Everyone loves it, you hate it
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What fantasy book have you read and despised, despite its incredible popularity? You know - that fantasy novel everyone says is fascinating, has glowing reviews, so you read it and ... bleah. What are people thinking???
For me it was Hugh Cook's Age of Darkness series. Gaiman, Mieville and other Brit fans sing its praises and declare it an influence, nearly every review for it is glowing, but it rubbed me entirely wrong. In my book (pardon the pun) the so-called heroes come off as villains, and the world's magic has no logic to it. I was pretty disgusted with the first book and didn't read further.
Never caught the WoT bug after reading Eye of the World. Not so much a series I despise, but nothing hooked me about it.
Gardens of the Moon did nothing for me either, but I'll give it another chance near future. Because I still generally trust the majority's opinion, in spite of it all.
And then there's the infamous Ruin Mist - but I can't really include it here, since not everybody loved it - just the same person under a million different names. *cough*
I can throw to into this flame:
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman - Don't see what is so great about the man's poor writing. Its not that he breaks the grammar rules. Its that he breaks good writing rules. I couldn't find a story in the first chapter because of all the time hopping, head hopping, and general disarray of the writing. When the story did begin to flow, it lacked any draw to me, making me wonder why everyone fawned over it.
The Wheel of Time series eye of the world - Maybe because the long drawn out writing of Tolkien never really sat well with me, I can't handle such excessing writings as Jordan insisted for the WoT. I forced myself to read the first four. After that, I gave up.
Oh and almost anything by Kevin J Anderson
I don't give up easily and I've promised myself that I will try again at some stage (and everyone else seems to love it) but I struggled through many chapters of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and I couldn't find the attraction.
quicksilver if that's fantasy.
gardens of the moon too as you've already mentioned.
Jim Butcher's Fury series. I feel they're very much worse written than his enjoyable HD books. Just poorly plotted with predicatable characters.
Farseer was ok ish. Just about. Could have been so much better though.
Tigana also a bit meh.
Most of these are I thought then average at best compared to a lot of people's raves. But the two book below I really didn't like.
Saga of Exiles really didnt' like this much.
Foucault's pendulum Hate It. "Absolute rubbish. Very slow, stupid plot, that didn't go anywhere. Very glad to have finished such drival"
While I made it (barely) through Hobb's Farseer Trilogy, I haven't been able to read anything of hers since.
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was just....mind-numbing. I gave up.
Also, just about anything by China Mieville. I have honestly never enjoyed any of the books of his I've tried. (Those being The Scar, Perdido Street Station, and The City and the City.)
And I found Lonely Werewolf Girl to just be PAINFULLY AWFUL.
Stephenie Meyer's Eclipse series. It wasn't terrible. It just wasn't worth what so many people I know thought of it. Probably a male/female thing. I don't swoon for good romances, lol.
I have never felt anything, and please don't hurl rotten vegetables, for any of J.R.R. Tolkein's works. No LOTR for me or The Hobbit, and I really don't even like his translations of Sir Gawain or Sir Orfeo. Just nothing; I can't bring myself to it.
Laurell K. Hamilton has also made it on the "UGH" list. I was reading her Anita Blake series for a while, but they got really cookie-cutter and stupid. Also tried Meredith Gentry and that was crap too.
Belgaridad, can't stand it. Same for the Farseer books.
@Gardens of the moon: I was usually bored and just sometimes liked it a lot, but I kept reading. From the second half of the second book on I liked it a lot, but that were about 1000 pages? ;)
Anita Blake: just skip books 10-15, it is better again later.
I found American Gods was mind-numbingly dull.
As for the Harry Dresden stuff: I thought the first was blah but tried the second based on strong recommendations from family members, put it aside a couple of months ago and haven't picked it up. Although all those works are in my library, they came off my TBR pile.
Hobb's Farseer trilogy is one of the few where "hate" might actually be the appropriate word. But that's just because I read it at a time when I read my way through everything I began, so the resentment had time to build with each book. So it's my own fault, but I still hate it and won't voluntarily touch another of Hobb's books.
