Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Corporal Blues, Nov 29, 2006.

  1. Corporal Blues

    Corporal Blues I like to rock the party

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    Hey all,

    Has anyone read the Kingdoms of Thorne and Bone series by Greg Keyes?

    If so did you like it? What is the buzz on it?

    I heard it was "Martin-Lite"

    Thanks for your time
     
  2. Rhaegar

    Rhaegar Registered User

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    Martin-lite sums it up very nicely... :)
     
  3. U-Borat

    U-Borat El-Prawno

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    IMO, it's pretty deep fantasy, but it's also 'clean' and not too complicated. Not as good as Erikson/Bakker/Martin, but definitely at the tier below.
     
  4. Mithfânion

    Mithfânion Lord of the Wild Hunt

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    Average work. I read the Briar King and thought it was mediocre, but I had already bought Charnel Prince and hoped it would be more thrilling. It wasn't. There isn't one category in which Keyes really excells in my opinion. The plot is very stop and run, stop and run. The characters are detailed but none of them is interesting to me, they are like charicatures. Worldbuilding like this we have seen many times before. Overall rating: 6 out of 10.
     
  5. SteveF

    SteveF I like candy

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    Really good IMO. I thought the world building and sense of history and mystery in the Briar King was excellent. Charnel Prince didn't reach quite the same heights but was still hugely enjoyable.

    I've seen a few suggestions that it is sub-Martin. People can have their own opinions, but for me this is a fairly meaningless comparison. As far as I am concerned, the series is, so far, excellent fantasy.
     
  6. Big Bubba

    Big Bubba Registered User

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    One of the reasons I enjoy this series is that it is "lite" in the sense that you get the same thing from Keyes in 400 pages that it would take Martin 800 pages to write. The plot is much more focused, and the books are generally free of all the extra baggage you get in the bricks delivered by guys like Erikson, Jordan and Martin. But if you enjoy all those details, you may not like Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone.
     
  7. Mithfânion

    Mithfânion Lord of the Wild Hunt

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    The reason I have a lot of people call this series Martin-lite is because it shares a lot of the same elements but is overall a much lighter, far less complex and far less developed saga. GRRM is Keyes' master in just about every area of Fantasy writing, but some people feel there is enough overlap in what sort of story Keyes is writing, that they call him Martin-lite.

    I guess I can see where they're coming from. I love Coca Cola as well, but Cola Light has a bad aftertaste.
     
  8. Iskaral Pust

    Iskaral Pust Registered User

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    I wasn't too impressed by the Briar King (though I haven't read any further into the series). I just felt that I'd read it all before, he doesn't do anything new with the genre. And unfortunately he doesn't have the flare for description and dialogue that makes, for example, Martin so enjoyable.
    Overall, a resounding 'meh' from me.
     
  9. Physics Knight

    Physics Knight Defender of Cononicals

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    I read the Briar King a year ago. It was enjoyable and fun. I didn't knock my socks off, but then it wasn't awful either. Just a good, solid read that was very entertaining. Much better than the awful cover and horrid prologue would suggest.

    His story is the usual. Politicking, an old evil creeping into the world, knights, a spunky princess, forests, creepy critters. That sort of thing. I see potential in Keyes, because he got me flipping the pages. but he needs to clean himself up a bit. I'll deinatly be watching him.
     
  10. Gildor

    Gildor Gentlemen!!!

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    I like the clean and uncomplicated remark, that certainly rings true with me.

    While the first two books i've read aren't anything special, they are reliably good reads. The characters I found engaging, they wern't too complexly introduced, or spurting any dense philosophy, or proving to be arduos to read about. The story was the standard ancient evil device, plus the usual politics, mad relatives, that sort of thing.

    I'm with Physics Knight, in that it had me flipping the pages. I think this is simply because its a steady and adventurous, decently written few books.
     
  11. SteveF

    SteveF I like candy

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    Yes, I think this is a good point. It does zip along at a fair old pace by comparison with Martin. In general, I don't think it is as strong as Song of Ice and Fire. However, I still think the links with Martin are slightly unfair; why do we continually need to make these comparisons? I'd much rather judge the series on its merits; namely engaginly written characters, a decent bit of world building and, IMO, a nice sense of mythology and history.

    The books won't go down in fantasy history as one of the true greats. However I think it is well worth people's time.

    PS; I like the 'clean' description too!
     
