#1  
Old 02-28-2012, 02:17 AM
Dark Tower Vs. Wheel of Time

Just about up to date with Song of Ice and Fire...which fantasy series should I start next, I'm leaning towards The Dark Tower series.
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  #2  
Old 02-28-2012, 11:03 AM
Both are overlong series that have at least two rubbish entries that just spin their wheels for quite a while. I loved the first three Dark Tower books, but after that, they just got more laborious to get through. I've loved every Wheel of Time book up until Lord of Chaos and then didn't start enjoying them again until Brandon Sanderson took over after Robert Jordan's death.
I will say this, though, Robert Jordan never got stupidly over-meta on me.
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  #3  
Old 02-28-2012, 12:07 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyler_Durden_208 View Post
Both are overlong series that have at least two rubbish entries that just spin their wheels for quite a while. I loved the first three Dark Tower books, but after that, they just got more laborious to get through. I've loved every Wheel of Time book up until Lord of Chaos and then didn't start enjoying them again until Brandon Sanderson took over after Robert Jordan's death.
I will say this, though, Robert Jordan never got stupidly over-meta on me.
So there's four books in the Wheel of Time series that are really bad? In your opinion is it worth persevering through these until the good stuff starts again?

Also...I should drop a quick recommendation here. Tad Williams three volume series Memory, Sorry & Thorn is very good. Well worth checking out.
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  #4  
Old 02-28-2012, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Psychocandy View Post
So there's four books in the Wheel of Time series that are really bad? In your opinion is it worth persevering through these until the good stuff starts again?

Also...I should drop a quick recommendation here. Tad Williams three volume series Memory, Sorry & Thorn is very good. Well worth checking out.
In my opinion, yes. Sanderson's really punching up Jordan's material and it's on par with the first few books, maybe even better. I know it's a long way off, but I can't wait to read The Memory of Light.

I second Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow & Thorn. Really good series.

My favorite current fantasy series (even more than A Song of Ice and Fire) is Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicle. The Name of the Wind was amazing, I didn't get to finish The Wise Man's Fear (150 pages from the end when it got stolen ) but what I did read was fantastic. Can't wait to finish it and then anxiously await The Doors of Stone.
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  #5  
Old 02-28-2012, 11:49 PM
Ohh yes I have heard Tad Williams series is great, will have to check Rothfuss out, too. Bought The Gunslinger today.
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  #6  
Old 03-06-2012, 08:36 AM
I really liked Stephen King's The Dark Tower series when I was about 14, and still have very fond memories of obsessing over them with friends! I can see how the series was flawed (I never cared for the fourth book, at all), but it is a very enjoyable series and King's crowning achievement! I think that they are very worth checking out, but I can't speak for these other series, as I have yet to read them.
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  #7  
Old 03-06-2012, 03:21 PM
Dark Tower is incredibly over rated in my opinion. But to put some relativeness to that, I think Stephen King in general is highly overrated. I wouldn't start there unless your into the theme more than the by the numbers fantasy that Wheel of Time is.

Wheel of Time books 1 to 6 are definitely worth reading. But if you stopped there you wouldn't really miss much. The first Sanderson book I really liked, the second wasn't as good but I think it was more of a transition book to set up the final book.
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  #8  
Old 03-07-2012, 03:03 AM
I read the first 5 WoT books. I got pissed because books four and five were beginning to become overlong and pointless with the subplots to a level where it felt to me like he wanted to make twice as many books so he could get more book sales. I no longer felt like it was about the story more than bloating the story to get to 13 or whatever volumes.

I believe WoT could have been great if it was an 8 book series, considering how much of it I read. As for "originality", there wasn't much. Fantasy series can be so generic with the whole "he's The One!" - or "we think he might be The One!" concept. Tiring.

