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Critically acclaimed fantasy novels that you just don't like.


Books

51 to 100 of 272 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | next > last >>

I do like Twain better than Faulkner.
Of course I have only read less than one Faulkner.
Of course when I finish a Twain I think 'I liked that let's try another'. Faulkner... welll not so much :)


Yokel!


Get out of here, Burgomeister! I apologize for his rudeness, Curaigh.

Spoiler:
Be ver-ry ver-ry quiet, I'm hunting rabbits.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
"He played on Sgt. Pepper's AND wrote Game of Thrones? Woah."
You mean, kind of like Moorcock's involvement with Blue Oyster Cult and Hawkwind? (er, not that Hawkwind is exactly comparable to the Beatles...).

I was going to write something like that but your edit ninja'ed me!

Although being evil hippies who spawned Motorhead is nuthin' to sneeze at, either.


Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
Although being evil hippies who spawned Motorhead is nuthin' to sneeze at, either.

I love "Ace of Spades"... unfortunately, all of their songs kind of sound just like it.


Burgomeister of Troll Town wrote:
the L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter stories are just as good as Robert E. Howard's (ooh! I'm such a troll!)

Oh, I'll out-troll you on that point.

Anti-Robert E. Howard ranting:
I remember reading "The Coming of Conan", whose forward by Mark Schultz made Howard to be something godlike. "There is no mistaking a Howard story. No one will ever write Conan... with the ferocity and terrible beauty of Howard." The introduction by Patrice Louinet gave similar praise. Both of those cited several stories, including "Queen of the Black Coast", as examples of his incredible writing skills.

While reading that volume, I came to the conclusion that if Howard's stories had some form of genius that, say, de Camp's stories didn't have, I just can't see it.

In "Queen of the Black Coast", for example, Belit publicly announces that Conan will be her first lover. She shows this by throwing off all her clothes and dancing her "mating dance".

Yeah. That's real high literature, that is.

Belit also callously allows her followers to get killed, figuring that hiring replacements would be easy. You'd think she was playing D&D.

Furthermore, just about all the Howard stories I read began long after the beginning, ended long before the ending, and skipped huge chunks of the middle.

One small part of the problem there is in loosely scattering the stories throughout Conan's life. Howard wrote one story in which someone remembers Conan as "Amra", and then later, he wrote another story in which Conan gets that name. And Howard fans take this as a testament to Howard's genius. BIG DEAL!!! Later "Conan" writers had to worry about WAY more continuity than that!

In fact - and here's something that would make Mark Schultz, Patrice Louinet, and a great many other people hoot at me and call me an illiterate dunce - my favorite Conan writer is, by far, Roy Thomas.

Now THERE was a writer who could give FLESH STORIES OUT and give them DEPTH and MEANING and a sense of CONTINUITY!

Take "Queen of the Black Coast" again. Howard just briefly mentioned Conan refusing to betray his friend and friend's lover. Thomas actually wrote the adventure in which Conan MET those friends, and how they fell in love, so we can actually CARE, and SYMPATHIZE with Conan's plight! Howard skips over Conan's and Belit's adventures together, and cuts right to their final one. Thomas wrote a slew of adventures they had together, so we can actually get to KNOW Belit, and possibly even CARE when she dies!

And years later, Thomas wrote another story in which Conan meets those friends again. In fact, Thomas used those characters in that story in a very clever way. If there's any form of cleverness in Howard's stories, they must be too high a form of genius for me to see.

Now THAT, my good Burgomeister of Troll Town, is real trolling!


Aaron Bitman wrote:
"No one will ever write Conan... with the ferocity and terrible beauty of Howard."

I agree with the quote. No one (well, no one with a lick of sense, anyway) would ever confuse Howard with a technically-competent writer. He was a hack. But damn, he could write rousing action stories -- the kind that the overly-cerebral de Camp could only pray to emulate.

Then again, deCamp helped Fletcher Pratt write the "Harold Shea" stories, so he's not all bad.

What I really, really dislike about deCamp is his taking of perfectly good historical adventure stories by Howard (e.g., "Hawks over Egypt") and trying to turn them into Conan stories. That really ticks me off.


