Reading this book was like reading with a stone around my neck. It was heavy. Depressing. I just wanted to be done with it.
The worlby: R. Scott Bakker
Reading this book was like reading with a stone around my neck. It was heavy. Depressing. I just wanted to be done with it.
The world is kind of interesting... but so far devoid of anything "good" in the classical (or even a more modern) sense. Everyone is bad people, more or less. Although one is amoral and another supposed to be somewhat sympathetic. But UGH. So much filth.
And all the women are whores (by trade). Seriously. Ugh.
I'm not sure if I'll continue with this series or not. If it's short, I probably will, as I'm somewhat curious and will probably eventually have some room in my reading schedule... but I have to wonder at the intent in writing something like this. It seems to come from the Steven Erikson line of "everything is terrible" fantasy - but at least in Erikson's stuff, there are characters with redeeming values. This is generally NOT my kind of fantasy - I don't want to escape to somewhere shittier by far than reality.
So yeah. There's some shitty people in a shitty world, some of them less shitty than others. And then there's a super shitty evil that's "really" evil under the surface of things, bubbling, as shit is wont to do. And by the end of this things are starting to come to a head (shit pun avoided...narrowly). There's some Bene Gesserit dude(s) running wild potentially at the crux of things... I think that's supposed to be one of the hooks?
Man, I don't know. It's bleak. Maybe I'll come back, we'll see.
TWO AND A HALF STARS
Because it's not badly written, and the world is kind of interesting - but shit can only be so interesting before you've gotta go find something that smells better.
I gotta go read something to wash my mind out now....more
There’s lots (well, ‘lots’ in context of the typical obscurity of a Malazan book) of useful information here, background wise. Butttt…. you know, theThere’s lots (well, ‘lots’ in context of the typical obscurity of a Malazan book) of useful information here, background wise. Butttt…. you know, the ending was such a kind of MREPHEPR (sound of balloon deflating) – and the buildup wasn’t anything spectacular – so put those two together and you have a pretty lackluster tale. I mean, seriously WHAT THE FUCK with the ending. I get how it’s beyond the ken of mortals (including the reader and all that) but mean…huh? I’m hoping that it’s just been so long since I read another Malazan book that I’m just forgetting whatever the driving motivation here is. Because I’m not seeing any (for the T’riss/Ardata thing).
The Crimson Guard stuff was more interesting but there’s really only so many times you can avoid a question before it gets obnoxious. Erikson does it better (sorry, Esslemont) – I rarely get annoyed at him for doing it. When Esslemont does it, it often comes across sloppily and blandly aka yawn.
Wow. That’s a really bad cover. Who would see this cover and go “I want to read that book?” Maybe Monty Python fans looking for further adventures of the formerly-limbless-knight? It could happen. There must be a market there…
Still, the next/last book promises (not that it’s going to keep that promise) so many things that I’m certainly going to read it and, indeed, am even looking forward to it even if it’s as bland as this one just for all the stuff that’s maybe going to happen in it.
I did kind of enjoy the humor side-plot. The wry (?), absurdist sense of humor is something that both authors do well – and something I appreciate. The scribe’s interactions with the expedition leader are priceless, and Sour and Murk’s stuff isn’t half bad either. That being said… it’s probably not for everyone.
At least one of those is just for how hungry I am for the worldbuilding, even in scraps....more
A nice change of pace with much less sex than usual (yay!). Don't get me wrong, I like sex, but man is it freaking overkill in some of these books. MMA nice change of pace with much less sex than usual (yay!). Don't get me wrong, I like sex, but man is it freaking overkill in some of these books. MMmm author fantasy fulfillment much?
It was a nice change seeing Anita almost totally out of her element. The rather unexpected character development for Edward was a nice touch too, and I hope to see it address again in the future. Especially the molestation thing... AGAIN: DID THE CHARACTER REALLY NEED TO BE RAPED/MOLESTED? I see what the author was doing, but it seemed kind of out of place, especially considering the molester was just some human chic who we didn't even know had a predisposition to do this kind of thing.
I figured out in this book (I know, I know, I'm slow sometimes) what we, as readers are supposed to be feel threatened by. I mean, obviously Anita isn't going to die, so we can't worry about that, her love life isn't going to suffer - it's only going to prosper - so we can't worry about that, we can't worry about damage to her vagina from giant horse penis anymore - book 10 showed that she can take that.
So what are we left fearing for? Her humanity. With each book she trades away a new piece, sinking (if you view it as a negative) further and further away from what is "normal". And, we as readers, can see why she rationally made each choice. But with each choice, and each boundary crossed, she is a little (or a lot!) less like the readers. So I think that's what we're supposed to worry about - what will she trade this time to save those she doesn't really like but will risk (not life and limb!) but soul and sex for?
As a result, we (or me at least) find less and less to identify with her as a character about. So instead of reading a story where we're sort of riding along with the character, now I'm just kind of sitting back and watching the train wreck. Don't get me wrong, it's fascinating, but I really wonder how Hamilton is going to end this. Because she really should at some point. Maybe after Anita takes out the whole Vamp council and sits in charge of pretty much every supernatural being in the world?...more
I wound up rating this one higher than I was expecting. It climbed up a quarter point and then another quarter point as I spent more time thinking.
