September 2015 - What fantasy books are you reading?

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
However, when I had nearly finished the book my old gripes with Kvothe again came to the forefront. He's just such an ass. He appears to be physically all powerful, a self declared genius (and he succeeds in almost anything he sets his mind to), arrogant beyond belief, self-righteous, and basically a big whiney emo. Don't get me wrong, Kvothe's character is very well fleshed out. The problem is that there are not many redeemable qualities in him.
Also, he's the only fleshed out character. All the others, including his love interest, are one dimensional puppets. They're unbelievably shallow. I particularly dislike how everyone just seems like a prop in Kvothe's story.
Also, the dialogue is a bit overbearing. People just don't talk like that in real life.
I completely agree. Name of the Wind is highly overrated but I don't think it's main selling point is the main character for most people. On the contrary you clearly got some enjoyment out of the book despite the fact that you hate Kvothe's guts and want him dead. I got a lot of enjoyment out of the early parts of the book and didn't begin disliking Kvothe until he developed into a pompous ass and the plot started meandering all over the place. That's when I knew Patrick Rothuss is a bad novel writer and the fact it's taking him so long to churn out the next book in the series is also indicative of that as well. I think he would be better in the short format.
 

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
I'm a big fan of NotW, but I do agree that Kvothe has some annoying qualities and both books have flaws that are hard to miss. Kvothe bragging about himself didn't bother me too much. We know that whatever he did to be so famous, it was a really big deal (king killer, after all). At the point of his life from which he is telling the story, maybe he has every right to brag. I also don't mind that he is smart or talented, because as lyraseven explained he's really only gifted at the things he was trained at from an early age.

So what did bother me?
1) Denna is a truly shitty character. In terms of talent, she's somehow Kvothe's perfect compliment, but unlike him she doesn't have the backstory that makes it make sense! She's annoying, and she makes Kvothe do nothing for 20-50 pages at a time.
2) Slippage wasn't mentioned in the first book, and it should have been. Additionally, in attempting to explain how energy is conserved during sympathy, I think Rothfuss broke the realism. Slippage means that your body can be heated (or other energetic equivalents) from a poor sympathetic link. In the first book, however, we're introduced to binder's chills, where too much body heat was drawn from the body. Whats to stop Kvothe from trying to link the sun to a piece of cheese and using the heat generated from the slippage to provide power whatever other link he wants without risking binder's chills?
3) The weird trip away from the University near the end of the first book was underwhelming and unnecessary. I blame Denna.
4) We fell WAY behind the timeline that Rothfuss needs to stick to in order to wrap this up as a trilogy. I blame Denna.
5) Probably because we fell way behind, so many of the things that happened in the second book felt like Rothfuss was working down a list. Kvothe should be good at sex, so I'll have him learn from a crazy sex fairy. Kvothe should be a formidable fighter, so I'll have him study with the Adem.

Ranking the two books I'd give NotW a 10/10 and AWMF a 7/10. The 7/10 is the result of a few really bad-ass scenes that rank among my favorites and that really brought up the score. I'm sort of scared about book 3, because I really don't want this to go the way of Blood Song.
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
Finished Memory Sorrow Thorn. Absolutely bloody brilliant, I adored To Green Angel Tower, one of the best fantasy books I've read. Great end to a great series.

I've just checked back on an old thread, and I started reading The Dragonbone Chair on September 20, 2014. So I'm pleased to say I comfortably finished this series well within 1 calendar year!

I'm going to read The Sane King next by @MattKnott (whilst cracking on with Assail), but then I'll almost certainly be picking up something Sci-Fi. That's the plan in any case.
 

Griffin

Journeyed there and back again
Instead of the books I mentioned on the previous page I started The Ocean at the End of the Lane instead. It's my first foray into Gaiman's work and it shows splendid characterisation so far and a haunting atmosphere at times.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
I think I was unique in not enjoying The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I found it very 'for its own sake'; without any real story or purpose, just a narration of a guy-we-don't-care-about's exploration of his childhood.

I completely agree about Denna from KKC. What a bland, inane, glorified hooker. Rothfuss has admitted he dropped the ball in writing both her and Kvothe's 'love' for her, but it doesn't change that he acts and thinks like a very young boy with a crush, not a mature person in genuine love. That would be fine, except the framing story/present day Kvothe bang on and on about how awesome she was and how it was true love.

I think a recurring theme in the series is that however brilliant Kvothe may be, he's ultimately socially and emotionally retarded (much like Fitz) and I choose to believe his belief that his infatuation with Denna was anything more is part of that.
Haha, thanks for that! And also for your points @Darwin. You guys managed to make me enjoy the second book a bit better.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
I'm going to read The Sane King next
Thank for the mention Tom, it also led to two others in the "customers also bought" listings. It's quite new, how did you know about it? I would start right now but as I'm immersed in the Shadowmarch series, I won't come up for air until after the fourth book.
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thank for the mention Tom, it also led to two others in the "customers also bought" listings. It's quite new, how did you know about it? I would start right now but as I'm immersed in the Shadowmarch series, I won't come up for air until after the fourth book.
Well, Matt is a forum user, and we know him from our twitter account, so with my attempt to read more self published works this year, it seemed a logical next step :) Plus he sent me a free copy, which helped :)
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
Thanks Tom. It certainly sounds good and right in my wheelhouse. Good luck Matt and thanks for having it in KU.
 

Fantam

Journeyed there and back again
Finished Memory Sorrow Thorn. Absolutely bloody brilliant, I adored To Green Angel Tower, one of the best fantasy books I've read. Great end to a great series.

