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kuenjato

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  1. No, no big role. About the same as the first. He didn't grow on me, and that's one of the huge disappointments with the series. I do get the feeling he's going to strap in and so something in the third, but I'm not sure what. Mostly, he's hamstrung by having a psychopath for a court advisor.
  2. Good review, Pat. And Lord Varys made some great points as to the book's multifold issues. I hated how the Unver as Shan thread played out. He walks into a trap just 'cause, it what might have been an interesting examination of Thrithings culture and leadership dynamics a la the Aiel in The Shadow Rising, or perhaps a psychological exploration of character under duress as in Kellhus in The Warrior Prophet. Instead, it plays out perfunctory, a paint-by-numbers... disappointing, considering his 'transformation' with the wolves, ravens etc. had been done quite effectively. Then we get some soap opera "OMG who stabbed who?" with Vorzheva in order to alienate the Thrithings and set up an invasion for the third book (which will be rerouted in some convenient fashion to fight the Norns, of course). I was almost about done with the book after that scene.
  3. With all this discussion about sales, I'm wondering what the sales are for The Last King of Osten Ard, and what the expectations were (hence the disappointment Pat mentioned in an earlier post). There is such a huge glut of novels being released every year, even every month, I suppose even big names can get overwhelmed. Or it might be that TW has been dropping off, I mean, did you see the cover 'art' for his last Bobby Dollar novel? It felt like DAW gave an intern a photoshop project -- it seriously looked like a self-published book.
  4. Those stats really mean nothing in terms of sales, though, just internet enthusiasm. Lynch used to post around here before he sold the series, so there's always been favorable bias and occluded perception as to his series at westeros. I'm sure it's changed, but Wert used to pull up the fact that most consumers (like, more than 90%) of fantasy books did not get their info/decision making from the net. Hence Goodkind maintaining bestseller status for many years despite being a laughingstock across many of the common arenas for fantasy discussion.
  5. This hits on another aspect that I found dissatisfying, in that Osten Ard comes off nowadays as cookie-cutter Europe template. This wasn't unusual in 1988, where you had huge-but-shallow stereotype worlds (Eddings), nonsensical worlds (Dragonlance, Shannara), etc. as the general norm. The historical veneer Williams ladled across in doses large and small -- ultimately imparting a more 'tactile' fantasy, in terms of religion, geography, etc -- made MS&T's text really shine, in comparison. But now, compared to what's come out since, Tad's world feels frankly simplistic, with the cultures poorly integrated and the underlying relationships rather vague. It would have been nice to have fleshed out what's to the south, or the huge blankness that looms in the east. Some effort was made, I'll grant you, with the occasional reference-drop of taxation, infrastructure spending, and so forth, but all in all Osten Ard, for me, no longer feels real. It's limitations seem too obvious.
  6. I'm interested just enough about the Norns to read the third book. I really don't care much for any of the main characters, though. I can't even remember what Binibik did for the entire novel, other than chase Morgan through the forest. Unver is just a poor man's Kellhus (complete with no POV) and the whole Thrithings subplot felt weak and contrived. I did like Miri in this book. She's probably the only one of the central cast I'm invested in.
  7. After more than 20 years of this board, we're still seeing this sort of bullshit response? You liked the dumpster fire that was Wise Man's Fear and the insanely insecure cry-for-help that was Slow Regard, so I guess I should question your taste on whether the quality of a piece of fiction? I may seem harsh, but this sort of commentary induces as vacuum in discussion; it is empty, ridiculous, vapid. It would have been flayed in the old days of the board, when there was substantial activity. Back on topic: Pat, what parts of the novel did work for you? Did you scan the critiques I posted earlier? What was the worst of the slog for you?
  8. Sure... I've only read the reviews on Goodreads, and those are mostly gushing. Only a handful seem to feel the same way that Pat and I do. Again, I thought the book was OK... but my overall opinion, walking away, was that there was so much more that could have been done with this world/characters/conflict. Part of this is because a whole new generation of epic-fantasy authors have taken the template in the last couple decades and really pushed the bar up and sideways and twisted it all around. Most of this is just... safe. Boring. Predictable. And so, so overwritten.
  9. We're also not explicitily claiming it's vastly unpopular with the mass majority of readers or that our opinions represent the mass majority of readers,* simply outlining, in clear and concise critiques, why the book is not working for us. It's OK to like the book, it's also OK to see it as a symptom of authorial indulgence festering some quarter-decade unchecked, to the eventual, perhaps inevitable result -- predictable, bloated, and ultimately an unworthy follow up to one of the most influential and acclaimed fantasy serials of the pre-GRRM/Grimdark era. *Actually, Pat alluded to how these books are not selling per expectations, and thus the critiques submitted are actually valuable as potential reasons why The Last King isn't generating hype / best seller status.
  10. Anecdotal evidence FTW. I don't think it's as bad as Pat, but it's completely unexceptional for the most part, and the seams really stand out in several sections as Tad railroads the narrative toward his predetermined outcome -- resulting in the same facile techniques and overall artificiality that's plagued his work from the Otherland days. The only improvement on the original series is that the action is more frequent and generally better written. Otherwise, there doesn't seem to be much reason for this story to exist.
  11. It doesn't significantly improve. It stays about the same all the way through. I feel the last third of TWC and the whole of EoG form this long, steady sense of consistency. If you're not digging it at this point, you might as well skim the rest. Scott is right, Morgan's POV does eventually improve, but really only because he's hanging with a Sithi and learning more about the underlying conflict of the series.
  12. That's a good catch, I didn't associate the two but it wouldn't surprise me if that becomes the case, tragic as it is.
  13. There were some descriptions in either TWC or EoG (they kind of blend together for me at this point) that heavily indicate the Sithi/Norns came from another planet.
  14. I didn't hate it or really dislike it, I just thought the writing was weaker than the original trilogy. In the last thread, someone asked to compare this series to MS&T. The biggest contrast I can give is that, in the late 80's, reading The Dragonbone Chair imparted a sense of mystery and depth, probably much more depth than the text itself contained. With The Witchwood Crown, we already know these characters and this land and there's not a whole lot which is new, outside the Norn mountain-city. The obvious retreading of old ground (Urmshiem, Naglimund, Hjelden's tower, etc. etc) really contribute to this uneasy feeling that, while there is a story here that could be told and told really well (the Sithi/Norn & Unbeing backstory), a lot of this feels middling or unnecessary. And though there was very little action in The Dragonbone Chair, that novel contains an impressive atmosphere of discovery and gradual revelation, allowing the descriptions and overall prose to come across as necessary in constructing the novel's themes and development, rather than--in TWC and EoG--feeling like constant bloated diversions perpetually staving us off to the next artificial climax or authorial indulgence (lost in the woods again, hey ho!).
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