Well, this is my first novel to be published (self published) so naturally I may not have the most objective opinion about it. To me, one of the best...moreWell, this is my first novel to be published (self published) so naturally I may not have the most objective opinion about it. To me, one of the best compliments the book received was from a friend (fellow goodreads user) who read it. After she read it, she told me that I should check out Brandon Sanderson because she felt like my writing style reminded her of him. So I don't have the audacity to claim to be as capable an author as Sanderson, but when a reader who has read an astounding amount in many literature genres related it to Sanderson, that was quite a compliment.
Anyway, this is a work that I have obsessively worked on in intense spurts of energy over many years. It is actually my second novel ever written, but I won't inflict my first novel on anyone else. I learned a lot as a writer through the years working on this. I thank the many people who read it, and gave feedback and editing help. Most especially I thank my wife, who has been my main editor. I have done enough revisions following her feedback that any grammar or spelling mistakes can't be blamed on her though 8).
So I hope that people will enjoy it, and that the word can spread about the novel. I am proud of it. There are things that I could improve about it, but that will always be the case, and I needed to mentally and creatively move forward. This is after all book one of a planned out trilogy that I am excited to complete.(less)
I read this out of curiosity for what would be leading to the new television series based on the novel. I am shocked that this series was chosen for a...moreI read this out of curiosity for what would be leading to the new television series based on the novel. I am shocked that this series was chosen for a tv series for several reasons. If it is true to the novel then I won't watch it.
I didn't like some of Goodkind's villains. For example one was very clearly made out to be a child mollester, and I just felt like he copped out. A good villain exudes evil but you don't have to force the issue like that. It's hard to explain, but I wanted to see him craft his villains evil more subtly and interestingly than that. I found myself asking "do I really want to see a child mollesting villain onscreen?"
That touches on another complaint I had about the novel. I felt that Goodkind was too liberal and descriptive about subjects I would just assume be left alone. He always skirted a fine line if you will, but there was more racey content than should have been left out. He was disturbingly descriptive about an attempted rape that lead up to the coupe de gras. The crowning moment of aggravation was when he had a main character castrate said child molester and make him eat the unmentionables. Thanks Mr Goodkind for such a wonderful moment... I highly doubt that will find its way into the screenplays, but you never know these days.
I felt that there were too many inconsistnencies and misnomers. The Sword of Truth operated more as a sword of perception. It wouldn't let you kill Kain himself if you doubted, and would let you kill Gandhi or Mother Terresa if you were convinced they were evil. Shouldn't a sword of truth operate on a notion of inviolable truth, protecting the innocent because they are innocent? Richard was said to be someone who didn't fear the truth, then a page or two later he is denying the obvious truth because he is afraid of what it means about his brother. Later, you see a moment when a young girl uses a magical item to torture Richard and she talks about how easy it is and how much fun it is to use. A few pages later the author reveals that the magic inflicts pain equally to both parties. There were lots of things like that.
When he finally does reveal what he means by Wizards First Rule, it feels like he then starts hitting you over the head with the rule.
I also felt very frustrated with the predictable nature of the story. I knew what was going to happen long before the supposed revealing moments on practically every occasion.
I won't be bothering to continue the series, and sadly don't look forward to the series on tv. I was hoping to see a novel that I would be excited to have championing this genre to the masses. I can think of several novels that I would much rather see made into a tv series for sure. Siiigh how cool would Mistborn be as a series?
The story for Blue Sword was decent enough but I felt so aggravated by the actual writing that it left me frustrated so many times. I took time to not...moreThe story for Blue Sword was decent enough but I felt so aggravated by the actual writing that it left me frustrated so many times. I took time to note one of many segments that didn't read easily. One sentence had 79 words and 5 commas. This kind of paragraph-sentence was fairly common. I felt that all the imagery, description and emotion could have always been conveyed far better and without leaving a reader grappling. By the time you finish reading these sentences you almost invariably lose track of the original subject and verb. I consider myself to be fairly solid at reading comprehension, but I have never read a book that made me furrow my brow and go back to reread paragraphs so often. On other occasions, it felt like her sentences wandered very randomly, leaving me wondering where she was trying to take the narrative with a given paragraph.
I also say that the story was decent enough rather than exceptional by my criteria. There felt to be so litle if any development or explanation about Kelar. It worked to me as a good example of a principle Sanderson wrote about. If the magic doesn't establish rules by which it will operate, it shouldn't be the solution to major problems. To do otherwise gives it a contrived feeling like the author feels they just let magic solve their problems. Without spoiling the ending, it felt a lot like that happened. They are in a tight spot, so the main character goes off and magic saves the day in a way that felt rather convenient and dare I say anticlimactic.
There are occasions where I will read a New York Times best seller and kind of wonder why. I promise that I don't make it a habit to ruthlessly criticize every book I read. I just don't bother to write a review about something unless I have distinct opinions for the exceptional or not-so-exceptional.
