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shady12

The Darkness that Comes Before

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Ok I was just about to continue reading this, I'm at the beginning of the section called 'The Warrior' (I think). I came in expecting to love this but I'm ready to give up. All the stuff in these people's heads (philosophy and what not) is driving me nuts. I read a couple paragraphs in the new chapter and the guy quoted a philosopher and I put it down. I think this is something I'd like more if it was written by a different author. The world and the story seem like they should be interesting but the writing is driving me nuts. The characters don't seem to behave or think like a person really would. Even uneducated idiots and whores in the book think like deep thinking philosophers. If the story was interesting enough I could live with it I guess but it hasn't gripped me and I'm slightly more than halfway through. Based on what I just said should I stick with it, will it get more interesting or should I give up?

Kind of sucks that ASOIAF is the only fantasy series in a long time that I've liked. I thought maybe it was me getting older and the genre didn't capture my imagination like it used to..but ASOIAF, which I LOVE, shot that thought down.

I read WOT in my late teens and liked it, caught up to the most recent book published, A Crown of Swords..and by that time I saw it slowing down and apparently I was right and everyone says it isn't as good after that.. Sword of Truth I read several but yeah, it sucks. Read the first Feist series and it was just Ok.. more like the stuff I liked as an early teen (Terry Brooks for example) and wouldn't go back to it. Malazan, read the first one, didn't like it. It seemed like I should be liking it but I didn't. I think just too much going on (although I like complicated plots). The world that was obviously huge just felt hollow to me. Now Prince of Nothing I can't get into. Based on this rambling are their any series that might be recommended? And should I keep at TDTCB?

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[quote name='shady12' post='1315927' date='Apr 15 2008, 21.30']Ok I was just about to continue reading this, I'm at the beginning of the section called 'The Warrior' (I think). I came in expecting to love this but I'm ready to give up. All the stuff in these people's heads (philosophy and what not) is driving me nuts. I read a couple paragraphs in the new chapter and the guy quoted a philosopher and I put it down. I think this is something I'd like more if it was written by a different author. The world and the story seem like they should be interesting but the writing is driving me nuts. The characters don't seem to behave or think like a person really would. Even uneducated idiots and whores in the book think like deep thinking philosophers. If the story was interesting enough I could live with it I guess but it hasn't gripped me and I'm slightly more than halfway through. Based on what I just said should I stick with it, will it get more interesting or should I give up?

Kind of sucks that ASOIAF is the only fantasy series in a long time that I've liked. I thought maybe it was me getting older and the genre didn't capture my imagination like it used to..but ASOIAF, which I LOVE, shot that thought down.

I read WOT in my late teens and liked it, caught up to the most recent book published, A Crown of Swords..and by that time I saw it slowing down and apparently I was right and everyone says it isn't as good after that.. Sword of Truth I read several but yeah, it sucks. Read the first Feist series and it was just Ok.. more like the stuff I liked as an early teen (Terry Brooks for example) and wouldn't go back to it. Malazan, read the first one, didn't like it. It seemed like I should be liking it but I didn't. I think just too much going on (although I like complicated plots). The world that was obviously huge just felt hollow to me. Now Prince of Nothing I can't get into. Based on this rambling are their any series that might be recommended? And should I keep at TDTCB?[/quote]

ASOIAF was my first series, and so far I've only read Scott Lynch, and I'm almost done with The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie. Both are fantastic, and almost as good as Martin.

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I'd say that the story picks up towards the end, specifically when Kellhus enters the picture, but if you don't like the philosophy already, you're going to hate the rest. I'd finish the book at least to see, but if you don't like it, you don't like it.

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I am not going to try to make you read on but I will try and give you as fair an analysis as I can:

I, like you, haven't read much fantasy I like besides ASOIAF so we may be like-minded. (I mean, I read Tolkien back in the day, but not much else)

I randomly picked up TDTCB and it's weirdness struck me right away and I wasn't too down. The bizarre names, the dark world that makes Martin's already meloncholy take on humanity look rosey by comparison....


But I can tell you this: A lot of people on this board who are GRRM fans love the Prince of Nothing Series. I'll also tell you this: The book you're on takes a long time to get going. But it picks up a lot around the halfway point where Kellhus gets back into it.

