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    •  
      CommentAuthorTakuGifian
    • CommentTimeMar 17th 2015
     

    with people named Bane

    You only adopted the Dark Side. I was born in it, moulded by it.

    •  
      CommentAuthororganiclead
    • CommentTimeMar 17th 2015 edited
     

    I don’t think Maul or Vader were that bad. Sidious and Tyranus are pushing it, but Bane is on the same level as a 14 year old making his first Naruto OC.

    Not to mention good names are slightly more important in a book than a movie. You spend a lot more time seeing the name in a book. Hell, you never even hear the name of some characters in movies.

    EDIT: @Taku
    Thanks a lot, now I need to clean my screen. Though it does oddly fits considering Darth Bane is supposed to be pretty ripped.

    •  
      CommentAuthorswenson
    • CommentTimeMar 18th 2015
     

    Also, in a movie, you can imagine a less silly spelling, such as “Bain” or even “Bayne”, which could… almost… be a name?? Still looks like it’s made up by an edgy fourteen-year-old, but to just straight-up spell it “bane” is silly.

    •  
      CommentAuthorFalling
    • CommentTimeMar 25th 2015 edited
     

    I’ll agree to the Thrawn trilogy; it’s my favourite. However, I also really like the X-wing series with Michael A Stackpole and Aaron Allston- best to read them in order. A common factor is those series actually had some really solid non-movie characters that can hold their own, whereas a lot of books just try and shoehorn the movie core characters in.

    (Black Fleet Crisis is one of the worst examples with the completely unrelated Lando alien ship exploration- I was kinda on board with the subplot in the first book, but it went no-where and was ultimately a frustrating tangent.) X-wing series actually just has the movie characters as periphery characters, but just focuses on a squadron of elite pilots. Some of the pilots have pretty big egos, but I thoroughly enjoyed the series.

    There’s a lot of real garbage in the EU. The Bantam years especially have the highest heights and the greatest lows. I can’t speak for the Ballantine years so much as I haven’t read much outside of the NJO series and random books like Allegiance (by Zahn again.)

    •  
      CommentAuthorswenson
    • CommentTimeMar 25th 2015
     

    Aw, I kinda liked the random ship exploration. I did get confused as to what it had to do with anything, though.

    •  
      CommentAuthorFalling
    • CommentTimeMar 25th 2015 edited
     

    Well, there are certainly far worse stories in the EU- I think it would’ve been much better had it been separated out into its own stand alone book. I might have enjoyed it more. However, I recently reread the series, knowing fullwell that the Lando plot wouldn’t connect, and I tried my hardest to enjoy it for what it is- and I still got impatient with Lando’s story in the second and third books. The set-up in the first book I can enjoy, but not the other two.

    However, while it’s not the worst story in the Bantam EU (actually, I rather liked a lot of the thoughtful world-building the author was doing) to me, it’s the best example of trying to shoehorn all the movie characters in that the Lando plot had nothing to do with anything else (and really the Luke subplot was largely disconnected until the very ended.) I think that series, I tended to like some of the smaller elements of storytelling he had- there are cool pieces all over the place, but as soon as I zoomed out to see the big picture, I didn’t like it near so much.

    •  
      CommentAuthorswenson
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2015
     

    Just finished the latest A Girl And Her Fed book, and it’s so good. Now I just really wanna read the next one…

    If you aren’t reading the A Girl And Her Fed webcomic, you need to be, by the way. It’s about government conspiracies and technology. And ghosts. And psychics. And a mutant talking koala. It’s pretty great.

    •  
      CommentAuthorswenson
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd 2015
     

    Got another great book I just finished! Kinda more on the serious side of things. It’s Ashley’s War, which is pretty new, but it’s about female soldiers who were (and are) attached to Army Ranger units in Afghanistan. Really, really cool, and not a subject I knew anything about before.