I thought the DT series was good more than it wasn't. Hated the twist at the end of book five, book six was dumb and too short. Book seven, on the other hand... thought it was great.
I read the first three in the series 5 times each. Read THE GUNSLINGER maybe 8 times. 'Cause it's a quick read. Wizard and Glass I read 4 times. So I spent a lot of time with that series.
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  #9  
Old 03-09-2012, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by KcMsterpce View Post
Fantasy series can be so generic with the whole "he's The One!" - or "we think he might be The One!" concept. Tiring.
Also have to remember that it was started in the mid 80s, when the fantasy genre was still fairly new.
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  #10  
Old 03-09-2012, 08:47 PM
Everyones a critic.
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  #11  
Old 03-10-2012, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by fixedMind View Post
Everyones a critic.
Well... duh.
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  #12  
Old 03-10-2012, 12:33 PM
Haven't read the Dark Tower series. I've read the first 7 WoT books, and I'm struggling through book 8 at the moment (well more like, I started reading it almost a year ago now, only got about 200 pages in, and haven't picked it up since). It's not that I'm not enjoying these later books, it's just that I feel like it's all filler, and I just want something to actually happen before the last 50 pages. I don't think Jordan did this on purpose to increase book sales as someone else in this thread suggested; I think he just kind of lost sight of what he's doing and got lost in his world, not paying attention to the actual plot as opposed to creating this world. It also probably didn't help that his wife was his editor.

With all that said, I can't recommend the series enough. The first 4 - 6 books are really some of the best fantasy I've ever read. If anything, read those books, then read summaries of all the other books before Sanderson's novels start... that's what I think I'm gonna end up doing now.

But have you ever considered the Sword of Truth series? That series is my favorite fantasy series of all time. Wizard's First Rule is just an awesome start to a pretty great series (there are 1 or 2 sub par books in the series, but none that I would call out right bad, and those are books 7 and 8. The series finishes strong though with the chain fire trilogy). I think the thing I loved the most about this series was just how adult and real it was. Where Lord of the Rings and Wheel of Time are PG-13 fare at best, SoT was clearly intended to be enjoyed by adults.
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  #13  
Old 03-12-2012, 01:22 AM
Yeah I read Wizard's First Rule and enjoyed it, should probably go back to that series.

Up to Book Two of The Dark Tower and liking it so far. Reads part of the prologue of The Eye of The World too and got pretty in to that.

So far, nothing I have read has come close to Song of Ice and Fire, though, just I love those characters so much.
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  #14  
Old 03-12-2012, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by smok3h View Post

But have you ever considered the Sword of Truth series?
Ugh. Yeah. I hated it. Book one was alright, book two was not as good, especially with the constant reminder of lines like "TRUTH burned into his hands and he held the sword" and the constant one paragraph to one page recap of characters and scenes from the previous book. I thought "OK this is only book two and so maybe he is just expecting some people to pick it up without reading the first. He'll stop doing that later."
Book three comes along, and he not only does that crap AGAIN - but he writes one of those stock super-bad bad guys that are laughably evil, similar to how I felt with that bad guy in THE PATRIOT with Mel Gibson... they make him do mean things that are SO mean it's irrationally hilarious. Not once was I convinced that this bad guy was smart - even though it's written that he is - when he has such a stupidly closed mind and blatantly "evil" tone about him. I kept shaking my head. Then comes the stupid story between the two leads. "Oh, we have to stay chaste" and that whole merry-go-round of innocent purity. It worked in book one, but by the third book it was really fucking annoying. Their relationship barely moves forward for a cheap conclusion that is supposed to be used as a romantic tie-in to the fantasy storytelling itself. Blech. Then they promise - two books in a row - to never ever separate from each other. If that's the case, then why are there yet more books with these two breaking that promise?
I also thought the use of magic was kinda interesting, but by the fourth book I got pissed off at glaring inconsistencies of the logic in how the magic "works" in this world. I thought "Well, if they can do THIS why don't they fix THAT by doing it?" Somehow they were all too stupid to realize that many problems could have been fixed with spells and actions done in the previous books already.
Also, four books in and he's STILL recapping events from previous books in almost every single fucking chapter. At this point, if someone picks up the FOURTH BOOK IN A SERIES it's their fault for not being able to keep up on current events and those from the past. FUCK that.
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  #15  
Old 03-12-2012, 01:39 PM
Another quick recommendation or two.