Also, without spoiling anything, you will care about Achamian more as the story goes on. A lot of people complain about the lack of a real protagonist in the early going.

But I will also give you a caveat: This is one of the more polarizing series on this board. There are plenty of people who say "What's with all of you guys how like Bakker so much?" I personally love it but I am not trying to make your decision for you. as they say, one man's trash is another man's treasure.

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Bakker is probably the best epic fantasy I've read besides Martin's first 3. (I had some issues with Feast) YMMV.

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I think Bakker's series is one where you have to have some exposure to certain ideas he's wanting to explore in his writing, not to mention an affinity to said ideas. I like his series quite a bit and think it's one of the best fictional series going today, but you might want to take my words with some grains of salt, since Bakker and I are personal friends (one reason why I usually avoid getting entangled in the arguments revolving his series :P).

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[quote name='Dylanfanatic' post='1316087' date='Apr 16 2008, 01.24']I think Bakker's series is one where you have to have some exposure to certain ideas he's wanting to explore in his writing, not to mention an affinity to said ideas.[/quote]
I dunno. I loved the books and I'm pretty much an ignorant fucktard when it comes to such things, so YMMV. :)

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I think the series is one of the best in the genre, but if you can't stand the philosophizing, then I doubt the rest of it would really be worthwhile for you. I also doubt you would like "the same thing by a different author." Many other novels have characters that spout philosophy, and not one of those I've read handles it better than PoN.

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[quote name='shady12' post='1315927' date='Apr 16 2008, 04.30']Ok I was just about to continue reading this, I'm at the beginning of the section called 'The Warrior' (I think).[/quote]

That's right before the battle of Kiyuth, right? The book picked up for me [i]right there[/i].

[quote]The world and the story seem like they should be interesting but the writing is driving me nuts. The characters don't seem to behave or think like a person really would. Even uneducated idiots and whores in the book think like deep thinking philosophers.[/quote]
I understand why you think that, but you don't have full information. Esmi is likely one of the smartest women on the planet, and she's highly educated (by authorial fiat: she's talked to a lot of clever men, namely her customers, and milked them for all they have. In both senses.)

In just a few pages Bakker will show you one of his boldest creations: another whore (in fact, a sex slave) who is plain stupid.


[quote]Based on what I just said should I stick with it, will it get more interesting or should I give up?[/quote]
I can only speak for myself: for me, the story picked up at Kiyuth.

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Well, I am a big ASOIAF fan and I do read a lot of fantasy (and a lot of other books as well), and I stopped reading Bakker in the middle of the second book of the trilogy
This is very unusual of me, I normally finish every story out of curiosity, even if I didnt like it much.

I hated these books, I hated it so much even if I have to grant that: (or perhaps that is what upsets me that the books are so bad, although:)

Bakker has a good writing style
The world he created is interesting
Some of his dialogue /philiosophical ideas are intelligent (though some other are rather stupid)

The problem with Bakker is IMHO that there are no people in his story. Not one single human being you can relate to. All stange automatons which say the most ridiculous things in totally unfitting situations. But you only read stories because of the characters
GRRM said in Dreamsongs II (quoting Faulkner): The human heart in confilct with itself alone can make good writing, because only that is worth writing about

There are no humans n Bakkers story, so I decided that to continue reading was just a waste of my time.
After that decision I felt much better.

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[quote name='JoannaL' post='1316225' date='Apr 16 2008, 03.59']The problem with Bakker is IMHO that there are no people in his story. Not one single human being you can relate to. All stange automatons which say the most ridiculous things in totally unfitting situations. But you only read stories because of the characters
GRRM said in Dreamsongs II (quoting Faulkner): The human heart in confilct with itself alone can make good writing, because only that is worth writing about

There are no humans n Bakkers story, so I decided that to continue reading was just a waste of my time.
After that decision I felt much better.[/quote]Actually, there's no humans [i]you[/i] can relate to. ;) Personally, I found some of the most sympathetic, compelling characters I've read in speculative fiction here - Akka, Proyas, and Saubon being the pertinent examples.