TheI wound up rating this one higher than I was expecting. It climbed up a quarter point and then another quarter point as I spent more time thinking.
The language here is really beautiful - lots of bits of sceneric (yep, just made that up) poetry. Vistas of depression scattered across an Earth truly on its last legs. We don't know how much time has passed, beyond a shitload. Enough time for starfaring civilizations to rise and fall multiple times (I wonder if Gene Wolfe was inspired by this book? Certainly I like this one better.) and all the minerals to be drained from the planet. Recycling is now the only option. Still, there's some pretty deadly tech floating around...
It's very much a fantasy story in feel, but the setting is clearly sci-fi in the post-apocalyptic sense. There's a sense of feudal honor/morality and knights and all that, right up against decaying power armor and jury rigged light sabres (sans the bright colors). The dwarf's power armor actually "feels" like it belongs in a fantasy, if that makes any sense.
Parts of the narrative could definitely have slipped into slog (especially in the modern style), but Harrison kept things moving along at enough of a clip for me to never quite catch bored.
Truthfully, I'm still not quite sure what to make of it. Midway through I wasn't expecting to continue reading the series but now... now I'm not so sure. It ended on an interesting enough note that I'm curious to see where Harrison will go with it, especially given that he didn't follow a traditional path in getting there.
THREE AND A HALF STARS
A strange little gem of a classic that veers off the beaten path.
Note: Do you think the 2 "adapted" races mentioned by the old man in the tower were the sloths and the lizards? That's my current guess....more
There is some seriously funky unreliable narrator shit going on here. Especially in the beginning, lots of details are missing and filled in afterward There is some seriously funky unreliable narrator shit going on here. Especially in the beginning, lots of details are missing and filled in afterwards in strange ways.
Perhaps more funky: that's one of the more interesting parts of the story. I'm wondering why the fuck he's doing this. Beyond that, I'm really bored. But I'm going to push onward. This may wind up being one of those series I read just I've got that under my belt. Classics and all that.
Many of the descriptions are vivid and wonderful but I just can't decide if these books are terrible or just too artsy for me. I'm going to have to actually read some criticisms after I finish the next one. Because I want to know what the hell the intent here is.
Yeah. I don't... it's kind of a classic wanderers tale type deal but I dunno, maybe it's that there's so little sense of agency in Severian's actions. He just moves from bizarre scene (two headed man dessicated in space-ship, wakes up to be previous king of the world or something) to bizarre scene (pick any scene from the book). Reading these books makes me feel drugged. I need a nap.
There's lots of neat things going on - but most are just hints and never really fleshed out enough to make me care.
OHhhhh YOU wacky Napoleonic/Victorian dragon alt-history thing. I like you and hate you. Not quite love, because the annoying parts are really annoyin OHhhhh YOU wacky Napoleonic/Victorian dragon alt-history thing. I like you and hate you. Not quite love, because the annoying parts are really annoying (to me). The way people act drives me right fucking crazy. BUT I think it's a setting thing, not a bad writing thing. This is pretty much the only exposure I have to the whole Victorian gentleman/woman thing, but I can already tell you that I hate it. Even dragons make it only barely tolerable. Because everyone acts like a goddam idiot.
Novak's take on how dragons affected the cultural progress of the various countries and continents IS really fascinating and seems decently researched and thought out. I didn't like her take on Australia (not many interesting local dragon species), but that's a taste thing, not a quality thing.
So we started with the various European takes on dragons, then on to China, Africa and Australia and now we're hitting South America. I would have expected North America next, but it looks like they're heading back to China at the end of this one. With all the interminable bits of time these books spend on really slow boat travel and how terrible it was (really terrible) and how often things went wrong (always), you'd think she'd at least finish up the world tour while they were CLOSE to NA and not have to make the epic trek back later. Maybe they'll get waylaid/derailed again...since that happens pretty much every book.
Hmm, also there are apparently only 2 more books, so I AM really curious how she's going to work North America into this. I mean, why hit every continent but one?
I dunno. Final thoughts... a close to my ramblings? I enjoy the setting more than anything done within it, I guess. The progress of the war, the way the countries interact with each other, Novik's take on a way to get at an earlier abolition that works within her world, the different ways in which each culture deals with its dragons (which feels convincing enough to me as a reader - although I have no idea how well they would hold up to a discerning reader with a relevant educational background), dragon breeds and interbreeds. All that stuff is great. But most of the time when someone opens their mouth ........ *shakes fist*
So, a very subjective
I think someone who likes all this Victorian bullshit would really dig these books. Oh, and there is some off-camera dragon sex in here, followed by what really seemed to be some dragon morning sickness ......more
I’m continuing on my trek through pulp fantasy I read as a kid – although I’m really not sure if I actually read these 3 books or not, I know I reaSo.
