For years the only Madeleine L'Engle book I'd ever read was A Wrinkle in Time. I'm starting to wish I'd left it that way. The first sequel - A Wind inFor years the only Madeleine L'Engle book I'd ever read was A Wrinkle in Time. I'm starting to wish I'd left it that way. The first sequel - A Wind in the Door - was disappointing. The second - this one - is downright bad.
There are some good ideas in here, but it's not enough to rescue a plot so convoluted it borders on the incoherent. Anytime L'Engle leaves behind the Murry family the writing takes a nose dive. The dialogue in the historical sections is especially cringe worthy.
I'd gladly stop here and not further soil my love for A Wrinkle in Time. However, I'm reading the series to my daughter and she insists we keep going. Here's hoping Many Waters is a return to form...more
I just finished rereading (well, re-listening if I'm being accurate) to this. I'd forgotten just how good it is. There's a ton going on on the surfaceI just finished rereading (well, re-listening if I'm being accurate) to this. I'd forgotten just how good it is. There's a ton going on on the surface in terms of character and plot, but what really sets American Gods apart is its depth.
This book is, among other things, an examination of mythology, natural religion, American beliefs, American sociology, the immigrant experience, the nature of belief, and so much more. I could go on about it for quite some time, which is something I plan to do along with Matt Anderson in a not-that-far-in-the-future episode of The Sci-Fi Christian ...more
I really, really wanted to like this one. I really, really wound up hating it. On paper, all the pieces are there for a great fantasy novel: it's notI really, really wanted to like this one. I really, really wound up hating it. On paper, all the pieces are there for a great fantasy novel: it's not the formulaic "farm boy goes on epic quest to stop dark lord and save the world" cliched plot, it has some very interesting themes, and it's written by the guy who helped Christopher Tolkien edit the Silmarillion.
The problem is that while Guy Gavriel Kay is an obviously intelligent writer, he is not a very talented writer. If he had an appreciation for his limitations he could adjust accordingly and write brilliantly. He doesn't and he didn't.
It's quite popular in modern fiction to write characters to be as realistic and believable as possible. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. When it's done well - i.e. George R.R. Martin - the results are brilliant. When it's done badly every line of dialogue and character descriptor begins to feel like claws on a chalkboard. In Tigana it is done very badly.
I realized this pretty early on, but even so I courageously pressed on. I was enjoying the themes and underlying intelligence of the story. I was even mostly successful at ignoring the bad writing. And then, completely out of left field, Guy Kay decides it's time to introduce the incest subplot.
Now, here's the thing about incest subplots, you can pull them off successfully (in fiction that is. Don't try it in real life). Martin pulled it off in Game of Thrones by being ironic and subversive with the Lannisters and by being foreign and unnerving with the Targaryens. Tolkien (yes, THAT Tolkien did an incest subplot) pulled it off in Children of Hurin by it being tragic. Even George Lucas pulled it off by introducing it as a retcon and hoping nobody remembered those kissing scenes from the first two movies.
All those are ways to make an incest subplot work. What you CANNOT do with an incest subplot is spring it on the audience without any warning and then proceed in describing it without a hint of irony, subversion, or tragedy. The closest we get to an explanation is a throw away line where the sister says to her brother, "Aren't we doing something bad?" Brother, always quick on his toes, replies, "Well, bad things were done to us. Our home was destroyed so it's no biggie."
That's right, the moral of our incest subplot is "Incest is bad. That is, unless your home was destroyed in which case bang away!"
I listened to this section of the book with a mounting slack-jawed horror waiting for Kay to pull out (no pun intended) of the nose dive, to introduce something, ANYTHING, that would justify this complete trainwreck of a subplot.
Nope. Brother decides to go on a journey away from sister. No more banging.
Kay then proceeds merrily along with his plot and bad writing as though he didn't just write one of the grossest sections of any book I've ever read.
I tried to stick it out for a bit after that, and I did for quite a while. Then I looked at my phone and realized I still had over 15 hours of listening left. I just couldn't do it.
