Queens of the Realm Book Club 2019 discussion

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Black Sun Rising (January 2019) > Black Sun Rising (Non-Spoiler)

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message 1: by Christopher (new)

Christopher | 31 comments Mod
Hi all, this is the place where, come January, you can leave all your non spoiler thoughts about the book (general thoughts, hype, books the book reminds you of, as long as it's not a spoiler, it's free game on this forum).


message 2: by Natalie (last edited Jan 03, 2019 08:00AM) (new)

Natalie  | 10 comments Hello everybody, and happy New Year!

I've picked up the book this morning and started reading. Currently at chapter 13. I really like to world it is set in and am finding myself engaging with the story and enjoying it so far.
Do any of you have the physical copy and if so, is there a map?
Sadly there is no map in kindle edition that I am reading.

Also, I find myself humming "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden while reading this book :-)


message 3: by Christopher (new)

Christopher | 31 comments Mod
Natalie wrote: "Hello everybody, and happy New Year!

I've picked up the book this morning and started reading. Currently at chapter 13. I really like to world it is set in and am finding myself engaging with the ..."


I think of that song every time I read the title lol. I’m so glad you’re enjoying it so far. I’m planning on starting it either Friday or Saturday. I’ve got a physical copy and it doesn’t have a map either. I hate when fantasy books don’t have maps. Even if the locations aren’t super important, it’s always fun and oddly nostalgic to have a map in the front of the book.


message 4: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina (bookish_sabrina) | 5 comments I just started this last night! I'm only at chapter 4, but I'm liking it so far. This isn't my normal genre, so I'm taking my time with it to get a sense of the world and characters. I love fantasy, so I'm glad I'm taking the time to step a bit outside my comfort zone and read more of it this year. No idea where it's going, excited to find out.


message 5: by Christopher (new)

Christopher | 31 comments Mod
Hey guys, I’m not as far in as I was hoping to be by this time in January, but I thought I would post an update on my general thoughts. So far, I find this world super interesting. I like the fact that it has some very traditional feeling things in the world, like the fae/magic shop, and the cathedral. But then there’s also some really surprising elements that feel quite different, like the inclusion of guns in the magic shop.

I’m intrigued by the characters, but not really attached to any of them yet. I feel like Damien is obviously hiding something from his past that I hope gets revealed in this first book.

The part of the book I’m most conflicted on is the magic and fae stuff. While I’m reading, I feel like it makes complete sense. And then the second I stop reading and try to explain it, I realize I don’t understand it at all. I think it’s because the words used to describe the magic feel vague or something. And I think too that the characters don’t quite understand all the effects of this fae. I’m hoping that as the book progresses I’ll make more sense of it.

Overall I’m liking it, but not quite loving it. We’ll see how it goes. 😊


message 6: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina (bookish_sabrina) | 5 comments I find the use of the word fae for this magic system to be interesting, but also misleading. It obviously makes me think of the fae realm and fairies. Maybe I'm not far enough in to see a link, but it does make the magic system harder to describe. The use of the word feels intentional, but also very loaded with meaning that I think muddles the unique aspects of the magic system in this world, which feels pretty novel.

I'm finding the interplay of magic and religion to be intriguing thus far, and I also like the SF elements. They are not overt, but were rather a nice surprise. I haven't read any more since I last posted, just thought I'd share more substantial thoughts. I hope to make a sizable dent in this today.


message 7: by Brooke (new)

Brooke (brookelee) | 2 comments I have enjoyed this from the beginning (only 20% of the way through at the moment), but often find myself confused at the world, the magic, the fae (not your mother's fae - that's for sure), and all the various characters who have been introduced.

I do really love the tone and atmosphere - there's almost a horrific, foreboding creep factor to this story that is really fun. I'm also growing attached to Ciani and hope the author does right by her before this story is over.


message 8: by Christopher (new)

Christopher | 31 comments Mod
So I’m about halfway through this so I thought I would post a little update on how I’m feeling. So I definitely agree with people who have posted about finding the work confusing. Totally agree. There’s just a way that she describes the magical elements in this book that just feels vague to me. Like I don’t understand how the fae works, what a rakh is... what exactly makes a rakh different from the people that work for the bad guy in the woods... what’s even motivating the rakh. I kind of feel like all the bad things in this book are just variations of soul eaters. But I really like the setting of the world. It’s quite creepy. I like the different cities and the inns and stuff. That’s all my jam in a fantasy book.