Aaron Bitman wrote:
Burgomeister of Troll Town wrote:
the L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter stories are just as good as Robert E. Howard's (ooh! I'm such a troll!)

Oh, I'll out-troll you on that point.

** spoiler omitted **...

Problem is Howard killed himself before he could write all those stories and flesh them out.

Howards Horror and historical fiction is better than Conan.


Burgomeister of Troll Town wrote:
the L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter stories are just as good as Robert E. Howard's (ooh! I'm such a troll!)

That there is fighting words.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
Although being evil hippies who spawned Motorhead is nuthin' to sneeze at, either.
I love "Ace of Spades"... unfortunately, all of their songs kind of sound just like it.

There was a music writer, I can't remember who now, who re: Motorhead, quoted Stravinsky on Vivaldi: (rough paraphrase--I have only a layman's knowledge of classical music) He wrote 1 symphony 100 times. Hee hee!


Vivaldi wrote over 400 concerti. Stravinsky once dismissed them as "the same concerto 400 times."


Thank you. I knew I wasn't doing the quote justice.

Hee hee!


Re: classical music and heavy metal -- does anyone else notice that in some of the more complex Iron Maiden songs, you could easily replace one guitar with a strings section, and another with a woodwind section, and the third with maybe something else, and if you slowed it down a notch and muted the drums, you'd have something that would stand on its own as a classical concert piece?


As for Conan, I'm affecting more knowledge about Howard and deCamp and Carter than I actually have. I was also trolling.

I've only read random volumes of the deCamp/Carter series where they intersperse their stories with Howard's. A big project that I am preparing for is to get all of the unexpurgated Howard stories and read them alongside all 12 volumes of the deCamp collections.

I can appreciate the well-meaning efforts of his more PC editors, but I'm an adult now and I would like to read Howard, racist warts and all the deCamp/Carter stories, because whether they're as good as Howard or not, I think they're pretty enjoyable.

And, yes, it's the Harold Shea stories that make me so affectionate towards deCamp, but I have no idea who the genius was there, him or Pratt. I've also read and adored Pratt's The Well of the Unicorn so it could've been either one or both.


In Italy we have an author called Licia Troisi that writes popular fantasy sagas. She's not so much "critically acclaimed" but her books sell, which baffles me because I have read them and they are ugly, unimaginative self-insert wankery fanfiction based on her and her friends' D&D campaigns, ridden with unlikeble characters and terrible exposition. She's our equivalent of Stephanie Meyer, in a way.


I like Shakespear. I hand't read Faulkner and I think that I hadn't actually ready any book by Mark Twain (but I know I loved Twain's quotes).

I wasn't impressed by early Lankhmar stories - later were better.
I prefer Hawkmoon and Corum series to Elric.

Anna Rice is sooo over appreciated. In fact I prefer Interview With The Vampire movie than book - whatever wrong could be said about Tom Cruise he put spirit and ambiguity into Lestat that he could be sympathetic yet monstrous, unlike very one-dimensional monster he was in the book. Haven't read whole Lestat so I won't comment here but Queen Of Damned was bad.

Thomas Covenant wasn't to my liking. Not one intersting sympathetic character in the whole book (Thomas was unforgivable bastard without class or grace, everyone who read first book knows what I refer to).

"Detect Magic wrote:
Harry Potter: Always through they were silly. Never gave 'em a chance.

I was sceptical of them initially but after some time I read the first book and found it quite ok.

I wasn't very impressed by Slavatore's books: Canticle, early Drizzit novels. Haven't read more.


Matthew Winn wrote:
Salvatore - I have to admit to growing up on his works and thinking they were the greatest things since sliced bread. The exposition read smoothly, and the fight scenes were phenomenal. As I grew older, the emo-ness of Drizzt began to wear on me, and I realized that the smooth writing and the fight scenes were hiding some glaring writing flaws. Then again, I have the same thoughts on Stephen King, who I simply cannot get through a single chapter. Smooth writing, draws in the reader, *terrible* mechanical writing skills.

Same, minus the bit on Stephen King.


