Disappointing Books (warning spoilers allowed)


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Pookachan wrote:

We've got threads on books you're reading and suggestions for books, but my question is...

What book disappointed you the most?

I've been lucky enough to only have this happen with two series, and that was the Drizz't series and Wheel of Time. All that hype and then...nothing. From either.

According to my wife, Water for Elephants is terrible.


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I read some many generic fantasy books now that I get more disappointed if I aren't dreadful.

However, there is one non-fantasy book which really disappointed me - The Catcher in the Rye - I'm not sure I can adequately express my hatred for the main character in this book without causing the swears filter to explode. On the other hand, it must be a pretty well written book to have caused such a reaction.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Catcher in the Rye seemed like a rambling Livejournal. I'm not sure what the big deal about it was.


The big deal with Catcher in the Rye is that a few crazy people read it and then went out and killed celebrities. It's the same thing that got society up in arms when a crazy guy killed someone and was later found out to be a D&D player, or when some the kids from Columbine were discovered to have been listening to Marilyn Manson albums. It isn't the fault of the books/games/music, the person just had problems that would have come out some other way.


I think The Catcher In the Rye's popularity is due to when it was written. In 1951, I think it was harder to find books or any other media that dealt with a teenager's alienation and issues of identity. Now there are entire industries based on it and it's easier for high school aged kids to feel like they belong somewhere. That may be why I scratched my head when I read it at 13/14 years of age. Your mileage may vary, of course.


Werthead wrote:


I think it's pretty obvious that there is a very large and complicated plot (though still boiled down to three fairly straightforward narratives) going on in the books, but intercut with chaotic elements meant to give the feeling of history rather than fiction. How successful that is varies by reader, of course.

What I'm bemused by is why "Making up s##* as he goes along," is such a crime. It's called fiction and it's what all writers do, whether in the moment of writing (like GRRM, King or Jordan) or in fastidious outlining (which is often massively changed in the writing process anyway).

I disagree. Stories have beginnings, middles and ends. He clearly had a beginning...it was excellent. Maybe he has an end but he sure does not have a middle, he's just meandering...also the fact that he stopped writing kind of gives it away as well. An authour with a real story to tell does not stop writing their series for no apparent reason.

Tad Williams' Otherland is an excellent example of a large story that, nonetheless, has a clear beginning middle and end. Oh and character development - that's always a bonus when it appears. GRRM's characters don't really develop - they may physically change, often due to becoming dead, but they don't develop. A gritty fantasy background is a great backdrop....that's what hooked us all in in the first place, but fails to coherently build on that.


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
GRRM's characters don't really develop - they may physically change, often due to becoming dead, but they don't develop.

I don't think that's completely fair:

SoIaF Spoilage, maybe:

Compare the Sansa or Jaime of Game of Thrones to the same character in Feast for Crows, for example.

Actually, the more I think about your statement, the less fair it seems to me. Although it is true that the characters that don't grow or adapt do tend to die.


Werthead wrote:


Greg Wasson wrote:
I guess the quick and short is, I did not "like" the series. I am glad I read it. I will never read it nor read a series like it again.
So I'm guessing you're not reading the new ones then? The third book (out of four supposed to end the COVENANT story forever) just came out.

You have guessed correctly. I read those books shortly after high school, my reading interests now are more fluffy. Lighter fare. Currently, I am re-reading alot of Mike Resnik's stuff. Widdowmaker, Santiago, and Walpurgis III. I also am considering going back to Alan Dean Foster's Flinx stories. Sometimes, I just like fluff.

Greg

Dark Archive

Dire Mongoose wrote:
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
GRRM's characters don't really develop - they may physically change, often due to becoming dead, but they don't develop.

I don't think that's completely fair:

** spoiler omitted **

I agree, I think a number of characters undergo significant changes during the series: Arya, Sansa, Jon, Dany, and Jaime are all noticeably different from where they began, to name a few. There are quite a few characters who haven't changed at all (Circe, I'm looking at you), but there is character development going on.


