Have you read...can you recommend...

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Frelga
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Re: Have you read...can you recommend...

Post by Frelga »

True, but Pratchett came highly recommended by a number of people whose taste I trusted. Sanderson doesn't come with that recommendation so I feel safe in giving him a pass.
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
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Inanna
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Re: Have you read...can you recommend...

Post by Inanna »

That is true.

However, I just read two full series of the YA author, Sarah Maas. I will likely not re-read her books, which means I will not recommend them to people whose tastes run close to mine (e.g., Frelga, Prim and Imp). But does not mean I did not enjoy reading them. They just left.... no impact. I like her strong heroines, though.

However, however, a full reread of Pratchett is due. Maybe I'll just do that after I finish these last two books of Jemisin's (whom you should read, Frelga).
'You just said "your getting shorter": you've obviously been drinking too much ent-draught and not enough Prim's.' - Jude
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Maria
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Re: Have you read...can you recommend...

Post by Maria »

I love Brandon Sanderson's books! He always has such interesting magical systems and the stories are great. It took me a little while to get used to his style of not explaining everything at once (What's a spren, for crying out loud???) :bang: But after you get used to that storytelling quirk he's an outstanding author. You just have to trust that he'll get around to explaining undefined terms later on. Much of his writing has been bought for movie rights recently, so I'm really looking forward to those. It'll be awesome! :horse: :horse:

I didn't enjoy his juvenile books as much. (Are they called young adult books nowadays?) And there are a couple of standalone novels that I could have lived without having experienced- but on the whole his work is really good and he's very prolific. That's very nice to have in one of my favorite authors. Several books per year, unless he's working on one of the huge ones. Not like Patrick Rothfuss who puts out one or two a decade. :bang:

I've actually been considering going through the Wheel of Time series, just to get to the book he wrote. :help: I bogged down on the first book of that series a long time ago, so I've never read the Wheel of Time.

If you liked (but don't actually remember) the first Mistborn series, Alatar, you'll probably like the books after that. They are set several centuries after the first set of books with a new set of characters, but they are still quite entertaining. I've been through both a couple of times and still can't decide which era I like better.

We just finished Sanderson's latest book "Skyward" and while it didn't have magic, being more of a science fiction tale, it still had all the elements of good story telling that we've come to expect and he managed to surprise us several times with plot twists that in retrospect made sense, but we sure didn't see them coming! All of his books are like that. Unpredictability is what I value most in authors, I think, and Sanderson never disappoints in that respect.
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Re: Have you read...can you recommend...

Post by elengil »

I ran across The Shannara Chronicles on Netflix the other week. I vaguely remember reading the books when I was a teen but have very little recollection of anything about them except some abstract setting and history points. I started watching the series but after a couple episodes I just couldn't do it anymore. It was so filled with angsty teen drama and waaaayyy too modern-feeling characters (both words and actions) that I turned it off. Pity, I was hoping it might have at least been good background noise for when I'm painting and such but I just couldn't.

Now I almost want to read the books again to see if it was just a failed adaptation but I'm scared to find out if it was accurate :rofl:
The dumbest thing I've ever bought
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"Does anyone ever think about Denethor, the guy driven to madness by staying up late into the night alone in the dark staring at a flickering device he believed revealed unvarnished truth about the outside word, but which in fact showed mostly manipulated media created by a hostile power committed to portraying nothing but bad news framed in the worst possible way in order to sap hope, courage, and the will to go on? Seems like he's someone we should think about." - Dave_LF
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Re: Have you read...can you recommend...

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Lin Carter has the single best statement about the Shannara books: "Terry Brooks wasn't trying to imitate Tolkien's prose, just steal his story line and complete cast of characters, and he did it with such clumsiness and so heavy-handedly, that he virtually rubbed your nose in it." Shippey is not much kinder: "What The Sword of Shannara seems to show is that many readers had developed the taste ... for heroic fantasy so strongly that if they could not get the real thing they would take any substitute, no matter how diluted."
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Re: Have you read...can you recommend...

Post by elengil »

That sounds... accurate.
The dumbest thing I've ever bought
was a 2020 planner.

"Does anyone ever think about Denethor, the guy driven to madness by staying up late into the night alone in the dark staring at a flickering device he believed revealed unvarnished truth about the outside word, but which in fact showed mostly manipulated media created by a hostile power committed to portraying nothing but bad news framed in the worst possible way in order to sap hope, courage, and the will to go on? Seems like he's someone we should think about." - Dave_LF
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Re: Have you read...can you recommend...

Post by Frelga »

See also: David Eddings. He had the nerve to use the exact same storyline with the same characters in two series of books, justifying it in story as history repeating itself for magical reasons.
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
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Maria
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Re: Have you read...can you recommend...

Post by Maria »

I never got into the Shannara books, but I do like Terry Brooks' "Magic Kingdom for Sale" series.
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Re: Have you read...can you recommend...

Post by yovargas »

To be semi-fair to Brooks, it's not like a thousand other fantasy writers didn't also wholesale copy big chunks of the fantasy template Tolkien created.....
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Re: Have you read...can you recommend...