Raymond E. Feist's first three volumes of what has become a ridiculously overextended mess are absolutely brilliant. Magician, Siverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon are all amazing. And while i'm on the subject of Feist everyone should check out Faerie Tale. It's dark fantasy/horror done very, very well.

I'm also very fond of much of David Gemmell's output. There are a lot i've still to read but his first novel, Legend, must surely someday be made into a movie. Surely!!!
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  #16  
Old 03-12-2012, 01:59 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by KcMsterpce View Post
Ugh. Yeah. I hated it. Book one was alright, book two was not as good, especially with the constant reminder of lines like "TRUTH burned into his hands and he held the sword" and the constant one paragraph to one page recap of characters and scenes from the previous book. I thought "OK this is only book two and so maybe he is just expecting some people to pick it up without reading the first. He'll stop doing that later."
Book three comes along, and he not only does that crap AGAIN - but he writes one of those stock super-bad bad guys that are laughably evil, similar to how I felt with that bad guy in THE PATRIOT with Mel Gibson... they make him do mean things that are SO mean it's irrationally hilarious. Not once was I convinced that this bad guy was smart - even though it's written that he is - when he has such a stupidly closed mind and blatantly "evil" tone about him. I kept shaking my head. Then comes the stupid story between the two leads. "Oh, we have to stay chaste" and that whole merry-go-round of innocent purity. It worked in book one, but by the third book it was really fucking annoying. Their relationship barely moves forward for a cheap conclusion that is supposed to be used as a romantic tie-in to the fantasy storytelling itself. Blech. Then they promise - two books in a row - to never ever separate from each other. If that's the case, then why are there yet more books with these two breaking that promise?
I also thought the use of magic was kinda interesting, but by the fourth book I got pissed off at glaring inconsistencies of the logic in how the magic "works" in this world. I thought "Well, if they can do THIS why don't they fix THAT by doing it?" Somehow they were all too stupid to realize that many problems could have been fixed with spells and actions done in the previous books already.
Also, four books in and he's STILL recapping events from previous books in almost every single fucking chapter. At this point, if someone picks up the FOURTH BOOK IN A SERIES it's their fault for not being able to keep up on current events and those from the past. FUCK that.
Hahaha, your anger is understandable. I don't know though, i guess that stuff didn't really bother me. I definitely noticed all the recapping shit (though I don't believe it's as bad as you make it out to be), and yes, Jagang was was straight up evil, but I really liked the main characters (Richard, Kahlan, Zedd, Cara, etc.) and I thought the story was excellent. For me, that was enough to keep me engaged and entertained throughout the series.

If you want to talk about annoying writing tendencies, Jordan is the one to look at. I swear every new chapter I'm introduced to fifteen new characters and I almost need to have a wiki open when I read to look these characters up. But, like Goodkind, I can get past this minor irritants because the story is so good.

Last edited by smok3h; 03-12-2012 at 02:03 PM..
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  #17  
Old 03-12-2012, 07:04 PM
Sword of Truth is something your either gonna HATE or your gonna really enjoy. There doesn't seem to be much in between. He does have some peculiar writing habits with repetition but you have to remember not everyone reads these books back to back. When I was reading Sword of Truth series there would sometimes be years in between books and the repetition is quite helpful then.

Every author has their oddities. Robert Jordan would spend a whole chapter talking about what kind of dresses the female characters are wearing if the editors would let him.
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  #18  
Old 03-12-2012, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Psychocandy View Post

Raymond E. Feist's first three volumes of what has become a ridiculously overextended mess are absolutely brilliant. Magician, Siverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon are all amazing.
Agreed. I don't remember what book I was on when I realized the guy just wasn't trying anymore. But the first handful of them are quite fun.
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  #19  
Old 03-12-2012, 07:43 PM
I used to be big into fantasy, not so much anymore but I do still try to keep up with some of the more well-received works.