OP, it does take a certain amount of struggle to get into this trilogy for a lot of people, whether it's because of the dense prose, the alien aesthetic, or the heady philosophy. (I won't mention the characters because as we can see, if you don't like them you're probably just not going to like the books at all.) I found it worth the effort. What's frequently hailed as the best part of the first book is coming up not too long after "The Warrior" - a certain amount of "deep thinking philosophy," but between two characters for whom it is richly deserved, and intermixed with some good old fashioned bloodletting. Give it a shot.

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I struggled getting into this series too. The story was boring, I didn't care about any of the characters, and didn't get the philosophy at all.

By the end of the series, I had come to recognize it as one of the most ambitious stories I have yet to experience. I found some character that I could sympathise with, and even like (Achamien and Conphas). Even while Esmenet bored me to frustration every sentence she was in there. But I still didn't get the philosophy.

Like someone already mentioned, the story does pick up at Kiyuth (though it was the last 50 pages that really pulled me in). From there on the story starts to make up for the philosophizing.

PoN are books that I liked better after finishing them; they are slow, tedius and very much a chore to get though. But once it was all done, I could sit back, and remember some scenes that truly stand out as some of the best I've ever read.

I'd say give it to the end of TDtCB, and then decide whether it's worth going any further.

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I actually like Bakker better than Martin, but then I really love philosophy. To put it this way, while Martin got me into the fantasy genre (and just barely -- when I first read the prologue to AGOT, I put the book down for a couple years thinking the series was about Ice Elves or something), and while he's one of myfavorite authors, Bakker just has something extra that made a bigger impact on me.

I mean, the series feels like an uber-version of Dune. And so many awsone characters too (The Emperor pov being a hoot to read).

On the other hand, your milage may vary. It seems like a lot of people liked Malazan: Book of thr Fallen, but I just couldn't get into Garden of the Moon.

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[quote name='Dackad' post='1316090' date='Apr 16 2008, 07.30']I dunno. I loved the books and I'm pretty much an ignorant fucktard when it comes to such things, so YMMV. :)[/quote]*applause*

I'd say finish the first book, unless it really is torture. But it just might not be your cup of tea. Remember there are stand alone fantasy novels waiting to be read as well as series. :)

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I struggled through the first half before the story turned to Akka and I was like, "Finally! Someone with feelings!" Akka is far and away the best character in those books. He has faults, he's outside society, but he also can see things others can't, do things others can't do. For his flaws and his circumstances, I love him. Cnauir, most violent of all men, is also full of awesome.

The philosophical stuff did go over my head, and I never managed to finish Warrior-Prince because of time and interest. There are a lot of large-scale battles along with war council planning scenes. Those were difficult for me to get through, and they may be hard for you to get through as well. The best parts of the books, for me, deal with the magic and when the core of characters get to interact with each other.

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It took me half of the first book before I started to enjoy TDTCB (not counting isolated moments of amusement like the Emperor Xerius's first POV), and after that I really liked it. If you're still hating it by the end though then that's just bad luck, everyone's tastes differ :)

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Bakker's world is ugly and harsh (and largely unproounceable), but despite a world where Akka's sorcery looks like Laser Floyd at the Planetarium, it feels very real.

I put Bakker in the top class of SF/F writers. The high price of admission (it's by no means an easy read) is worth it.

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Come on, be a trooper and finish the book! ;) If, by the end, you still hate it, then there is no point continuing on.

Patrick

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Thanks guys. I'm gonna keep going especially considering some say the story is about to pick up. There have been parts here and there that I liked. The first battle against the...Skvendi (sp?). I do like Achamian to some extent. I love maps and geography (I could look at real-life maps all day), world building, having to look at the back to be reminded who and what things are.. I guess the denseness and philosophy is what's killing me. I'm surprised I put the book down last night because I can't stand not finishing something I start (kind of an OCD thing I think). If I don't make it past the first book I'm gonna go for a stand-alone as someone suggested, something like Tigana. I think the only stand-alone fantasy I ever read was Legend by Gemmell. Didn't like that at all. Don't think there was a map either may be ONE reason why, haha.

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Oh God HE, you hit the nail on the head with the difference between Esmenet and what's-her-face miss stupid.

Yes, in a way she is a very brave creation, since it clearly highlights the differences between the two women.

I still keep my original view tho about the needless chauvinism etc. but I do see the point with it (your point or "the" point being somewhat interchangeable here I think :P )

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