    (for the non-Americans, Army Rangers are special ops forces—and at the time that this program started, women were not officially allowed in infantry combat positions in the American army, especially not with special ops units)

    •  
      CommentAuthorThea
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2015
     

    Oh that sounds really interesting. I really hope I can find that one soon, definitely something right in line with my interests. And I think I need A Girl and Her Fed too, so thanks :)

    Read a book this week called, I think, Grimm Sisters? It was objectively…well, OK I guess, if terrible. The writing itself wasn’t awful except for sliding around perspectives. But it’s basically Pride and Prejudice (of course). Only with vampires and werewolves, and even though it’s set in the “olden days of pretty dresses” still managed period inappropriate sexism. In that, it was supposed to be the usual misogynistic culture, no one paid attention except plot reasons and the unconscious bias of romance writing. I did finish, though.

    •  
      CommentAuthorPryotra
    • CommentTimeJul 16th 2015
     

    Go Set a Watchman is an interesting look at what the first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird was, but a sequel it is not.

    •  
      CommentAuthorswenson
    • CommentTimeAug 3rd 2015
     

    My county library system had a booksale over the weekend, so of course I went. Picked up a couple of things I legitimately wanted, but I also decided to find the most stereotypical, cheesiest fantasy novel I could find. I figure if it’s bad, I can make fun of it—and if it’s good, well, I found a new book to like!

    Unfortunately, the book is just well-written enough that you couldn’t get a spork out of it, but lame enough that I dislike it. I might write an article with a review for it. Anybody up for that? It’s called When the Gods Slept, by Allan Cole, and it’s the first book in the Timuras Trilogy, which I’ve never heard of before, but I don’t claim to be an expert.

    Very short version of the review: wow so stereotype very predictable. A sweet innocent village boy has mysteeeeerious magical powers that he keeps hidden from everyone for no reason. An orphan in danger for political reasons is hiding out in the village. They have visions that they’re going to conquer the continent. They do. The end.

    Tropes are not bad, and the book uses them well in places, and at least it’s not quite the usual faux medieval fantasy (there’s camels and elephants!), buuuut there were basically no surprises except for the random Big Lipped Alligator circus interlude where the main character takes time off from being a superwizard who’s going to help his childhood friend conquer the world… to… be part of a circus. And that wasn’t surprising in a good way.

    Also literally the only female characters in the entire book who aren’t mentioned in the context of sex and sexualization are the main character’s mother and sisters. BUT OF COURSE THE MAIN CHARACTER WOULD NEVER TREAT WOMEN SO CARELESSLY, he keeps claiming while he immediately forgets every woman he’s with ten minutes later.

    • CommentAuthorDave
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2015
     

    So somehow with training and being in and out of the field I managed to read The Book Thief. It left me kinda quiet for awhile. Still not sure how I feel about some of the description or how the ending just sort of trails off.

  1.  

    Reading ‘Cryptonomicon’. I have fond memories of ‘Quicksilver’ and I really liked this one at first, but now I want to throw the book across the room every 20 pages – basically, every time any woman shows up, because I am just that pissed off. Neal Stephenson is obviously a smart person with lively and wide-ranging interests but how is it that the women in this long book with many subplots across a large period of time are all uniformly sex objects and shrill harpies? (as opposed to the heroically dedicated male nerd protagonists, of course)

    Gahhhhhhhhh. Don’t know whether it’s worth finishing.

    •  
      CommentAuthorApep
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2016
     

    I believe Stephenson wrote Quicksilver (and the rest of the Baroque Cycle) after Cryptonomicon, which might explain why you liked it more.

  2.  

    Yeah, I was also in high school. Now I’m kind of afraid of re-reading it and tarnishing pleasant associations. :P

    • CommentAuthorDeborah
    • CommentTimeJun 1st 2016 edited
     

    I just read reviews for the new installment of a series I loved.
    And it just sounds awful.

    • CommentAuthorDave
    • CommentTimeJun 2nd 2016
     

    What is the series if you don’t mind my asking?

    •  
      CommentAuthorswenson
    • CommentTimeJun 2nd 2016
     

    How depressing. :(

    Hopefully it turns out to be better than expected?

    • CommentAuthorSlyShy
    • CommentTimeJun 3rd 2016
     

    SWQ: U should consider reading Seven Eves instead. It features no fewer than seven strong female protagonists/antagonists.

  3.  

    Yeah, Seveneves is cool. Didn’t really enjoy the third part as much as the others though.