PulpCruciFiction wrote:
Dire Mongoose wrote:
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
GRRM's characters don't really develop - they may physically change, often due to becoming dead, but they don't develop.

I don't think that's completely fair:

** spoiler omitted **

I agree, I think a number of characters undergo significant changes during the series: Arya, Sansa, Jon, Dany, and Jaime are all noticeably different from where they began, to name a few. There are quite a few characters who haven't changed at all (Circe, I'm looking at you), but there is character development going on.

Fine I concede the point about character development. Not the one about him having a coherent story to tell however.

Furthermore I think one impacts the other. If your telling a story with a beginning, middle and end, part of that story - often the most important part, is how that impacts the characters. How their view points evolved from the events that took place. GRRM's characters are not progressing from A to B to make some kind of a meaningful point for the reader to consider. They are simply reacting to the plot twists that GRRM is making up along the way.

Now one can be somewhat forgiving in this regards. In reality fantasy and science fiction authors are usually not that good at character development. Though it can be done, Nancy Kress' Beggars in Spain being an excellent example of a character that develops from one view point to another.

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Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:

Furthermore I think one impacts the other. If your telling a story with a beginning, middle and end, part of that story - often the most important part, is how that impacts the characters. How their view points evolved from the events that took place. GRRM's characters are not progressing from A to B to make some kind of a meaningful point for the reader to consider. They are simply reacting to the plot twists that GRRM is making up along the way.

I do think that George has a story to tell, but I agree with you that his method of telling it is no longer entirely coherent. I think that ultimately, there is one underlying plotline which George has had planned out from the beginning, which is:

Spoiler:
Jon Snow and Dany teaming up to defeat the Others.

That said, the series has actually spent much, much more time on the politics of Westeros than on that central arc. I personally like all of the political stuff, but the criticism that he's just spinning his wheels with a lot of it is fair. I read a really interesting review of the books which discusses a lot of these sentiments, which is available here.


PulpCruciFiction wrote:
I agree, I think a number of characters undergo significant changes during the series: Arya, Sansa, Jon, Dany, and Jaime are all noticeably different from where they began, to name a few. There are quite a few characters who haven't changed at all (Circe, I'm looking at you), but there is character development going on.

Yeah, from my perspective (as one of those who's been increasingly disappointed by each subsequent book), the problem is not so much that characters don't develop, as that the characters I dislike (hello, Circe) get more loathsome and annoying while the few characters I actually like and have invested myself in (Cat, Brienne, etc.) get dead.

Gritty fantasy appeals to me a great deal, and I don't mind the occasional death of a character I like if it serves the plot, but after a while it becomes a very unrewarding experience to keep seeing the characters I'm enjoying wind up dead.


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
I disagree. Stories have beginnings, middles and ends. He clearly had a beginning...it was excellent. Maybe he has an end but he sure does not have a middle, he's just meandering...also the fact that he stopped writing kind of gives it away as well. An authour with a real story to tell does not stop writing their series for no apparent reason.

Sorry, when did he stop writing the series? He's given some detailed updates about the next book recently (for what it's worth, it's currently the same size as A STORM OF SWORDS, which could cause them binding problems when it comes to publishing the thing).

As for your point about not having a middle, that is actually correct. Martin's original plan was to jump five years from A STORM OF SWORDS to A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, which didn't work due to being implausible. So A FEAST FOR CROWS was introduced to fill in some of the events that would have happened in that timeframe (whilst reducing it to a few months rather than five years). The book was never meant to exist and was written on the fly, hence it's notable problems.

However, we should get back on-track (assuming Martin has pulled it off) with the story he had planned in the next book.

Quote:
Tad Williams' Otherland is an excellent example of a large story that, nonetheless, has a clear beginning middle and end. Oh and character development - that's always a bonus when it appears. GRRM's characters don't really develop - they may physically change, often due to becoming dead, but they don't develop. A gritty fantasy background is a great backdrop....that's what hooked us all in in the first place, but fails to coherently build on that.