I've just checked back on an old thread, and I started reading The Dragonbone Chair on September 20, 2014. So I'm pleased to say I comfortably finished this series well within 1 calendar year!
Really glad that you stuck with this series and enjoyed it Tom. I thought that the ending was good too ! :D

I'm going to read The Sane King next by @MattKnott .
Just had a quick look at this on Amazon, and liked both the preview and cover. :) So, another to add to the mental tbr list, and will look forward to hearing how you enjoy it.
 

Griffin

Journeyed there and back again
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
As a first foray into Gaiman's work it's setting quite a standard. Succint, yet fullfilling. The author created a perfectly believable seven-year-old and I especially liked how the narrative of the older version sometimes bled through.

The story is a great modern Grimm tale with a spooky antagonist who corrupted the boy's family and yet did not for the sake of being evil. Won't spoil why that person did it, but it's ambivalent.

In conclusion I quite liked the story and give it 7,5-8/10.
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
As a first foray into Gaiman's work it's setting quite a standard. Succint, yet fullfilling. The author created a perfectly believable seven-year-old and I especially liked how the narrative of the older version sometimes bled through.

The story is a great modern Grimm tale with a spooky antagonist who corrupted the boy's family and yet did not for the sake of being evil. Won't spoil why that person did it, but it's ambivalent.

In conclusion I quite liked the story and give it 7,5-8/10.
You must read Stardust. It's the most moving and magical of Gaiman's books, and hopefully you'll be bowled over by its wonderfulness just as I was.
 

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
Finished Queen of Fire. I am one of those people who found books 2 and 3 of this series disappointing. There was a lot of repetition and the villains were too one-dimensional. The character development present in Blood Song was lacking here.

Also I hate villains who are just crazy. Because it is an excuse for them to do any old thing the author thinks of, whether it serves the story or not.

Started The Flames of Shadam Khoreh by Bradley P. Beaulieu. I read the first two books of this series years ago after picking them up at Barnes & Noble. I went to Amazon a few years back and wondered why the hell it was selling for $90. Turns out it had to do with the Night Shade Books meltdown. But I went to the author's blog and he was selling them out of boxes in his garage for a reasonable price, so I bought it directly from him. (I don't like having mixed paper and ebook copies in a series, and I had #1 and #2 in paper.) Only realized yesterday that he had signed the book and written a note on the first page. In late 2013. My TBR pile is too big...
 

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
@Sneaky Burrito I've been halfway done with the 3rd one since a week after it came out. In that time I've re-read the Mistborn Trilogy and The Heroes to resolve the deep dissatisfaction that builds within me after just a chapter or two of Queen of Fire. I can't remember a series where I so quickly went from being immersed in the characters to feeling completely disconnected and apathetic toward them. Some of my very favorite series consist of multiple main character POVs, Wheel of Time, ASoIaF, The First Law, etc. and I've never had this happen before.
 

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
@Sneaky Burrito I've been halfway done with the 3rd one since a week after it came out. In that time I've re-read the Mistborn Trilogy and The Heroes to resolve the deep dissatisfaction that builds within me after just a chapter or two of Queen of Fire. I can't remember a series where I so quickly went from being immersed in the characters to feeling completely disconnected and apathetic toward them. Some of my very favorite series consist of multiple main character POVs, Wheel of Time, ASoIaF, The First Law, etc. and I've never had this happen before.
I don't think it's the multiple POVs that ruined it for me. Except that book 1 differed markedly from books 2 and 3 in that book 1 only had one POV (not counting the historian) so you really got to know Vaelin. And that depth was never achieved for me with the other characters.

Problems with the other POVs:

I just couldn't get into Reva. She was hellbent on a mission at the beginning of book 2 and gave over too easily. Also she wasn't even in the first book, it's like she was an afterthought. My indifference continued on into book 3.

I liked Frentis, initially, but hated the first half of book 2 (him with that woman). Every subsequent thought of her irritated me. And of course there were the dreams in book 2.

Lyrna became less interesting in book 3. At least in book 2, some stuff happened with her. Now it's just like "oops, I made this big mistake and lots of people died, ok let's move on to the next big mistake."
 

YordanZh

A Poet of the Khaiem
I started the Malazan series recently but atm I'm taking a quick break from them with Legends of Verra: Voice of Darkness by J. M. Hagan. It's a fellow indie debut from this year. It's a quite short and quick read, filled with raw violence. Nothing special overall. It's easy to read, the writing is good, but not great, the story is typical, but has a bit too many characters for a short novel. Overall I find it pleasant - a nice break before I go back to the huge Malazan books. Again, nothing special tho.
 

Fantam

Journeyed there and back again
Just finished The City & The City, which had a very interesting though unnatural urban setting for a murder investigation.

Well written as usual by China Mieville, I was absorbed by this thriller, but would have liked some subsequent explanation for the fantastical background.
 

Khartun

Journeyed there and back again
Just finished The Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding. The Ketty Jay books are excellent.

I'm now starting Blood Song by Anthony Ryan.
 

Nuomer1

Journeyed there and back again
You must read Stardust. It's the most moving and magical of Gaiman's books, and hopefully you'll be bowled over by its wonderfulness just as I was.
Stardust is also one of very few stories where I liked both the book and the film.
Become more familiar with Gaiman's style before tackling American Gods - I think it is excellent, but I can understand that some people just don't appreciate it. It is a bit long for the first Gaiman for a new reader to try.
I have heard rumours that American Gods is to be filmed or televised - can anyone confirm?