It's September 2017 - What fantasy books are you reading?

Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by TomTB, Sep 1, 2017.

  1. Matticus Primal

    Matticus Primal Journeyed there and back again

    Yeah, I loved the little details, which were a wonderful combination of the familiar and fantastical. Little stuff like peeing on the crops because of the drought went a long way in my book.

    And I'm not a huge proponent of an arc all the time (believe me, I argue a lot about this with my boss). There are certain tales, Westerns in particular, where I believe the arc works to the story's detriment. The Gunslinger seemed more an episodic work, ala Conan (who also never arced), and I would argue that the point of more episodic works is to maintain the unchanging main character as s/he experiences weird, sort of random adventures. Yes, Roland had a goal throughout the book, but most of his adventures throughout were sort of random asides until the final confrontation.

    It's not until book two that the serial elements really appear in the Dark Tower IMO, which is why Roland begins arcing. Or what I would call getting sissified.
  2. wakarimasen

    wakarimasen Journeyed there and back again

    Wassup litches?

    I've been absent from the boards for a goodly amount of time, and I can't say my days have got any quieter which would allow me to return in strength.
    However... I'm just reaching the end of the Liveship series on audiobook so I can't resist a quick reviewette before running away.

    Book 1: 3.8 /5
    Book 2: 3.9/5
    Book 3: 4/5

    Summary: I found the some of the characterisations in the early books to be simply too induldgent. They laboured some character traits so much that the characters, which I found perfectly fine at first, began to look less dimensional rather than more. I think where it really wins though is the originality. At no point in the future is someone going to say "do you remember the liveship books?" and I'll have to think "yeah... which ones were they..?"
    The series has a distinctive flavour and some really original concepts that could have been terrible but actually work really well. There's a massive time skip (end of 2 I think) which I wonder if it was the work of the editor. If so, good job Ed. It was getting a bit tedious trying to work through the plot threads to where the inevitable reunions would occur. Overall I would recommend the series, but after recomending others.
    As an audio book, the reader's diction was so angular it could be rolled as a dice. At first I thought Siri was reading it to me. It softens though, and their professional chops come through in the delivery of the characters. I didn't notice it by book 2 and warmed to it by book 3.

    Bit of a drive-by review. Stay frosty people. Hopefully I'll have some time to drop by and natter soon...
  3. Anti_Quated

    Anti_Quated Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune

    Finished The Gunslinger. I was rather ambivalent toward it until the duel with Cort. I had Morricone's soundtrack for Il Buono, Il Cattivo, et Il Brutto - got to The Ecstacy of Gold just as Roland's grim smile stared down the pugnacious disfigurement of his mentor. And then, I was sold. The only displeasing part for me is that I waited too long to begin reading this series, and I'm struggling to picture Roland as he is, and not as fucking Idris Elba (who is a fine actor notwithstanding). I can handle McConaughey as Walter O'Dim, largely based on the actor's performance in True Detective, but Elba is just.not.Roland, and it has somewhat sullied the image I am otherwise trying to cultivate in my head of how Roland looks.

    The brief physical delineations suggest a lanky, pallid man - pale save for the blistering sunburn of his desert journey, topped with long-ish thinning salt and pepper hair. More akin to Cole from Brom's Devil's Rose (who I suspect is inspired by Roland anyway, and with those gaunt features is reminiscent of the haggard, emaciated appearance of McConaughey in TD - full circle reference ;)). So it's an odd imaginative scenario where I'm picturing the campfire revelation between McConaughey's Walter and this weird amalgamated Rolan, and it was a trifle jarring.

    Irrespective, the book itself was a struggle initially for what seemed little more than a pedestrian and blatantly salacious effort stuffed with a few myths/tropes of The Old West. Once King (and I) moved past these into some of Roland's background and crossed the desert, things picked up superbly, and I was much more entertained and engaged. I do sincerely hope your appraisal is correct @Alucard , in that the series broadens and plays to the later strengths of The Gunslinger that I am now quite glad I continued for.

    I also thought that
    the infinite universe/sandgrain thing was a wearisome, overplayed philosophical nugget - until I recalled that King's effort may have been one of the earliest fantasies to actually draw upon such a notion. The mocking, disconcerting suggestion Walter offers though about a tear or hole opening in the night sky, the cracked egg aphorism, and how Roland (or himself) might react to the emergence of the fiery blue light of a greater universe beyond comprehension... that colossal sense of Time, and how wretchedly insignificant all else seems beneath the shadow of such a monolithic truth... the final hook. Bugger me if it took the whole book to get there, but I couldn't help a grin at the nihilistic sentiment, and Walter's sudden admission of his own insecurities in considering such higher truths of consciousness.

