty good, fairly well written and explored the issues of a group of people originating from Earth but eventually being so many generations removed that Earth was a fairy tale - but to return was an original mission parameter the governing faction wanted to achieve.

Started to read the sequel, Noumenon Infinity, but so far it hasn't grabbed me like the original.

- Viin
Morat20
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Reply #6472 on: January 18, 2019, 08:03:59 PM

I like that series quite a bit, but he needs to stop pretending he can write female characters.  That said, this series actually delivers on it's premise and doesn't just become monster of the week status quo, so you've got that to look forward to.
At least in the first books, there's a reason -- it's Bob's memoirs. And he's an unreliable narrator, especially with women. He's well enough fleshed out that I can say with certainty I've met guys like that, and I know exactly how they remember how shit with women went down, and how it really went down. We're not talking incel stupidity, just...a healthy ego, some cluelessness, and prone to deciding they're right come hell or high water.

His Merchant Prince's books are basically built around women and female POVs, and he did well enough. So's about half of Rule 34.
Reg
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Reply #6473 on: January 19, 2019, 09:11:31 AM

I just finished Port of Shadows by Glen Cook. It's a new Black Company novel but it's a prequel set between the first two books in the series. I actually enjoyed it. It reveals a whole lot more of the history of the Domination and it was fascinating to me. The one problem I had with it was the mechanism Cook used to remove all of the new information the book revealed so that he could force it back into the timeline that led to Shadows Linger.

If you want more background its really worth reading. People that have already read the other 10 books will probably get the most out of it.
Ard
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Reply #6474 on: January 19, 2019, 10:56:35 AM

I like that series quite a bit, but he needs to stop pretending he can write female characters.  That said, this series actually delivers on it's premise and doesn't just become monster of the week status quo, so you've got that to look forward to.
At least in the first books, there's a reason -- it's Bob's memoirs. And he's an unreliable narrator, especially with women. He's well enough fleshed out that I can say with certainty I've met guys like that, and I know exactly how they remember how shit with women went down, and how it really went down. We're not talking incel stupidity, just...a healthy ego, some cluelessness, and prone to deciding they're right come hell or high water.

His Merchant Prince's books are basically built around women and female POVs, and he did well enough. So's about half of Rule 34.

I'm not talking about the first few books, I'm talking about the latter ones where the main POV characters are female.  They've all been atrocious, and actively getting worse.  The merchant prince books were so bad in that regard that I stopped reading after the first one.  That character was basically male with tits glued on.
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