IllusiveMan

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About IllusiveMan

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  1. So anyone know what the odds are on getting that third series? I feel like Bakker could self publish if he's having issues getting a contract for round three. While the AMA took a lot of wind out of my sails, I'm still trying to largely ignore it and hope the final series will offer the answers that I thought we would have gotten in TUC. Despite all the issues I had with it, at its peak, and with what the series hinted at being, there's really nothing that comes close to it for me.
  2. A fellow actor in a production of Henry VI with me said last night, in response to someone saying people are dumb, that it was wizard's first rule. And it totally caught me off guard to remember that, like, real people in the world have read these books. Honestly, I can't really fathom it, that these books are insanely popular. Not in like a Twilight type way, where you lament that people like it but you can totally see why it's popular. This is more of like...I can't fathom people en masse sitting down and reading about evil chickens and nipples and 1000s of pages of discount Randian philosophy.
  3. Weirdly, I never got past the first Wax and Wayne book. I couldn't stomach it. I think largely because (outside of the prose reaching a new low), I find Sanderson's attempts at humor awful. So when he tries to write light breezy fun, it doesn't work for me. It's like something you might imagine directed by Guy Ritchie or Joss Whedon but without the stylization that makes them stand out. I honestly think he's at his best when playing it straight, with melodrama and epic fantasy at the forefront, with a slight twist on it like the original Mistborn trilogy or Warbreaker. Twists, fast moving plots, action, he is good at and they're best enjoyed, in my opinion, when just accepted and taken at face value. They're fun in an old fashioned sort of way. Stormlight could actually very well (and does) fall into this paradigm - IF they weren't so damn long. Again, 600 pages and they'd probably be his best stuff, old fashioned heroic fantasy. But instead he wants to make this his big mark on fantasy, and either he's just not good enough to pull that off or his idea hasn't evolved since he originally came up with it at a much younger age. I suspect it's a combination of both. I also think someone really needs to halt him from being so damn prolific. Shocking thing to say, and his enthusiasm is great. But it seems to be hindering his work. Stormlight could have been great with some serious editing. But, awesome as all these ideas he has are, he seems a bit like an excited kid who gets bored with certain ideas and moves to the next. I know he says he needs this time to reenergize but I think someone needs to sit him down and get him to focus on one thing. It's telling that we really haven't had a book as polished from him as Mistborn or maybe Warbreaker. And with as big as he's gotten, I suspect he won't get any better in that regard. It's a shame, all this bashing, because in terms of what he wants to do and how he's made it happen, he's kind of an inspiration of mine.
  4. Not to keep ragging, because there are some things i enjoyed, but it just feels like Sanderson has so many opportunities to do something different/interesting with this series and consistently takes the safest routes. He kills people off in shocking ways - Jasnah, Szeth - nope, they're fine, no threat. All the main characters of course end up superpowered Jedi basically, a la Wheel of Time. None of them are ever in any real danger and you know in advance who's gonna stay alive the whole time (unless it's an end of book heroic death which we'll also see coming a mile off). Kaladin and co just get more superpowered every book. The villain remains bland and typical Dark One type and there's never any tension or fear he'll win. I remember reading book two at the point where Kaladin is betrayed by lighteyes one too many times and is locked up and vows never again...and I remember thinking wow, wouldn't it be awesome if Kaladin was Odium's champion? He fits the bill, so powerful, and after two books and more of awful things happening to him, you could really see a genuine compelling arc of him becoming the champion. Of course, it doesn't turn out that way. Maybe I just need to accept that I'm not writing these, but I can't help but feel there's a far more interesting story underneath if Sanderson didn't play it so damn safe all the time. Last two things: Honestly I feel like Renarin is one of the most annoying and ill defined characters. I didn't even follow his little arc about being corrupted because I cared so little. And his whole visions thing turning out to be false was terribly done because it was literally introduced the second before they were proven wrong. To make that reveal work - that Dalinar can resist Odium, that things aren't set in stone - you need to set up the visions being foolproof way before, and establishing their inevitability. You can't bring them up at the end of the book, then in that very scene that you establish them show us that they're imperfect and have any kind of emotional effect on us. Lastly, is anyone else wondering how this is gonna be 10 damn books? At least if the Odium conflict is the central one. I mean Kaladin and co already are superpowered as all Hell and we're 3 books in. Odium has been revealed way too early, I feel. He's already hard to take seriously and been defeated - how are we gonna take 7 more books of him? I really hope there's a twist in there somewhere.
