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Meneldil

R. Scott Bakker: What am I missing?

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Long time lurker, haven't posted here since the board was on ezboard.

I see a lot of love for Bakker, and I just can't get into him. I bought the first book on reccomendations from this board and a couple other boards I read and just can't get "hooked" into it. I find myself losing interest a couple hundred pages into the book. I get confused by the history and unlike the Malazan series I just don't care much about it. Should I keep pressing through? I of course love Martin and Erikson, and was hoping Bakker would be as good as them, but to me the series is just flat out boring.

~Meneldil

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Some of the early parts are tough, I'll admit - it was tough to get through the parts about the old empire. It really starts kicking into higher gear when Acha starts dealing with things more and when we get more of Kellhus.

It isn't for everyone, but it does get better - around the middle of the book is when I started going 'hell yeah'.

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Whatever it is Meneldil I'm missing it too. I got through the first book by slowly chipping away at it but have yet to muster up the ambition to start reading the second book - I've been about 35 pages into it for the last 6 months or so. I think it's the combination of completely unlikable characters and a rather slow paced plot that prevent me from enjoying this series.

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Some of the early parts are tough, I'll admit - it was tough to get through the parts about the old empire. It really starts kicking into higher gear when Acha starts dealing with things more and when we get more of Kellhus.

It isn't for everyone, but it does get better - around the middle of the book is when I started going 'hell yeah'.

It's a series that just gets better with every page. It's incredibly slow and tedious at the beginning of tDTCB but the second book is flat-out great, particularly with respect to Kellhus.

In my opinion, the lack of interesting plot at the beginning is far outweighed by the overall kick-assedness of the remainder.

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Waht Kal said, I struggled for the first half of book one. By the Time I was done I liked it. Book 2 I loved from the start. Absolutely awesome book.

On the other hand I've read the first two Malazan books, and they do nothing for me.

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I read the first two books. It didn't take me any longer to read them than any other book, but I didn't like either one. Bakker's a good writer, but he just doesn't turn my crank. I never read the third book, and have no plans to. I simply don't care what happens next.

Do give book 1 a chance. It gets better in the second half. But if by the end of book one you still haven't been hooked, don't bother with book 2.

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Whatever it is Meneldil I'm missing it too. I got through the first book by slowly chipping away at it but have yet to muster up the ambition to start reading the second book - I've been about 35 pages into it for the last 6 months or so. I think it's the combination of completely unlikable characters and a rather slow paced plot that prevent me from enjoying this series.
Well, that's certainly true - the first book moves slowly and really has no likable characters. The unlikable characters never really changes, though Acha becomes a lot more sympathetic and interesting. I'd say it this way - if you like reading about fascinating flawed characters to downright evil ones, Bakker does well. If you don't, you'll not like this.

He's also very...bad about having even remotely decent female characters. If that's a problem, you won't like it either. It did turn me off, I will admit, but not to the degree that I couldn't read it any more.

The second book picks up the pace considerably; there are some massively huge battles and events that happen.

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Minor spoiler, but just as a forewarning - the holy war does not begin until the end of the first book. So the entire first book is a setup of the characters and their motivations, the world politics, and events which take place prior to the Holy War.

I actually deeply enjoyed this book and did not see it as being a snails-pace read, despite the late start of the holy war in the book. But I also loved the philosophy, history, religion, and politics of the world, so take that for what you will. But the Prince of Nothing series (along with the Lies of Locke Lamora) were easily my favorite novels I read last year.

He's also very...bad about having even remotely decent female characters. If that's a problem, you won't like it either. It did turn me off, I will admit, but not to the degree that I couldn't read it any more.
There were a total of three: a witty whore, a crazy concubine, and a slutty empress. One of which, the whore Esmenet, was one of the strongest characters in the book. The Empress had the same problems as the rest of the royal family, so I do not see that as a fault of how her gender was portrayed. But the crazy concubine was annoying through and through.

