It's 2018!! January 2018. What fantasy books are you reading?

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#41
easy answer
it was first published in scifi and won major awards as scifi

complicated answer,
the two genres overlap so readily, and so often most companies avoid the argument and lump them together. that said we like to categorize so there are a lot of opinions.

I think an oversimplification would be 'dragons vs lasers ' . but that's easily bustedby numerous laser wielding dragon books.

I am an advocate of classifying on themes and style rather than superfluous nouns. (ie if i take the movie Aliens and replace the space outpost with a jungle command center and the aliens with vietcong. bam we have are selves a vietnam war movie action schlock )

if we apply this to Dragonflight. we have a book with an in depth human sociology theme the likes of which remind of Asimov s Foundation,
where a group of planetary defenders set up to defend against an interplanetary fungus using teleportation, time travel, and mathematical probability while riding creatures with a complex social grouping and reproduction rituals.

it's all opinion. and convincing across the board this method is best would be harder than doing that with lexicographers or taxonomists. (sp)
 
Last edited:

Kalavan

Ran bridges next to Kaladin
#42
Started the year with the final book of Django Wexler’s The Shadow Campaigns, and unfortunately The Final Battalion was slightly disappointing, more than decent, but definitely the weakest installment of this series, a barely sufficient ending to one of the sagas I’ve enjoyed the most in the recent years.
Mainly due to the particularly uninspired plotlines of the two heroines – for once Marcus was the most interesting POV - in the first half, and for the merely satisfying final confrontation – which was actually good, but not as compelling as the climaxes of the previous installments.

Now onto Phil Tucker’s Escape from Bythos
 

ExTended

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#43
I've started and finished with the Way of the Shaman series by Vasily Mahanenko. LitRPG.

I am satisfied. The six books aren't exactly equal in quality between one another, the series has its up and downs, and usually a few of those of each book. However, I am happy for having it under my reading belt. It was something different from my regular reading preferences, and while a bit simplistic or requiring buckets of suspense of disbelief at times, it was well-worth the effort as the very pleasant palate-cleaning thing it is.

I've DNF the 5th book of The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski. The three main reasons:
1. Akward expositions
2. Character growth that goes nowhere, backwards, or in circles
3. Character relationships which aren't making any sense - it's like a parade of morons and immature poisonous people gathered in a confined space, for the sake of pushing a non-existent plot.

I hate that I have to be so negative about this series, but I was hyped, as fan of the games franchise, and the writing is actually good or even great for over 50% of the time. But the controversial things about the story are taking away a big portion of the potential fun out of it. It's one beautifully written mess, by an author who hasn't managed to avoid getting into every single possible trap presented by the genre in which he happens to write in.

It's still a 7+/10 series, but I guess I just need a brief rest from its weaknesses and some nostalgic feelings to strengthen my resolve about finishing the thing.

The sad truth is that Way of the Shaman is the better written story of the two, even if it had a much lower initial potential, considering its nature and sub-genre.
 

rudyjuly2

Journeyed there and back again
#44
I’m about 425 pages in to Oathbringer and it’s solid. I know some don’t like him but Kaladin is my favourite. I like the Dalinar sections but Shallan is still someone I’ve never really liked. She goes from annoying to OK. I don’t like her powers that much, don’t find her witty and find her split personalities odd. Still finding my memory on the previous books is a bit sketchy.
 

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
#45
How are you liking it?
Among Thieves was my first intentional DNF (as opposed to getting distracted by RL and not finishing) in a long time. Here's some things that made me put it down:
So the main character is supposed to be this kind of rogue/spy called a Nose. His job is to monitor other criminals within his organization and let their boss know if they're stealing from him or double-crossing him, and basically to just keep and ear to the ground for trouble before it gets too bad. It apparently involves occasionally torturing someone to death. But he is TERRIBLE at it! He is extremely easily fooled by the people he's trying to obtain information from, believing everything they tell him, to the point where its obvious and embarrassing. He accepts a stranger's word for where to find someone he's looking for, is led to a sketchy warehouse, and then proceeds to enter with just his bodyguard. No scouting the place out, or at least sneaking in. There could have been anything inside it, and they just waltz right in! There were two imperial elite soldiers who should have been able to easily kill them, which was an unlikely surprise, but it could have just as easily been a dozen thugs that would have also whooped them handily. During that fight, the main character is stabbed with a sword straight through the leg, and we're told that he could feel the sword being twisted as it was drawn out of him. And then he howls! But not from the pain; rather, he howls in outrage that he was so easily stabbed. Give me a break! The combat is totally unrealistic. We're told about a bad swing he made that left him exposed to his enemy, a superior fighter than him, who takes advantage with a thrust straight at him. But the protagonist somehow stumbles backward from the blade and out of range. How...how slow was that thrust? All of the combat is like that. There's actual flashbacks, inconsequential flashbacks in the MIDDLE of combat. Like someone is swinging a sword at him, and he suddenly things about something that happened to him as a kid for 5 minutes, then he blocks the swing. Wtf!