    • CommentAuthorDeborah
    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2016 edited
     

    Well, the series I mentioned is the Vorkosigan series, which I’d read all but two of before the latest book came out. I thought the last book (chronologically) ended the series really well, so I wasn’t really interested in another book, but I checked the reviews on Goodreads because I was curious. And then I discovered that it had some plot twist in it that I knew I wouldn’t like—several, in fact. So I decided I’d rather not read it.

  4.  

    Didn’t really enjoy the third part as much as the others though.

    Hm I felt Cryptonomicon also had a weak ending that didn’t justify the length of the book (1000+ pages, why?). Kind of disappointing to hear, but maybe I will check out Seveneves.

    • CommentAuthorSlyShy
    • CommentTimeJun 6th 2016
     

    I agree about not enjoying the third part of Seveneves as much. It had some cool sci-fi, but I didn’t find any of the characters in the third part compelling in comparison to the marvelous characters in the first parts of the book. Also I found the “twist” ending of the third part rather obvious. That said, I did enjoy the sci-fi in the last part quite a lot even if I didn’t care for the characters. It felt a little bit like Anathem in that I had to get deep into this strange setting.

    Anathem rocked. It took a long time to get started but my god did it start to feel really satisfying through the middle and all the way to the ending.

    •  
      CommentAuthorswenson
    • CommentTimeJun 6th 2016
     

    @Deborah – good thing you discovered that before you read it. :P At least now you can go on your way satisfied with how the last book ended, without reading that one.

    • CommentAuthorDeborah
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2016 edited
     


    On a brighter note, I’m rereading the Dresden Files. And I got that really cool illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for my birthday!

    •  
      CommentAuthorPearl
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2016
     

    Finished two books in the last week (Haven’t read for pleasure AT ALL during the semester and I am finally reaping my rewards with a sane summer schedule)

    1) The Penelopiad by Margarat Atwood

    2) The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

    Both rather short and quick reads (like cookies after months of healthy eating) but I liked them both tremendously.

    • CommentAuthorSlyShy
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2016
     

    Reading Ready Player One right now and enjoying it quite a bit.

    •  
      CommentAuthorPuppet
    • CommentTimeJun 11th 2016 edited
     

    I received The Fountainhead as an 18th birthday present from my best friend and I got maybe a 4th of the way through it last summer, but I didn’t have time to sit down and finish it until this past month just due to school. Anyway, it’s probably one of the most important and relevant books I’ve ever read. It not only reaffirmed some of my strongest personal beliefs about how I should approach life (which is something I’ve really struggled to reconcile this past year), but it also perfectly described my relationship and put into words how I feel about my significant other in a way I never could. I’ll probably end up writing a longer analysis of the book after I’ve had some more time to process it and after I’ve properly set up my personal website, but as of now it has joined Meditations on my list of books I believe everybody should read during their lives.

  5.  

    The Emperor of All Maladies is a great (but pretty depressing) book and you should all read it. I haven’t found a book that I’ve been really into all summer, so it is nice to be interested in things again. (It’s sort of worrying that all the books that have really had an effect on me are non-fiction/science-related lately. I don’t want to lose my love for novels, either, but nothing has been grabbing me.)

  6.  

    Have you read The House of God by Samuel Shem, SWQ? That’s a very funny book about working in a hospital. In the same “medical-internships-are-hell” subgenre, you might also read Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell, which is even funnier. Beat the Reaper is about a former hitman who attends medical school as part of the Witness Protection Program, but of course his past catches up with him. The House of God is kind of dated (1978) and has a lot of jargon, so you might read Beat the Reaper first. They do have science/medicine parts to them, but mostly silliness.

    EDIT: I recently finished reading Slavery and Social Death by Orlando Patterson. Has anyone else read this book? The preface, introduction, and first chapter are worth the price of admission.

  7.  

    Orlando, I will definitely check those out. I read a book called Internal Medicine a few months ago that was a more recent release. It’s a series of short stories in the ‘medical-residencies-are-hell’ genre.

  8.  

    Oh! While this is not about residency, your mention of short stories reminded me of Frank Huyler’s The Blood of Strangers (i. e., donated blood), a group of connected stories all about working in the ER.