Nowadays I just put books down when I don't like them, so at most I get "eh, isn't my thing; what's next?" reactions.
Counting those, I'm not a fan of Martin's ASoIaF, and even if I was, major delays between books are another thing I don't put up with anymore.
I tried reading Mieville's Perdido Street Station twice, gave up both times. It's not holding my interest.
I'm pretty meh about Bujold's Vorkosigan books. I liked the early ones alright, but when Mark was introduced I lost interest fast.
I'm also starting to resent the release schedule and pacing of Brust's Vlad Taltos books, and the only reason I get annoyed only now is probably because I came rather late to the series.
And while I was a huge fan of Lord of the Rings when I first read it, my tastes have changed considerably since then, and I don't feel any need to revisit Middle-earth any time soon.
Stephen R. Donaldson's books. HATED Lord Foul's Bane, never went on with the rest.
Gave up on Laurell K. Hamilton - Never got into Anita Blake and tried the Meredith Gentry books until I realized that between them have barely enough plot for one novel, padded to multiple books with endless sex scenes. Not worth my time.
Is it bad that I don't consider Laurel K Hamilton's writing as Fantasy but as mainstream porn?
The Lord of the Rings books. Okay, I actually only read The Silmarillion--tried to, anyway. But, after that one, I never had the desire to try the other books. I'll stick with the movies.
Haven't read these, but I've decided I would stay clear of Harry Potter and Twilight.
Seems like everyone in this thread hates The Lord of the Rings! Maybe you all are not as alone as you think?
Edited to say: fjhansen, the tone of The Silmarillion is very, very different from that of The Lord of the Rings. LOTR is more humorous, with characters that are relatable/accesible, and it employs a far less archaic, "high" style. I'd give it a try just to see if it's Tolkien in general you don't like or just The Sil.
Anything by Guy Gavriel Kay. I want to go up to him and scream, "Pacing!"
18> Really, if you've read The Silmarillion you haven't read the Lord of the Rings. For that matter, if you've read The Hobbit you haven't read the LotR's either, they're very different.
I agree that the Lord of the Rings is overrated. I slogged through the entire first book and went "What in the world is the appeal?"
I love The Hobbit, though, and find it stands up very well under repeated readings.
Neil Gaiman is uneven. At his best he's close to brilliant, but he has no judgment about what of his output to publish and what to give a burial in an unmarked grave at midnight. He needs to learn the Scott Lynch approach to editing.
wisewoman, in my opinion Gaiman's Stardust is very good. It largely takes place in a faerie land where events are governed by dream logic.
Got to second the motion that if you have read the Sil you have not read the Lord of the Rings! The Sil is like the Creation myth & ancient history of Middle-earth. The Hobbit & the LotR are whole other things. Have read the Sil as well as the others. I love them & found the Sil. 'interesting' though not in the same class as the other 2. 8^)
You can tell by my review of Lord Foul's Bane that I hate Stephen R. Donaldson. For the life of me I cannot tell why people like those books.
I also second Lord of The Rings as most overrated fantasy work ever. Well, book one - The Fellowship of The Ring - was actually pretty good as far as I remember. But I have never managed to complete the next one in the trilogy. And I have tried multiple times. The Two Towers was just too boring...
However, I recognize that fantasy today might not have been the same without J. R. R. Tokien's novels...
The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks: the most cliche-ridden pile of rubbish I ever saw. I read every page of that book, and not so very long ago either, and I remember NOTHING about it. It was just that pedestrian.
Ditto that series by Robert Jordan. I don't even remember the name of it and it's the most popular thing since toaster ovens.
And why, oh god WHY, is Lord Foul's Bane so widely known and regarded? I'd like to find the person who recommended this to me and punch them in the face. Twice.
I started reading Lord Foul's Bane and had to put it down. How we are supposed to like and root for a protagonist who goes around raping women is beyond my comprehension.
Phlox, thanks. I am going to give The Graveyard Book a try. And Carnophile, I do have Stardust and if The Graveyard Book is any good I'll read it.