Obviously, starting with A Song of Ice and Fire makes it kind of tough since that might be the best thing ever written in the genre (first three books anyway). But my thoughts on some of the others mentioned that I've read, and a suggestion after that:

Wheel of Time - Robert Jordan - When people talk about fantasy and make all kinds of disparaging comments about it, I imagine WoT is pretty much what they're thinking about. Farm boy is 'The One', goes off to try to save the world, has ridiculous amounts of power, women fawning at his feet, etc. Pure escapism. Don't look for originality in the overall story. However, this also happens to be by far the very best of that kind of storyline. It's epic in scale and fairly well-written. So if you have to read one fantasy series that sticks with all the stereotypes and cliches, this is the one. No other one is as ambitious as this one or as rich in its world-building (which is absolutely its strong suit). If you're looking for something as epic as Song of Ice and Fire, this is probably your best bet as it rivals ASOIAF in terms of number of characters. But don't expect anywhere near the same level of character complexity. They're kind of lacking in dimensions, especially women, but just strong enough that you can still get completely wrapped up in their stories. As others have said, this series really tapers off by after book 6. I gave up after the end of book 9 (Winter's Heart) with the reviews of book 10 being atrocious. I've never went back but I may finish out the series when Sanderson gets that last book out.

Sword of Truth - Terry Goodkind - This is the second fantasy series that I got into and got obsessed with. There was a point in my life where I thought Faith of the Fallen (the sixth book) was incredible. That point has (un)fortunately passed. I went back to try and re-read this series a few years back...and I just couldn't. The writing was far more amateurish than I recalled and characters that I thought were vivid were pretty stereotypical. This series is bloody with some truly sadistic elements but I don't think I'd really call it an adult series. A Song of Ice and Fire is an adult series. Sword of Truth sometimes reads like a teenager's idea of an adult story (meaning just lots of emphasis on gratuitous sex and violence). On a TV show equivalent, think something like the first two eps of Spartacus: Blood and Sand (haven't seen the rest though I hear it gets better).

Magician (Riftwar) - Raymond E. Feist - Agreed with Psychocandy at least about Magician. This is yet another book I would consider classic-style fantasy with classic tropes. I quite enjoy this book as pure escapism and I've read it a few times. I don't really remember the rest of the series much though I do remember it going downhill like Psychocandy mentioned.

Kingkiller Chronicles - Patrick Rothfuss - Mostly a 1st person-narrative. One of the newer and more critically acclaimed series, I thought the first book was impressive and the quality of the actual writing is far better than fantasy generally gets. The second one is equally well-written but loses its focus, meandering way too much...it could pare its length down drastically. It's still worth the read - and chunks of it are riveting - but it doesn't quite live up to the expectations built in from the first book and definitely suffers from middle-book syndrome. I think my judgment will have to wait for the last book though because this was clearly one gigantic book split into three.

There are tons of decently entertaining fantasy series out there but I'm only going to make one recommendation:

The Farseer Trilogy/Tawny Man Trilogy - Robin Hobb - I went back to do a re-read a few years back of several fantasy series that I remembered liking. Almost all of them blew. Chunks and chunks. Bad writing. One-dimensional characters. Lots of cheesiness. Etc etc.

This one, which I had remembered simply enjoying, I really loved this time around. I read the Name of the Wind (first book in Kingkiller Chronicles) around the same time I re-read this and while Name of the Wind may avoid the fantasy tropes better, this grabbed me more (they're similar mainly in that they're both 1st person coming-of-age narratives set within a fantasy world with an older, more mature version of the character reflecting back).

The world-building is not particularly original but it is convincing, maybe kind of akin to Feist's medieval-style Midkemia world (in Riftwar) minus elves, dwarves, etc. You get a satisfying sense of scale as the series goes on though it takes a while to warm yourself to the narrative as it's a very internalized take and starts small. This series gradually grows to feel epic (in my opinion at least) but always from a very intimate perspective - you *really* get into the head of the main character, Fitz, who is very well-realized. It's the most emotionally draining fantasy series I've read I think.