Er, the series is quite famous for having extremely well-thought-out and convincing character development. It's the reason HBO decided to adapt it, as it didn't have the two-dimensional characters and cliches of other forms of fantasy fiction.

The character development is reasonably well-done. We see one side of a character on their first appearance, then another later on and then maybe a third if that character becomes a POV and we get inside their skulls. One of the best examples is Tyrion, who always tries to do the right thing and never gets thanked for it and ends up being perceived as a monstrous villain when his actions are completely understandable. The masterstroke here was Martin having Tyrion being kind to Sansa and Sansa seeing nothing more than another Lannister making fun of her, and both POVs being perfectly well-supported.

Quote:
Furthermore I think one impacts the other. If your telling a story with a beginning, middle and end, part of that story - often the most important part, is how that impacts the characters. How their view points evolved from the events that took place. GRRM's characters are not progressing from A to B to make some kind of a meaningful point for the reader to consider. They are simply reacting to the plot twists that GRRM is making up along the way.

I don't see this point at all. The events of the series have driven Tyrion from being a cynical but essentially good-humoured schemer to a bitter, twisted and hateful traitor against his family, which is going to come back and bite the Lannisters quite severely (as it already has to Tywin ;-) ). The same goes for the other characters: Dany has developed from an innocent kid to a (somewhat) politically savvy ruler aware of her own limitations and what she needs to do to improve herself to become a queen worthy of Westeros, Jon's experiences have made him a viable commander of the Night's Watch and so on.

Quote:
I do think that George has a story to tell, but I agree with you that his method of telling it is no longer entirely coherent.

That is fair. As Hilliard says, Martin is attempting to recreate the chaos and uncertainty of 'real history' in his story (which rarely gives major figures dramatic arcs or satisfying 'plot twists') but it is also married to an archetypal fantasy story (most notably with regards towards Bran, Jon and Daenerys), arguably with some subversive twists. That makes for an uncomfortable mixture. Most notably, the fact that the original plan was for three books with one focusing on the civil war, one on Dany and one on Jon, but instead the chaotic and incoherent civil war has overwhelmed everything else (at least up until Book 4, when it finally dies out).

Quote:
Yeah, from my perspective (as one of those who's been increasingly disappointed by each subsequent book), the problem is not so much that characters don't develop, as that the characters I dislike (hello, Circe) get more loathsome and annoying while the few characters I actually like and have invested myself in (Cat, Brienne, etc.) get dead.

Well, Cersei is a major villain, so her becoming loathsome and annoying is par for the course ;-)

As for Brienne, it's pretty clear to me that she isn't dead (at least not yet), though she was left on a life-threatening cliffhanger.

Quote:
Gritty fantasy appeals to me a great deal, and I don't mind the occasional death of a character I like if it serves the plot, but after a while it becomes a very unrewarding experience to keep seeing the characters I'm enjoying wind up dead.

Indeed, but I think this is dramatically overstated with regards to ASoIaF. Out of all the POV charaters introduced in the series so far (excepting the prologue ones, who die by tradition), a grand total of two are dead, and one of them came back (sort of).


Lindisty wrote:
Gritty fantasy appeals to me a great deal, and I don't mind the occasional death of a character I like if it serves the plot, but after a while it becomes a very unrewarding experience to keep seeing the characters I'm enjoying wind up dead.
Werthead wrote:
Indeed, but I think this is dramatically overstated with regards to ASoIaF. Out of all the POV charaters introduced in the series so far (excepting the prologue ones, who die by tradition), a grand total of two are dead, and one of them came back (sort of).

I was using those two as examples of a trend, not as the totality of the phenomenon. There were more characters who I liked and who have already been killed off, and many characters who I loathed more and more as the books went on, and who featured more and more prominently in the story. The only living character whose story interests me at all anymore is Arya Stark, and I don't have the stomach to wade through all the rest of the stories about characters I can't stand to find out what happens to her.