Incest aside, the book sucks. I'm in the minority on that, but it's true. It's a trainwreck of epic proportions, worth it only for the cheap thrill of watching someone take a great idea with great themes and shit all over it. For me, I have better things to do with my time. ...more
This is my first Brandon Sanderson read outside of his Wheel of Time work. While I can't say I was disappointed (I was expecting a pretty average readThis is my first Brandon Sanderson read outside of his Wheel of Time work. While I can't say I was disappointed (I was expecting a pretty average read) there certainly isn't anything here to make me rush out and read more of his work.
Sanderson reminds me a lot of Dean Koontz: an ok author who comes up with some fairly interesting idea but lacks much in the way of depth or intelligence in his writing. This book isn't good or bad. It's average through and through...more
At long last the end of The Wheel of Time is here. I started reading the series shortly before Winter's Heart came out in 2000. Much has changed for mAt long last the end of The Wheel of Time is here. I started reading the series shortly before Winter's Heart came out in 2000. Much has changed for me over the past thirteen years - especially my taste in books and life interests - but through all of that The Wheel of Time has been a constant for me. It's been with me through most of my teenage and all of my adult years. And now, at last, it's done.
I, and most other fans, would be lying if I claimed to have loved every moment of the series. At times it's been a frustrating and infuriating process. When Robert Jordan died in 2007, many of us assumed the worst that because he'd spent too much time writing on minor details we'd never see the end of the series. Thankfully, he spent his last days leaving careful notes ensuring that we would eventually see the end.
There's been plenty said - good and bad - about Brandon Sanderson's completion of the series. While many of those points on both sides are valid, I personally don't see much point in doing anything but thanking him for the work he's done. He took on an impossible task and gave us an ending worthy of the series. Was his work perfect? Nope. How could it have been? But it was respectful and more than worthy of Robert Jordan's legacy.
This last book is a whirlwind of action and resolution. The pace is absolutely relentless. Despite the 900 page length, the book absolutely flies by. Normally when reading a book like this, I'd find myself wishing for less action and more quiet, character driven moments. Reading A Memory of Light, I realized that that sort of complaint was really irrelevant. The series has transcended any individual scenes, dialogues or characters. It's a work of staggering complexity - more immersive experience than novel. It's triumph isn't in the style, characters, action or dialogue; it's in bringing the enormous complexity to a satisfying resolution. Neither Jordan nor Sanderson were particularly great novelists, but both were phenomenal world builders whose joint talents gave this series the ending it needed and the one fans deserve.
It's difficult to say what the series' legacy will be. On the one hand, there are few fantasy novels that have influenced the genre so much as The Wheel of Time. On the other, the genre has seemingly already passed Jordan by moving on from stories of good vs evil to the morally ambiguous worlds of Martin and others. Regardless of how the series is looked back upon in the years to come, it has undoubtedly left is mark on all of us who made it this far. Thank you, Robert Jordan, for sharing your world with us. It's been an incredible ride. ...more
This is a tough book to review fairly. It has the unfortunate job of having to follow up the masterpiece that is A Wrinkle in Time. While it's a goodThis is a tough book to review fairly. It has the unfortunate job of having to follow up the masterpiece that is A Wrinkle in Time. While it's a good book in its own right, it doesn't come close to the brilliance of its predecessor.
In my review of A Wrinkle in Time, I mentioned that although I've loved that book for a very long time, I've only just now decided to read the rest of the series. At least part of my reason is that I didn't want my experience of the first book to be diminished by lesser sequels. I suppose in a sense that fear was justified, but I don't at all regret reading A Wind in the Door. It's a great read and it gives us a chance to revisit many of the same characters from the first book.
My recommendation is to view this not as a sequel to A Wrinkle in Time but as a stand-alone novel set in the same world. From that perspective, it's very satisfying and highly recommended.
I just finished rereading this - this time to my daughter - and my initial feelings are about the same. There's a lot of great ideas here, but the book is a bit of a mess in the second half and no where close to as good as A Wrinkle in Time...more