The series does have the requisite template for classic fantasy - ominous threats to the land, coming of age, the protagonist with crazy abilities/skills, etc but it never strictly adheres to it. i.e. while the main character obviously plays a big part in what happens and does have an inordinate amount of skills, he's not "The One" (there is no such a thing in the series). Come to think of it, he's kind of like Jon Snow from ASOIAF - he's a bastard, his name is imprinted with that fact - FitzChivalry - Chivalry being his father, Fitz being basically a term for bastard, and like Snow, he is bonded with a wolf. The amount of magic in the series is somewhat heavier than ASOIAF but the style of the magical elements is generally more toned down than most other fantasy (i.e. no mages shooting lasers of energy at each other in battles, etc).

There also feels like more weight to the series than most, perhaps due to the reflective tone it strikes, or maybe due to some pretty vividly drawn characters and a darker tone than any of the other books recommended so far (that I've read). It's not as harsh as something like ASOIAF but the main character really does get the raw end of the deal a lot (on the flip side, when something actually good happens in the series, it makes it feel a lot more earned).

Both trilogies are great though I like the first one ever so slightly more than the second (I think more people are the flip side though).

---

For those who recommended Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn - does it get significantly better as it goes? I found it a struggle to get into the story in the first book and remember giving up 4/5ths into the book. It's probably the only book I've ever given up on that far into it. I particularly remember being bored out of my wits by nothing happening, poems and songs, some 30 pages of Simon walking around in a dream-state and the journey after that point (which I remember as repetitive, just getting chased, then stopping, getting chased, then stopping, etc). I've heard enough good things about this series though that I would like someone here to convince me as to why I should give it another shot.

Last edited by JCPhoenix; 03-12-2012 at 11:03 PM..
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  #20  
Old 03-13-2012, 12:32 AM
I've been meaning to check out Robin Hobb's work for quite some time, so thanks for reminding me JC. I will look into once I finally get to finish Wise Man's Fear.
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  #21  
Old 03-13-2012, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by JCPhoenix View Post
For those who recommended Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn - does it get significantly better as it goes? I found it a struggle to get into the story in the first book and remember giving up 4/5ths into the book. It's probably the only book I've ever given up on that far into it. I particularly remember being bored out of my wits by nothing happening, poems and songs, some 30 pages of Simon walking around in a dream-state and the journey after that point (which I remember as repetitive, just getting chased, then stopping, getting chased, then stopping, etc). I've heard enough good things about this series though that I would like someone here to convince me as to why I should give it another shot.
Yes. I remember the first book was really slow and not very interesting until the end when it got a lot better. The 2nd and 3rd books make up for the slow beginning.
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  #22  
Old 03-14-2012, 07:15 PM
That's good to hear re: Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn. Martin and Rothfuss are both fans of Tad Williams so I've been curious if I missed out on something by stopping. Though it's definitely gonna be a while before I push myself to slog through the first book again (or maybe I'll just skim and pick it up from where I left off).

Also, if you need any more incentive to try out Hobb Hucksta, Martin has mentioned a few times that he's a big fan of Robin Hobb. His favourite trilogy though I believe is actually Liveship Traders, which is the middle trilogy of the series - taking place between Farseer and Tawny Man which I never actually read, mainly because it doesn't feature any of the characters from Farseer (except one from what I hear) and it takes place in a completely different part of the same world.

Yeah Tyler I think you'll like it. Rothfuss has also mentioned being a fan of the Farseer trilogy. I think it has a lot of similar strengths to the Rothfuss books though I'd say the world-building is more interesting and clarity of voice is slightly better in the Rothfuss books while the emotional journey is more engrossing and the narrative, while also relatively slow-burn, drives forward faster in Hobb's books. Both are excellent writers though.

Last edited by JCPhoenix; 03-14-2012 at 07:17 PM..
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