    So, in the end, I am most intrigued to see how this epic plays out, and am grateful for the advice to stay the course. On to the Drawing of the Three.
  4. Peat

    Peat Journeyed there and back again

    I'm going on having finished one book each by them but yes, I think McClellan is better. I think McClellan takes Sanderson's strengths and then adds better prose and characters. I also jive a lot closer to McClellan's ideas of humour and sexuality.

    The guy who persuaded me to try McClellan said he was better than Sanderson too, for what ever that's worth.
  5. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater Journeyed there and back again

    IMO, Sanderson is very good yet overrated. He has a tremendous following that seem to believe his shit doesn't stink. Almost god like among writers. You, however, do point out, more realistically, that (in your opinion?) his strengths are "great magic systems, good stories, and OK characters. Great, good, and OK. Averaged out I believe it comes out to "very good". OK (mediocre) characters are a huge deal to many. Perhaps a deal breaker. I personally believe, as much as I enjoy some of Sandersons books, that there are better writers whose prose is beautiful, write great stories with incredible characters, and present "good" magic systems. Give me Tad Williams and Guy Gavriel Kay over Brandon Sanderson every time. But if you prefer Sanderson that is your prerogative and while my opinion and reasoning may be different than yours I would never debate you on who YOU should like better.
  6. Maark Abbott

    Maark Abbott Journeyed there and back again

    He can do good stories, but doesn't always (i.e. WoK having next to no story or driving narrative whatsoever).

    He can do good characters at least once, but then uses their identical archetypes in subsequent unrelated works* and just makes them mopier and I'm not about that life and it's a big reason that I've gone off of him. He also can't do relationships for the life of him.

    He can do good magic systems, but belabours explaining the mechanisms of the same, and generally his best systems are in his early works. Later ones are lazily done.

    I think I need to check GGK out at some point. TW is also on my radar.

    *the cosplay is a lie
  7. Hikerike

    Hikerike Drinks Elfbark tea with FitzChivalry

    Yeah i hear you. I wasnt really trying to say that anyones opinion of writers are wrong, or convince anyone that my opinion is right. I was just amazed that people liked McClellan so much, and gave my quick opinion of why i like sanderson. I guess i came of as patronizing in my first post which was not my intention, Whenever i read something good at the moment it is the best thing that has ever happened, the author is best and the story is awesome and there is no better story/book out there. It takes a while for me to digest, settle down and think clearly what i really thought of a book. I figured thats what happened in the post i quoted which isnt really fair to him.
    Id also take GGK over Sanderson. Tigana and Lions of Al-rassan are propably the best stand alone books i've ever read.
  8. Peat

    Peat Journeyed there and back again

    This place would be pretty boring without light heartedly kicking out these sort of opinions for shigs and gittles :p
  9. kenubrion

    kenubrion Journeyed there and back again

    Hikerike, you should reread your post because you sound like you agree with me:) Yeah I mean it. He's the real deal all around. I read Sins of Empire before Crimson Campaign and Autumn Republic because I bought it on sale and then going back to the two earlier books, his writing was the same, polished and professional and with a unique style that makes him better to read than the mentors IMO. And you're right, the high of finishing is there and it was augmented by my former putting it off to read because I thought the premise of gunpowder making superheroes was a suspension of disbelief too far, but I was quite wrong.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
  10. Kalavan

    Kalavan Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    Read the first 2 installments in Michael McClung’s Amra Thetys series, an extremely captivating and fast-paced sword and sorcery series, that I’ve greatly enjoyed in spite of two of my least tolerated pet peeves: the first person narrator – of which I’m usually not a fan, Raymond Chandler and a few others excluded, but that McClung managed to write masterfully - and the Strong Female Protagonist.
    Which is actually a kind of MC I was quite fond of, but that I was growing to resent more and more after suffering through several ludicrous or simply trivial incarnations of such a stereotype. The eponymous heroine is instead easy to root and sympathize for, fierce and stubborn, believable and well-defined.

    Now onto John Gwynne’s Malice, as I’ve mentioned in another thread a generic, at times even pedestrian, but reasonably engaging and entertaining epic fantasy book
  11. MorteTorment

    MorteTorment Knows Who John Uskglass Is

    Glad you liked Prince of Thorns. Hope that you like Red Sister too.

    And I just finished Shadowdance 3: A dance of mirrors.

