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Is this one of those books that is great because that is what people are supposed to say, or is it in fact great based on it own merits?I find most classics fit that the category because people are sheep and don't want to appear as if they had "missed" the greatness of the book. I don't have the time to invest in a so-so book because people won't say it's crap.

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Miles Johnson This book demands a lot of investment. I would say that as much as any book I've ever read it demands a rereading; it's meant to be reread, or even researched. It's usually criticized of being cold and meandering, but that's also the spell of the book -- it's absolutely swollen with genre-bending omens and echoes of powers storming behind the fabric of our experience that never end but never reveal themselves. I like Ursula K. Le Guin's comment: "The groundnote of it all is human pain, so that this fantasy has the weight of vision." The book's most compelling fantasy/sci-fi element is the way experience is augmented, and this is furthermore an allegorical exploration of religious phenomenology, hemeneutics, on and on... There are aliens, time-travel, etc., but they're almost a footnote to the experience of body-snatching with which the book is preoccupied.
Gary Miles is correct. It does require you to invest a bit of time and self into the reading. It is not an easy read. I, for one, did not get all of the references, allusions and esoterica. Reading 'Castle Of Days' helps. It is great based upon it's own merits. This is not to say that it is for every reader. It is very cerebral. (I spent a great deal of time looking up words that weren't in the dictionary) I feel that story is art and art is subjective. We will not all be moved by the same stories. We like what we like. For instance, I was not as impressed with Dune as most. It was good, but not that good. I found Severian's journey fascinating. Perhaps, you will not. I do, however, think that this is one classic that you should consider reading.
Manuel This work is really, really good. Not sure what you mean to "supposed to say", and "sheep". Classics are classic because they stand the test of time, and people keep going back to them and love them even when they've forgotten about other books. This book, especially, has proven itself good to go back to again and again. It's made of iron, while most books are just built of sand, figuratively speaking.

Most people don't lie about what books they like. What's the point?
Rui I've read these books almost by chance. Once I started, just couldn't stop. It's not an easy reading and does not have the grandeur of a Lord of the Rings, the greatest epic fantasy story ever wrote. The Book of the new Sun is not an epic story and Severian is by far a friendly character yet his lifespan journey can be as gripping as Frodo's quest was. That said, if you are an impatient reader, I doubt you'll be able to appreciate it properly.
Ryan Thistlethwaite The beauty of this series (and most Wolfe really) is that they are a beautiful object in their own right. There are certainly deeper questions, religious and philosophical contemplation along with the fantastic and terrifying (although often neither are apparent at first glance) - but more importantly Wolfe has wonderful and beautiful prose such that even reading his books at face value for the first time is usually a joy for keen readers. He has a magnificent turn of phrase to take the mundane and make it sublime - or vice versa.
Judy It is a truly great work if you like books that invoke wonder. I read the four novel series back in the eighties and early nineties. Was entranced almost immediately. But you may not like it. It is not an easy read. Wolfe uses an arcane vocabulary.
ClydeD I first read this series as an older teenager when it originally came out. To me, the books in this series are among the greatest and most impactful books I've ever read, full of ideas and images that still stick with me today. I would whole-hearted recommend these books to anyone who enjoys imaginative and meaningful science fiction.

If that answers your question...
Peter Wensel This book is my favorite of all time. How much you invest is up to you. I was compelled to read the book a second and third time because it was just so enjoyable and so rich a text.
Mike Marsbergen Having only read the first book so far, the language used reads like modern-day Dean Koontz (not talking style of story, simply the sentence structure). It's not as hard to grasp as people claim.
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