Theft of Swords - The First Riyria Omnibus

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Rob B, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2000
    Messages:
    10,053
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    173
    The time is almost here for the release of Theft of Swords! I just finished the book last night and I liked it a lot. :D:D

    Good layering of plot and backstory throughout, I have to say.

    I'll be interested (as I'm sure Michael and Robin will be) to see what people who read the Ridan versions have to say about these new editions.

    Review to come soon...
     
  2. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,032
    Likes Received:
    30
    Trophy Points:
    73
    Hey Rob, I'm glad you liked the story. Yes I would be most interested in hearing about the differences between the two - although for the most part there are not many. I was happy that Orbit liked the storyline as it was - it did give me an opportunity to tweak things a bit, but I suspect most changes people won't even notice.

    Theft of Swords actually is ALREADY available in the UK - I guess I didn't realize it had an earlier release date until I saw people on facebook and sending me emails that they just picked it up. That is very exciteing.

    Anyway...can't wait to read the review Rob. Please let me know when it goes up.
     
  3. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2000
    Messages:
    10,053
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Michael, you'll be the first to know when the review is live! I think you'll like what I have to say.

    I will say this book might have earned a spot in my personal Omnibus Hall of Fame (© PeterWilliam)
     
  4. PeterWilliam

    PeterWilliam Omnibus Prime

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,471
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Once I've finished grad school (i.e. March 1), I'll get more play-online time. One of the things I am considering is a year-end popular vote, or merely appointment by, of course, myself for the omnibus award. All are eligible, however once awarded, that particular omnibus goes out of future runnings. It shall be called.....what else would I call it?.....Omnibus Prime.
     
  5. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,032
    Likes Received:
    30
    Trophy Points:
    73
    OMG - I just got done writing for the night and saw this...but I can't find the review -- torture!! What am I missing? Can you post a link please. I'm dying to hear what you thought.
     
  6. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,032
    Likes Received:
    30
    Trophy Points:
    73
    Ominibus Prime - that's FANTASTIC. What a great name!
     
  7. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2000
    Messages:
    10,053
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Review isn't finalized just yet. Soon. :)
     
  8. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,032
    Likes Received:
    30
    Trophy Points:
    73
    Oops...I should have read more closely - I just got so dang excited. I'll be over here...waiting...patiently.

    Looking forward to it.
     
  9. Werthead

    Werthead Registered User

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    Messages:
    3,673
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    73
    Riyria Revelations #1: Theft of Swords

     
  10. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,032
    Likes Received:
    30
    Trophy Points:
    73
    Thanks Werthead for taking the time to read the books and write a review. I think that you've done a good job accurately portraying the flavor of the first two books.

    I did want to take a moment to provide some insight to my motivations when writing this series. You mentioned:
    While the description of my series matches what you wrote, it doesn't explain the "why". When I read this, what I heard was: Sullivan studied the market...found something lacking...then set out to create something as a counterbalance. (That may not have been what you were trying to say but it is what I heard). So I wanted to provide some additional information.

    The truth is that I had no intention of publishing these books. So my only ambition was to write something that I wanted to read. My audience was small, just a few friends and family, and so while I did write using classical tropes and avoiding graphic violence and sex, that was only because this is the kind of book that suits my taste, not some commentary on the market as a whole.

    The fact that I wasn’t writing for publication is important as it explains why my stories start off so simply. My focus has always been on the last book…to make it the crowning achievement…and to get there by making each book better than the one before. This, by definition, makes the first book the weakest.

    So when you observe that the books seem to lack depth, originally, and are very predictable, my response is…you’re absolutely correct…given what you know at this point. But just like Inigo Montoya in The Prince Bride I know something you do not…I’m not left handed. There is actually more at work then you can know from where you are standing now. I liken it to The Sixth Sense, which for me seemed like just a simple little movie until the big reveal. Then upon re-watching, I noticed all kinds of things that were there, but without context, did not register.

    Of course, when the books got picked up, it might have made sense to rewrite them, moving some of the depth (both in character and world building) sooner. After all, from a marketing perspective, the first book needs to be the strongest in order to ensure the maximum number of people stay for the next one, right? Well I didn’t do that, mainly because I’m more interested in telling the story “my” way then making a ton of money (sorry Orbit but I think we’ll still do all right). My thought is enough people will see it through to the end and their journey will be all that much better because it started out small and blossomed into something truly amazing. My hope is they’ll convince others to “hang in there” and in the end everyone will be rewarded.

    There’s no doubt that this is a risk, and there are some who will conclude that I lack skill, or talent, or both based on what they read before quitting. For those that leave the ballgame in the 7th inning to avoid the traffic – I understand. None of the reviews will mean much to me until the final book. The good news is that comes January 31 so only another few weeks of waiting. If after reading that, if people want to proclaim me “lacking” then I’ll accept that…after all they made their decision with 100% of the information.

    I hope this post doesn’t come off as defensive. I’m really just trying to explain more what I was shooting for and why the books are the way they are. I can’t be on each readers shoulders explaining this, but since the post is here in my forum and I obviously participate, I thought it would be good to provide some further clarification.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  11. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2000
    Messages:
    10,053
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Here is an excerpt of my *official* thoughts: on Theft of Swords:
     
  12. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,032
    Likes Received:
    30
    Trophy Points:
    73
    Just read the full review - NICE!! I'm really glad you liked what you've read so far Rob - and thanks for the highly recommended thumbs up.
     
  13. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2000
    Messages:
    10,053
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    173
    No problem Michael. It hit many of the right buttons for me, looking forward to the next books!
     
  14. silvercue

    silvercue Registered User

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    enjoying this book - can't seem to find the right thread to say that in though!
     