And because it's my pet peeve, I just have to say that The Lord of the Rings is not a trilogy. A trilogy is a set of three individual stories, each of which that can stand on its own, but related by characters and themes. Each one has its own plot. The Lord of the Rings is not a trilogy; it is one story that was broken into three volumes because of the cost of paper after the war.
There, I feel better. If you're going to hate it, hate it advisedly using the correct terminology :)
Really, no one mentioned Narnia. I can't stand that series. I read the first one. Pretty interesting. Then the second one, worse. Then I read the third one and I didn't make it through that one 'cause it was SOOOOOOOO boring. Geez. The movies don't make the books any better or worse.
The Lord of the Rings could be better. I love them, but they can get real boring. I think that the books are always better than the movies, excpet The Lord of the Rings. Their movies are better than the books because they are more exciting. The movies add so much detail the books fail to do. But I don't hate the books, just can't really stand them.
#27: And because it's my pet peeve, I just have to say that The Lord of the Rings is not a trilogy. A trilogy is a set of three individual stories, each of which that can stand on its own, but related by characters and themes.
Well, I like pet peeves myself. Especially the ones regarding the proper use of language and terminology (I am a lawyer after all). Thank you for correcting my misuse of the term "trilogy". I guess it was a product of sloppy thinking now I come to think of it. A better term might be "a triad"...
Also, thank you for background information on The Lord of The Rings. That's probably why I find the second book so long, dull and without real progress. It's just the middle of something and therefore without a story arc of its own.
Anyway, when terminological, grammatical and/or spelling errors occurs in my posts please feel free to correct them. If you do it, be nice having in mind that english is not my first language, though... :)
#27 "I started reading Lord Foul's Bane and had to put it down. How we are supposed to like and root for a protagonist who goes around raping women is beyond my comprehension"
To me that's a very odd reason for stopping a remarkable series of books. I can assure you that Thomas doesn't "go around" raping women. The author makes it very clear that the consequences to that one instance of losing self control, for both the characters involved, are huge. It dominates the next few three books.
I can understand many of the reasons why not everyone appreciates these complex books, but I thought this one needed refuting.
The Two Towers had the pursuit on foot of the Uruk-hai followed by the Ents. I'll grant you that the bit with Wormtongue was rather obvious (why would you listen to someone named Wormtongue anyway?) but the battle for Helm's Deep was thrilling. And the chapter Flotsam and Jetsam is one of my favorites as the Heroes meet up with the Hobbits again.
In the second half of the book it has Frodo and Sam wandering around looking for a way to get into Mordor which was slow in parts but the attack of Shelob and poor Sam's choice at the end was interesting.
I thought that the way Tolkien interweaved the storylines of Aragon and crew, Merry and Pippen, and Frodo and Sam kept the story interesting and it continues into the next book with the separate stories of Merry and Pippin. Most books follow a single storyline but Tolkien managed to keep quite a few going to illustrate the many facets of the war against Sauron.
I got through book 10 I think of WoT. I think Jordan was just overly ambitious in regards to the number of threads he could keep track of.
EDIT: I'm not talking smack, but I CANNOT UNDERSTAND the negativity towards LOTR. I love it. Can't even count the number of times I've read it through.
LOTR tends to get hyped at times, which tends to make people overstate their own reactions to it, perhaps more vigorously "defend/justify" their not liking it than might be necessary.
And sometimes it's as simple as confusing a statement of personal taste with a judgement of quality.
In my case, I was exposed to it rather early in my Fantasy reading career and so I didn't really have much to compare it with. That's patently not true anymore, and I've simply found lots of stuff I plain like better because it explores different archetypes, themes, tropes, styles and genres. Doesn't change the fact that I enjoyed reading it the first time, I just have no interest in revisiting. Can't read the same book twice, and all that.
I'm thinking enough excellent works have been released in the last few decades to demote LOTR from "the definitive" to "an influential" work without that doing injustice to Tolkien.
"why would you listen to someone named Wormtongue anyway?"