    Another great title in the Shadowdance series. Love how much Haern was was tested in this, and it's amazing who ends up barely survives. Loved how the main group of enemies this time were the elves(and not Dark Elves) who are sick of how greedy humankind is. They kind of have a point too, and ti was different seeing a villain who I could see their point of view for the first time in the series. Looking forward to more.

    Completing it also marks the second time this month where I finish 3 books in a week. Feeling so happy about that! :D

    Edit: Decided to start another promising sounding 90's Forgotten Realms trilogy. Went with Finder's Stone. Currently reading book 1: Azure Bonds by Jeff Grubb and Kate Novak REALLY into it right now, as I went to bed reading it, and I forced myself to stay awake and read just 2 more chapters then my body wanted to. So damn good! So glad I'm reading Young Adult fantasy now!

    It's about this female adventurer who wakes up after a few days after mass intoxication with different clothes, and has found these unusual magic tattoos all over her body. She seeks to find out what they are, and how to remove them. It kinda feels like Planescape Torment in a sense, aka the game my name references.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
  12. Maark Abbott

    Maark Abbott Journeyed there and back again

    I'm ready any time.
  13. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater Journeyed there and back again

    I'm a tad over halfway through The Thousand Names (book one of the Shadow Campaigns). Not sure how I feel about it so far. I've been reading the last few months at what is a torrid pace for me. But I've already spent 10 days on this. Normally, I would've completed 2-3 books in that time period.

    It may be partially because I've been wasting time on fantasy football and spending a bit of time on the real McCoy, but I'm also not all that eager to pick the book up. Once I'm reading I think it's pretty good but I'm not excited by it. I don't have anything negative to say about it. I like the characters although I see nothing very special about them. IMO the book is written well enough. Decent plot but rather mundane. At this point I really don't know if I'll continue with the series. Do I remember reading somewhere that it goes downhill somewhat after book one? Well, still too early to judge.
  14. Kalavan

    Kalavan Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    No, I'm eagerly awaiting the last installment of the Shadow Campaigns, and I think that every book in this series is better than the previous one - although The Thousand Names is still a personal favorite o'mine, due to the unusual setting and my predilection for military fantasy.
    But they do become quite different beasts after the first book: a completely different setting, much less focus on the military in favour of political aspects, and a much better -although still far from perfect - characterization.
  15. rudyjuly2

    rudyjuly2 A Poet of the Khaiem

    Taking me a little while to get through the Dragonbone Chair. I'm about 60% done. The first 150-200 pages were really slow. Overly descriptive and not a lot of dialogue between characters. Plus the main character Simon isn't someone I really love or anything. But it has picked up with some interesting characters and journey. I do wonder if this would have been better written in more POVs than Tad did. He was young when he wrote this trilogy.
  16. kenubrion

    kenubrion Journeyed there and back again

    The Mad Lancers, the longest Powder Mage novella. After that I've read everything Brian McClellan has written and have to wait until March 6 2018 for book 2 of the second trilogy, Wrath of Empire.
  17. Hand of Fear

    Hand of Fear Journeyed there and back again

    I finished reading Wolves of the Calla yesterday, and it was definitely better than Wizard and Glass. The book felt more like the first three books, the only thing I didn't like was Callahan's tale. It wasn't really that long but it felt as if it was, I just found it boring and uninteresting. The book ended with a few what-the-fuck moments, and it has setup the next book very nicely indeed.

    This was also the book that actually made me like Susannah better, which I'm really grateful for especially since the next book is called 'The Song of Susannah' and I'm looking forward to how it plays out. One of the things I really like is the way these books are connected to each other, and also how these books are linked to some of his other books.
  18. Hand of Fear

    Hand of Fear Journeyed there and back again

    I agree with this definitely more fantasy than horror, it also has a few genres mixed in like Western.
  19. Buffy V Slayer

    Buffy V Slayer Knows Who John Uskglass Is

    Once the journey part gets going, the POV does switch around quite a bit. By book 2 the reader is following several different POVs.

    I didn't particularly like Simon either, when I was first reading - I found he was whiny and immature - but as the story continued, I feel like Williams was doing it on purpose; the story serves as a sort of catalyzation for Simon, showing through the changes in his inner monologue as the story progresses, so that he becomes an adult through the narrative of the story. It's kind of an interesting approach, imo, if you think about it through that lens.
  20. Ryan W. Mueller

    Ryan W. Mueller Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    No, the series gets much better as it goes along. I had a lot of similar feelings about the first book. I liked it, but I wasn't blown away. The second book did blow me away. The third and fourth were also great, with the fourth possibly being my favorite.

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