I feel like this might have been a good book with some interesting ideas... But the first one hundred pages were incredibly slow, and with so many othI feel like this might have been a good book with some interesting ideas... But the first one hundred pages were incredibly slow, and with so many other books demanding my attention I couldn't find the will to keep reading. The author is obviously very knowledgeable about Ancient Rome, and he seems to have thought out the world he has created quite well. Unfortunately, he tends to take a whole page to describe things that could have been conveyed in a few lines. After a hundred pages, it feels like I was only just getting to the meat of the story....more
As someone who occasionally dabbles in words, I appreciate good writers.
Not just people who understands word choice and syntax (an important and oftenAs someone who occasionally dabbles in words, I appreciate good writers.
Not just people who understands word choice and syntax (an important and often undervalued skill) or the mechanics of plot, but individuals who understand the unique power that words and stories can hold. In just a few marks on the page, writers have the power to change lives and alter realities, create worlds from nothing. Worlds that are very much real.
While many mediums achieve this goal, writing is uniquely collaborative in the way it does so. Without the input of the reader, writing does not work. The reader is imperative to the creation of a written story, and, as such, each reader’s experience with that work will be different. Middle-Earth would not exist without Tolkien, but neither would it exist without readers to interpret his words and bring his world to life in their minds.
No two readings of a novel, short story, or poem are the same.
When a reader engages a piece of literature, they bring to it their own experiences, their own biases, their own preconceptions. The reader cannot divorce themselves from the context in which they are reading, just as the words themselves cannot be divorced from the context in which they were written. The written work, as it exists in the writer’s head, is not the same as it exists in the reader’s head.
The true nature of the written word, any writing, is in constant flux, existing somewhere between the intentions of the author, the interpretation of the reader, and the context in which the words are written and read.
Neil Gaiman understands this fact better than most.
The View from the Cheap Seats is like an extended conversation with Gaiman, one of those discussions that ranges far from the original point, but from which both parties emerge with a far deeper understanding of one another.
In these essays, introductions, and speeches one is given the impression of knowing Gaiman intimately. He ruminates on all aspects of life, from writing and art, to the power of love and death. Rarely does he state his opinions and beliefs outright, yet they come through loud and clear. Gaiman does not condescend to his reader by assuming that they will share these beliefs; he is an observer, merely explaining the world as he sees it.
Incredibly astute in these observations, Gaiman puts things in terms that are often startlingly simple, yet all the more profound for that simplicity. What shines through in all these pieces is an incredible compassion for and insight into the world around him. Gaiman understands people, what drives them, and the profound power of art and writing.
Gaiman understands the potential of story, and he understands the power of words. Indeed, his particular love of writing, driven by a passion for art in all forms, is the message behind all these works. His understanding of art and life’s intimate love affair is unrivalled.
For those wishing to understand the creative mind, this book is perfect. For those wishing to know that they are not alone the world, this book is perfect. In many ways, this book is perfect, one that everyone should read.
Lev Grossman, adding in an angsty main character doesn't make your shameless rip off of Harry Potter and Narnia any better: it just makes it that muchLev Grossman, adding in an angsty main character doesn't make your shameless rip off of Harry Potter and Narnia any better: it just makes it that much more frustrating. Obviously, you don't pay attention to how stories work, as the pacing in this book is completely off and you spend far more time telling than you do showing. I know this is a cliched critique, but The Magicians is a textbook example of this mistake. There are pages and pages of heavy exposition that could easily have been worked into the fabric of the story, rather than jutting out as awkward interludes.
Also, Mr. Grossman, I think you need to work a bit on your juvenille approach to depicting female characters. I understand that the main character is a lonely teenaged boy, awkward in his interactions and fueled by raging hormones, but your reader really does not need every single depiction of a female to involve detailed descriptions of her anatomy. Almost every time a woman walked into the room, the adjectives"pretty," "attractive," and (quite hilariously) "gropable" seemed to be used. I know you're trying to give the reader a sense of your character, and that is fine. But as with your exposition, the manner in which you describe Quentin's attraction to these characters simply causes them to stick out, painting you, the author, as a dirty old man.
I didn't have huge expectations for this book, but I can't believe how shamelessly this ripped off from better works. The magical world described, Fillory, is quite literally Narnia, and the stories of the children in follow the books rather closely. Quentin's school of magic is a rip off of Hogwarts, though far less interesting and far less developed than the original.
Anyone reading this review... don't give The Magicians a go. Read Harry Potter or Narnia if you want to experience real magical worlds. If you want an angsty main teenager as a main character, read the Catcher in the Rye, as that book gives you what you're after, rather than a cardboard cutout of what a forty year old man telling you what he thinks an angsty teenager should be....more
I downloaded this book from audible as a easy listen, and I half expected to give it up without finishing it. I was pleasantly surprised, however, as,I downloaded this book from audible as a easy listen, and I half expected to give it up without finishing it. I was pleasantly surprised, however, as, rather than a generic and poorly written action story, Battlefront: Twilight Company was an engaging and well written story.
The Star Wars universe is used only as a backdrop for a story that, really, doesn't seem like a Star Wars story. This book shows a different side of the story, dealing with the reality of the titular "wars." While Like Skywalker and Princess Leia are off saving the universe, Nemir, a hardened cynic and professional soldier, leads Twilight Company in a war where anything goes. Battlefront: Twilight Company attempts to show a different side to the universe, addressing the fact that not everyone can have grand destinies and magical powers.
The choice to make the book's timeline parallel that of the movies was smart, and helped give this theme some extra weight. Characters from the films are largely absent, except for a few cameos (did anybody else catch the Han Solo one???), and this is to the book's advantage. The depth of Freed's original characters are the book's greatest strength.
There are a few tangent plot points that were a bit unnecessary, but overall I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Star Wars and its expanded universe. Certainly this is one of the better books I've read within the universe....more
I have to give Marko Kloos credit. He's done what I really did not expect and turned this into a compelling, well plotted and entertaining series withI have to give Marko Kloos credit. He's done what I really did not expect and turned this into a compelling, well plotted and entertaining series with characters that I've actually come to care about. In the first novel, Andrew was an annoying, unlikable douchebag. The plot line and world were decently engaging, but the narrator was offputting and the writing amateurish. I was wary about trying the sequel.
However, I'm glad I did. You can really see how Kloos has improved as a writer over the course of the series. His prose has come a long way, and the quality of storytelling is markedly better. More importantly, the characters have become real people with real emotions. Andrew has matured as a character, and become someone I can really empathize with.
I'm really enjoying this series. I can't wait for the next one!...more