The characters. Boy. Am I ever pretty uninspired by this lot. Like... I don’t like Damien. He just feels like pure machismo with not much else going for him. Ciani started off so strong in this book... and ummm since this is the non spoiler thread I’ll just say I’m not a fan of the direction her story has gone. And the Senzei I just feel bad for. Like. He feels like the character I would be if I were compelled to go on a fantasy quest. Just scared all the time lol. So I’m kind of hoping we get some slower character driven moments here soon, but we’ll see.

Overall, I’m not hating it, but I’m more just reading it because I want my questions answered. Like I want to understand this world lol.


message 9: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina (bookish_sabrina) | 5 comments I'm actually thinking of giving up on this one. I like some things about it, but generally don't feel compelled to go back to it. I thought it started of strong but hasn't really gotten anywhere in the first 100 pages or so. I'm eager to hear how other people feel, but the weak characters and confusing world-building have put me off. Still glad I gave it a go! :)


message 10: by Emily (new)

Emily (rubeushagrid) | 5 comments I'm 100 pages in. Nothing about it's really grabbed me yet. I like the creepy vibes but agree that the characters feel weak. My copy of the book's nearly 600 pages, so I think I'll give it another 50-100 pages before I decide whether to DNF or not.


message 11: by Natalie (new)

Natalie  | 10 comments The characters were definitely the least inspired thing for me in this book. I also found Damien frustrating. (Plus, the frequent mentioning of his bulk, and his rage-fits, made me think of Gaston!)

Loved the setting, though.


message 12: by Heather (new)

Heather I'm definitely agreeing with everyone here! I'm not even that far and oh boy. Damien is quite the character. I hardly ever DNF a book but I can see the temptation for sure


message 13: by Christopher (new)

Christopher | 31 comments Mod
Okay, so I am at work right now (on goodreads, employee of the month right here) and I have been doing a mixture of audiobooking and reading the physical book for this. I've been listening to the audio at work, and I have officially moved from the realm of "this is not that good" to "I despise this book." This quest plot is so convaluted and ridiculous. The prose is driving me nuts. If she says the sentence "Where commerce is, there humans will be" one more time, I am going to lose my mind. It's the most self evidently false statement in the history of fiction. Commerce can't exist without humans. It should be, "where humans are, there commerce will be." Our ancestors didn't walk around looking for naturally occuring commerce in order to decide where to settle... why is this some mantra in this world. There are a lot of other examples of bad prose, ("scream of utter isolation"... what in the world would that even sound like). I'm so sick of the vaguely defined magic system. At first I thought it was just a way to keep the mystery of the world alive. But as it has gone on, it is just clear that the vague descriptions of the magic only serve to enable the magic to do literally anything that it needs to do. If the magic seems like it's doing a lot of work, it's because somewhere along the line she has included some vague description that she can use to justify it. I have three hours left of the audiobook, so I'm going to force myself to finish. But this belongs to a class of "convaluted quest" fantasy that I just don't enjoy.

Also, I feel a bit awks about admitting how much I don't like this given the fact that I chose it. So... sorry for that. If I end up not liking next month's book, I get to at least blame all of yall since it was a vote haha.

I do genuinely hope that others are enjoying it, but it's definitely not for me.


message 14: by Brooke (new)

Brooke (brookelee) | 2 comments LOL what Chris said. But I saved myself and DNF'd this book last night. :) Looking forward to next month!


message 15: by Emily (new)

Emily (rubeushagrid) | 5 comments I DNF'd as well. Hopefully next month's read is better, lol.


message 16: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina (bookish_sabrina) | 5 comments Don't feel bad that a lot of us didn't like it. It was still fun to try and I'm glad I got to try something that was a bit outside of my comfort zone. I'm glad I put this one down :)


message 17: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 3 comments Okay so I'm...30 pages in. I read some on my lunch break. I hated the prologue, but thought maybe it was just trying really hard to do something "mysterious" with the way it was written. But it ended up just being long and whatever. So then I read few chapters after that and it's fine, but scanning all the comments here...I'm not sure what to do. I'm not even far enough to understand if the magic makes sense to me, but what I'm really struggling with is her writing. It's written like a school assignment where the student is trying to sound more intelligent than they are and so nothing really makes sense.

