Half way through my re-read of A Clash of Kings. Can't wait for April 1st.
I'm reading Warrior Prophet by Bakker. I wasn't very impressed with book 1, the Darkness that comes before, especially after the hype I've read about it for many years. But I am trying to stick with it to see if it pays off. Very little action so far and I'm a book and a half trough the series. Interesting characters though....
I just finished Dark Moon by David Gemmell after reading the first 8 Dresden Files books. Loved all of them. Now I have to finish Yes Man by Danny Wallace. Then I'll read Glen Cook's Black Company trilogy (the first one).
Half way through Midnight Tides [The Malazan Book of the Fallen #5] by Steven Erikson.
So far, so good. Not as brilliant as the first three books but still very good.
just started Haruki Murakami - Kafka on the Shore. It looks very promising, the kind of book you want to read slowly, taking your time going back to reread some well phrased paragraphs and wishing I didn't have to go to work for a couple of days so I could stay in and do nothing else.
I'm just about finished with A Storm of Swords (bloody fantastic!), and I'll be reading a little of Side Jobs by Jim Butcher until my copy of Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk arrives. Putting Stephen King's Carrie on hold for a little while.
Wow. Looks like this is my 500th post. I love milestones!
Sadly, I gave up on last months Book Club Book, Well of Shadows, based on not having any desire to find out what happens. So I'll let my comments that I had at the slightly more than halfway point stand.
After how good "The Dragon's Path" was, I felt I had to go back to The Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham. I had read the first book a while back, liked it, and promptly forgot about it.
I re-read it in two days, and then proceeded to read Betrayal in Winter in another two days. This is a very fast pace for me, despite the facts the books are quite short.
The man can characterize. He has a way with making extremely sympathetic characters that still have these flaws (usually its simply being young) that tear them apart. I remember thinking the story didn't quite have the urgency when I read it, and that's still true. Compared to what goes on in most epic fantasy, these are relatively minor events. But they are extremely important to the characters we get to care about.
And for people that love characterization in their books, I fail to see how Abraham can be disliked as an author. In my mind he should be up there with at least the Rothfuss's and the Sandersons of the epic fantasy world, if not with the Martins and Jordans.
I don't know if I'd call him the most underrated author that I've read, (Stover, Kearney, etc all have good claims), but he may be the most confoundedly underrated author that I've read. I can see how Stover might be too weird, (particularly Blade of Tyshalle), or Kearney can be too slight for some, but there's nothing I can see other than lack of exposure that should prevent Abraham from being one of the top names in fantasy. There's really nothing you can dislike about these books.
Imo, the plot and characters, in the abstract and as an outline for a book, were fine (as was the prose). But those character outlines just weren't built up and written. Imo there was almost no substance. An author can assert "This character is really _______ (likable, wise, cunning, empathetic, etc.) but imo the author then has to write that. For me that didn't happen, so I would say things like the characterization was tissue-thin, flimsy, and hugely undeveloped/underdeveloped. I really wanted to like the book, which is why I gritted my way through it and eventually finished. But based on my way of perceiving it, the story (and especially the characterization) was far too simplistic and minimalist.
I bought this book soon after I came to this site, based on seeing some of the positive comments for it and imo, it was a tremendous disappointment. Not the worst fantasy I've ever read, but among them.
I'd almost say the reverse. I hope that I've provided some insight into why at least one person feels quite differently about Abraham.There's really nothing you can dislike about these books.
Right. I'd forgotten I had different standards for characters than most people. This may seem condescending, that is not my intention.
I think the problem with a lot of people have with evaluating fictional characters is they look for distinctive qualities about each character. Something that makes each person within the story who they are. And I don't think that is indicative of real life. There are a lot of people who are similar, who may not have that distinctive quality, per se, but still be very interesting and relatable and generally likable.
So when you look at a book like A Shadow in Summer, you don't really have a lot to differentiate between Otah and Maati. And that's OK for me, because you expect them to be similar. They were both cast out by their families to be a poet, and both had what it takes to succeed. They both are mostly concerned with doing what they believe to be the right thing. And they are both young and human and prone to error.
We're told Otah was pretty well a genius when it came to the work of the poets, and we never get to see Otah be anything like a genius. I believe that's what you are talking about when you say the author asserted something and did not follow up. But we never got to see Otah be a poet, and he has no special skills that make him a better labourer than anyone else. The author never had a chance to show us Otah's genius with the school, so he had to tell us to give us a backstory. With Maati, we aren't ever given reason to believe he is out of the ordinary as far as top level young prodigy poets go, and he acts exactly as you'd expect one to act.
I'm rambling, let me get to my point. The key to characterization in my mind is not making the character distinct but rather make the character sympathetic without making them perfect. What works for me is making them someone who either tries to do the right thing without always succeeding because they are human, or making them regret the path they had taken which is less honorable and not be able to stand themselves as a result (there is an excellent example of this in the second book). I don't need distinct categorizable characters as much as I need real-sounding characters that I can invest myself in. And Abraham does it better than anyone on this side of Martin.
I have a lot more to say, so if you want, we can make this discussion into its own thread.
Finished West's Hunter's Death, the end of the Sacred Hunt duology. Intesting enough for me to start shopping for her Sun Sword series.
Starting in on Tchaikovsky's Heirs of the Blade. This is a highly anticipated read for me.
i really want to try the shadows of the apt series....but i've got so much i want to read
I just reread (re-listened-to) Nightlife, the first volume of the Cal Leandros series by Rob Thurman, in prep for Doubletake -- the seventh volume -- which just came out today. I actually liked Nightlife better the second time around than the first. Thurman is really hung up on the concept of self-identity, throughout the whole series -- and since I also love exploring that idea, I enjoy how she goes about dissecting it (at great length and from several different perspectives).
The only problem is that now I'm tempted to reread the entire series before moving on to Doubletake -- and since Doubletake is already sitting there calling to me from my Kindle library, I'm conflicted. Decisions, decisions, decisions....