Drejk wrote:


Thomas Covenant wasn't to my liking. Not one intersting sympathetic character in the whole book (Thomas was unforgivable bastard without class or grace, everyone who read first book knows what I refer to).

Those were weird books. I don't think I'd go so far as to say there wasn't one likeable character, but, yeah, most of them weren't.

As for the Ur-Lord himself, it's easy to hate him, but I don't think I do. There's a very interesting conversation to be had about that book, but we probably shouldn't do it here.


No thank you to JRR Tolkien and Robert Jorden. I like my fiction to swing with a bit more zing. The Discworld novels have a hugely variable quality control and anything thicker than an inch with trilogy written on it doesn't get a look in. Mary Gentle likes to make her books hard work doesn't she? I don't care how much historical research you've done, just get on with the story. Won't touch any Warhammer novels, or any other licensed properties. To be honest I don't read much new fantasy anymore because I'm just too tired of all the lazy cliches. Recent faves have been Lies of Locke Lamora, City of Saints and Madmen and Stardust which probably shows you where I'm coming from.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Re: classical music and heavy metal -- does anyone else notice that in some of the more complex Iron Maiden songs, you could easily replace one guitar with a strings section, and another with a woodwind section, and the third with maybe something else, and if you slowed it down a notch and muted the drums, you'd have something that would stand on its own as a classical concert piece?

To tie together today's literary and musical motifs.


Woo Flaxman wrote:

No thank you to JRR Tolkien and Robert Jorden. I like my fiction to swing with a bit more zing.

...
Won't touch any Warhammer novels, or any other licensed properties.

+1

The Warhammer world is pretty cool but their novels read like army list for the game.

Have you given Brent Week's Night Angel a shot?


Could do, but it'll have to wait until I've finished my lovely new black bound copy of Jack Vance's Lyonesse (oops, it's a trilogy but it's just sooooooo good).


Kirth Gersen wrote:

Boy, am I gonna make a lot of enemies here!

*snip*

Why? DO people here not like hearing the truth? ;-p

Although I do like the LotR books - and I will be the first to admit they are as dry as deserts. All of them.

I would throw my hat(e) in with the Jordan & Martin hat(ers) but that doesn't seem 'edgy' enough to me. It's cool to hate on the internet after all.

I'll instead go with liking the Dark Elf trilogy by Salvatore for $200 Alex.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

K.J Parker I know got a fair amount of reknowned but is not to my taste. The characters in the Engineer I found listless and boring and felt as though it was a fan book to enginners and how wonderful they are I could not finish it.

I thought the Belgarion was enjoyable but the later Mallorean and after that ...well everyone became gods and were indestructuble so I lost interest and did not read the newer series after the Sparhawk ones.

I disagree with some of the accessments of the Game of Thrones I dod enjoy the series as well as Lord of the Rings.

Robert Jordan I liked the first few books but like others then felt cheated as the story line started to go no where.

I also did not like the direction Sword of Truth went in.

Thomas Covenant I could not get very far in the story after the what happened with the girl Lena. Creeped me out and could not

But I suppose this is all the joy of opinions everyone has one and we can put them on boards and tell everyone what wonderful opinions they are but when it comes to it others will disagree.

I am also not a fan of Megadeath or Iron Maiden for that matter which may horrify others. Taste is not something we can quatify yet many take many hours to attempt to do so. I feel it is folly to try and quantify it. Give your opinion but one opinion is not better than another's in my own opinion. ;)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Y'know, I'm suprised nobody has mentioned the later Books of Swords by Saberhagen. I thought they were awesome in high school, went back and reread them as an adult and was underwhelmed. THe later series got so bland I basically had to give up on them.

:P

I found Jordan impossible to follow...the world is too big, there's too many blond women whose name begin with E, and it takes too long for stuff to develop. It's a great big world in fascinating detail, but I don't have the time to drown in it.

I actually like Salvatore's first couple of Drizz't books...it was the later ones that made me sigh and stop buying them. On a lark I read the 4E one at the bookstore, and affirmed why I don't buy them anymore. He was a 20th level fighter 100 years ago, and he's once again a putz.