    •  
      CommentAuthorPearl
    • CommentTimeAug 1st 2016
     

    I just started The Divine Comedy which I received from my aunt at Christmas. It’s really enjoyable and I’m glad it was gifted to me!

    I’m interested in starting a new fantasy series… does anyone have any suggestions? I’m thinking of the kind of engaging and complex world similar to The Wheel of Time or ASOIAF, but the selection at the local library leaves a lot to be desired so I haven’t had much luck just trying things off the shelves.

  9.  

    I’d recommend either Malazan Book of the Fallen or The Black Company. Malazan has a more complex world and story, but for some reason The Black Company just sticks with me more.

    • CommentAuthorDave
    • CommentTimeAug 2nd 2016
     

    Dave Luckett’s Tenebran Trilogy is a pretty underrated read in my not-so-humble opinion, it actually kind of reminds me of the Black Company books in some ways. Garth Nix’s Abhorsen series is pretty dank too. Oh, and the Witcher books aren’t half-bad either.

    Ooh, one more, The Dresden Files are pretty entertaining.

    •  
      CommentAuthorTakuGifian
    • CommentTimeAug 2nd 2016
     

    OMFG yes, have you not heard me wax poetical about the Tenebran trilogy? One of the finest high fantasy series I’ve ever read.

    •  
      CommentAuthorPearl
    • CommentTimeAug 2nd 2016 edited
     

    Thank you thank you thank you—-I have been dying for good suggestions from worthy book readers. I’ll see what I can get my hands on :)

    •  
      CommentAuthorMiel
    • CommentTimeAug 8th 2016
     

    Anyone have recommendations for good stand-alone fantasy books for a picky reader? My tastes have ‘refined’ so much over the last few years that it’s gotten really hard to find new books. The last one I read was Uprooted by Naomi Novik, which I quite enjoyed, but that was 2 months ago :S

    For elaboration on picky: I have a strong preference for female authors and I can’t stand bad prose. I tend not to read a lot beyond my favourite authors because I pay so much attention to prose that even just slightly bland writing can turn me off after just a few chapters. I’m not much a fan of standards like Neil Gaiman or GRRM because of this. I’m not picky about settings, storylines as long as they’re not completely unoriginal and don’t objectify women. My favorites list starts with Margaret Atwood and Ursula LeGuin, but also has less-known authors like Kevin Crossley-Holland and Meredith Ann Pierce.

    I blame academia for making me over-critical and basically killing my enjoyment of fiction, but I’m trying to get better! I just need some help breaking out of my shell.

    •  
      CommentAuthorTakuGifian
    • CommentTimeAug 8th 2016
     

    It’s hard to find stand-alone fantasy books at all, let alone under such restricted criteria. I would recommend Tamora Pierce, Robin Hobb, and/or Cynthia Voight, but as far as I know they only deal in series.

    •  
      CommentAuthorApep
    • CommentTimeAug 8th 2016
     

    Seanan McGuire recently published a stand-alone, Every Heart a Doorway. I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve heard good things.

    I can think of a few first-in-series books that work as stand-alone books:

    A Natural History of Dragons: a Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan might be good, assuming you enjoy Novik’s Temeraire books.

    The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey is also enjoyable, if you want a sort-of behind-the-scenes look a traditional fairy tales.

    Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede was also good, if a bit YA.

    •  
      CommentAuthorFalling
    • CommentTimeAug 9th 2016
     
    Oh man, I have recently read Frankenstein for the first time. Didn't start at all how I imagined it would, but it's a really interesting story that goes three stories in to Frankenstein's creature in the centre and then back out again.

