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

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
#81
Gave up on Guns of Empire a couple days ago at 73%. Gave up on Red Seas Under Red Skies yesterday at 3 pages. Stumbled onto Clockwork Boys today and it's going well so far. Blurb makes it sound like the same story as the great The Mechanical. We will see.

Yikes! I plan on reading Guns Of Empire soon. You must have thought it was terrible to pitch it 3/4 of the way through book 4 of 5.

Well, on the bright side you will save $14.99 on book 5 which is only around 500 pages long.
 

ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
#82
I've finished with Iron Gold by Pierce Brown.

I have somewhat mixed feelings about the thing. There's certainly some of the old magic in there, the dynamic progressions, the over-the-top awesomeness. But it has 4 POV characters instead of one, and well, two of those are kind of boring, and forced. Especially since they are also narrated by equally boring and uninspiring narrators.

Darrow and Lisander are well-done, well-executed POVs, both when it comes to their respective torylines and the way they are narrated. Especially Darrow, since Tim Gerard Raynolds is one of the top 3 fantasy narrators as a whole. The guy narrating Lisander is doing an okay job, but the woman and the man narrating the other twi characters are just abysmally bad. I am ready to bet hard money that the main reason for anyone picking up the woman for narrating Lyria was her Scottish accent. The man narrating Ephron is probably chosen for the same reason - gruff plebeian tone. From the four narators, only Tim Gerard Raynolds manages to do justice to his parts, without mangling the whole of the thing, or pronouncing everything like being choked with a garrote.

I can give the Darrow and Lisander parts of the book 9/10 and the rest of it not much more than 7/10. Whether it's the boring narrations affecting the story or the boring story underlining the amateurish narrations I don't know, but it's a mess.

Narrations go as follows: Daarow - 10/10, Lisander 8/10, Lyria 6/10, Ephron 7/10. My usual standard for decent narrations starts at 9/10, so there's that.

As for the plot itself - it's decent, but... quite forced too. It reads very much like a set-uping book, where the characters are set-uping themselves for the troubles to come.

The book delivered, but if I am to be honest - I've expected more from Pierce Brown. He could certainly do better - hopefully the redundant POVs won't be such a bore as we go forward, but I really doubt it. The only really meaningful purpose they've been serving so far i not letting Darrow to take too much of the stage, so that the reader wouldn't tire from his over-powerness, so there at least a wise artistic decision has been made.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#83
I've finished with Iron Gold by Pierce Brown.

I have somewhat mixed feelings about the thing. There's certainly some of the old magic in there, the dynamic progressions, the over-the-top awesomeness. But it has 4 POV characters instead of one, and well, two of those are kind of boring, and forced. Especially since they are also narrated by equally boring and uninspiring narrators.

Darrow and Lisander are well-done, well-executed POVs, both when it comes to their respective torylines and the way they are narrated. Especially Darrow, since Tim Gerard Raynolds is one of the top 3 fantasy narrators as a whole. The guy narrating Lisander is doing an okay job, but the woman and the man narrating the other twi characters are just abysmally bad. I am ready to bet hard money that the main reason for anyone picking up the woman for narrating Lyria was her Scottish accent. The man narrating Ephron is probably chosen for the same reason - gruff plebeian tone. From the four narators, only Tim Gerard Raynolds manages to do justice to his parts, without mangling the whole of the thing, or pronouncing everything like being choked with a garrote.

I can give the Darrow and Lisander parts of the book 9/10 and the rest of it not much more than 7/10. Whether it's the boring narrations affecting the story or the boring story underlining the amateurish narrations I don't know, but it's a mess.

Narrations go as follows: Daarow - 10/10, Lisander 8/10, Lyria 6/10, Ephron 7/10. My usual standard for decent narrations starts at 9/10, so there's that.

As for the plot itself - it's decent, but... quite forced too. It reads very much like a set-uping book, where the characters are set-uping themselves for the troubles to come.

The book delivered, but if I am to be honest - I've expected more from Pierce Brown. He could certainly do better - hopefully the redundant POVs won't be such a bore as we go forward, but I really doubt it. The only really meaningful purpose they've been serving so far i not letting Darrow to take too much of the stage, so that the reader wouldn't tire from his over-powerness, so there at least a wise artistic decision has been made.
I've never listed to an audiobook before, so I reserve judgement until I have, but this seems to be problematic. Would you say the narrator can make or break an audiobook?
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#84
Yikes! I plan on reading Guns Of Empire soon. You must have thought it was terrible to pitch it 3/4 of the way through book 4 of 5.