  5. Okay, so I finished finally. Wow. A bit of a slog, though it picked up around the middle of part three. Biggest takeaway: these books do NOT need to be so damn long. There is nothing justifying it, and it really comes to damage their overall quality. I feel there's a really exciting 600 page book here. 1300 pages is ridiculous and it's nowhere more important than in the first two parts. So much could have been excised or trimmed significantly. Dalinar's present day plot, and Shallan's, were nonexistent. The flashbacks could have been cut down by half and been more effective. Part three picks up, and has the most interesting stuff happening. Part four suffers though with Shadesmar. It sounded fascinating in book one and two but it's so poorly defined, an entire realm of spirits and we still have no real good idea how it functions, what it's like, etc. Part five is all right, though it suffers from a lack of tension and poor pacing of events. There's some actual tension when Dalinar is almost overwhelmed by Odium and made to be the champion. I can't help but think the book would be so much more effective, and the series as a whole, if Dalinar had succumbed. The entire book is spent setting up his weakness and trying to push so much onto a man that he breaks. You think multiple times he breaks (remembering Evi, when the Coalition falls apart, Amaram's men attacking Thaylen) and each time his will is too great. That sets up the best moment of all, the biggest blow: becoming Odium's champion. And finally failing is both fascinating from a story perspective, creates an actual interesting and threatening villain, and you can't even blame him after all the shit he's been through. It's a compelling twist. But Dalinar, of course, overcomes it. And it's just not that interesting. Odium screeches Vodlmort style, an ageless God that is surprised and undone by basic human willpower. And right there is the climax of the book - yet it *proceeds* the like 150 page battle scene that follows. The biggest tension and climactic moment is resolved before the battle - so there is zero tension throughout the endless and rather tiring fighting because the main threat - Dalinar vs Odium in a battle of wills - has been overcome. It was just really poorly structured and made the follow up fighting feel perfunctory. Character wise, Shallan is one of the most irritating characters read recently. Her wit is awful, all the more so when people praise her for it. Her personality shifts were just poorly defined. I never got a clear vibe if it was genuine breaks in personality or more an attempt to hide/play dress up to avoid problems. Radiant was nonexistent; can anyone really define a character trait about her? Jasnah is a more interesting character, though she kind of seems Mary Sue-ish - insanely intelligent, in complete control, and effortlessly badass with her abilities. She needs more focus to take away from that perception. Dalinar is somewhat interesting, but he also honestly seems too perfect. THat's weird to say when he has a terrible past and even in his present falls to alcoholism - but I guess there's just never any doubt that he's going to do the rightest thing that ever righted, and be so awesome that everyone follows. Each book ends with him getting even more perfect. This one he basically becomes God. Dunno. He's interesting enough but lacking in tension. Kaladin, strangely, is my favorite. He's pretty standard epic fantasy hero but I like him in that Jon Snow sort of way, just enough depth there for me to be old fashioned and root for the hero type. Szeth is interesting but his story arc was very poorly paced. WE basically have the insane villain of the first two books who's murdered countless people turn good and start protecting Dalinar without a second thought. His redemption was not defined well enough, and everyone's reaction was ridiculous. Dalinar/Kaladin never have a conversation with the guy who tried to murder them repeatedly? Odium is boilerplate fantasy villain, honestly. Super all powerful bad guy trying to destroy the world who surprises people by being kinda reasonable and kindly when talking about destroying the world. Nothing interesting going on there. I kinda really hope Sanderson pulls a and kills him off somehow in favor of more human antagonists. But I wouldn't count on it. Overall, it would have been a fun exciting standard fantasy read if it had been 500 pages shorter. As it stands, I'll read the follow up but I'm not really pumped for it.
  6. My only real interpretation of Bakker's claims in the AMA is as I said before. Kellhus did make a pact with Ajokli to overcome the Consult. There's too much evidence against it and nothing Bakker said explicitly refutes this. What he meant by not knowing about Ajokli was that he simply didn't expect Ajokli to take completely over and leave him helpless/blind. So in essence, Kellhus planned everything right up until his head went Ghost Rider - that was when Ajokli took over completely to do whatever he wanted, with wasn't something Kellhus had expected. Otherwise I really don't think it makes any sense.
  7. I was referring to Kellhus's lines in the Golden Room. Prior to the AMA, the reading of the text left me (and I believe others) thinking that Kellhus was in control, that he made a bargain with Ajokli and allowed him to take over to defeat the Consult. But upon the AMA, it seems that there was no bargain and that Ajokli was playing Kellhus from the beginning and taking over was not something Kellhus intended or expected at all. But it just doesn't really jive with the text if we are led to believe that Ajokli it talking all along and not Kellhus. The lines I referred to were 'striking treatises with the pit', seeing himself descending as hunger, seeing Hell as fathomless power that he would conquer - those lines really only make sense if it is purely Kellhus saying them, with the assumption that he and Ajokli are a team. The idea that he was subsumed by Ajokli without any knowledge of it and that it was Ajokli speaking all along just doesn't really make sense, but per the AMA seems to be the case.
  8. So I just finished part one, so avoiding spoilers, but i'm kind of struggling, guys. I forgot the usual structure is five parts so I was amazed when I realized I was only part 1 of five in. Yikes. I feel like the entirety of the part could have been like a hundred pages, honestly. Less. Dalinar's flashbacks were repetitive. His present day storyline seemed to accomplish exactly nothing by the end of it. Shallan was boring as Hell. I guess Kaladin's stuff was fine, mainly his stuff at home. And Adolin and murdering Sadeas honestly wasn't even given a character thread. See I really want to get to the next Expanse book, and I'm a stickler about finishing things but another I dunno 900 pages is not selling me. I honestly feel like Sanderson has regressed. He was always weak in prose and character but one of his strengths was pacing and forward movement, a certain immediacy to the plot that kept you in in and kept it 'real' even if the characters weren't great. But this book has tremendous bloat and the affair seems entirely languid and lacking any urgency.
  9. Honestly I loved that scene. It was for me an example of a fantastic twist. I didn't see it coming at all, and yet it made all the sense in the world looking back. It elevated everything. And it was followed up by another huge twist - Ajokli possessing Kellhus - which again, never saw coming, and while it might not have been foreshadowed as well as it should have been, honestly still made sense with the information we had and just clicked everything into place. How could Kellhus overcome five Dunyain sorcerers with Consult knowledge? How could he perform sorcery without a mark? What was his plan to avoid damnation? He's made a pact with Ajokli. It even fit in with the true Dunyain model - the desire to manipulate everything, and so master circumstances - what could yield greater power than Hell itself? And it gave a horrifying, chilling answer to the series long question - is Kellhus a good guy? I think tons of us were suspecting, even knowing he did terrible things, that he had some grand plan to both defeat the Consult and end damnation at the same time for the good of humanity. And this reveal goes NOPE - he's got a plan, and it makes him a greater monster than even the Consult. But then Bakker had to do that AMA and honestly I'm left stunned. Like, how is it genuinely possible for a text to make complete and utter sense and answer every question (virtually) when read on it's own, but make zero sense when given author intent? I honestly don't get it and it's why I assume Bakker has to be lying or being misinterpreted. I honestly just don't see how it call all read so clearly a certain way, with lines and evidence supporting it, only to discover that all that evidence was happenstance and the author meant everything a different way that goes counter to how the scene plays out? Like literally the lines about striking treaties with the pit and seeing Hell as a well of bottomless power to conquer...they make no sense as said by anyone other than Kellhus. Honestly the only interpretation (other than Bakker lying) that makes sense to me is that he was misread when he said Kellhus didn't intend the Ajokli thing to go down. That he DID make a knowing pact, that he intended to use that power to overcome the Consult, and either be Ajokli's bitch or had some other method of tricking him. But Ajokli ended up being too powerful and took over completely, which left Kellhus blind and wasn't what he intended. The only read that makes sense for me.
  10. I wholly agree with this. I have to say, much I enjoy Bakker, I find there to be very few moments of genuine beauty in his novels. Things are usually so horrifying and semen-heavy that, while I'm definitely feeling, it's rare I get sad (it's usually horror or despair haha). But I found much of Sorweel's arc to have genuine beauty and his finals moments were he was seemingly embraced by paradise were beautifully written and conveyed. It honestly almost convinced me that maybe there's a genuine flip side to the horror of damnation. Randomly, one of the only other moments of beauty and heartbreak I experienced was the end of WLW with the burning of Nil'giccas. Mimara knows that he is screaming somewhere (in Hell). She then prays for him, and thinks there's no harm in prayers. Such a bleak and heartbreaking thought and moment.
  11. real quick - is Sosering saved because he rescues Esmenet? That's one of the only things that I can see that distinguishes him from Holgrim and the rest of the Ordeal (unless he didn't engage in rape cannibalism).
  12. Yeah, didn't think I had, but was rather surprised no one had brought this bit up yet especially given the controversy stirred in TGO when Kellhus raped Proyas.
  13. Ah! Cheers, I thought that was weird phrasing but couldn't; figure to what it referred. Now it seems strikingly obvious. Again, this comes with reading too much Bakker too fast.
  14. A few more random thoughts since the major ones have more or less been addressed. 1. Did anyone recall Bakker saying we weren't done with Kosotor? That was one end that was never addressed far as I can tell (and wouldn't be something I would have expected to be addressed if he hadn't said that himself). 2. I'm surprised no one has brought up Sorweel's rape via Zrongsa (I misspelled that, didn't I?). While the initial act seems consensual, Sorweel goes out of his way to mention his friend's greater strength and that he has no real say. Did I misread that (i was reading very fast at this point) - this entire addition felt strange and odd to me. 3. Was Moenghus castrated? Again, I feel I was reading so fast to the point where I misunderstood several things, and again Bakker is unclear on many things. But he did mention the 'limb' that lets him feel anger (or something to that effect) being taken from him, and I can't really figure out what that would mean otherwise. But it's not really addressed outside of that. Someone also mentioned about that one character in the Ordeal was Saved while the rest seemed Damned. Is there any way to determine why this is? What did he do differently compared to the rest? Bakker said who is saved and who is damned is one of the key aspects of the series, but I feel like we still don't have any real idea why some are and why some aren't (outside of the very obvious acts of rape/murder/evil). Mimara, Esmenet, Sorweel, and that random Ordealman are saved and the rest seem damned. Is the system morality based, as implied? Or is it the whims of the gods that determines things? There seems to be hints of both. The gods promise punishment to those they deem evil or act against them, which implies they have some control over Damnation (Kellhus's deal with Ajokli would suggest as much as well, cause otherwise what is the point?). But Esmenet and Mimara certainly can't be on good terms with the gods, and Sorweel messed up his whole divine assassin goal pretty badly. So there seems to be hints that a great power (the God) actually judges.
  15. Yeah I hope Bakker takes some of the criticism to heart if we do get that third series. His feedback thread during TGO was a good sign; perhaps he will make one for TUC.