It's July 2020: What fantasy book are you reading?

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#21
Nearly August now already (which is great, as I will be able to take a short break from work), and after re-reading the Harry Dresden series, I am now on re-reading the "Rivers of London" series.

This re-read is even better, as there are actually 2 books in the series left that I have not read yet.

Also, directly comparing the two, I have to say that Ben Aaronovich definitely writes even better than Jim Butcher, an elegant and witty British author compared to a forceful yet more blunt American one.

To anybody who has not read the stories of PC Peter Grant yet, I would strongly endorse them.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#22
Haven't checked in for a while here. I've done quite some reading this month due to my annual leave.

I started with 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde. I liked it a lot, as Wilde's famous wit shines through on every page. I gave it 5 stars on GoodReads; a genuine masterpiece.

I've also read Jurassic Park by Crichton. Liked it a lot, although it has become a bit dated now in terms of technology and the way in which the women were written (cardboard cut-outs I'm afraid). Still a good and exciting book, a real page-turner. 4 stars on GR.

Next up was Neil Gaiman's 'Norse Mythology'. It was alright I suppose, but I had really expected a bit more. The way the stories were told was not really Gaiman-like. I expected the same tone as in Anansi Boys or American Gods, but unfortunately this was nowhere to be found. Still, the stories were enjoyable. 3 GR stars.

I recently started on the Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asmimov. These books are considere sci-fi classics and partly responsible for popularising the genre in the 50's and 60's. The books show their age. For instance. technology described as super high tech is in many respects already obsolete in our time. Women are absent from the story. I mean this literally; there are no women PoVs out of dozens of PoVs in the book. I'm only at book 2 out of the 3, so it might change, but I don't expect so to be honest. Still, the story is enjoyable and interesting for its historical significance.
 

afa

Journeyed there and back again
#23
I've also read Jurassic Park by Crichton. Liked it a lot, although it has become a bit dated now in terms of technology and the way in which the women were written (cardboard cut-outs I'm afraid). Still a good and exciting book, a real page-turner. 4 stars on GR.
I haven't read the book in many years, but from what I remember I agree with your assessment. And that's how most of his books are, really. Not the most memorable or deepest of characters, but interesting premises and page-turners. You could read the sequel, too, though it's not as good as the first. There's a lot more exposition.

But if you're interested in continuing with Crichton, I would suggest trying Sphere. Again, I haven't read it in many years, but I remember liking it a lot. In fact, it was probably my favourite book by him.

I recently started on the Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asmimov.
Let us know what you think of the overall series once you're done. I've been thinking of reading it at some point.

The books show their age. For instance. technology described as super high tech is in many respects already obsolete in our time.
This is one of the reasons why I'm not a fan of books/movies that are set in the near future. Almost invariably, the writers' predictions of what tech would be like are wrong, whether because they were too ambitious or they weren't ambitious enough. Personally, I think Sci-Fi should be set way into the future, with technology that is so far from today's reality, that there is virtually no chance it could happen in the coming decades.
 

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#24
I recently started on the Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asmimov. These books are considere sci-fi classics and partly responsible for popularising the genre in the 50's and 60's. The books show their age. For instance. technology described as super high tech is in many respects already obsolete in our time. Women are absent from the story. I mean this literally; there are no women PoVs out of dozens of PoVs in the book. I'm only at book 2 out of the 3, so it might change, but I don't expect so to be honest. Still, the story is enjoyable and interesting for its historical significance.
Interesting. I had a somehow similar experience.

I remember loving the Foundation trilogy when I first read it. Must have been when I was about 12, around 1981 or so. Don't think I read the newer books in the series then, which must have been first published more or less at that time. (At that age, my reading was more or less limited to what the local community library in a small rural village had available, which was not specialized in great SF books.)

When I re-read the books around 2012 after having read a lot of other good authors, including George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, Robin Hobb, Daniel Abraham, Diana Wynne Jones, or, in the SF area, Iain Banks, Frank Herbert, Douglas Adams or Cordwainer Smith, I found them quite lacking.

Considering they were written in the 1950's that seems understandable, however, also the newer books in the series, those written in the 1980's, did not really appear to me to be the work of a grandmaster of writing.
 

ReguIa

Journeyed there and back again
#25
So Crossroads of Twilight is my least liked book so far, no surprises there I guess. Really excited for Knife of Dreams though. I had planned on reading some scifi around this point, maybe Seveneves or Hyperion but I think I'll just go through the rest now. I'm too close to the end to be able to focus on anything else.
 

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#26
So Crossroads of Twilight is my least liked book so far, no surprises there I guess. Really excited for Knife of Dreams though.
My experience of reading and re-reading the whole series (maybe 3 or 4 times, have stopped counting) is to soldier on reading when there are passages that seem slow. Many people complain that some of the books in the middle of the series drag on and on, but honestly, when I thought about the topic long and hard myself, I would not know which parts I personally would have preferred to omit. They somehow all are necessary for the story. That's my personal experience, however, YMMV.
 

rudyjuly2

Journeyed there and back again
#27
I give the final book The Core of the Demon Cycle series a 3/5 largely because I was disappointed in how this series ended. Quite frankly the final three books were a meandering mess that just added a bunch of crap to delay the Arlen and Jardir conclusions.

My spoilerific series review below. While I still enjoyed a lot of this series I would not recommend it to people.

