Dennis L. McKiernan

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Cymric, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. Cymric

    Cymric cynical master of time

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    Could someone help me with this author I have recently picked one of his books at a used bookstore and I am wondering if he is any good. I am intrested in the Mithgar seris (which the book I bought is a part of) but I have no idea where to start if he is any good. Someone help please.
     
  2. Serq

    Serq New Member

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    Cymric, I've read his "Once Upon a Winter's Night", which was set in Mithgar. I'd never heard of him before that and the only reason I bought the book was because the hero had the same name as my boyfriend at the time - Alain. :eek:

    It was a light read, but I enjoyed it.
     
  3. Hereford Eye

    Hereford Eye Just Another Philistine

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    I find him to be as good and maybe a cut above anyone publishing today. I read The Silver Call Duology first but I don't think that is necessarily the first. Will defer to Hobbit on sequencing but I will offer that my favorites are Voyage of the Fox Rider and Tales From the One-Eyed Crow.
     
  4. Erfael

    Erfael Lemurs!!! Staff Member

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    I only read the Hel's Crucible Duology, which had nothing specific wrong with it, but I was not really impressed. There wasn't really anything there to make it anything special either. Since reading that, he's gone on my "Not really bad, but a waste of good reading time nonetheless" list for me.
     
  5. Spears&Buckler

    Spears&Buckler MJ Dusseault

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    McKiernan is nothing but a blatant ripoff of Tolkien. If you've read The Lord of the Rings, there is no need to waste your time with McKiernan.
     
  6. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    Just about everyone in genre fantasy has ripped off Tolkein in one way or another, and Tolkein himself ripped off a bunch of ancient literature, so let's not be so quick to dismiss folk, I'd suggest. You found MCKiernan boring and unoriginal, 'nuff said.

    But I have gotten interested in McKiernan's Mithgar series. Usually I like to try and read the first book in a series if I can and then if I like it, work my way through, but I don't know which is the first book or collection in that series and I don't know if I can get ahold of it, so is it one of those things where you could read just about any book in the series without previous knowledge or do you have to start at some particular point? I'm interested in hearing from those who have read and liked McKiernan about the works and then I'll read and make up my own mind.
     
  7. Spears&Buckler

    Spears&Buckler MJ Dusseault

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    Sorry. Cymric asked for an opinion and I gave it.

    As far as his first book, I believe it is The Dark Tide, which is the first in the Iron Tower trilogy. It is followed by Shadows of Doom and then The Darkest Day.
     
  8. Dominus

    Dominus Acolyte of Cainism

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    I'm just going to agree with Spears and leave it at that. I just found McKiernan to lack any true quality in his works, I was never able to feel like I knew his characters to any depth I would like, the plots weren't imaganitive at all, and the dialogue was just stale. Of course, I haven't read any of his books since 4 years or so ago so I may be remembering a few things wrong, I just know I found him boring.
     
  9. msmosser

    msmosser New Member

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  10. Kaellyn

    Kaellyn Registered User

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    I have read a his Iron Tower Trilogy, Silver Call Duology, and Dragondoom so far. I enjoyed all of them and plan on reading the rest of his work, but my favorite so far is Dragondoom. Also I do agree that some of his stuff does rip off Tolkien quite a bit, especially in the second book of the Iron Tower Trilogy, but don't let that stop you from reading his books.
     
  11. estranghero

    estranghero Lord Deceiver

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    Hrm...

    Well, I first read Dragondoom and found it a great and exceptional read. Is still one my fave fantasy reads ever. (It actually has one of the great dialogues I've also ever read, which I thought of posting.)

    However, I thought the Iron Tower trilogy (which I read next) was a bit derivative and never got into his Silver Call duology (though it was at least different).

    I've tried out his stand-alones (The Eye of the Hunter, Voyage of the Fox Rider, and The Dragonstone) and though they were interesting, I thought McKiernan had gotten a bit preachy.

    Okay, way too preachy.

    Still, Dragondoom is IT for me.
     
  12. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    Thanks for the link, msmoss. It looks like the order probably doesn't matter, so I may just read one at random to check him out.

    Didn't mean to sound like I'm sitting on your opinion, Spears. A negative opinion is fine and dandy. It's just that accusing someone in genre fantasy of being derivative of Tolkein tends to lead to shouting matches (you all are being so good,) and can be said of just about everybody at this point, including the contemporary fantasy writers. Fantasy itself is derivative of our oldest stories. Of course, copying Tolkein step by step can be very annoying to read. But I'll still check McKiernan out myself because many do seem to enjoy him.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2005
  13. Keyoke

    Keyoke King of the Lurkers.

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    I like McKiernan stuff, always have. And, while I do feel he did ripoff Tolkien, I still really enjoyed his books.