    I think the quote that stood out to me the most was this: "Satan had his companions, fellow devils, to admire and encourage him, but I am solitary and abhorred."
    What a tragic story :(
    • CommentAuthorDeborah
    • CommentTimeAug 9th 2016
     

    I can think of a few. Some of them have sequels, but the first book still works as a stand-alone:
    The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater. A Celtic-inspired island in the middle of nowhere with killer horses that come up out of the ocean. There’s a review on the main site.
    The Thief, by Megan Whalen Turner. Heavily inspired by Greek mythology, but with a setting that has eighteenth/nineteenth century levels of technology. Has a snarky first-person narrator.
    Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones. Comic fantasy, fairy-tale parody. Completely hilarious, and has a great heroine.
    Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel. A Post-apocalyptic tale blended with a literary novel, featuring a wide cast of characters before and after the collapse of civilization.
    Book of a Thousand Days, by Shannon Hale. Retelling of an obscure Brother’s Grimm fairytale, set in a fantasy world inspired by Mongolia. A Young Adult romance, and a very good one.

    •  
      CommentAuthorMiel
    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2016
     

    Thanks for the recommendations everyone! I used to read Tamora Pierce when I was younger (I remember her Tortall universe being my favourite) and I’ve had Station Eleven recommended to me before so I’ll definitely check those out.

    The reason I ask for stand-alone books is that my average pace of half a book a month makes it really hard to follow a series right now. I doubt I’ll have the time to invest in a whole series until my thesis is done. I’m super excited about getting back into reading fantasy though, since maybe that’ll lead to getting back into writing!

    •  
      CommentAuthorswenson
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2016 edited
     

    Dealing with Dragons works just fine as a standalone, but it’s technically the first in a four-book series. (and the first book to be written is the last in the series, which explains why it’s a bit weird comparatively) They’re short, though, and are definitely YA. That being said, it’s also one of my favorite series of all time; the first book is about a princess who runs away from home and becomes housekeeper/personal assistant for a dragon. (the other books focus more on other characters, who are also all wonderful, but Cimorene still plays an important role)

    EDIT: what about Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books? They’re not standalone, but they’re not really a direct series, either; they all take place in a single shared world. Some of the books are sort of in sub-series, like the City Watch books, but frankly can be read individually anyway. (I read them in basically random order.) If you want female protagonists, try the Witches books or the Tiffany Aching ones. (the Tiffany Aching books are YA, but exactly the kind of thing I wish I’d read in middle school. Sadly, they didn’t exist then!)

    •  
      CommentAuthorMiel
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2016
     

    Oh my god I’ve read literally every Discworld book and all the spinoffs and will mourn Terry Pratchett for the rest of my life. I raised my baby brother on them, for a period of 3 years he read nothing but Discworld as I handed them to his ~10 year old self one by one. Probably the reason he grew up to be a raging atheist. I wish I could have put some flowers on Sir Terry’s grave when I was in England last year but (and I bet Terry would love this) I was at a morris dancing festival in Cumbria and couldn’t make it down south. One day I will T_T

    •  
      CommentAuthorApep
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2016
     

    Okay, then you absolutely should read The Fairy Godmother, if only for the shout-out to Mort.

    Also, I thought up another few books:

    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell, by Susanna Clarke, but given how long it is, it’d probably take you several months to get through.

    But on a similar note, Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal might be good. It’s another “first in series, but works as stand-alone”. It’s basically a Jane Austen novel, but with magic.

    I’ve also been reading Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer off and on. More Regency era with magic, but it’s written as letters between two girls.

    Also by Patricia C. Wrede – Thirteenth Child. Basically, Little House on the Prairie with magic.

    •  
      CommentAuthorMiel
    • CommentTimeAug 19th 2016
     

    Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is one of my favourites. It’s a shame Susanna Clarke hasn’t written any more. I’m still hoping that the long-rumoured sequel will come out one day.

    I’ve heard mixed things about Mercedes Lackey but I will definitely check out The Fairy Godmother then. I love tongue-in-cheek readaptations of fairy tales.

    • CommentAuthorSlyShy
    • CommentTimeAug 19th 2016
     

    Miel, have U read The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss? It has one of the most resourceful, intelligent, multi-skilled (if hot-headed) protagonists I’ve ever read. Very cool.

  10.  

    I just finished Sabriel and currently have the other two Abhorsen books on order. I tend to prefer a little more snark when it comes to writing, but the story was fantastic. That ending, man.

  11.  