Eventually he finds out that a book he found that everyone's fighting over is actually a forbidden book on Imperial magic. His gang and a rival gang are in a war on the streets, helped by elite gangster wizards or something who want the book. He wants the war to end, because Imperial troops have barricaded the entire district, and he knows that if the fighting doesn't stop they'll come in and just slaughter everybody involved and plenty of innocents besides (why? *shrug*). So the war has to end, although apparently nobody else can figure this out and just stop fighting? Even possessing that book is a crime punishable with death, and he admits that he's worried that the Imperials will come in and slaughter anyone who even laid eyes on it if they find out about it. Rather than give it to one of the gangster wizards so that they can use it to defeat the other, or just hiding it and leaving it hidden, or focusing on ending the war some other way to resolve the conflict, the protagonist decides that the best way to end the war and save everybody is to somehow sneak the book out of the barricaded district and give it to the Emperor. Why? How does this stop the war? Won't the Emperor certainly torture him and kill him, then use the information to track down everyone of his friends he'd let read it? Of course! So why? *shrug*

I've started and finished with the Way of the Shaman series by Vasily Mahanenko. LitRPG.
I liked this series but was pissed off by the ending of book 5. Clearly something was resolved since you didn't hate it by the end, so I guess I'll give 6 a try! Have you tried Awaken Online, yet? I thought it was great.
 

ExTended

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#46
I liked this series but was pissed off by the ending of book 5. Clearly something was resolved since you didn't hate it by the end, so I guess I'll give 6 a try! Have you tried Awaken Online, yet? I thought it was great.
The ending of book five is a very nice set-up for the events in the last book, that's all I can say without spoilers flying like shrapnels. But Vasily could've certainly dealt with his fore-shadowings better. To be honest I was expecting somehing like that to happen, because I have unintentionally spoiled myself by being aware of the title and cover of the 6th book, so I've had some very strong suspicions about how the book would end. :)

And "Oh, yes"! :) I've read Awaken Online already. Actually there have been a side-story released recently, Awaken Online book 2.5 so to speak. It's a nice enough book, carrying on with the weaknesses and some of the strengths of the previous two installments. My favorite of the bunch is book one - it's the most natural mix of story-telling and role-playing tropes. And there's also the fact that the lead character's badass-ness was extra crispy in that one.
 

Cyphon

Journeyed there and back again
#47
Among Thieves was my first intentional DNF (as opposed to getting distracted by RL and not finishing) in a long time. Here's some things that made me put it down:
So the main character is supposed to be this kind of rogue/spy called a Nose. His job is to monitor other criminals within his organization and let their boss know if they're stealing from him or double-crossing him, and basically to just keep and ear to the ground for trouble before it gets too bad. It apparently involves occasionally torturing someone to death. But he is TERRIBLE at it! He is extremely easily fooled by the people he's trying to obtain information from, believing everything they tell him, to the point where its obvious and embarrassing. He accepts a stranger's word for where to find someone he's looking for, is led to a sketchy warehouse, and then proceeds to enter with just his bodyguard. No scouting the place out, or at least sneaking in. There could have been anything inside it, and they just waltz right in! There were two imperial elite soldiers who should have been able to easily kill them, which was an unlikely surprise, but it could have just as easily been a dozen thugs that would have also whooped them handily. During that fight, the main character is stabbed with a sword straight through the leg, and we're told that he could feel the sword being twisted as it was drawn out of him. And then he howls! But not from the pain; rather, he howls in outrage that he was so easily stabbed. Give me a break! The combat is totally unrealistic. We're told about a bad swing he made that left him exposed to his enemy, a superior fighter than him, who takes advantage with a thrust straight at him. But the protagonist somehow stumbles backward from the blade and out of range. How...how slow was that thrust? All of the combat is like that. There's actual flashbacks, inconsequential flashbacks in the MIDDLE of combat. Like someone is swinging a sword at him, and he suddenly things about something that happened to him as a kid for 5 minutes, then he blocks the swing. Wtf!

Eventually he finds out that a book he found that everyone's fighting over is actually a forbidden book on Imperial magic. His gang and a rival gang are in a war on the streets, helped by elite gangster wizards or something who want the book. He wants the war to end, because Imperial troops have barricaded the entire district, and he knows that if the fighting doesn't stop they'll come in and just slaughter everybody involved and plenty of innocents besides (why? *shrug*). So the war has to end, although apparently nobody else can figure this out and just stop fighting? Even possessing that book is a crime punishable with death, and he admits that he's worried that the Imperials will come in and slaughter anyone who even laid eyes on it if they find out about it. Rather than give it to one of the gangster wizards so that they can use it to defeat the other, or just hiding it and leaving it hidden, or focusing on ending the war some other way to resolve the conflict, the protagonist decides that the best way to end the war and save everybody is to somehow sneak the book out of the barricaded district and give it to the Emperor. Why? How does this stop the war? Won't the Emperor certainly torture him and kill him, then use the information to track down everyone of his friends he'd let read it? Of course! So why? *shrug*
That's a lot to take in. In has been a long time and truth be told I don't remember a single detail about the book. I do remember enjoying it well enough but maybe a re-read would change that.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#48
Getting back into the Shadow Campaigns has been nice. Reading the fourth book Winter Goes To Town or something. Can't recall title right this moment.
 