Dark Archive

Werthead wrote:
Indeed, but I think this is dramatically overstated with regards to ASoIaF. Out of all the POV charaters introduced in the series so far (excepting the prologue ones, who die by tradition), a grand total of two are dead, and one of them came back (sort of).

I think you missed one, unless I'm misreading your post - Martin has killed 2.5 POV characters so far:

Spoiler:
Eddard, Cat, and Arys Oakheart.

I can easily see why you might have forgotten the last one, but that's a whole different gripe with Feast.


PulpCruciFiction wrote:

I think you missed one, unless I'm misreading your post - Martin has killed 2.5 POV characters so far:

** spoiler omitted **

I can easily see why you might have forgotten the last one, but that's a whole different gripe with Feast.

Good point.

Spoiler:
I tend to lump Areo Hotah and Arys Oakheart in with the prologue/epilogue POVs, since they only have one chapter each and Arys then quickly dies. He's certainly not a major POV like Ned, Cat, Tyrion, Dany etc.

The other 'temp' POVs from AFFC seem to be returning in ADWD or later books, raising the question of why they needed to be made into a 'different' POV format in the first place.

Sovereign Court

Atlas Shrugged. All I can say is that the first 2/3 of the book was great I loved the story and the dialogue. Everything goes straight to the crapper after the magical gulch. It is remarkable though I cant seem to remember another novel I enjoyed until the ending quite as much as Atlas Shrugged. Its really too bad it absolutely falls apart at the end. Now when I physically have to move the book from a table or shelf I feel like its an enormous chore. Disappointment is the best word to describe the experience.


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Some of the most disappointing for me have been Timothy Zahn's "Empire" trilogy (post "Return of the Jedi"), which I found pretty bland, and the whole ysalamiri thing to be very contrived

Spoiler:
("Luke's too powerful...how can I challenge him? I know! I'll invent ferrets that emit and anti-magic, err, anti-Force field!"), not to mention the whole business with Mara Jade killing "Luuke" and thus getting around her compulsion.

(the stuff in the following spoiler may be found offensive by some viewers...)

The other series was the "Song of Ice and Fire". I read 4 and and a bit of the books, finally giving up some time during "A Dance with Dragons". I kept holding out, hoping it would improve, and now I kick myself at the time I wasted with the bloated mess that it was. Not only is Martin a vastly overrated writer, but I keep finding myself squirming at his graphic descriptions

Spoiler:
of the sexual assault of children. I really should have listened to the warning bells right near the start when 13-year-old Daenarys was digitally raped by her 30+ year old new husband, and then started to enjoy it.

As Cordie said..."There's not enough yuck in the world."

Add to that the fact that all his female characters* are either whores, psychopaths or morons (or a combination of all three)

* Except Briana, but by the time she came into it, it was way too late.

Martin's stuff reads like a creepy old man's fantasies...


A recent one for me - The Iron Druid Chronicles: Hounded by Kevin Hearne. I think I was expecting a *lot* more than ever could have been here though. My brother-in-law really hyped this book to me and he is usually pretty harsh critic (I think it comes from him writing his own as-yet-unpublished book ;) ).

It basically centers around a 2100 year old druid (who looks 21) who behaves like an over sexed teenager with bouts of rage and all the subtlety and guile of a bulldozer. he kills 2 'gods' in the first book (whoa - what does he do for an encore - punch out the sun?) and makes it really, really boring when he does. I grant that the author really comes across as knowing his stuff about celtic & irish myth but his characters are flat, unsophisticated and just plain dumb.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I started reading Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen, and haven't even been able to get half way through. Too many time/setting jumps...By the time I get use to a specific character and interested in what's going on...suddenly I am thrust forward in time to a completely different place, and with new characters. Maybe If I can just get far enough in this problem will disappear, but it sounds like a continuing trend in the series

Magician was a good book...but not a fun read. I think the main character was intentionally written as petty and whiny, and doesn't really change. The "heroes" of the story are other characters.