    ^ Thumbs up for Sabriel and its sequels. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is one of my favorites of all time. Miel, have you read Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake? I think it’s tailor-made for your taste. Beautifully written, beautiful atmosphere, like Dickens crossed with Poe crossed with Austen. The first book in the series is Titus Groan.

    Sly, we should have an argument about The Name of the Wind. I found Kvothe very irritating and so miraculously skilled at everything he puts his hand to, and so attractive to all the ladies. I know he’s an unreliable narrator or whatever, but there wasn’t enough ambiguity about his version of events (like in stories like The Turn of the Screw or Lolita or even Wuthering Heights) to make us doubt what he’s telling us, or make you feel a little uncomfortable. I think I would have been able to forgive this if Denna had been treated better as a character. Her character was just meant to be So Beautiful and So Mysterious, (literally, every time she shows up) it felt almost chauvinistic to me.

    Granted, everybody else seems to love this book except me and my super-feminist former roommate, so maybe we’re just weird. The worldbuilding was really great though, and the magical school tuition subplot was definitely unique.

    •  
      CommentAuthorApep
    • CommentTimeAug 20th 2016
     

    @ Miel: Well, there is The Ladies of Grace Adieu, so at least there’s something.

    @SWQ: I recently re-read The Name of the Wind (I read the sequel a while back), and I did notice some things I missed the first time through. Like that Kvothe just does not know when to give up a grudge, or when he’s taken things too far. That kid in Tarbean who broke his dad’s lute? Kvothe literally burned the entirety of the kid’s worldly possessions. And it seems like he can’t stop himself from antagonizing Ambrose. But there’s no indication that he feels any real regret for these actions, or that he wished he’d done things differently.

    I also didn’t notice just how utterly broken he is by the book’s present. He’s only in his twenties, and he’s just going through the motions – the narration actually describes him as “waiting to die.” And there’s also the implication that he’s responsible for everything going wrong in the world – the war that’s going on in the background, the demon-things in the country side, all of it. Yes, Kvothe is great and amazing, but so are his mistakes.

    •  
      CommentAuthorMiel
    • CommentTimeAug 21st 2016
     

    I haven’t read The Name of the Wind but I also admit to being a super feminist so I guess I might find some characters off-putting then :/ I’ll put it on the list though since sometimes I do like polarising books ( Cloud Atlas comes to mind, I loved it until the preachy ending epilogue!).

    @organiclead, you’re in for a treat with Lirael and Abhorsen! I know some people don’t like them as much because they’re slower paced but that’s part of their charm—they do so much worldbuilding that there wasn’t time for in Sabriel. Also read “Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case” if you get the chance, it’s more like the heart-pounding horror adventure that Sabriel was. There’s also another book coming out in October! I’m going to be cautious about it because Clariel wasn’t great but it’s still exciting!

    • CommentAuthorSlyShy
    • CommentTimeAug 25th 2016
     

    @Miel, Name of the Wind actually has a lot of awesome strong female characters though. One of Kvothes (many) flaws includes his obvious blindness to the charms of some of them. What an idiot. For instance, Devi obviously has the skills, interests, and intellectual acumen to make a great match for Kvothe yet he pines after Denna. Maybe he’ll learn.

    In any case, Kvothe definitely has a lot of powers and skills, but he has to go through ordeals in order to get them (and growing up as an actor I would argue makes it easier to pick up new “roles” so to speak, in the manner of fake it till U make it). He has scathes of flaws to make up for his natural talent and keep him an interesting character.

  12.  

    Name of the Wind kind of turned me away when I found out the beginning chapter has little or nothing to do with the rest of the book. I really don’t like books that try to hook you with something that has little to nothing to do with the rest of the book.

    @Miel Looking forward to getting them and getting more answers on what world building was hinted at in the first book.

    •  
      CommentAuthorApep
    • CommentTimeAug 26th 2016
     

    It’s not so much that it has nothing to do with the rest of the book as it is setting up the framing device. The entire Kingkiller Chronicle (the name of the series) is Kvothe telling his life story, with the occasional break back to the present. The bits where we see the difference between Kvothe, legend in his own lifetime, and Kote, humble innkeeper, really show how far he’s come since his glory days.