I’m continuing on my trek through pulp fantasy I read as a kid – although I’m really not sure if I actually read these 3 books or not, I know I read books 4-7 of the series (I still owned them when I bought (or re-bought) these three). They definitely have that 70s/80s fantasy cover thing down though right? I don’t think the hero ever wears a chain mail skirt – yet there he is on the cover! The lady in red with the demon jumping out of an amulet is actually pretty accurate though.
The story itself suffered from some of the same technical flaws as the previous volume – things that are either just obvious to me now because of the quantity of books I’ve read since then, or because I’m older and pickier. Or both. Some things just seem really juvenile and/or simple. The lead character’s romances become slightly more believable – although him going after his alternate’s widow in such short time still strikes me as not very heroic. The idiotic forced use of “the,thy,thou” etc. type stuff also gets quite annoying, and I don’t think contributed anything to the series. Maybe it was required in all fantasy back then? :)
Still, for all its warts, I enjoyed the book. The skeleton of the plot is interesting, even if the meat may hang loosely in parts or not at all. The magic/tech world overlap is a good device, and that by itself keeps me going to some degree. Also I kept waiting for an event I knew about from reading the newer books, but it never happened, so I guess that comes later.
I think this was the weakest book in the series, although I’ve already forgotten why I had that particular opinion.
Oh. Maybe it was the ending…wow. Even worse than the first book. It ends at a hard cliff, I mean, shit happens, then shit doesn’t. And you don’t exactly know what the resolution is. Sure, you can guess – and make a pretty good guess at that – but it just feels really really sloppy the way it dropped off.
A 130 page book! Back in the day (1966) this was much more of a thing than today, or something. I think it was initially published as half of one of tA 130 page book! Back in the day (1966) this was much more of a thing than today, or something. I think it was initially published as half of one of those flipbook deals - you know, where you finish the first book and then flip it over upside down and read from the other side? Yes, there's a technical term for that (hence my wiki link).
My copy was a single - exactly matching the image there - not that you care. But I'm kind of an old book geek (among other geekeries), so I CARE. Love the smell of 60s & 70s pulpy paperbacks.
This was one of LeGuin's first books - and it shows. It's not bad in any sense, but I can definitely see how she started with something like this and refined her craft. Still, there's something to be said for cramming an entire epic journey style story into 130 pages. So much that would have been sooo decompressed in a current work. But man was it nice to know that say a kidnapping scene (one of my pet peeves, which may or may not have happened in this book) isn't going to last 40 fucking pages - instead it's more like 3.
I don't have much to say about this... it was simple and fun and threw out some interesting ideas and then BAM done.
Because it's simple and fun and a nice example of the early genre, especially the SF/F overlap, but nothing awesome....more
This book starts off with probably my least liked plot device EVER – a kidnapping. If you’ve ever talked books with me, you may have heard me swear upThis book starts off with probably my least liked plot device EVER – a kidnapping. If you’ve ever talked books with me, you may have heard me swear up and down about how much I hate kidnappings – because they inevitably just waste time. Character is kidnapped, hundreds or pages are wasted on the rescue, plot continues. You always know they will be rescued, so the way is just interminable to me. I know, I’m impatient.
That being said, there are a few times when kidnappings work. There was one in particular in a series I didn’t really like..the Sword of Truth series I think – there was a very effective kidnapping there as a means of actually adding to the plot instead of wasting it.
So all that out of the way, this book was still quite enjoyable and kept me plowing through it. Also, like book one, I appear to have either completely forgotten the story, or never read it. This one tells us how the Ancient One/Wood got here to the future/present more or less, and I’m pretty sure that’s the kind of plot detail I should remember. But I didn’t. So I was able to enjoy the information even more I guess. Still, I wish it was spelled out better – I’m not a big fan of vague.
So yeah, great book – not particularly heavy on characterization (I think I like this school of writing better actually), just the action and the adventure and all that. It fills a vital role as setting up the main series villain and giving you a little back story on him – in book one he was just a shadowy presence, here he becomes an actual character.
This is yet another book that I really should have read (it was in my collection, and it’s almost unheardNice long title for a relatively short book.
This is yet another book that I really should have read (it was in my collection, and it’s almost unheard of for me to have a book without reading it) – but nothing inside set off any bells. Which in many ways is good, because I can truly enjoy something “again for the first time”.
This book isn’t so much a fantasy book as a detective/mystery dressed up in fantasy clothing. Which works pretty well for it. It’s a fairly straightforward, clue-by-clue, mystery – as opposed to a modern twist-after-twist story where they try and surprise you as much as humanly possible. The ending is a nice, satisfying semi-surprise, yet not out of blue and annoying.
It’s set in the same world as the other books in the series, yet it doesn’t really directly relate to them, which is kind of frustrating. The main characters and the kingdom from the previous books are involved in that they loaned the titular sword to the group the protagonist is traveling with. That, and the setting itself, is the thin thread that ties this into the rest of the series. So, taken as a book in a series it fails but, taken as a story sharing the props & setting it works just fine. If, however, the characters from this book do return for further engagements (I can’t remember the other books either), then it will fit correctly into the series.
If you want some light fantasy/mystery reading I think you’ll enjoy this book. Especially since it doesn’t require reading the other books in any way.