Song of Ice and Fire is one of my favorite series, and the only series I have read more than twice. I generally think a lot of the criticisms are taking things far out of their context, but everyone has different tastes.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Michael A. Stackpoles "Age of Discovery" novels. Stackpole was my favorite author for many years, but with these novels his talent seems to have fallen off a cliff. His work after the Dragoncrown trilogy so far has been pretty wretched.

As for other stuff which has been kind of a let-down in the last years:

I think George R.R. Martin has become too rambling in his last two novels, which is quite alarming when you consider that he wants to finish the series in two more books. I think a massive die-off of non-critical characters is very likely to happen soon. The books are still very good and Martin remains my favorite author, but it's a notable drop in quality.

I read a lot of Erikson's Malazan books, but I have not gotten the ones from the last three years. I've kinda lost interest in them, because the guy just can't stop himself from writing these long-winded "Woe is me!" internal monologues for his characters who are all war-worn wise veterans.


Alistair Reynolds- Revelation Space. It has some great moments, but I felt like I needed a PHD in astrophysics during his way too long winded descriptions. Probably could have shaved 150+ pages off this book.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Kay Kenyon's "Bright of the Sky." The main character was a dumb jerk and everyone treated him as a brilliant hero. I read somewhere is was C.J. Cherryh-esque, and it so wasn't....except the blatant rip-offs, like psychic horses and politically tense tea parties.

The hero also drowned a little girl just to save his own ass....and he didn't even really need to do so. I quit reading after that--and I was at the 90% point by then. Such a horrible experience.

Project Manager

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Name of the Wind. It wasn't terrible -- I just don't understand the hype.

Silver Crusade

I tried to read a story about a magic guardian guy that lived in London and got his powers from the urban environment (pollution, for example) but it was so bad that I never got past chapter 5 and I seriously forgot the name of the book or the author.


MMCJawa wrote:
I started reading Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen, and haven't even been able to get half way through. Too many time/setting jumps...By the time I get use to a specific character and interested in what's going on...suddenly I am thrust forward in time to a completely different place, and with new characters. Maybe If I can just get far enough in this problem will disappear, but it sounds like a continuing trend in the series

The first few are confusing as all hell but fun to read. The next couple are interesting.

And theeeeeeen....BAM! The f&+% is a Lazar? Why are we here? Who are these people? Did he start writing a new series all of a sudden? HUH? ANSWER PLEASE!

Honestly the only reason I kept reading them up to a point is to see how many fairly major characters die out of nowhere anticlimactic deaths (one of them getting cut off mid sentence by an arrow to the throat on a peaceful summer day is one of the more notable).

Also, Mercedes Lackey's (I think it was her) Acorna series. I love Mercedes Lackey.

HATE that series. It's rambly, slow, and feels like she got someone to ghost write it for her. I guess everyone has to crank out a few stinkers once in a while but man.


Jessica Price wrote:
Name of the Wind. It wasn't terrible -- I just don't understand the hype.

You and me both. Not a bad book but far from a great one. Still haven't read the second one.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I read the beginning of {i]Name of the Wind[/i]... It became due, and I never renewed it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jessica Price wrote:
Name of the Wind. It wasn't terrible -- I just don't understand the hype.

Oh, hell yeah. The term "Mary Sue" comes to mind. Like Jon Stewart said about that biography of General Petraeus, "The only question I have after reading this book is, is (insert Kvothe) awesome or super awesome?".


He's super awesome. Also, I'm still hoping that the third book will, in fact, reveal that he is an unreliable narrator.

Shades of Henry James, I like to think.


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I found name of the wind and the wise Mans fear to be fantastic compared to most of whats out there now for Fantasy fiction (except the GRRM series). World War Z was a book in my opinion that was a complete waste of time and very disapointing. Book 2 of the passage series by Cronin has been a disapointment so far as well (80% finished).


wicked cool wrote:
I found name of the wind and the wise Mans fear to be fantastic compared to most of whats out there now for Fantasy fiction (except the GRRM series).