What to say about 1984? It is in a lot of ways like a writer's version of a charicature. You see a charicature of a well-known person and you see the...moreWhat to say about 1984? It is in a lot of ways like a writer's version of a charicature. You see a charicature of a well-known person and you see the exaggerated teeth, chin or forehead. The image exaggerates actual characteristics of the person, leaving the character recognizable, but full buy-in, realism and beleivability are impossible. Orwell essentially did a charicature of human nature with heavy-handed exaggerations to act as a warning. In that regard the book is effective, but it felt like a charicature that diminished or ignored other features for the sake of making the point. As such, it offered profound insights to human nature, while at the same time hurting the eficacy of those insights by taking them to heavy extremes. It is like seeing a charicature of Obama and thinking both "yeah he does have kind of big ears," and "ok the size in this portrayal is a bit ridiculous."
At a certain point in the book, Orwell pushes you through about twenty pages of finctional essays about the reasoning behind his society. To me it really hurt the narrative, and diminished from the experience of the story. Perhaps if you read the book as an intellectual excercise rather than a narrative, you will enjoy that more. That isn't to say that I don't enjoy intellectual excercises or even a good essay, I just couldn't fully agree with the delivery.
The book felt like a response to the threat of comunism and the heating up of the cold war that defined the social climate at the time of the books writing. People refer to the book as a "negative utopia" wich to me felt very missleading. It felt a lot more like a book to go along with the old movies warning freedom loving people about the dangers of socialists. I wonder somewhat if it lost its complete edge and appeal for me because the cold war is hardly a part of even my childhood memories.
Orwell is skilled with his writing, and I found certain portions of the story very clever. Many say that the best part of the book is the last sentence. I say yes and no to that, but don't pretend that others would care to read my full thoughts on that. Besides it would spoil the ending. (less)
It is a good thing to read the classics if for no other reason than to have a reminder how beautiful the language can be. It is certainly not as casua...moreIt is a good thing to read the classics if for no other reason than to have a reminder how beautiful the language can be. It is certainly not as casual a read, but it is well worth the experience. Dumas crafts a beautiful story, and the translation was excellent. I must confess I ended up picking up an abridged version with some handy footnotes etc. It was still 600 pages long, and felt quite immersive. I marvel at the patience and skill of writers who crafted their words with such skill without the conveniences that should elevate our writing to new heights but instead seems to shorten our attention spans. (less)
Pullman crafts a compelling story with excellent characters and a compelling, original world of magic and intrigue.
The Amber Spyglass is almost the at...morePullman crafts a compelling story with excellent characters and a compelling, original world of magic and intrigue.
The Amber Spyglass is almost the atheist paralell to the Chronicles of Narnia. I say that because you cannot read the books without feeling the obvious preaching of atheist and liberal thought. The whole trilogy is a well written narrative that comunicates his world views and beleifs while still being a compelling and fascinating tale. It didn't matter to me that I disagreed at the very deepest levels of my being with how he viewed the world, it was a fascinating read to see an author skillfully craft a story that is thoroughly informed and expressive of his world views. It is absolutely impossible to simply enjoy the story of its own merit and not clearly see the atheist agenda. That may alienate a lot of readers, but I feel secure enough in my convictions that I could enjoy the experience.
The Amber Spyglass series is incredibly well written, with a compelling narrative and fascinating characters. If you are atheist then his views and story may ring true enough to have you giving it an enthusiastic five stars. If you beleive otherwise, you can still learn a lot about how to craft a story that can communicate your world views through an enjoyable and compelling narrative. (less)
I enjoyed Eragon enough that I anxiously picked up Eldest, hoping for the series to really blossom from what was a fun introduction to the world of Er...moreI enjoyed Eragon enough that I anxiously picked up Eldest, hoping for the series to really blossom from what was a fun introduction to the world of Eragon. I felt that the book dissappointed me on many levels. The story and narrative slowed to a crawl. The relevant, and important material was watered down with entire chapters that felt like they were dedicated essentially proselitizing and preaching his world views.
If a book is written and presented to a reader in a way that you can expect or anticipate that, then it is one thing. It is another entirely when you pick up a book expecting an enjoyable fantasy narrative and feel you are getting preached too instead. Even Pullman's amber spyglass series, which was also heavily didactic, didn't feel like it betrayed a trust because I knew going into it that the books were a means to convey the point. It also never felt like he diverted from his narrative to go on a monologue, rather the whole point of his narrative was to demonstrate and build a story around his ideas and beleifs.
A persons beleifs will always inform their writing. However, I beleive that unless a reader is clearly given to expect that the writing is an explicit means to expound on your world views with no pretenses then it shouldn't be made as blatantly obvious. I don't read Sanderson's writings and think 'well he's obviously LDS.' I don't read Tolkein and think 'he's obviously Catholic.' Paolini spent at least 100 pages in his story not just trying to say what he beleived, but trying to convince the reader to beleive the same.
It mattered litle that his beleifs were contradictory to mine. I would have felt just as betrayed had Sanderson dedicated a chapter or five to the Mormon missionaries giving Vin and Elend the discussions. Most of what I learned from Eldest was that Paolini was atheist and vegetarian and that he thought I should be as well.
Even had he trimmed out his didactic diversions from the important narrative, the story still felt like it slowed to a crawl. The important happenings in Eldest could have been written in half as many scintilating and brilliant pages. (less)