    Though, I did read the first trilogy a loooong time ago. Though, his subsquent novels I really thought were excellent.

    Keyoke
     
  14. vgunn

    vgunn Registered User

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    I think it is a similar case to that of Terry Brooks. While the early efforts certainly did appear a bit too close to Tolkien, I think both of the author's later works have strayed and found their own identity.

    I am not really fond of McKiernan overall, but from what I've heard DRAGONDOOM is supposed to be very good (have not read it myself). I believe it is a stand-alone book, so I'd start there and see if you like his writing.
     
  15. drw

    drw Registered User

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    Just had to point out this .. sentence.. because it seems so out of character for your posts KatG. Sort of ValleyGirlIsh :p .

    Anyway, my contribution/question. The only book I have ever seen from McKiernan is The Eye of the Hunter. I tried reading it years ago (probably 7 or so) and couldn't get into it, and have lately been considering trying it again. The link to the chrono. list is nice, but didn't quite spell out clearly enough whether I should read one of the others first, or start with TEotH. (Of course, I have a 2 week old daughter who's sleeping habits have my brain fried atm! :eek: ) Any advice on TEotH first or second..?

    Thanks.
     
  16. msmosser

    msmosser New Member

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    I have been reading them in the order they were published. I have read the silvercall and iron tower series so far. I have all the others, but have not got around to reading them yet. I like what I have read so far.
     
  17. LordGrimm

    LordGrimm New Member

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    Once Upon a Winter's Night is an updated version of Norse/Swedish fairytales, not a part of the Mithgar series. The last proposed book in the series is Red Slippers which was published last year.
     
  18. Grawgos

    Grawgos New Member

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    KatG I don't know you, but I must say you seem very intelligent and I agree whole heartedly with your opinions in this thread.

    I think McKiernan gets a bad rap from alot of people that is not deserved. I read his Iron Tower and silver call series years ago and have recently re-read them and enjoyed them. I think he is a very good author and I have enjoyed his other books too.

    I also agree with Estanghero, Dragondoom is the best of his books.
     
  19. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    ValleyGirl? What do I usually sound like, Eliza Doolittle? :)

    "Dragondoom" sounds interesting, but I want to check out the Mithgar series particularly. I'm mostly just trying to keep up with the field, so we'll see if I like him or not. If I sort of like a Mithgar title, I might try a non-Mithgar book of his. I don't for instance particularly like Brook's Shanara series but do like some other works he's written. Of course, by the time I get around to McKernian on my reading list, he may have moved on to many other things, but I try anyway.

    Thanks for the compliment Grawgos!
     
  20. Nimea

    Nimea Leisure time optimizer

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    KatG,
    but Dragondoom is a Mithgar book. Or did I misunderstand you?

    I think I said so before in all the other threads about McKiernan: I liked part of his books, and some I thought were bad.

    Let's take a look at the Mithgar books in the chronological order (which is not the way I read them):

    The Dragonstone - did not particularly like it; in fact found it boring and had to work to finish it
    The Voyage of the Fox Rider - just like Dragonstone; did so not enjoy it (read it after Dragonstone)
    Hel's Crucible duology - this is the last stuff I read by him and I did not found it that great; it did not grip me very much;
    Dragondoom - a bittersweet story that kept me awake and made me cry; I read it many years ago and the German translation, but I still remember it to be really good
    Tales from the one-eyed Crow: The Vulgmaster - did not read it in this version because I never bothered to get the graphic novel
    Tales of Mithgar - I really liked this story collection! The Vulgmaster is in here. I liked how he filled Mithgar with even more life (and until then I had only known The Iron Tower and Dragondoom)
    The Iron Tower trilogy - the first books I read; enjoyed them greatly; again, this was so many years ago but I still remember how it had affected me and how much I liked it
    Silver Call duology - I think I send out my sister (who was staying some month in London) to get them for me and she had to search quite a while; I liked the story mostly but had problems with the writing and how the story was told - and at that time I was still thrilled by the overall story McKiernan was doing with his Mithgar books
    The Eye of the Hunter - Now this one is also one I loved; it goes on telling a story that was started in Tales of Mithgar; it has the best cast of characters, or at least that's how I remember it
    Silver Wolf, Black Falcon - have it but did not read it yet; I am curious and want to know how he ends his story arc but since the last books I read weren't that great I am rather reluctant to pick it up
    Red Slippers - did not get it so far, but might do so since I have high hopes for his short stories

    About McKiernan and his 'ripping-off': I commented on this on other threads. I think he makes it clear enough in his forwords (esp. to Iron Tower) why he does it and that's not a bad thing. And I really like his story arc that goes through all the books. If he only wrote good constistently ...

    Eh, well, that's what I have to say about him. :eek: