AncalagonTheBlack

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

172 posts in this topic

15 minutes ago, Sheep the Evicted said:

Er....thanks ?

 

 

Just a joke :)

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Yeah, I'd be interested in that because I'm actually someone who has a passing interest in the changing demographics of science fiction and fantasy. Books which try to be more inclusive and aware of the change in perspectives of fandom from "boy's fiction" to something read by everyone interests me. So, I'd be curious what you perceive or is representative of such.

Finished Red Sister.

I really liked it and should have my review up tomorrow. It DOES actually feel kind of YA but not in the way people might think.

Then again, I consider the Hunger Games grimdark and proudly so.

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1 hour ago, C.T. Phipps said:

Books which try to be more inclusive and aware of the change in perspectives of fandom from "boy's fiction" to something read by everyone interests me. So, I'd be curious what you perceive or is representative of such.

 

Ah okay, so now we have two different things. On one had we have my original assertion that Lawerence is one of a dying breed of fantasy authors who writes "boys fiction".  Some people may find that this type of fantasy excludes them but i like it and those are the types of books i listed and would like to read more of if you know any good ones. 

 

Then there is everything else. To my mind any book that is inclusive without me really noticing it is a great success and more power to them so books like Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft or  Uprooted by Noami Novik. Any book that can tell a good yarn without beating me over the head with a message.

 

What i really dislike are books that scream "Girl Powah, fuck yeah!" or "Isn't being progressive and liberal awesome!" from the rooftops like The Obelisk Gate by N.K Jemisin, Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho or The Liberation by Ian Trelligis. I get it! At some point, and for me its probably much less than for most, the politics take over the story and I lose interest.

 

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Considering Both The Obelisk Gate and Sorcerer To The Crown are some of my favorite books of the last few years sounds like I need to pick up The Liberation.

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Also jeez, don't read the traitor baru cormawhatever you'll poop yourself.

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I recommend Rob J. Hayes "The Ties That Bind" and its sequels for boy's fiction along the Abercombie level. It has one female lead out of three and she's a character who I suspect you'll find very un-girlpowery. Still, I very much recommend them as novels of blood, sex, and gore with actual decent plots as well as characterization.

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9 hours ago, Sheep the Evicted said:

And whats wrong with that ? Mark was one of the very few current generation fantasy authors writing good, unapologetic male-aimed fantasy. Now, if what you are saying is correct, it seems like he's pandering to the feminists. Which is a smart business decision i guess but as someone who doesnt like this new crop of politically perfect fantasy i can't help but feel its a huge shame.

It's usually a bad business decision for an author to write something really different and for a new crowd. While they may gain new readers to add to their existing fanbase they may also lose more of their old readers than they gain new.

 

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4 hours ago, Sheep the Evicted said:

 

 

 

What i really dislike are books that scream "Girl Powah, fuck yeah!" or "Isn't being progressive and liberal awesome!" from the rooftops like The Obelisk Gate by N.K Jemisin, Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho or The Liberation by Ian Trelligis. I get it! At some point, and for me its probably much less than for most, the politics take over the story and I lose interest.

 

I'd also rather it wasn't the focus of the book - unless that was the entire point of the book.

Couldn't your "male aimed fantasy" books be considered "Boy Powah, fuck yeah!" "isn't being conservative and traditional awesome!"? I guess there's room for all approaches as long as there's a market for it. I agree with you in that not all books need to write for the largest audiences. X-factor brings in large audiences but I'd take a small show like "the expanse" over it any day. Same with books. Although i (somewhat sadly) suspect books that aim for inclusivity and diversity are actually niche markets.

It's a shame when existing fans don't like new approaches by authors but at the end of the day neither are required to read or write for each other. There might be people read "Red Sister" who then buy Prince of Thorns and feel similarly disappointed.

I think Mark's better taking a chance and mixing things up - I'd grown weary of his last trilogy and probably wouldn't have been rushing to buy the new book if it wasn't for the fact it sounds quite different. If I don't like it I don't need to buy the follow ups.

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It's taking me a bit longer to write my review than I expected (because I'm working on chapters of my own book) but Red Sister isn't remotely that big of a swerve for Mark Lawrence.