His name is Grima, (ok not too inspiring of trust either). Gandalf names him Wormtongue when he discovers what poison he's been spreading.
Locke, thanks for being so gracious and understanding of my pet-peevedness :). I thought a couple people had called it a trilogy and was not directing my comment at you specifically. The filmmakers are especially guilty of this and it drives me crazy to watch the commentary and hear "trilogy" left and right!
reading_fox (message 30), I don't think that a person's subjective reason for disliking a series can be "refuted." You can argue why you think it's incorrect, but it's all subjective. I have trouble enjoying books with protagonists I find entirely unsympathetic. To me, that isn't an "odd reason."
I also dislike graphic rape scenes (odd of me?) — and not knowing if there were more to come, chose not to continue the book. It's good to know that there are consequences for what he did, but I don't think it's so unbelievable that a reader would be turned off the series because of that scene.
It sounds like the Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell haters are more numerous than they would have thought, too.
#36 - ". I have trouble enjoying books with protagonists I find entirely unsympathetic ... I also dislike graphic rape scenes "
Absolutely no problems with that. They are quite understandable (and as you say subjective) reasons for not reading this series. They weren't however what you'd originally written which seemed to be based on a misunderstanding or maybe just exageration. I thought (as a fan of the series) this should be clarified, as supporters of LOTR have been doing.
I don´t like Terry Pratchett.Precisecly, I don´t like the way he´s writing...his personal style. Indeed, I only read one of his "Scheibenwelt" novels, but personally I think this was one too much!
reading_fox: fair enough. I thought that was what I said, but it's no biggie.
Hasenpfote, I like Pratchett but I read him (and others like him, such as Douglas Adams) in small doses. Otherwise the humor just gets too abrasive.
I'm not a fan of Garth Nix. I read Sabriel as a teen and disliked it, but then gave it another try years later. Still didn't like it.
#38 -- Which one did you read? The first three or four Discworld books are really quite different from his later works, more parodies of normal Fantasy tropes and stories than their own thing, and I'd say they're weaker for it.
That changes considerably in the next few books.
Usually I don't try to second-guess people's statements about their own likes and dislikes because I don't like it when people do it to me, but in this case it might just be a case of reading the wrong book.
Of course, it might not be, and you really just don't like Pratchett's style, as you say. Nothing wrong with that.
Also did not like Stephan R. Donaldson's Thomas Covenant books. And agree with wisewoman: Can't root for a rapist. No matter that his actions had consequences, I felt the excuses made for his actions were rather flimsy.
While I did not "hate" the Farseer books, I found them totally bland and can't understand what the hype is about. Also tried Hobb's new Soldier Son series and abandoned it halfway through the second book. Not to my taste at all.
#40 Hi, I read "The light fantastic".........wasn´t fantastic :( (in my opinion)
Perhaps I will try another one of his recent books in the next holiday ;)
That's the second Discworld book, and a direct sequel to The Colour of Magic. It's been a while since I've read those, I don't know if it makes much sense without knowing the first book.
If you do decide to give it another go, I'd recommend a book with the City Watch characters, or the Witches.
#41 OMG! The Soldier Son series was horrible. I couldn't finish the first book. It felt too much like someone turned in their backstory notes as the actual novel and the Editor just checked that text existed. *shudder*
#44 Its on my TBR list, so I can't say either way, I fear.
The only thing I can think of right now is the Prince of Nothing trilogy by R. Scott Bakker. I actually enjoyed the first book (The Darkness That Comes Before) and bought the other two, which is the only reason why I struggled through them.
What disappointed me most is probably that the books have so much potential to be great, Bakker writes beautifully and creates a world so rich in detail and history that I really wanted to enjoy these books (to the point where I am still considering reading the next trilogy in the series). However, he then destroys all that by making his characters, one after the other, act in ways that made it impossible for me to empathize with them, until I was almost rooting for the "villains", which are pretty much evil incarnate.
There are probably some other books I didn't enjoy as much as a lot of other people do (Neil Gaiman, the Wheel of Time series, the Percy Jackson series), but nothing close to this.