  12. Corporal Blues

    Corporal Blues I like to rock the party

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    hey, thanks for the info. By the way, how long is the series? I think three books are out. I dont like waiting around to finish a series...I'll probably have to re-read SoIaF four times before that one's finished.

    GRRM still rules though.
     
  13. Eventine

    Eventine Uh, Staff Member

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    Why compare this to Martin? Because he uses roatating POV's? Half the epic authors do it these days.
    Greg Kete's is doing something very different to Martin here - he's writing a storyline that moves along at a cracking pace without a lot of the filler that you find inepic fantasy todays. They're entertaining, fun, fast moving adventure books.
    The thing I think he does well is to create a cast of fantasy character archetypes that he manages to make interesting through good character development and some interesting twists.

    If I was going to compare to any epic series, it would be Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars, and only then for the emergence of mythical beasts and the characters reaction to them. I'm not sure there's much value comparing any epic series though. As far as I'm concerned it's an entertaining, well written adventure story and I'd recommend it.

    The series will conclude in the next book, making a total of 4 books.
     
  14. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    I've been enjoying this series very much since Day one. It is only natural to compare this series to its contemporaries. That said, I conducted and interview with Mr. Keyes a few years ago some of you may be interested in reading: http://www.sffworld.com/interview/28p0.html

    True, the series does draw on some familiar sources and follows a large cast of characters, but not many of his contemporarires have the same pacing.


    Lastly, newer members may wish to gauge their opinions on this series against what others have said in the past. Here are the threads:
    Greg Keyes - Martin clone???
    Greg Keyes (I know it was last updated in 2004)
    The Briar King: a review (Again 2004, but some good discussions)
     
  15. Rilzik

    Rilzik Registered User

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    I liked it so far. Also I don't think it is anything like Martin. It is fast paced and thats good too when your in the mood. I like how he leaves every POV change at a huge clifhanger and after every switch your like WTF, you can't do that.
     
  16. saintjon

    saintjon Illustrious Gambler

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    It bears mentioning I think that Keyes writes really top-notch action scenes. I feel he writes with a strong visual style, I keep imagining many of his scenes as artwork, which usually comes out very compelling in my mind. For some of the fight/action scenes I mentioned it usually comes out like top-notch anime in my head. I'm waiting til I get through Kate Elliot's In The Ruins to read the Blood Knight, and it's been awhile since I read any Keyes but I remember getting big kicks out of some parts, like when Aspar was having a running archery battle in the forest with some bandits, good stuff.
     
  17. Physics Knight

    Physics Knight Defender of Cononicals

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    That was one thing I found annoying, actually. Minid you it DID keep me hooked, but I found every chapter ending in a cliffhanger to feel artificial and just a contrived device to hook readers. It worked, but I felt a little cheated.

    Now some comments on the old Briar King review thread, which I just read. I saw the original cover for Brair King (the yellow one), and it looked very classy and sophisticated. What were they thinking changing it? The one I bought (red with the ugly guy) is horrible. (not that I think Asper is ugly. I picture him as being rugged, but handsome.) I would never have picked it up in the store, but it was given to me as a gift. It was near the bottom of my (very long) to-read pile until a friend borrowed it and gushed about it. Sometimes I wonder about these marketing people. Now Charnel Prince and Blood Knight are okay, I guess, but I still prefer the original.

    I suppose also after reading that thread, I have to admit that BK is full of sterotypes. But for some reason, they worked in this book.
     
  18. saintjon

    saintjon Illustrious Gambler

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    I have to agree. I dont' care if Neil is the most cliched character of all time, I love that dude.
     
  19. Werthead

    Werthead Registered User

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    Erm, you've just described the first three ASoIaF books as well, which also use the rotating POV device (although admittedly he doesn't always end each one on a cliffhanger, but certainly he leaves most of them on a climax of some kind).

    According to Keyes' website, the fourth and final book, The Born Queen, might be out in about 12 months' time. Apparently he's doing this one faster as he doesn't have any Star Wars books to distract him this time around.
     
  20. Corporal Blues

    Corporal Blues I like to rock the party

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    Thanks for all the replies. I really appreciate it. It seems like most folks who've read the books like them to some extent. "Martin-Lite" dosen't necessarily sound like a bad thing, (it's not like it's lite beer).

    I think I'll have to read these books some time soon.

    Thanks for your help.