    •  
      CommentAuthorswenson
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2016
     

    Sly, we should have an argument about The Name of the Wind. I found Kvothe very irritating and so miraculously skilled at everything he puts his hand to, and so attractive to all the ladies.

    OKAY YES THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I FELT

    I just don’t think I can care enough about the next one to read it, whenever it comes out. Yes, Kvothe does legitimately earn all of his various skills, and he has to work at them—but he is just too perfect compared to everyone around him (literally no one else comes close to him in skill, and he’s extremely arrogant) and he seems to pick up all these things extremely quickly. Here’s this horrible trauma he has to go through! Conveniently, he either has the skills or very quickly figures out the skills he needs to get through it! How… nice.

    As per usual, I’m going to allude to the Dresden Files. Harry Dresden is superficially a similar character; he’s an extremely powerful and dangerous magic user with a mysterious background who’s unfairly judged by a lot of people. But he doesn’t give me the same feeling at all, for a few different reasons:

    1) Harry’s power builds up slowly. Sure, by Skin Game he’s got a crazy amount of power, but it takes him fifteen books to build up to that, and he’s around 40 now. Kvothe just seems to learn everything immediately; by his twenties, he’s done more than basically anyone else has ever done in their entire lives.
    2) Harry’s definitely not the most powerful person out there. Yes, he’s very powerful, almost unrecognizably so compared with how he started off. But that means he’s just barely in the big leagues. Kvothe usually is more powerful/smarter/better than everyone around him, and it’s obvious from the framing device that he’s going to end up one of the most powerful people ever, eventually.
    3) Harry downplays his accomplishments and skills constantly; from his perspective, his accomplishments are mostly a result of being in the right place at the right time and being too stubborn to die. Kvothe is arrogant and beats everyone by being so much more clever or so much more powerful or whatever than them.
    And possibly most importantly, 4) other characters have lives and can like or dislike Harry without it being a commentary on their moral character. People who dislike Kvothe are terrible (or at least stupid) and mostly get comeuppance. People who do like Kvothe seem to mostly exist for the purpose of helping him on his journey. If other people have non-Kvothe-related motivations, they aren’t treated as nearly as important as their Kvothe-related motivations.

    Kvothe just isn’t the same sort of character as Harry, so he drove me nuts.

    (in fairness—it’s been quite some time since I read the books, but this is my lingering impression of them. I don’t regret reading them, and I legitimately enjoyed them; they have an interesting world and are well-written. The world is just entirely centered around Kvothe, and that massively turned me off. And that’s not even getting into the female characters (who I really didn’t think were that amazing—I loathe the Generic Beautiful Mysterious Woman #567 trope, and no, “he’s young and in love so he doesn’t see her flaws” is not an excuse) and the weird insistence on pretending the Chandrian stuff is a mystery when the reader figured out they were involved literally during the scene where they showed up.)

  13.  

    other characters have lives and can like or dislike Harry without it being a commentary on their moral character. People who dislike Kvothe are terrible (or at least stupid) and mostly get comeuppance

    Arghhhh this drove me nuts too. Nobody is just neutral towards him. I get that it’s his narrative that he’s telling and he’s obviously self-centered, but look at Great Expectations for a good example of a narrator telling the story of their self-caused demise in a way that isn’t as annoying. (A lot of people do find young Pip annoying, but in many ways that’s the point, so I feel it isn’t a weakness per se.) A lot of the characters who love Pip love him for the wrong reasons, or love him when he doesn’t really deserve it…and then there’s the magnificent Jaggers, who just does not give a shit.

    “he’s young and in love so he doesn’t see her flaws” is not an excuse

    This is exactly why I love GE, once again. Pip’s obsession with Estella is never portrayed as anything except willfully blind (and deaf, considering Estella is constantly telling him no uncertain terms that she is emotionally unavailable).

    I don’t know why Name of the Wind is comparable to Great Expectations in my head, but there you go.

  14.  

    I used to think that I couldn’t like a book with terrible prose and pacing. Swords and Deviltry has proven this wrong. The writing sucks (in the same way that most pulp fiction kind of sucks) but I adore Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, their interactions and the world inside.

