AncalagonTheBlack

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

137 posts in this topic

Nah, just fucking around. Although tbh, I do hold Westeros.org to a higher standard than most of the other places I frequent.

Regarding the YA thing, while I don't necessarily consider Red Sister to be YA, I do see where those who think it is are coming from. And, as I mentioned earlier, I certainly think it's YA-like.

I should also mention that I don't consider that classification to be a negative, as I know a certain subset of Mark Lawrence's fans probably would.

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Yeah, I thought you were, but today has been a WEIRD day on the internet for me.

I don;t consider YA to be bad either but I imagine others do.

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This is certainly farther towards the YA spectrum than anything else Mark has written, in any case -- considering both content and style.

 

Apropos of nothing, I'm surprised that nobody has been commenting on the Baby Wolverine-ness that had me rolling my eyes repeatedly. Just sayin'.

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It's certainly not high on the grimdark scale no.

And she's more like x-23. :P

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3 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

It's certainly not high on the grimdark scale no.

And she's more like x-23. :P

Is that the name of Baby Wolverine in Logan? I haven't seen it yet!

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On 5/10/2017 at 4:56 PM, Let's Get Kraken said:

I haven't see anybody say anything like that in this thread. It's not just the age of the protagonist. Like I said, Jorg was young in Prince of Thorns and nobody called that YA. It's more about the narrative, tone, tropes, etc.

Well, if the moderators hadn't pissed Mark off, he would be around to answer this himself.

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I'm going to chime in and think Young Adult is a perfectly valid categorization for fiction but I should note I don't think of it as a genre but as a rating system. Basically, for me, Young Adult is another word for PG-13 and a kind of marketing gimmick. People want to know about the content of work and who it is aimed at. While some people may resent retroactively labeling things like the Belgariad and Dragonlance as Young Adult fiction--I think it helps breathe new life and new direction to older fantasy works.

As for Red Sister being Young Adult--eh, actually, I'm going to say that it actually feels like it could be in the category. Yes, it's about a post-apocalypse world, murderous intrigue, and dark fantasy but it doesn't actually feel THAT different from the Hunger Games. Then again, I don't think dark fiction is necessarily something which teens avoid and Joe Abercombie has written plenty of self-described YA stuff.

It's a big beautiful market.

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The problem I have with using YA as a rating system the way movies do is that, judging by this metric, a lot of fantasy and SF that we currently consider to be "adult" fiction could also be called YA. I think having certain content toned down is definitely part of it, but I don't think it should be the sole consideration.

It also find it ridiculous that publishers and film studios think there is any age group that can handle genocide, torture, bigotry, and child murder, but would be scarred for life by sex or profanity. Sigh...

Hunger Games is what I consider the standard for what YA should be. It takes some highly relevant topics, like weaponized propaganda, fascism, social engineering, human trafficking, PTSD, etc. and brings them down to a level that younger readers will be able to engage with.

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Posted (edited)

33 minutes ago, Let's Get Kraken said:

The problem I have with using YA as a rating system the way movies do is that, judging by this metric, a lot of fantasy and SF that we currently consider to be "adult" fiction could also be called YA. I think having certain content toned down is definitely part of it, but I don't think it should be the sole consideration.

It also find it ridiculous that publishers and film studios think there is any age group that can handle genocide, torture, bigotry, and child murder, but would be scarred for life by sex or profanity. Sigh...

Hunger Games is what I consider the standard for what YA should be. It takes some highly relevant topics, like weaponized propaganda, fascism, social engineering, human trafficking, PTSD, etc. and brings them down to a level that younger readers will be able to engage with.

"If you kiss a breast, you're R-rated. If you stab it, you're PG-13."
-Jack Nicholson on American values

Mind you, things would be a lot easier if we only included things WRITTEN to be part of the category in it. However, I don't think that's necessarily a big qualifier either. When I was in high school, I read something like 200+ novels produced by TSR before it became Wizards of the Coast. I read every Dragonlance novel until Dragons of a Summer Flame and lots of the Forgotten Realms series plus most of the Ravenloft as well as Dark Sun ones. All of these were written for the 14+ Teen Market with Ed Greenwood in particular frustrated by the restrictions placed on him writing for his own setting--particularly regarding sex, the presence of homosexuals in the Realm (oh the children!), and villains winning. Back when they couldn't be demons but Tanar'ri.

In short, all of that was meant to be Young Adult even if it wasn't called that.

Edit:

I should also note the category is completely Bantha Shavit (pardon my Star Wars). The Secrets of Supervillainy (only the Secrets of Supervillainy) was mislabeled as a Teen book and got to no 1# best seller (for Audible) briefly in it. It's still listed there despite profanity and being about a thirty year old. I'm not going to complain, though, because every category is a wider market.

Edited by C.T. Phipps

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I'm still early on in the book but damn do I hate fantasy school settings in any form. Which is really weird as I'm fine with it in a shonen manga style but maybe that's because the training tends to focus (or be constantly interupted by fighting).

The world building is already quite sturdy although so far it does seem to be "ice world" rather than his other books' "water world" in the far flung future. I guess it could arguably be "water world" much further down the line if this is indeed earth.

The audiobook does the annoying thing of distinguishing the characters voices by using regional accents. Can't blame Lawrence for that though.

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I'm either getting soft in my old age or this book is bordering on torture porn in some places.

that poor donkey being graphically beaten to death and then the description of the hand over the candle has put me off bacon for the short term

. So credit to Lawrence for being able to make things so visceral and i wonder if the training school trope is being used to shock us out of a "this isn't a YA" book? For instance while Bakker's books have similar torture training it doesn't shock as much because everything in the second apocalypse books is harsh.

Another plus I should give Lawrence is how (and I'm sure he's sick of hearing this) he felt like he was tapping into the approach of Abercrombie in terms of style. I think it's something in the Bristol/Bath air rather than deliberate. I wouldn't say this book feels anything like Abercrombie's work - not even the YA aspects. If I was to make any comparison I'd say it was with Hobb's assassin series but that's largely because of the "ninja" training school and humans with supernatural skills. Anyway, I like that Lawrence can mix things up even if I'm not in love with the book yet.

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Posted (edited)

Personally I felt like

Spoiler

the donkey thing

was a way of wringing cheap emotion out of the reader that wasn't necessarily earned by the narrative. It didn't add anything to the plot (though I'm not quite done with the book yet) but I guess it sure was mean of that priest.

I mean not EVERYTHING has to have some greater significance to the plot, but this felt kind of like the way Jorg raped somebody in his opening chapter to show how bad he was. That is to say, Lawrence is going for the low hanging fruit.

Edited by Let's Get Kraken

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I think the scene was there to establish the world as one of casual cruelty and horror.

However, I actually was most impressed with the fact.

The entire set up with the trial was there to show the Archons COULDN'T be bought and money wasn't an absolute form of power in the region. It reminded me a bit of the show's version of Jamie's hand being cut off as his constant appeal to gold offended the Bolton bannerman's dignity.

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I felt it was sensationalist too. I'm maybe just more sensitive about animal cruelty but I didn't really need that level of detail. Although having just finished

the archon Shield trial chapters

I get the feeling there's a little bit too much detail in everything at the moment. That section felt overly long for me.

Good point about that scene showing not everyone can be bought though

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