So...I don't know what I'm going to do. Life is too short to read bad books, but I feel bad giving up on it already.


message 18: by Olga (new)

Olga (olga_) I was going to start the book this week but after seeing your criticism I think I won't enjoy this one either. I think I still should give it a chance, but now I'm expecting the worst 😅 that's not fair to the book tho.


message 19: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 1 comments I read about 150 pages of it yesterday but it was confusing and odd so I DNFed. Reading here now, I see I am not the only one. It amused me about Erna, my grandmother’s name... that made me chuckle every time.


message 20: by Veronica (new)

Veronica I DNF'd this about 50 pages in. Then came on here to read comments. Glad to hear that I'm not alone in not liking it. I wouldn't call myself a huge fantasy buff although there is some fantasy that I absolutely love (i.e. Robin Hobb's Realms of the Elderlings and Patrick Rothfuss' Name of the Wind). Hopeful that our next month's pick will be better.


message 21: by Veronica (new)

Veronica Jessica wrote: "Okay so I'm...30 pages in. I read some on my lunch break. I hated the prologue, but thought maybe it was just trying really hard to do something "mysterious" with the way it was written. But it end..."

"Life is too short to read bad books". That is my philosophy and I support you in that :-)


message 22: by Heather (new)

Heather I'm only 1/3 through. It's taking me a lot longer than I thought it would. I'm going to finish, but... oh boy, some of this writing is not great hahah


message 23: by Jeffery (new)

Jeffery Heileson | 3 comments Same here. I'm just over 300 pages in, which has taken me most of the month, and may DNF.


message 24: by Maggie (new)

Maggie (spirgeyooh) Brooke wrote: "I have enjoyed this from the beginning (only 20% of the way through at the moment), but often find myself confused at the world, the magic, the fae (not your mother's fae - that's for sure), and al..."

You've summed up a lot of my feelings about the book so far (I'm 300 pages in). I actually enjoy her writing style and the descriptive language. The city of Jaggonath was interesting and rich, I loved the life Friedman was breathing into the city. However, every other setting so far is really lackluster. On top of that, her characters are extremely bland and I feel no connection to any of them. I think Zen has the most potential, but he is hardly given a voice or perspective. The plot is also boring and somewhat confusing since Friedman will contradict things a few pages after writing them so it's difficult to understand fully what's going on sometimes. I enjoyed at first the idea of the magic system being a living thing, but it hasn't really been fleshed out at all and I don't find it compelling. It feels like Friedman got lazy since the only 'spell' cast 90% of the time is a 'Working' which is just a general catch-all type of spell? I am also extremely confused as to why earth fae/magic is the only type of fae that can be harnessed.

I plan on finishing the book since I don't hate it, but I'm not sure how a lot of my issues can be fixed in the remaining half. Curious to see if things are explained better, but I don't think I will continue the trilogy after this book.


message 25: by Heather (new)

Heather 100 pages left, will hopefully finish tonight! Has anyone else finished? Sorry if I'm being annoying lol


message 26: by Christopher (new)

Christopher | 31 comments Mod
Heather wrote: "100 pages left, will hopefully finish tonight! Has anyone else finished? Sorry if I'm being annoying lol"

You're not being annoying! I have finished it... technically.... but I skimmed the last 150 pages real hard haha


message 27: by Ľudmila (new)

Ľudmila | 8 comments I feel the same way. I have 50 pages mark where I decide if I will dnf the book or not. After reading 50 pages of this I was confused and didn't know what to do so I came here to see if it gets better :D I kept delaying reading and if I tried to finish it, it would just put me into reading slump :D I am looking forward to next months read :)


message 28: by Mercedes (new)

Mercedes (mercysbookishmusings) | 2 comments So I’ve only just managed to pick this up and I’ll admit I was wary as I’d read a few of your comments about not enjoying it. But I thought I’d try my best to go in with an open mind and I think I failed at that 😂 I’ve only managed 20 pages and I’m going to dnf. To be honest if I hadn’t read so many comments from people I trust I might read another chapter but I’m on a reading roll so far this year and don’t want to ruin it! I hated the prologue and really didn’t like how the first description of Damien described “his thick set body hard with muscle” 🤢 plus it all seems v confusing and from what some of you who have got further in have said you t doesn’t get any less confusing! This is perhaps the quickest I’ve ever given up on a book but I feel pretty good about it tbh 😂 I’ve found your comments super helpful to not feel guilty about giving up so thanks guys! 😃

Oh and Chris - don’t worry at all! Whether we enjoy the books or not I think it’s super fun to have a place to chat about fantasy books by women!


message 29: by Maggie (new)

Maggie (spirgeyooh) Yeah, even though I'm not a fan of the book, it's really enjoyable having a community to be a part of and read a book with. Finding out what you dislike in books is worthwhile and helps you understand your tastes better. It's nice to get out of my comfort zone and try new things, so thank you for putting this all together, Chris! I'm looking forward to trying all the future selections!


message 30: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (donthaveadegreeinreading) | 2 comments I was waiting until the end of the month to read this, but now I'll think I'll pass. LOL


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