Tolkien is drrrrrryyyyyy. I have never managed to finish the Twin Towers. Eh. I fall asleep trying to.

Sword of Truth again takes a looooong time to make its points. Haven't worked up the moxie to read them.

Feist's first three books are still a great read after all these years. The later ones I tend to have more problems with, although I liked the Kelawan series with Jenny Wurts as being the first real fantasy series I ever read that was more political then action.

===Aelryinth

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Tales Subscriber

David Gemmell. How the man managed to write so many books with the same story and characters and get a with it I don't know. He was like the AC/DC of fantasy novels. Oh... and the LotR stuff is crap, I've been saying that for years. There have been so many other novels and series that I've dropped do to massive amounts of suckage I can't even recall them all.


Tolkien - I like LoTR, but those books could be on the bottom of the ocean and they'd still be dry.

Jordan - Took what had the potential to be a decent seven book cycle (his initial projection), discovered it was a cash cow, stretched it out to 13 or so volumes and then up and died before finishing it. Couldn't stand them and only finished them out of sheer stubbornness.

Howard - Sword and Sorcery material (Conan, Bran Mac Morn, Kull and to a lesser extent, Solomon Kane) darn good stories, but no one will ever mistake them for good writing.

Hamilton, Harrison, Meyer, etc. - This type of hack, formula, target the market writing nearly killed the urban-fantasy genre. If it weren't for Jim Butcher (only his Dresden Files, I was extremely under-whelmed by his Furies of Calderon series), and Simon Green, I would have given up on the genre entirely.

Potter and Eragon - I am not the target audience, and I was unimpressed by either Rowling or Paloni's world-building nor technical skills.

Feist - No one has mentioned him yet, but here is an author with NO sympathetic characters at all. Almost as bad as Thomas covenant.

And now to defend Warhammer. I am a big fan of the Gotrek and Felix stories and the Thanquol and Boneripper spin-offs (haven't read the Ulrika the Vampire books, little afraid that the 'teenage vamps in love' phenomenon has infiltrated my grim fantasy series). Are they great, no, but they are exciting fantasy novels.


Burgomeister of Troll Town wrote:

. . .

If you don't like J.R.R. Tolkien, Fritz Leiber or Michael Moorcock's Elric or Hawkmoon books you are an illiterate yokel. You probably don't like Shakespeare, and I bet you think Mark Twain is a better writer than William Faulkner. Why do you even bother reading?

Three for Three on Tolkien, Lieber, and Moorcock. Though why there is no lover for Lovecraft, Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith or C. S. Lewis and T.H. White is beyond me.

I do like Shakespeare, though I found Kit Marlowe and Ben Johnson to be far better, if less prolific playwrights (and yes, the vast majority of his comedies, are annoying).

and Twain may not be a better writer than Faulkner, he is certainly a more relevant one.


For me, Wheel of Time, Anita Blake and the Sword of Truth all fell into the same trap. The main character ended up being the absolutely best of everything. The greatest swordsman AND the greatest mage AND the lost heir AND the chosen of a god and/or destiny AND blah blah blah. It is a sign the series has run too long when you have to stack more super powers on your main character to deal with the escalated risks over the last book. That kind of lazy power creep over a series kills it for me as much as anything else.


Leo_Negri wrote:
Feist - No one has mentioned him yet, but here is an author with NO sympathetic characters at all. Almost as bad as Thomas covenant.

Is there another Feist? Raymond Feist has been mentioned several times, and I find most of his characters sympathetic -- how can you not love Amos Trask, or Arutha, or Martin, from the first three books? P.S. I'm talking his early stuff -- not those stupid video game books he apparently wrote to fund a coke addiction.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Tolkien is better if you can make it past the whole Tom Bombadil bit and get to the actual story. And the Silmarillion is vastly superior, but you have to like medieval literature.

And I loathe "The Once and Future King." For that matter, since he's been brought up here for some reason, I'm not a huge fan of Faulkner either, although he writes a much better short story than a novel. Mostly they're just dull, but I feel that way about most realistic fiction.