I agree. The Name of the Wind ruled!

Spoiler:
I was mildly disappointed by The Wise Man's Fear, though.

I haven't been disappointed by a book in a long while though, thank goodness.

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Werthead wrote:
As for your point about not having a middle, that is actually correct. Martin's original plan was to jump five years from A STORM OF SWORDS to A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, which didn't work due to being implausible. So A FEAST FOR CROWS was introduced to fill in some of the events that would have happened in that timeframe (whilst reducing it to a few months rather than five years). The book was never meant to exist and was written on the fly, hence it's notable problems.

That's a portion of the problem, but the lack of a coherent "middle" to the story more stems from the fact that Martin doesn't really have much of a specific plan which he follows when writing. ("My process as a writer is not one of thoroughly outlining ahead of time, which can result in my muse leading me down blind alleys and dead ends.") When writing a single, self-contained work that isn't an issue, but when writing a lengthy series, it can lead to serious problems.

There was nothing intrinsically implausible about a five year jump following a Storm of Swords. Westeros as a whole had been so war ravaged, most of the major players pulling back to lick their wounds and regroup would've worked just fine and anything that had occurred during that time could've been gradually revealed.

Quote:
However, we should get back on-track (assuming Martin has pulled it off) with the story he had planned in the next book.

The next novel we're going to get will bear no resemblance to the theoretical novel that Martin would've set five years following Storm of Swords as, despite their length, the last two novels have barely moved the time line forward at all. Especially when it comes to characters like the Starks who are children or young adults, five years makes a huge amount of difference in terms of the sorts of stories you can tell about them. Now, by the time things are finally done, Martin may have managed to string together a fully coherent story, but the story that we'll actually have will have only the most limited resemblance to the story that existed in Martin's mind as A Game of Thrones was initially written and published which creates a degree of incongruity between it's beginning, middle, and end.

This isn't just a problem with ASoFaI or Martin in particular. As sprawling series became increasingly common over the past couple of decades the most successful ones have all suffered like this as the authors renown gradually causes their editors become less able to say "no" or set limits and their publishers become less willing to.

Quote:
Out of all the POV charaters introduced in the series so far (excepting the prologue ones, who die by tradition), a grand total of two are dead, and one of them came back (sort of).

A character doesn't have to be a POV character for a reader to find them interesting. There have been quite a number of non-POV characters that were given extensive "screen time" and then killed off. Not a flaw in and of itself, but I can certainly see how someone could find it grating if those happened to be amoung the characters they found engaging.

Liberty's Edge

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The Wheel of Time by Jordan I found it incredibly boring


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SaidTheLiar wrote:
There was nothing intrinsically implausible about a five year jump following a Storm of Swords. Westeros as a whole had been so war ravaged, most of the major players pulling back to lick their wounds and regroup would've worked just fine and anything that had occurred during that time could've been gradually revealed.

Martin has said that there were characters whose story needed to be told and so he couldn't do the flashbacks he originally had planned. I fear he meant Brienne, Cersei and those useless Iron Island POV's, which notably all were the worst parts of AFfC.

SaidTheLiar wrote:
The next novel we're going to get will bear no resemblance to the theoretical novel that Martin would've set five years following Storm of Swords as, despite their length, the last two novels have barely moved the time line forward at all. Especially when it comes to characters like the Starks who are children or young adults, five years makes a huge amount of difference in terms of the sorts of stories you can tell about them. Now, by the time things are finally done, Martin may have managed to string together a fully coherent story, but the story that we'll actually have will have only the most limited resemblance to the story that existed in Martin's mind as A Game of Thrones was initially written and published which creates a degree of incongruity between it's beginning, middle, and end.

Tell me about it. There is quite a lot of foreshadowing with both Arya and Sansa about possible future romances. Those won't happen anymore, because those characters are now way too young for them (especially Arya). A five year time-jump would have made them at least feasible in Martins world.