A Game of Thrones. I got several chapters in before returning it to the library.
Twilight. Got this one for $2 and I've tried several times to read. I just can't see how the hell it got published.
I loved Jonathon Strange and Mr Norrell, but I don't really regard it as fantasy - more as literary pastiche.
I can't bear authors who kill off swathes of principal characters and, since that's quite prevalent in fantasy authors, I end up hating lots of books that everyone else loves. (George RR Martin & Scott Lynch step forward).
I've got a weird love/hate thing going on with the Coldfire Trilogy by C.S. Friedman. I loved the first book, hated the second, and now have no idea whether to read the third!
I really dislike Harry Potter, I work in a bookstore and just keep my mouth shut when asked my opinion. I did actually read the first 2 books, so I do have basis for my dislike.
I like the first 3 Wheel of Time books, could not bring myself to read 4.
And yes DragonFreak, the Narnia books are awful.
I haven't enjoyed what I've read by Gene Wolfe, and have decided to stop trying. Over the years I've read the first 2 or 3 books of the New Sun, The Knight, and Free Live Free. I have friends who love his stuff, and he's critically acclaimed and awarded, but he's just not the writer for me.
I'm a Neil Gaiman hater too, & btw, he's gotten so big that not all his books are written by him. Some of his books, especially the YA, were outlined by him and written by someone else.
As for the Wheel of Time series, I was at a con where everyone was given a bunch of free books. One was a Wheel of Time book, & someone started a "have a book, leave a book" table. There were tons of abandoned WoT books on it so I started asking questions. From what I've found out, the first two or three are good. Then he loses the thread, but people who have stuck with it believe Jordan rescued it. Others think he became a parody of himself.
"I'm a Neil Gaiman hater too, & btw, he's gotten so big that not all his books are written by him. Some of his books, especially the YA, were outlined by him and written by someone else."
Um, where did you get that information? Because I'm pretty sure it's not true...!
^ #55 - That's a pretty bold statement to make without backing it up. Sources/proof would be appreciated.
kmaziarz> Caitlin Kiernan, who probably signed something saying she wouldn't talk.
kmaziarz> That's cool. She might not be a reliable source. & IMHO, it doesn't really matter either way. Even if he has a ghost writer, he still has the final artistic say. It would kind of like being someone like the Coen brothers who might write the original script of the movie but it gets changed. Actors add their spin, but as directors, they are involved at every step of the way. Peace?
^^Peace indeed. I don't want to fight about it, definitely. Nothing's more pointless than fighting with strangers on the internet, ha.
Yes, LOL, but some people think it's a sport! Not you though. I'm sure you're cooler than that.
I like a lot of the books listed above, but for real eye-rolling I present the Terry Goodkind series. Too much sadism for my taste. And whatever philosophy the author is espousing...objectivism? Although I do like the quote 'Wizards' first rule: People are stupid.'
Im much for the Vampire Diaries with Stefan and Elena. Not to mention that evil vampire DAMON. I mean whats wrong with him. He needs to put the past in the past. Stefan is tring to make a mense with him and he ust wont let it go. Elena is trying to make peace with him and he wants to turn or should I say kill her to hurt Stefan. But he's only hurting his self.
>63. I liked the Seeker series . . .
I have to qualify that with the fact that I haven't actually read the entire thing. Just the first 4 or 5.
doglvr> Twilight makes me scratch my head, but it sounds like you actually got through them. I could only tolerate a few chapters, but then I "read" them on youtube with "Alex reads Twilight." It made it much more amusing. I think part of the appeal of Twilight is that it is a romance that can be read without admitting you're reading a romance. I've noticed teen boys like romantic threads in their books but they wouldn't be caught dead reading a romance and I'm sure plenty girls are like that too.
Terry Brooks> I liked him abridged, but no way was I going to invest that much time into one series, especially when I liked him mainly for one character who didn't get a ton of page time.
Like #46, I have issues with R. Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing books... though I only slogged through The Darkness that Comes Before, and then stopped.