Loved the Belgariad, but the Elenium was the same thing, only better. Feist was good, but his licensing to Jenny Wurts is much better.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sword of Truth -- I tried reading the first one. It was fairly boring right up until the hero gets captured and tortured by the leather-clad bondage witches...then I needed to bleach my brain. I tossed the book aside (one of the few times I've failed to finish a book). (Note to aspiring fantasy writers: while plotting and writing your fantasy novel, be on the lookout for your lizard brain suddenly taking over and making you write bad porno.)

Years later, when the series had stretched out to over a dozen books, I wondered if I had missed out on something. Had there been an overarching storyline that made it worthwhile? So I read the plot synopses on Wikipedia. Nope, he was just making s$!+ up from book to book to keep the cash flowing.

Mazatlan Book of the Fallen -- I will be the first to admit that these guys have done an outstanding, superstar job designing a rich, original fantasy universe. However...I struggled to the end of Gardens of the Moon, when the climactic battle against the Big Evil occurs, and...an unknown force never before mentioned suddenly shows up, disintegrates the Big Evil, and disappears again...without explanation. End of book. WTF? (Also I needed to keep looking up stuff online about the universe so I could try to follow half of what was going on. Still not sure I understood exactly how the magic system works.)


Leo_Negri wrote:
Burgomeister of Troll Town wrote:

. . .

If you don't like J.R.R. Tolkien, Fritz Leiber or Michael Moorcock's Elric or Hawkmoon books you are an illiterate yokel. You probably don't like Shakespeare, and I bet you think Mark Twain is a better writer than William Faulkner. Why do you even bother reading?

Three for Three on Tolkien, Lieber, and Moorcock. Though why there is no lover for Lovecraft, Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith or C. S. Lewis and T.H. White is beyond me.

I was just cherry-picking stuff that people had dissed earlier in the thread.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Also, I find it hilarious that Faulkner has becoming a running subtheme of this thread.

[Further threadjack]

Rate The Great Gatsby on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest:

My vote: 11.


Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
Rate The Great Gatsby on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.

My vote: 1 (might have something to do with it being a required read back in high school).

Silver Crusade

The Thomas Covenant series was garbage, though I endured and finished the first lot. I absolutely refuse to read anymore Stephen Donaldson, especially after his sci-fi series.

Tad Williams' Sorrow, Memory and Thorn series became one big disappointment. The ending was so... so... so... *burns third book*

I am a massive fan of Stephen King, but he has been known to write some hogwash now and again. Its bound to happen when you churn out a gazillion books a year.


Eragon, Percy Jackson, Twilight and all Narnia books past Dawn Treader.

Qadira

I don't pay attention to who the critics like or don't, so I can't speak to "critically acclaimed" books. (Besides, anyone who writes should first and foremost ignore the very existence of critics.) There are fantasy novels I don't like, however.

The Darksword Trilogy by Weiss/Hickman-- What a letdown. I kept reading to the end expecting it to turn around, but it continued in a downward spiral that dragged me right along with it.

The Sword of Shannara-- Read the first few chapters, realized it was a repackaging of The Lord of the Rings, and never read another novel by Brooks again.

Heralds of Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey-- Not that I outright dislike these novels, persay, there are a few like Take A Thief that I really appreciate. There are, however, certain things in the books that drive me nuts. 90% of the time the biggest point of tension in these novels is due to one or more of the characters being totally unwilling to speak their minds, thus causing a huge communication problem that could be easily solved by just saying something, anything, to anyone. And it happens over, and over, and over...


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Is there another Feist? Raymond Feist has been mentioned several times, and I find most of his characters sympathetic -- how can you not love Amos Trask, or Arutha, or Martin, from the first three books? P.S. I'm talking his early stuff -- not those stupid video game books he apparently wrote to fund a coke addiction.

The first mention of Raymond Feist was posted while I was writing my comment (as was the second) and agree to disagree as to the characters. But Trask annoys me and the other two really do nothing ofr me one way or the other.


Shadowborn wrote:

. . .