Arya as a super-assassin would have been much more plausible with a five year training interval, too, as would be Sansa as Littlefingers apprentice, Jon as Lord Commander and so on. I think the character who worst suffered with the story change was Dany, who basically has lost all the competence we saw her building up in ASoS and was left to flounder and bumble during the whole of ADwD.

Altogether, a really bad decision by Martin to not go with his original plan. As I said some posts above, it is notable that he is floundering in his storytelling and hasn't found the path back yet to tell the sharp story he had going in the first three novels. Has there been a more useless PoV in the novels than Quentyn Martell? I can't think of one, even the Iron Islanders (aside from Asha, who is very good) were more worthwhile.

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magnuskn wrote:


Martin has said that there were characters whose story needed to be told and so he couldn't do the flashbacks he originally had planned. I fear he meant Brienne, Cersei and those useless Iron Island POV's, which notably all were the worst parts of AFfC.

I'd argue Cersei is one of the characters that suffered most as a result of his decision not to advance the timeline. If he'd gone with the jump-forward

Spoiler:
the damage she does to the country would have been a bit more believable. Five years isn't all that long, but if she fires all of her competent advisors and makes a bunch of bad (though at least marginally understandable) decisions, it makes sense that she could really put the country in the ditch and still be a reasonably intelligent person. As it stands, she has to make all of those decisions within the span of, I don't know, a few weeks, which makes her seem catastrophically stupid.

Based on his decision to go back and continue from where ASoS left off, you get to see all of that stuff happen, but she looks completely incompetent.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I guess the next book will show if he still can turn it around and come back to the brilliance of book three. The last two books had a ton of characters meandering around.

I have no idea how he is going to wrap this up in two books without a lot of ongoing storylines going "rocks fall, everybody dies".


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The last few Dark Tower books. Ugh.

The Wheel of Time series. Made it 3 and half books in, and just couldn't do it any longer.

Song of Ice and Fire. I get a lot of crap for disliking these, but wow, they just aren't good.

Never Let Me Go. Boring.


The Dresden Files Ghost Story. Now, by no means was it a bad book. I really enjoyed it. But after the frantic pace of Changes, it was a jarring change of pace. I think it could have been shortened to a novelette and then gone to Cold Days as the next novel.


Wizards First Rule looked to me to have so much potential, but I just couldn't bring myself to get more than half way through. Twice.


magnuskn wrote:

I guess the next book will show if he still can turn it around and come back to the brilliance of book three. The last two books had a ton of characters meandering around.

I have no idea how he is going to wrap this up in two books without a lot of ongoing storylines going "rocks fall, everybody dies".

At this point I can't even recommend Martin's books to friends. Maybe if he ever gets around to finishing them and tidies the last cople up a bit I can.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ivan Rûski wrote:
The Dresden Files Ghost Story. Now, by no means was it a bad book. I really enjoyed it. But after the frantic pace of Changes, it was a jarring change of pace. I think it could have been shortened to a novelette and then gone to Cold Days as the next novel.

I found the book as a necessary transition book, to bring back Harry and show how his absence had changed things. There seemed to be a bit of excess fat in the book, true, but mostly it did what it needed to make his return plausible.


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Ivan Rûski wrote:
The Dresden Files Ghost Story. Now, by no means was it a bad book. I really enjoyed it. But after the frantic pace of Changes, it was a jarring change of pace. I think it could have been shortened to a novelette and then gone to Cold Days as the next novel.

I didn't like "Changes" that much because of its pace. Compared to the rest of the series, it was too fast. "Ghost Story" and "Cold Days" have their own problems (We have gods as regular players now? Talk about power creep.), but it wasn't pacing.


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Fabius Maximus wrote:
I didn't like "Changes" that much because of its pace. Compared to the rest of the series, it was too fast. "Ghost Story" and "Cold Days" have their own problems (We have gods as regular players now? Talk about power creep.), but it wasn't pacing.