    It’s been a surprisingly interesting read for me because this is my first pre-Tolkien fantasy series. I picked up this book because I wac curious who the two figures who watched Ankh-Morpork burn in the beginning of The Color of Magic were. I can imagine a young Terry Prachett curled up under the covers, a flashlight in hand, reading Fantastic magazine well past bedtime, telling himself just one more page. I can see Gary Gygax re-reading these books years later, trying to capture the sense of danger and mystery in the random roll of dice. It’s reverse engineering influences on modern products that you didn’t even realize were referencing something else.

    It’s also the middle of the night, so it’s probably just that paradoxically melancholy-whimsical mood the night air brings.I don’t know, I’m just wondering if other people get this way when they read something that influenced something that they really like.

    •  
      CommentAuthorTakuGifian
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2016
     

    pre-Tolkien fantasy

    something that influenced something that they really like.

    Might I suggest the works of William Morris? Wood Beyond the World, Well at World’s End, and House of the Wolfings to start with.

  15.  

    After a quick Wikipedia search, I’m definitely adding him to my list. He’s probably going to have to go to the back though because I’m probably going to have to either custom order it or get it off Amazon.

    •  
      CommentAuthorTakuGifian
    • CommentTimeSep 6th 2016 edited
     

    You can get his work in digital format completely free from Project Gutenberg. Out of copyright!

    edit: here

    • CommentAuthorSlyShy
    • CommentTimeSep 7th 2016
     

    Anyone here read Charlie Stross? I’ve enjoyed two books of the Laundry Files series so far, wondering if I should get into more of his work. Thoughts?

  16.  

    Reading Alan Moore’s newest book Jerusalem. Only a fifth of the way in, and the book’s about what I expected from modern Alan Moore, both good and bad.

    • CommentAuthorSlyShy
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2016
     

    Ooh, didn’t realize it had finally come. Does it read quickly? I had heard it had quite the high page count.

    Can U elaborate on what U expected?

  17.  

    Quickly at some parts, difficult at others. Not an easy read so far though.

    By what I expected, it has all the things people have praised about Alan Moore (his dedication to detail, his poetic prose, his extremely thorough approach to character’s psyches) and many of his well-known misgivings (random rants about how modern culture sucks, rape scenes, shit that’s not going to make any sense no matter how many times you reread it). It’s definitely been more enjoyable than his recent comics like LOEG: Century though.

  18.  

    Hild by Nicola Griffith was a good read. Very immersive in its portrayal of England at the crossroads of Christianity and paganism and the writing is beautiful. Things I liked less: the ending (although apparently a sequel is in the works), and the fact that there were so many shoes set up in the course of the book and not one of them really satisfyingly dropped. I have my complaints about GRRM, but at least when he picks up a shoe and waves it in his reader’s face, he will drop the fucking shoe and things will happen (at least until AFFC).

    I would still recommend it, especially to people who like beautiful writing and history.

    •  
      CommentAuthorApep
    • CommentTimeSep 25th 2016
     

    To be fair re: AFFC, it really is only half a book.

  19.  

    ^ To be unfair, half a book should not be that long without its own sense of arc. Otherwise, why publish it as its own book? (Because it was already insanely long. sigh)

    •  
      CommentAuthorApep
    • CommentTimeSep 26th 2016
     

    I don’t know, I think at least a few of the characters (namely the POVs introduced in the book) had complete arcs. Yes, it’s a lot of jumping between various plots, but that was bound to happen, given how new ones kept cropping up.

  20.  

    It’s been awhile since I read AFFC, so maybe I’m being retroactively harsh. :P

    •  
      CommentAuthorTakuGifian
    • CommentTimeSep 27th 2016
     

    I picked up a copy of KJ Taylor’s The Shadow’s Heir. Only a little bit into it so far, but it’s good. Very different from your usual standard fantasy fare, but still familiar enough to be comfortable.

    • CommentAuthorSlyShy
    • CommentTimeSep 29th 2016 edited
     

    AFFC felt very different from the first three books and I feel like I didn’t appreciate it enough the first time through. It really shows the devastation and hangover after too much war, whereas the first books almost indulge or glorify war. A much needed sobering methinks.

    That said, the Iron Islands got so boring…