Heralds of Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey-- Not that I outright dislike these novels, persay, there are a few like Take A Thief that I really appreciate. There are, however, certain things in the books that drive me nuts. 90% of the time the biggest point of tension in these novels is due to one or more of the characters being totally unwilling to speak their minds, thus causing a huge communication problem that could be easily solved by just saying something, anything, to anyone. And it happens over, and over, and over...

My only beef with Lackey is her fondness for using rape as a plot-device, or should I say over-using. It was used effectively in The Last Herald-Mage trilogy (brutally so). But it is central to the Vows and Honor books, and crops up in several others as well. Is it just that her leads all have that kind of gomi-luck that they represent the portion of the world that end up being victims? She writes damaged people very well though, I'll give her that.


I tried reading the first Gor book once. It literally bored me to tears. I went in thinking it'd be cool to see some dumb girls get beat up by a misogynist, it was just lame.

I followed Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time in high school and have progressed beyond that point.

Ditto for Anita Blake. If LKH don't like where the character is going, stop writing. Sheesh. I remember picking up the sixth book or something first, and meeting the foppy vampire and wondering what the heck. Read all of em, and it slowly devolved from having 2 male characters to having an all female cast, some of which had male genitalia, whining, complaining and PMSing on each other. Sexy. Still, better than reading text books while in university, especially those detailing the history of several US Senators in the 1920s who thought they knew something about Latin America that time and human history has forgot.

Read Song of Ice and Fire. Skip the Dany parts after Drogo dies coz of her blatant Sue-ism. Breinne of Tarth falls for Jaime? Eh... riiiight. Fifth book, well, can say I will not be waiting with baited breath for the sixth. Cool as Tyrion is, not very enthusiastic about where the story is going.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Lovecraft, Mieville and Moorcock, I just can't enjoy their work.


I already made one post, but I forgot to mention one guy in it. I just can't seem to get myself to liking anything written by Stephen King...

Silver Crusade

Callous Jack wrote:
Lovecraft, Mieville and Moorcock, I just can't enjoy their work.

Lovecraft did have some poorly written stories. I think he even realised that some of his stuff was not quite up to scratch or he was not on his A-game when he wrote certain stories.

I started out pretty mad about Mieville, but I have to agree his style gets old after a couple of books. I still like a couple of his books.

Moorcock! I still cannot understand the hype about this guy...

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.
markofbane wrote:
For me, Wheel of Time, Anita Blake and the Sword of Truth all fell into the same trap. The main character ended up being the absolutely best of everything. The greatest swordsman AND the greatest mage AND the lost heir AND the chosen of a god and/or destiny AND blah blah blah. It is a sign the series has run too long when you have to stack more super powers on your main character to deal with the escalated risks over the last book. That kind of lazy power creep over a series kills it for me as much as anything else.

I totally agree - powercreep kills characters for me. Must be why I like G.R.R. Martin and Erikson (Malazan), they handle their powercreep most effectively - death solves everything


I gave up on Perdido Street Station after a few chapters. Sex with bug-girls just isn't my thing.

Silver Crusade

Kirth Gersen wrote:
I gave up on Perdido Street Station after a few chapters. Sex with bug-girls just isn't my thing.

What? Where is your sense of adventure Kirth? :)

Qadira

Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:

What are they?

I know that, this being a D&D community, I will get flamed to death for this, but I cannot stand The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I got partway through the first book, and I couldn't keep reading. I cannot abide by the writing style at all, and the characters didn't interest me. I found myself rather bored with it.

What about you guys? What highly acclaimed fantasy do you dislike?

I got as far as Tom Bombadil in Fellowship and it was over for me. I've tried multiple times to get through LotR, but I just can't do it for the same reasons you listed.


Burgomeister of Troll Town wrote:


And, finally, Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast novels are overlooked fantasy masterpieces.

Yeah. It's both a book series AND a very effective Euhanasia agent. Read through it, and by page 200 you will have gently passed on.

I tried reading it. After I read about 130 pages and nothing had happened, I put it down before it could put me down.


Woo Flaxman wrote:
Won't touch any Warhammer novels, or any other licensed properties.

The Pathfinder Tales aren't bad for the most part (The Worldwound Gambit's writing style put me off big time, though).

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