Power creep happens in about every longstanding fantasy series, since the stakes keep rising. How disappointing would it be if Harry would still need to brew up the potion of the week to solve problems which now involve the so high-powered players? After all, the stories are leading up to something big.

Butcher is about the only author I know whose books keep getting actively better the longer the series goes on.


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Fabius Maximus wrote:
Ivan Rûski wrote:
The Dresden Files Ghost Story. Now, by no means was it a bad book. I really enjoyed it. But after the frantic pace of Changes, it was a jarring change of pace. I think it could have been shortened to a novelette and then gone to Cold Days as the next novel.
I didn't like "Changes" that much because of its pace. Compared to the rest of the series, it was too fast. "Ghost Story" and "Cold Days" have their own problems (We have gods as regular players now? Talk about power creep.), but it wasn't pacing.

The power creep is, of course, intended. Jim even said after the revelations of what the world was really about (the wall and such) in Cold Days that he could write "the really cool stuff".

Changes was the book that the old version of the story/world were destroyed (literally in the case of his Apartment, office and the Blue Beetle). Ghost story was an interlude to tie up that last bit, and some set up to the next, and to teach Harry one huge lesson. Then Cold days is like the first book in the second part of the story, doing a lot of set up for the villain and what the world is and how it works.

The three of them I think of as "The change trilogy" - get out of old, interlude, setting up new. I was a bit disappointed in each of them individually but once all three were out I reread them, and appreciated them much more.


Fabius Maximus wrote:

Butcher is about the only author I know whose books keep getting actively better the longer the series goes on.

I've recently got hooked on the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child. They get better each book the way Butcher does.

I know he likes to do something else in between Dresden (I loved the Codex Alera books) I can't wait to see what he does next.


Disappoing books for me have been the last few Repairman Jack Books. I loved when he was an independent character. But as the story movies to connect to Nightworld, and characters from the juvenile novels are introduced they seem to have lost some of their charm.


For me, there are two big ones.

1) The Deathstalker Series (the one about Owen, not the other one).

The first book wasn't too bad but it slid down hill quickly.

Spoiler:
The characters get so far away from "human" that by the 3rd or 4th book you can't ID with any of them and no matter *what* happens they just spontaneously spawn a new ability to deal with it. So its not even "well I have X neat ability and I'll try to creatively use it to get out of this mess". No. They just spontaneously crap out a new power and use it, and then go into the next mess. By the end of the series you care nothing about the characters and they each have more dissassociated powers than a level 20 monk. Just blech.

2) The Stand.
The first half of the Stand is absolutely stellar.
The calamity, the recovering from it, the survival. people finding each other, and all that jazz is just awesome reading. There are alot of characters and so its sorta slow going trying to get to know them all but its well worth it because of all the sheer surviving thats getting done and all the various ways folks do things. You see good, you see bad, you see morality done away with just to survive. Its awesome.

Spoiler:
And then it becomes about Satan in Vegas and some little old woman on a farm. WTF? Did he get halfway through an awesome book and toke on some moldy weed or something? What the hell happened. I've Still never managed to finish it. Blech!

-S


Selgard wrote:

{First one omitted}

2) The Stand.
The first half of the Stand is absolutely stellar.
The calamity, the recovering from it, the survival. people finding each other, and all that jazz is just awesome reading. There are alot of characters and so its sorta slow going trying to get to know them all but its well worth it because of all the sheer surviving thats getting done and all the various ways folks do things. You see good, you see bad, you see morality done away with just to survive. Its awesome.
** spoiler omitted **

-S

That's pretty much what Mr. King does these days. Excellent opening, interesting middle then he goes all woo woo and the book falls apart. Cell was the same way. That was the last book of his I read. Never again. :)


The Unbearable Lightness of Being is nothing more than a, let's *$$% and die, cheat on spouses, and complain nobody understands us, and blame it on the Soviet Union. It's like Dr. Zhivago with less poetry, less politics, less soul, and more angst
Somebody thinks he's educated...

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