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Friend of mine had the series highly recommended by me ( he posts here as well btw). He's a big fan of Tolkien, Erikson, Eddison, Vance, Zelazny, Howard etc, and used to a big Martin fan as well until Feast for Crows came along. Anyway, he just cannot get into this series. Tried the first one, slogged through it, and then when told Warrior Prophet was better he tried that. Hated it again.

Sometimes an author just isn't for your, even if others think he should be, or when he is similar to many authors that you like.

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I'll second that. At the same time, I also greatly disliked the series the first read through, but noticed that

A)the series seemed a lot better on the second time through, and

B)you have to take it slowly. I mean "read every word and line" slowly, otherwise the books will just overwhelm you.

The OP sounds like he did the latter, so the book may just not be for him. It happens- I don't particularly care for Gene Wolfe's work, and I'm about to start my third attempt at the Dark Tower series (the first two faltered on the rocks of Book 3: The Wastelands.

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Hell, I'm having trouble loving both Bakker AND Erickson, although I plan to keep trying with both of them, if only to know what you geeks are talking about. I already bought both of them, so why not.

I think I like Bakker's writing style better than Erickson's, but Bakker's storyline is SOOOOOO slow. Something about Erickson's writing style is really weird.

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Something about Erickson's writing style is really weird.
Well, he can't write natural dialogue, his descriptions of places are unnecessarily adjective-y, and he can't keep straight what places are or where they are. Oh yeah, he doesn't describe people well either. His sentence flow is kinda painful too.

I think it's basically that his writing style is 'bad writer'.

Bakker is a better writer but he has problems with characterization and pacing, though this improves markedly in the second book.

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I agree with everyone who said that Book 1 is slow and Book 2 much better. Book 2 is wonderful.

The series is exceptional in the extent that the reader's philosophical positions come into play affecting the reading experience. For example, I've seen Kellhus described as a brilliantly conceived hero[*], a horrible, overpowered, Mary Sue hero, and a villain. (I myself am firmly in the "Kellhus is a villain" camp. He reminds me of Sauron, in fact.) So when once Kellhus again succeeds at something, one contingent cheers, another groans, and yet another feels a brooding sense of doom continue its approach.

[*] The biggest Kellhus fangirl I have seen is also an Ayn Rand fan. I think that isn't a coincidence.

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I think the only reason I finished reading the first book was because I was on vacation at the beach.

Bakker writes well, but the characters just don't grab me. And the fact that

SPOILER: Same spoiler that is mentioned above
the war doesn't even start until the end
makes this book drag.

Then again, my brother loves this series and can't get enough of Bakker. I'll probably read the second book sometime, but worry whether I'll have forgotten the details that made the Darkness that Comes Before (the Plot) a necessary precursor to the holy war.

I did like the pacing of the prologue, though. /shrug

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One really nice thing about the second and third books is that it has a 'what comes before' section - which sums up the characters and what happened to them prior. It makes the books really easy to pick up after a long time. Heck, it even clarifies little details that weren't abundantly clear from the text.

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One really nice thing about the second and third books is that it has a 'what comes before' section - which sums up the characters and what happened to them prior. It makes the books really easy to pick up after a long time. Heck, it even clarifies little details that weren't abundantly clear from the text.

I think you just ensured that I will read book 2 one of these days. After posting, I thought, "I hardly remember anything from Darkness. Maybe I shouldn't bother reading the sequel."

:) Thanks

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I think it's basically that his writing style is 'bad writer'.

I didn't want to be the one to say it, but unfortunately I think you may be spot on there.

I like the book's cover art, though :P

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am i one of the few people who liked the first book from start to end? i didnt even think it was slow...

weird

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I really liked the first book too, relic. It doesn't have a lot of action scenes, but the prose is very evocative and the world was really interesting to me. I can recognize that it's not as easy to get into, but I geek out on well-written worldbuilding. The same reason I liked Perdido Street Station from start to end I liked TDTCB start to end.

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