Well, on the bright side you will save $14.99 on book 5 which is only around 500 pages long.
Crap, I didn't intend that to happen. I'm reading it again since Clockwork Boys took a strange turn. It's good again. I was hasty. That's what they call me, Hasty Larry. No idea why, Larry isn't my name.
 

ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
#85
I've never listed to an audiobook before, so I reserve judgement until I have, but this seems to be problematic. Would you say the narrator can make or break an audiobook?
Yeah, totally!

A 10/10 narration could make the book experience twice as fun, a 9/10 narration carries the book well-enough without enhancing it by itself, but everything below could get you out of the story from time to time, which is never a good thing.

There were a few series where half of the reason of me continuing was because the narration is awesome to listen to, even with a sub-par story to read.

And there were few occasions where I've quit a thing, because the narration is bad beyond compare.

For instance the narration of Brian McClellan's gunpowder trilogy is bad, at least in my personal opinion. The narrator is kind of boring, but more than that - he cannot do different voices or doesn't bother to do it, so the dialogue is one big mess of lines, and you have no idea who is delivering what. Some other narrations do have similar problems, but never to that extent. So I've just quit the thing half an hour in.

The Riddle-Master of Hed is narrated by a guy who literally makes me asleep, and reads in such a fashion that I often lose a word or a whole sentence when I am not 100% concentrated on his words. He just delivers everything so fast and boring, that you are bound to lose the thread every five minutes or so. I've barely managed to finish the first book with some tenacity involved on my part, and gave up on the series as a whole, even thought the books are quite short. I just cannot muster 12 hours of Alar-level concentration for this.

For instance, I do listen to lots and lots of books while working - doing things on Photoshop, starting, pausing, optimizing FB ads, even while I write and manage Google AdWords ads, or while playing games, etc. I am quite good at following along and not missing the thread, but with The Riddle-Master of Hed I cannot follow the story even at full attention, not doing anything else besides listening to it.

Bad narrations are certainly a devastating thing when they are that bad, but fortunately it's like 30% awesome ones, 60% okay ones and 10% problematic ones, from my experience so far.

The most annoying narrations are usually in YA - the purple prose and the "one teen vs an empire" puffed up tone, which seems to be the standard there, is quite jarring when combined with some dreamy rendering of "his majestic chest was pumping like bellows, sweat falling like waterfalls from his brow" and you are like - okay, I am outta here. :p
 
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TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#87
I'm about 17 hours into the audio book of The Stand, & it turns out I need to be discussing it here and not in the SF section as I thought I would be! Really enjoying it .. it's a real slow burner but it's building up really nicely and there are some great characters. The narrator is really good too! Anyway, 32 hours to go ...
 

Maark Abbott

Journeyed there and back again
#88
Halfway through Deadhouse Landing and I'm struggling a bit. I'm getting a bit burned out on quick, short, popcorn fantasy. After this it'll be Bakker time again. N O W E E P E R S
 

Alice Sabo

Knows how to pronounce Kvothe
#89
Still needed something light so I got a Jasper Fforde out of the library. Something Rotten. He is so hilarious. Since I am an amateur genealogist, I especially love the fact that the main character's husband died when he was 2 years old (victim to an eradication, but she eventually gets him uneradicated). And the names he comes up with...like the political talk show called Evade the Question. Or the villain - Mr. Schitt-Hawse. Fforde has an especially twisted, and very British sense of humor.
 

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
#90
Finished the Way of the Shaman series and The Sheepfarmer's Daughter. I liked both, despite their flaws. In its last book, WotS created a giant new conflict midway through the book and then treats that conflict as if its resolution was the point of the whole story. The Sheepfarmer's Daughter was action-packed but could have used more humor, cynicism, or something. It reminded me a bit of Blood Song, but not as gripping. I will probably revisit this series.

Currently working on City of Golden Shadow. It's ok. The plot drags on slowly, which is the same reason I put down The Dragonbone Chair. Despite this, there's the occasional sentence that seems incredibly insightful. I'm not sure whether I'll finish this series, but I'll definitely finish this book.

Super excited that Iron Gold is out! I was planning on buying that as an audiobook, but it looks like I need to look into it more. Thanks for the heads up @ExTended !
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#91
I decided to do a Malazan re-read. Soon I'll start on GotM.

First I want to read the Fire and Fury book though and listen to some awesome lectures.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#92
Oh, and I finished Assail by ICE. I quite liked the book and its Scottish Highlands / Vikings feeling it had. The convergence in the end and the conclusion was a bit swift and left a bit to desired, although it also had some cool revelations. Overall, the Books of the Malazan Empire by ICE were better than expected (after having read some negative reviews). It's like @Maark Abbott says: both Malazan writers have their strengths and weaknesses.
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
#94
The Sheepfarmer's Daughter was action-packed but could have used more humor, cynicism, or something. It reminded me a bit of Blood Song, but not as gripping. I will probably revisit this series.
Roughly my feelings on it too. Its a decent story with some interesting ideas but the tone is very one note and that note is Earnest. Some more levity or melodrama could have possibly turned it from Cult Classic to just Classic.
 