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
#49
That's a lot to take in. In has been a long time and truth be told I don't remember a single detail about the book. I do remember enjoying it well enough but maybe a re-read would change that.
I think a lot of the things that threw me off were made more noticeable by the bad narration of the audiobook. The fight that left me exasperated was in Chapter 17, iirc.
 

TomTB

The Master Tweeter
Staff member
#50
I think a lot of the things that threw me off were made more noticeable by the bad narration of the audiobook. The fight that left me exasperated was in Chapter 17, iirc.
How does narration impact your experience generally? I try to distance myself from the narrator as much as possible, but without a shadow of a doubt if there is a bad narrator, it's detrimental to the experience as far as I'm concerned.
 

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
#51
The voices should match the character. Among Thieves's main character sounded like most litrpg protagonists (thoughtful teenage nerd). More importantly, there was an urgent emphasis placed into some sentences that made ridiculous things in the writing jump out. Example:

Protagonist opens a book and reads "According to Someone's Law, which states..."
Protagonist looks at his friend. "Someone's Law?"
Friend of protagonist: "Keep reading."
Book: "According to Someone's Law, which states [very clear explanation]."
Me: "WTH! Your JOB is to gather secret information, yet you can't even read it directly out of a book!"

It was painful to listen to that. In the written text, though, the whole thing takes a couple of seconds and is probably easily ignored.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#52
I recently finished Blood and Bone by Ian Esslemont (Malazan Empire #5).

In my opinion this book is the best of the lot. The story has great pacing and some interesting characters. However, what really did it for me was the world-building. Some people might argue that it is over-the-top (@Jakyro : I saw your review on GR), but I think it is excellent. The dark, humid jungles of Jacuruku really came to life (literally with all the mentioned critters, monsters and diseases). For me this was a page-turner with never a dull moment. Unlike previous books in this series, I found all PoVs to be interesting and fun to read.

To me Esslemont doesn't equal Erikson on the writing-front. Erikson's prose is more beautiful, the philosophical aspects of him shine through better in his series, and Erikson's characters are also more engaging. However, Esslemont is a really good writer nonetheless in his own right. This book deserves a 9.0/10 (*****5 GoodReads Stars).

I've immediately started on Assail, the final book in Esslemont's Malazan Empire series.

(Fire and fury has to wait a bit @Alucard)
 

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#53
Am now on book 3 of "The Riddle-Master of Hed", enjoying it...
 

Kalavan

Ran bridges next to Kaladin
#55
Currently reading Tucker's The Path of Flames and it is kind of amazing, actually a quite generic epic fantasy tale, but done so incredibly right, extremely engaging.

Too bad for the quite shoddy editing - barely better than the atrocious one of The Red Knight
 

Bill Door

Listens to The Unbeliever whine about life
#56
I finished The Heart of What Was Lost and started The Witchwood Crown a few days ago. I was gonna put it off till a bit later, but I decided I might as well just jump right into it while everything is fresh in my mind.
 

Maark Abbott

Journeyed there and back again
#58
I recently finished Blood and Bone by Ian Esslemont (Malazan Empire #5).

In my opinion this book is the best of the lot. The story has great pacing and some interesting characters. However, what really did it for me was the world-building. Some people might argue that it is over-the-top (@Jakyro : I saw your review on GR), but I think it is excellent. The dark, humid jungles of Jacuruku really came to life (literally with all the mentioned critters, monsters and diseases). For me this was a page-turner with never a dull moment. Unlike previous books in this series, I found all PoVs to be interesting and fun to read.

To me Esslemont doesn't equal Erikson on the writing-front. Erikson's prose is more beautiful, the philosophical aspects of him shine through better in his series, and Erikson's characters are also more engaging. However, Esslemont is a really good writer nonetheless in his own right. This book deserves a 9.0/10 (*****5 GoodReads Stars).

I've immediately started on Assail, the final book in Esslemont's Malazan Empire series.

(Fire and fury has to wait a bit @Alucard)
When someone says Blood and Bone is ICE's best... A rare day indeed!

The ICE versus Erikson thing is quite tired and worn out, so it's nice to see someone approach it sensibly. I agree with your points on Erikson and would raise that Esslemont is more one for faster-paced, more 'immediate' stories, ones that perhaps don't require too much thinking over. His stuff with Path to Ascendancy is legit.