I remind people that large portions of his books have been flashbacks to when his protagonists were pre-teens.

I actually quite disagree with Grimdark Magazine on this.

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8 hours ago, Sheep the Evicted said:

If you're really asking then two good examples I have read recently are The Warlord Chronicles and The Vagrant by Peter Newman.

 

 

I will echo Darth -- wtf??

You are aware that there are several very strong female characters in Mark Lawrence's books, right? And that even a member of Jorg's band is female? And as for Abercrombie, do the names Ferro, Ardee, or Monza Murcatto ring any bells? And boy, will you be disappointed when you find out that the MC in the sequel to The Vagrant is a girl!

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25% through it, so far so good. Also from what I read  it dosen't really seem YA to me. Mark discussed the series a long time ago in his blog and I remember his inspiration for it being an art piece his editor described as the female Jorg, so the series' basis aren't any political propaganda.

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Posted (edited)

10 hours ago, Sheep the Evicted said:

Couldn't think of a better word. First i thought Traditional, but its grimdark which isn't so traditional so lets say fantasy that isn't obsessed with Inclusivity ? Fantasy that isn't inclusivity-porn ? Non-cis-white-male bashing  fantasy ? Im not sure if my terminology is up to date but you get the idea.

This is one of those moments where I really wish Mark Lawrence hadn't left the board...

Against my better instinct, I'm gonna ask. Other than featuring female characters in action roles, what about Abercrombie and Lawrence's recent work do you think is pandering to gender politics? Or is it your contention that putting female characters in the center of the action, by its very nature, is pandering?

Edited by Let's Get Kraken

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2 hours ago, Contrarius+ said:

I will echo Darth -- wtf??

You are aware that there are several very strong female characters in Mark Lawrence's books, right? And that even a member of Jorg's band is female? And as for Abercrombie, do the names Ferro, Ardee, or Monza Murcatto ring any bells? And boy, will you be disappointed when you find out that the MC in the sequel to The Vagrant is a girl!

To be fair Abercrombie used to get a lot of criticism for his female characters in the original trilogy eg Ferro and Ardee so I wouldn't say they were great examples. Abercrombie himself admitted there were issues with those characters. He certainly has made an effort to address these issues with subsequent books though.

Lawrence's first 6 books also don't leap to mind when someone asks me to name a fantasy series with strong female characters. Part of the problem is the first person narrative - if that POV is male it dominates proceedings.

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Posted (edited)

Regarding the thing about a member of Jorg's band being female, unless I'm much mistaken, that was kind of added in for the second trilogy. I don't remember there ever being any allusions to that character being a woman in BE. And even if there were, from the one scene that we see of "her" in the RQW trilogy, there was nothing even remotely feminine about her character. She was basically a man that was superfluously given lady parts in order to, I suspect, address some of the feminist complaints about the BE trilogy.

That all being said, I more or less agree with Red Snow, that the issue is primarily one of the central POV in each trilogy completely dominating the story. There are interesting female characters, but none of them really have a chance to take center stage.

I do find it extremely amusing that Lawrence has gone from taking feminist criticism as "the rape guy" to being called a "SJW" and being accused of pushing some liberal agenda. Guess he's really come full circle.

Edited by Let's Get Kraken

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3 hours ago, C.T. Phipps said:

It's taking me a bit longer to write my review than I expected (because I'm working on chapters of my own book) but Red Sister isn't remotely that big of a swerve for Mark Lawrence.

 

That is how I felt.  It was so much more similar in tone to Prince of Thorns than I was expected I was surprised everyone started talking about how new it felt. 

Now The Traitor Baru, that was a book that I felt was pandering a bit; starting with an end goal and forcing its way there vs naturally allowing for more diversity in the cast.  But I thought it was a horrible book.

But for the life of me I can't figure out how The Fifth Season fits into the 'girl power' or 'liberal' spectrum outside of the fact that it actually includes women characters.  Makes me think that maybe it is the author herself being discussed, not her book...

It is pretty laughable that just added a woman lead means an author has drastically shifted his focus; especially when it the book is so damn similar to what came before it.