Khartun

Journeyed there and back again
#95
I started Phil Tucker's The Path of Flames. I'm enjoying it so far. Surprisingly pretty well written considering how quickly he has written his books. Apparently writing them at a two month clip per book. Wow.
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#96
I'd love to do a Malazan reread. Don't think I'm quite ready yet though. It's such a huge time investment I need to be 100% sure.

Saying that, second time around I might not read all the books .. I might just stick with the Erikson books rather than interspersing with ICE.
 

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
#97
I've finished with Iron Gold by Pierce Brown.

I have somewhat mixed feelings about the thing. There's certainly some of the old magic in there, the dynamic progressions, the over-the-top awesomeness. But it has 4 POV characters instead of one, and well, two of those are kind of boring, and forced. Especially since they are also narrated by equally boring and uninspiring narrators.

Darrow and Lisander are well-done, well-executed POVs, both when it comes to their respective torylines and the way they are narrated. Especially Darrow, since Tim Gerard Raynolds is one of the top 3 fantasy narrators as a whole. The guy narrating Lisander is doing an okay job, but the woman and the man narrating the other twi characters are just abysmally bad. I am ready to bet hard money that the main reason for anyone picking up the woman for narrating Lyria was her Scottish accent. The man narrating Ephron is probably chosen for the same reason - gruff plebeian tone. From the four narators, only Tim Gerard Raynolds manages to do justice to his parts, without mangling the whole of the thing, or pronouncing everything like being choked with a garrote.

I can give the Darrow and Lisander parts of the book 9/10 and the rest of it not much more than 7/10. Whether it's the boring narrations affecting the story or the boring story underlining the amateurish narrations I don't know, but it's a mess.

Narrations go as follows: Daarow - 10/10, Lisander 8/10, Lyria 6/10, Ephron 7/10. My usual standard for decent narrations starts at 9/10, so there's that.

As for the plot itself - it's decent, but... quite forced too. It reads very much like a set-uping book, where the characters are set-uping themselves for the troubles to come.

The book delivered, but if I am to be honest - I've expected more from Pierce Brown. He could certainly do better - hopefully the redundant POVs won't be such a bore as we go forward, but I really doubt it. The only really meaningful purpose they've been serving so far i not letting Darrow to take too much of the stage, so that the reader wouldn't tire from his over-powerness, so there at least a wise artistic decision has been made.
You were 100% correct. I was very skeptical of your claims, but about 10 seconds into Chapter 4 I laughed out loud at how wrong I was.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#98
I'd love to do a Malazan reread. Don't think I'm quite ready yet though. It's such a huge time investment I need to be 100% sure.

Saying that, second time around I might not read all the books .. I might just stick with the Erikson books rather than interspersing with ICE.
Yeah, I just read the ICE ones separately. There are some revelations in there but mostly the series can be read as two separate streams I think.
 

ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
#99
You were 100% correct. I was very skeptical of your claims, but about 10 seconds into Chapter 4 I laughed out loud at how wrong I was.
That's totally not a thing I am proud of being right about, but then again... it's completely their fault for young-adulting the audiobook after all.

It's kind of insulting the lengths to which some authors, audiobooks producers, tv shows and movie creators go, in order to dumb down their content. In my teenage years, which isn't so far back all things considered, we were actually enjoying a demanding read/movie/TV-series. I am pretty sure the audience's preferences and capabilities for understanding new concepts haven't changed that much, if any, nor their ability to empathize with a character, even if they are asked to imagine a Scottish accent, instead of being spoon-fed one on default.
 

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
I'm having a really hard time empathizing with any of the protagonists, at this point.
Darrow is determined to critically undermine his own government rather than actually trying to convince them of anything. His critics are totally right. Then he just maims and murders good people for no good reason. Lysander gets a bunch of low-colors killed because he doesn't particularly value their lives. Ephraim isn't a particularly likable character, and Lyria's narrator is bad enough to somewhat spoil my enjoyment of the kavax/sophocles scenes. Sevro clearly cares way more about Darrow than his own wife and children. Dancer believes that Darrow cares more about his own glory than about the lives of low-colors, which is kind of true somehow and makes them both look bad. Quicksilver is heartlessly critical of the representatives of low-colors. etc. etc.
I'm assuming each of these things are issues that will be resolved by the plot in upcoming books, but it's pretty heavy handed.