Post by Maria »

Yeah, but even as a teenager-- when I first opened "Sword of Shannara" back when it was first published- I recognized it as a total ripoff of Tolkien and dropped it before I'd completed even a couple of chapters. I was pretty new to Tolkien back then, and greatly resented the flagrant copy catting.
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Re: Have you read...can you recommend...

Post by yovargas »

But Shannara has a magic sword, not a magic ring! It's totally different!
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Re: Have you read...can you recommend...

Post by Frelga »

yovargas wrote:To be semi-fair to Brooks, it's not like a thousand other fantasy writers didn't also wholesale copy big chunks of the fantasy template Tolkien created.....
Some of them were more successful than others. That Lucas fella came up with a space AU that was quite fun.
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
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Re: Have you read...can you recommend...

Post by elengil »

yovargas wrote:But Shannara has a magic sword, not a magic ring! It's totally different!
And it's set in the magic future, not the magic past! See? Not even close!
Frelga wrote:
yovargas wrote:To be semi-fair to Brooks, it's not like a thousand other fantasy writers didn't also wholesale copy big chunks of the fantasy template Tolkien created.....
Some of them were more successful than others. That Lucas fella came up with a space AU that was quite fun.
:rotfl:
The dumbest thing I've ever bought
was a 2020 planner.

"Does anyone ever think about Denethor, the guy driven to madness by staying up late into the night alone in the dark staring at a flickering device he believed revealed unvarnished truth about the outside word, but which in fact showed mostly manipulated media created by a hostile power committed to portraying nothing but bad news framed in the worst possible way in order to sap hope, courage, and the will to go on? Seems like he's someone we should think about." - Dave_LF
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Frelga
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Re: Have you read...can you recommend...

Post by Frelga »

I don't necessarily think badly of imitation. Tolkien himself lifted many of his themes. But it's annoying when the author assumes that we won't notice. As if their target audience is nerds, but too dumb for Tolkien.

And while I'm on a roll, with all my love for Tolkien and Rowling, the trope of the Chosen One needs to just. Stop.

PS Rowling gets a bit of a pass because Neville was really just as chosen as Harry.
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
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Re: Have you read...can you recommend...

Post by elengil »

Yeah, I think I was probably around 14-ish? when I read the Shannara books. I also read a lot of the Dragonlance books, too. I just liked the whole fantasy/medieval setting thing and I mean, geesh, I was 14, so I wasn't really discerning as far as quality as such, I just loved reading and that was a genre that appealed to me.

I wish I'd come across Pratchett earlier!!
The dumbest thing I've ever bought
was a 2020 planner.

"Does anyone ever think about Denethor, the guy driven to madness by staying up late into the night alone in the dark staring at a flickering device he believed revealed unvarnished truth about the outside word, but which in fact showed mostly manipulated media created by a hostile power committed to portraying nothing but bad news framed in the worst possible way in order to sap hope, courage, and the will to go on? Seems like he's someone we should think about." - Dave_LF
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Inanna
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Re: Have you read...can you recommend...

Post by Inanna »

Oh lord, I remember when I was so hungry for fantasy that I tried reading Shannara. My spleen strangled my brain, I think.
'You just said "your getting shorter": you've obviously been drinking too much ent-draught and not enough Prim's.' - Jude
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Inanna
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Re: Have you read...can you recommend...

Post by Inanna »

BTW, Frelga, I think Tolkien should also get a pass for “chosen one”; I would not put LOTR in that category at all.
'You just said "your getting shorter": you've obviously been drinking too much ent-draught and not enough Prim's.' - Jude
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Re: Have you read...can you recommend...

Post by Frelga »

No? Aragorn is the heir of the kings and he is specifically meant to lead the good guys against Sauron. It can't be Boromir, it can't be Faramir, it's got to be him. There's a prophecy and everything. Otherwise, there's no practical reason for Boromir to go all the way to Imladris to pick up a single specific guy with a broken sword.

Meanwhile, Frodo is, according to Gandalf, meant to find the Ring, which comes into his possession through some highly improbable but providentially arranged circumstances.

That said, I don't think Tolkien NEEDS a pass. He brought the trope into the modern fantasy, but he handled it with finesse. Aragorn is the King of the prophecy, but it's Frodo who matters. I quoted a blog in the Tolkien thread that pointed out that throughout LOTR the Villains focus on big epic battles against the appointed adversary, and overlook the insignificant figures who bring them down.

His imitators are a whole other rant. The only deserving use of this trope that I know of is Carrot Ironfoundersson.
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
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Inanna
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Have you read...can you recommend...

Post by Inanna »

That was kind of my point - who is the chosen one? Aragorn, Frodo, Gandalf (he often seems the star of the books to me; comes back from the dead and all that).

The “Many Endings” kind of highlight that.

Tolkien can get a pass for many things (no one DYING, for one), but we don’t need to give him one for the “chosen one” storyline, because it actually ISN’T.

And yes, Carrot is deserving of it. But that’s Pratchett.
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Re: Have you read...can you recommend...

Post by Impenitent »

Besides, Carrot is meant to make us swell with suppressed giggles at his born-to-be-the-king status, and Pratchett plays the trope so well he deserves a standing ovation for it rather than a pass.

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