  15. farseer2

    farseer2 Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2006
    Messages:
    476
    Likes Received:
    36
    Trophy Points:
    63
    I'm reading Theft of Swords (the first novel in the first omnibus), and I have some mixed feelings, although I'm enjoying it. Certainly I feel no temptation to give up and stop reading. However, there are some real flaws here. Let's see... For context, I did a quick search and found some positive reviews and a particularly vitriolic negative one:
    http://www.strangehorizons.com/reviews/2012/01/theft_of_swords-comments.shtml

    Going back to my own impressions:

    One thing that bothers me is these chats the characters sometimes have that go like this: "Hey, let's explain to each other this thing both of us already know just so that the reader will get the information." It's not like it's happening all the time, but when it does it's a particularly annoying way to do info-dumps. For example, look at that explanation about the six gods... come on, those guys should already know that!

    The characterization is thin. You get a feeling of who the characters are because they are archetypal to a large extent, and they are pleasant enough to share the adventure with, but there's little to make them truly come to life.

    Also, there's a roleplaying-game-like quality in the way the characters interact with each other. It's like they stick together because they are all playing characters, and therefore that's what they are supposed to do. For example, look at the way Myron joins the group. Actually, my problem is not so much how he joins the group, but how he immediately and unquestioningly gets accepted into the dynamics of the group and everyone accepts him as the group's unofficial "wikipedia".

    The story and character motivations are rather simplistic, although maybe that's a feature of the story rather than a bug.

    Having said all that, let's go with the positive: this story is fun! I want to keep reading and find out what happens, and that's not a small thing. It's what fantasy stories are supposed to achieve, in my opinion.

    Nowadays, epic fantasy is full of grittiness and dark realism, and I love those stories as much as anyone, but there's also a place for light, fun stories, and this one goes back to basics and tells an appealing tale. There's a reason the "classic" approach is classic, and the reason is that it works. Here, the author seems to be having fun telling this story, and this reader is also having fun reading it. It takes me back to the sense of fun I had when reading epic fantasy as a kid or teenager, and that's a good thing.

    I have found the author's comments in this thread interesting, and I look forward to seeing how this series evolve...
     
  16. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,032
    Likes Received:
    30
    Trophy Points:
    73
    Glad you are enjoying the read - and yes this is a great place to mention so ;-) Thanks!
     
  17. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,032
    Likes Received:
    30
    Trophy Points:
    73
    I fully admit that I constructed the series in a very unconventional way...I could do so as I had no intention on publishing. In particular I started off with an exceedingly simple tale and purposefully gave little detail about the world and the characters. I wanted to expose much of this as it occurs naturally...which is to say that familiarity should come over time. To that end, I doled out details a bit at a time and spanning the full series rather than front loading as is so often the case in order to get published.

    The first books were made to be just simple fun tales with no other purpose than entertainment, but I actually saw the story as one large arc. Yes each book has it's own conflict and resolution, but there are larger issues at play and the reader is exposed to clues with each book allowing them to speculate and hypothesize as to what is really going on. The "simple tale" escalates with each book where the stakes are greater and the implications more intriguing. My goal was to "end big" and "start small" and because I wanted each book to be better than the one before, it makes the first book the weakest link - also a bad idea to do in the world of publishing where the first thing you submit has to blow all the socks off and the follow-on books are not nearly as important.

    As I said this was an unconventional choice, and one that means that there are some that leave early, feeling there is no reason to continue. I'm actually fine with that. It's the ones who have the full story, that will ultimately judge whether the deliberate choices I made early on ultimately worked or not. I'm not really concerned with the opinion of critics (and the link you posted is the only truly terrible review whose sting has been offset by the hundreds of positive ones). It's the readers that I care most about, and given that the final book in the seires is the highest rated epic fantasy on Amazon, I think I accomplished what I set out for.

    It's had to say whether you'll like the books when all is said and done, or even whether it makes sense for you to continue. Part of me says, you really shouldn't go on, as I always want people to have enjoyable reads and I hate the advice of "just power through abc to get to the goodness that is def." I'd rather have you read something that you aren't mixed about and my comments here were not trying to convince you to continue...but merely an explanation as to how and why I constructed the series.

    So bottom line...If it is bugging you too much - put it down and find something else. If you are finding enough entertainment value - then by all means continue, and if you do, I'd love to hear what your final impressions are.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
  18. farseer2

    farseer2 Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2006
    Messages:
    476
    Likes Received:
    36
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Yes, I had read a similar comment from you in the beginning of this thread about how you built this series, and as I said I'm curious to see how the story will evolve as I keep reading.

    What you say about reading it or not depending on whether you're enjoying it or not is common sense. In this case, I intend to keep reading because so far I'm having fun, and for me this outweighs the perceived problems I mentioned. So thanks for creating a story I'm enjoying!
     
  19. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,032
    Likes Received:
    30
    Trophy Points:
    73
    Ah I've given that description about the series format so many times that I forget where I've mentioned it and have not. I should have looked back through the posts. It does make common sense to stop if you aren't enjoying - and yet I see so many people who say they are "slogging through this, or that" that apparently some just don't ever want to give up a book before finishing. I know I was disappointed with Black Company in the beginning and I did have to 'push through' but in the end I was glad I did.

    Please let me know what you think as you continue on. I'd be interested at hearing your impressions.
     
  20. farseer2

    farseer2 Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2006
    Messages:
    476
    Likes Received:
    36
    Trophy Points:
    63
    I'm reading Nyphron Rising, and I'm still enjoying it. As you said, we have found out more about Hadrian and Royce, and I'm finding the format of "shorter" adventure for each book combined with an overarching plot interesting. Right now
    Hadrian has gone to take command of the nationalist army and has been made a prisoner... I'm eager to find out what happens next, and who the hell is the "heir of Novron", since I'm sure the line is not completely extinguished.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2013