DEMON CYCLE/WARDED MAN SERIES REVIEW

This was an interesting series. It had a great start but unfortunately the rest of the series saw a downgrade in quality and some questionable writing as the series continued to its five book conclusion. The original book was my favourite.

PREMISE
I really enjoyed the world. This unique combination of demons that rise during the night/dark and get killed by the sun was interesting. The world also hints of a post-apoplectic society that was once more advanced (concrete and electricity) so I was interested in the origins of this world. The dates and timeline are “After the Return” and so what happened and why are we here now interested me? There were wards and interesting characters. The first book focuses on the main character Arlen Bales and tells his story. He was probably my favourite character although over the last 2-3 books he reverts to a “hick” accent and no longer comes across as the intelligent protagonist of this series. The other main characters are all interesting too.

Jardir is highlighted in book two along with his Krasian culture. The first two books use flashbacks to fill in the blanks of the characters past and help us understand their decisions. This method isn’t really used in the final three books. I was perfectly happy with this. But book two also introduces us to Peter Brett’s obsession with sex, rape and a culture where women are subservient to men. Men in the Krasian culture can marry many women and these women are trained to be fantastic in bed. Most major female characters are gorgeous women with big boobs and great in bed trying to please their men. There are a couple of “short dick” jokes in the series as well. Some of this stuff can be fine but the abundance of it and the way it was written make it seem more like a male teenager writing in a juvenile manner. I tolerated this stuff for the most part because I did really enjoy the world, the characters and was invested to finding out why the world existed in its current format, the source of the magic and future telling and how this story would end.

DISAPPOINTING, DRAWN OUT FINAL THREE BOOKS
While there are certainly some big moments in the final three books and some cliffhangers after book three and four, these books were drawn out far too long. Everything could have been done in two books or maybe even one. The story just drags out and starts to involve new minor characters or bring back old minor characters for no great purpose. Abban, Hasik, Ragen, Ellisa, Briar, all the other Krasian kids - we are given more stories and human to human conflict and it feels like it was all for nothing. The only thing that really mattered was Arlen and Jardir and the ultimate fight against the Queen Demon. But the author just spins its wheels with them and they are absent for unexplainably long sequences. Yes their final fight is good but it really felt like nothing else mattered. I found myself feeling annoyed at how long it was taking to get to the meat of the story. The pace and flow of this series just wasn’t as good as it should be.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
I had all sorts of questions. What had happened in the past? How were the humans able to use demon bones to predict the future and create their own magic? The book talked about Euchor’s secret library as though there was so much hidden greatness that maybe there were clues to the demons in there. Why did music affect the demons and hurt them so much? What role did Olive Paper have and why two sets of genitals? Ultimately almost none of these questions were answered. The book always had a conflict between Arlen and Jardir over religion and a creator and the final chapter of Arlen answered a little of that for this world and some of the wards. But it was a weak and unfulfilling answer that didn’t explain nearly enough for me. Renna eating the mind brain was pretty useless too.

I gave the first book a 4.5/5. Second book 4 out of 5 and the rest 3.5 out of 5 and maybe 3 out of 5 for the final book because I was disappointed with the lack of answers. I never expect to have everything answered but this felt hollow. Abban was so important? Really? Had to live with the sadistic Hasik crap just so he can hold off a mind demon in a useless struggle which meant nothing when Arlen just destroyed everything before getting swallowed by the Core. I simply feel a more experienced author would have been able to weave in other characters to the story better AND make their story matter! And hopefully answer a few more questions along the way. Instead this was really just a series of Arlen and Jardir and everything else was fluff. Disappointed.
 

ReguIa

Journeyed there and back again
#28
@rudyjuly2 Sad to hear you're disappointed. I might just end up reading a summary instead of continuing with book 3. I have Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, Hyperion Cantos, Red Rising, Gentleman Bastard and Realm of the Elderlings on my tbr right now. That'll keep me going for a long time.

It sucks though. I was really interested in the whole lore/mythology in DC and Arlen was a character I liked alot.

Knife of Dreams is a massive improvement in Wheel of Time btw, holy shit.
 

Zave

Got in a fistfight with Dresden
#30
I've heard a lot of people give this series a high rating, here and elsewhere, but for some reason I just didn't like it. I read it a few years ago, so don't remember much, but I recall finding it pretty corny and the characters one-dimensional. Maybe it's just me...
yup, also the final book was basically a Durzo ex machina from what i remember, really forgettable books and also author, i had started the black prism series because it was reccomended to me on this forum but even though the guy told me that the author had improved a lot since night angel i still didn't think it was the case after reading the first and second books.
 

afa

Journeyed there and back again
#31
I felt Knife of Dreams was a very good book and it got the series back on track after books 7-10 disappointed me.
Ditto. A lot of people give Sanderson credit for "saving" the series with the last 3 books, but the fact is Jordan had already gotten back on track with Knife of Dreams.
 

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#33
A lot of people give Sanderson credit for "saving" the series with the last 3 books,
Oh, no! Never that. Yes, we have to give him credit for finishing the series, but “saving it”? What hubris.
 

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#34
Just heard of Jodi Taylor’s “St. Mary’s Chronicles” and downloaded the Kindle sample.

I think the idea is nice, but the prose did not manage to convince me.
Perhaps I’m too old, perhaps the style is too corny, perhaps the character (from the little I read, maybe 20% of the first book) is too mary-sue-ish, but the vibe I got was “Connie Willis’ Doomesday book, but you bought it off Wish”.

So nah, and I might re-read the Doomesday Book instead.