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21 minutes ago, red snow said:

To be fair Abercrombie used to get a lot of criticism for his female characters in the original trilogy eg Ferro and Ardee so I wouldn't say they were great examples. Abercrombie himself admitted there were issues with those characters. He certainly has made an effort to address these issues with subsequent books though.

Lawrence's first 6 books also don't leap to mind when someone asks me to name a fantasy series with strong female characters. Part of the problem is the first person narrative - if that POV is male it dominates proceedings.

I couldn't really get the criticism of Ardee and Ferro.  I thought they were both credible and well-rounded characters.

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1 hour ago, SeanF said:

I couldn't really get the criticism of Ardee and Ferro.  I thought they were both credible and well-rounded characters.

Ferro's problem was more she was a bit one note in her anger/fury but there a tons of characters like that whether they are male or female in fantasy. Ardee was ok. It was probably the princess character that caused the most trouble now i come to think of it. I think his later characters were far better, particularly those from his shattered seas series.

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Well i've come full circle. The first time i left this boards was due to the annoying, never-ending gender threads and now i seem to have started another one.

 

5 hours ago, red snow said:

I'd also rather it wasn't the focus of the book - unless that was the entire point of the book.

Couldn't your "male aimed fantasy" books be considered "Boy Powah, fuck yeah!" "isn't being conservative and traditional awesome!"?

 

Ofcourse, its a spectrum, but at the same time its what i grew up reading, why i got into fantasy in the first place and what i consider ordinary.

 

5 hours ago, red snow said:

 I guess there's room for all approaches as long as there's a market for it.

 

This is my issue though. On all the fantasy forums i have come across this stuff seems to be all thats being talked about. Where do I find good traditional stuff ? You don't see Mens Rights activists swarming romance publishers for more accurate portrayals of men do you ?

 

3 hours ago, Let's Get Kraken said:

This is one of those moments where I really wish Mark Lawrence hadn't left the board...

Against my better instinct, I'm gonna ask. Other than featuring female characters in action roles, what about Abercrombie and Lawrence's recent work do you think is pandering to gender politics? Or is it your contention that putting female characters in the center of the action, by its very nature, is pandering?

 

With regards to Lawerence i don't  know i haven't read the book but i was dealing with the accusation that he had pandered. Maybe its still good old fashion blood and guts and black humour, probably its not.

 

With regards to Abercrombie I don't know what to tell you man, if you can't see it already then nothing i say will be able to convince you. But basically yes featuring women in central action roles of a heroic fantasy IS pandering. So in another wise gritty semi-realistic fantasy im just meant to quietly accept that an other wise normal woman is a champion deulist and reknowned killer ? Why ? He started out with fairly consistent and acceptable reasons like demon blood for Ferro and is now pretty much at because "Girl Powah!"

 

1 hour ago, SkynJay said:

But for the life of me I can't figure out how The Fifth Season fits into the 'girl power' or 'liberal' spectrum outside of the fact that it actually includes women characters.  Makes me think that maybe it is the author herself being discussed, not her book...

It is pretty laughable that just added a woman lead means an author has drastically shifted his focus; especially when it the book is so damn similar to what came before it.

 

Not the Fifth Season which i thought was great but The Obelisk Gate which has, for me, massively gone off the rails. Nice strawman though.

 

Also while it might be a niche market overall its certainly the fashionable topic in fantasy circles to the point where it has completely drowned out anything else.

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Posted (edited)

12 minutes ago, Sheep the Evicted said:

 

Quote

You don't see Mens Rights activists swarming romance publishers for more accurate portrayals of men do you ?

That may be because men in romance novels are usually portrayed in extremely flattering terms already. ;-)

Quote

But basically yes featuring women in central action roles of a heroic fantasy IS pandering.

Seriously? I very rarely say this, but seriously, dude -- if you actually believe this, just go away. As someone else mentioned, Gor is probably the series for you.

Quote

So in another wise gritty semi-realistic fantasy im just meant to quietly accept that an other wise normal woman is a champion deulist and reknowned killer ?

Since when does most fantasy depict "otherwise normal" men, much less women?

Edited by Contrarius+

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