The extreme unlikeability of of the characters and bleakness of the world-building were definite stumbling blocks, but my main problem was the writing style. Something about his approach just put up some sort of wall between me and the story. I never once crossed that boundary between "words on a page" to "living the story", so the entire book felt more like a reading-comprehension exercise on a school exam than an actual *read*.
71: Oddly enough, there are at least three books with that title. Had to follow the touchstone to know which one you meant. ^^
Kallona> I know which one you mean. It's the "hot" one that the kids who are into fantasy are reading. I've had it on my shelves for a few years but haven't gotten to it. The critique I remember about it came from a guy. "The author spends so much time describing what everyone is wearing," and another person in the conversation said "Well, it's for teenage girls. They like that stuff." I'm guessing pacing just isn't happening in that book.
See, I couldn't even do Snowcrash. It was just terrible. I think I got about 25 pages into it.
I borrowed The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch from my sister, and managed to get through it, but without a lot of enthusiasm despite the rave comments I'd heard. I started the second in the series, Red Seas Under Red Skies, and just couldn't get into it. It's pretty rare for me to leave a book unfinished, but I didn't like the characters and didn't care what happened to them.
I just didn't get what was so amazing about Graceling. I liked the concept of the girl who is born to kill, but the worldbuilding was lame and the romance flat.
Also, The hundred thousand kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin. I thought I'd love it but it was just meh. Didn't like the narrative style at all, or most of the characters.
Celine Kiernan's The poison throne. Another one I thought I'd love, but it annoyed me right from the start for so many reasons.
Looking on LT and amazon I seem to be in a definite minority on these three. What did I miss?!
#76 Ditto for The hundred thousand kingdoms. I have to like the characters enough to want to spend time with them & in this case, they weren't a particularly amiable bunch...
I cannot for the life of me understand what people see in Twilight. I perused it once at my local hangout, The Attic Books and Coffee, and I could not connect with any of the characters. Bella is incredibly self-righteous and whiny. Her "love" for Edward is nothing but raging teenage hormones. There's no chemistry between the characters, aside from what chemistry the reader places there in their own minds.
Now, a couple of my friends enjoy the book for the mindless fluff it is. I can appreciate that. I cannot appreciate how people make this the basis for their expectations in love. There's nothing there.
Glad to see this list cuz I thought it was me:
Robin Hobbs Farseer - I read the first one which made an excellent sleep aid. Why the praise for this?
City and the City - so boring I couldn't even get past 20 pages or so YET didn't it just win a big award World SFF of the Year or some such?
American Gods..this is one book that I liked better right after reading it but now in retrospect it's not that good. The ending was just disappointing.
And thanks for the heads up about all the other overly praised books.
I'm surprised how many people dislike Hobbs. Anyway pretty much anything by Tad Williams is horrible. He's highly overrated and Otherland is the worst series I've ever read. So repetitious and boring. It's like watching a cheap, dull TV series.
I don't dislike Hobb myself. She just doesn't grab me.
I've read three books by Richard Morgan and now I can't stand any of his fantasy or science fiction.
A lot of my friends rave about Tim Powers. I really liked The Drawing of the Dark, but I found The Anubis Gates and On Stranger Tides lacking. I acknowledge that he's a good writer. He just doesn't work for me.
#78: I was waiting for someone to say it. I wanted to, but I thought I might be hung for my blasphemy.
What? A lot of people hate Twilight. I read them because some young women in my life were and I needed to know what they were about so I could argue against them. My reviews are scathing :)
Neal Stephenson. Couldn't get through Cryptonomicon and was not all that into The Diamond Age.
LotR - read them after the first movie was released. I prefer the movies. You can revoke my fantasyfans group membership now.
I will admit to reading all of the Twilight books - and liking them at the time. Looking back I feel like an idiot for it.
I'm with you on the LotR. I like the books, but Tolkien's style of writing is very drab. But I praise his revolutionary ideas nevertheless.
And ironically, I'm the same way with the Twilight Saga. I used to like them...until I realized they were romance books, and as soon as I also realized that the series wouldn't exist without romance, I hated them.
I read the Twilight Saga, and loved it at the time - and even during that time I could admit to how bad it is. The writing is abysmal, and to make it worse I've heard that some people are giving to their students to read! I can handle it as an over-the-top codependent love-story (and the movies are actually some of the FUNNIEST things I've ever seen!)
Right now, I'm working on The Lies of Locke Lamora and I'm not sure if it's all it's cracked up to be just yet...
>85 Alleycatfish - I'm waiting to get my fantasy group membership revoked over not liking Lord of the Rings either...
I couldn't make it through the Lord of the Rings either. I love The Hobbit, but ground through The Fellowship of the Ring and never bothered to read the other two. I think people have a sentimental attachment to LoTR because it's the Ur-text of the fantasy genre.
If kids will read Twilight, are teacher are giving students Twilight to read, I say more power to them. The books are harmless - no graphic sex, violence or language. Do you know how hard it is to get kids to read for fun? Or to even just enjoy reading something? How many kids hate to read because they were forced to read things like Ethan Frome, or The Great Gatsby? If it encourages kids to read, give it to them. If it's comic books, Star Trek novels or even Twilight, put it in their hands and hope for the best.
In my family reading LoTR was a sort of tradition. My grandfather discovered the book way back when and introduced it to his children etc. Now, having read it quite a few times I really enjoy how the plot threads intertwine and plot points earlier in the work are important for later on. For example, the movies left out the whole Tom Bombadil plot which was unfortunate because when Tom rescued them from the barrow wights they ended up with some ancient weapons whose powers only become apparent later. In particular a lot that goes on in the fight on Weathertop and afterwords is much less rich without the history of those weapons.
Yeah, some parts do drag, but I got through them when I can remember other books I read later, like one of the King Arthur books, that I couldn't get through because of the pages of description with no action.
88: I read The Lord of the Rings as a teen not because of its status in the genre but simply because I liked it. It was only later that I learned how important it was. I did my thesis on its medieval and modern themes with a focus on how they intertwine through the characters' interactions. Fascinating stuff.
89: What about the sexism? I think Twilight is dangerous because it promotes a very unhealthy view of romantic relationships. Just because there's no graphic sex, drugs or violence doesn't mean it's good.
91: Never said good, just harmless. As far as unhealthy romanticism, get rid of Romeo and Juliet. In fact, you better get rid of all of Shakespeare, too.
The thing is, it isn't harmless. It is teaching young girls that they should want a perfect boyfriend like Edward who has a dark side and who is extremely controlling (all in the name of being so in love). Their lives should revolve around being with this amazing boy, and everything else is secondary. That is not benign stuff — it's promoting a very specific worldview and attitudes toward women. What about the concept of domestic violence touched on in New Moon (one of the werewolves scars his wife horribly, but that's okay because he just lost control one night and he'll never EVER do it again... the classic line of every wifebeater!)?
At least Shakespeare knew how to write. And his star-crossed lovers didn't exactly have the happy ending that Meyer's get (which perpetrates all the disgusting stuff that precedes it... "be like Bella and Edward and everything will turn out great").
I do think it's funny to compare Shakespeare and Meyer. They shouldn't even appear in the same post together :)
The problem is this: kids need to read. You may not like the Twilight books, but kids (mostly girls) will read them. I don't believe for a minute that girls all over the world (yes all over the world, that's what happens when things are popular) are suddenly getting into abusive/controlling relationships like in Twilight, because they read Twilight. I also don't believe that teen aged star-crossed lovers all over the world are killing themselves, either. And the domestic violence thing? Sadly, it happens in life. Surely you are not suggesting that the book supports domestic violence? Should people never be allowed to use domestic violence in a story again? But that's not my point. My point is, get a book in young people's hand so they will read.
Ask a freshman english class if they would rather read Macbeth or Twilight. I'm not saying kids should be reading porn or utter garbage, but I am saying kids should be encouraged to read the books that engage them. And if that happens to be Twilight, and it happens to offend your literary sensitivities, then so be it.
And by the way, I don't know ANYBODY who partook in an incestuous relationship after reading Flowers in the Attic, the Twilight of my day. And yes, that makes me feel old. Honestly, one of my greatest fears in the realm of education is that young people will stop reading long form, and be condemned to 120 words or less for the rest of their life.
For me the worst candidate was The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (all six volumes) by Stephen Donaldson.
Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book was ok, but nothing that warrants the wild ranting about it. It was an ok kids story. Nothing more.
Actually yes, I am suggesting that New Moon supports domestic violence. It excuses it and makes it part of the mystique of the relationship ("he hurt her and she forgave him even though she is maimed for life and doesn't that make their relationship fascinating? how dramatic and angsty!"). No way am I saying that no one should ever write about domestic violence, but I have a real problem with it being portrayed as interesting and understandable, as Meyer does.
I encourage young people to read books that will stretch their horizons and challenge them to grow. Twilight's not in that category.We become what we consume (you are what you eat also applies to books and ideas!). You don't give a toddler garbage just to get him to eat; why would we want newer readers to get a taste for it?
Here are my full thoughts on each of the novels:
95 and 96: so with you on The Graveyard Book! I reviewed it here: http://www.librarything.com/review/62132555
#96 & #97
Soulmates. I never thought I would find soulmates on this tread.
What bliss! I'm not alone after all.
Wisewoman - Agree with your review entirely. Mine was much shorter, but basically the same message.
I agree with 97 about 94. If I had to choose either my kids being couch potatoes and never reading or my kids only reading trash, I'd easily choose the couch potatoes. It's not worth it.
Wisewoman, you are truly wise indeed! I read things like Gatsby and Cold Sassy Tree in high school and loved them! I would have lost all respect for my teachers if they had ever given me something as terribly written as Twilight. Pay your dues and read Shakespeare, then you'll really be able to see what GOOD is!
Like you said in 97, younger generations should be reading things that will help them grow. I wish kids would read everything they can get their hands on - and maybe some used Twilight as a gateway into actual literature. That's the best I can hope for.
If I had my druthers of Harry Potter or Twilight, I'd rather give the child Harry Potter. It supports Good vs Evil and friendship.
My own list of "often named but bleh fantasy"
• Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
• Waylander by David Gemmel
• Anything by Stephen R. Donaldson
• Anything by David Eddings
• The cheap Tolkien knock-offs : Sword of Shannara By Terry Brooks, Fionavar by Guy Gavriel Kay, Darwath by Barbara Hambly...
Still quite like the Silmarillion, Bilbo & LotR though. And enjoyed the Farseer & Song of Fire & Ice books, as well as the Locke Lamora ones ^^
Anything paranormal romance I'll avoid, romance's just not my thing even if it makes some cosmetic use of creatures & mythos I may otherwise like. The next apparent likely big fad, YA dystopia probably won't be my thing either if it's laced with too much romance.
>103: I agree with you about paranormal romance, and that too often a "tacked on" romance storyline spoils a lot of otherwise decent YA SF. I guess I could add The forest of hands and teeth to this discussion on those grounds; I thought that too much of the book was taken up with Mary maundering on about the two guys in her life, and not enough with exploring the society that had evolved since the zombies came. I am so tired of love triangles in books, it is the main thing that will make me put a book back on the shelf. even if the rest of it looks good.
I tried several times to get into Terry Pratchett's books, on my husband's high recommendation, but I just don't care for comic fantasy--for some reason it feels too forced to me. I never made it through any of his books. I also never saw the appeal of George Macdonald (The Princess and the Goblin, etc), either. Other than that, if I don't like a fantasy novel, it's usually because of the poor writing style.
I'm not surprised that so many people dislike Tolkien; for one thing, his writing style may be a little inaccessible; and for another, books that are read because they're classics do often tend to disappoint. Like Wisewoman, I read all of his books because they were there and they were good.
I must admit that I hadn't even heard of the Twilight books until they started filming the first movie in a nearby town--we were very puzzled to drive through one day and see that all the signs had replaced the town's name with "Forks"! After that I read the first book, and all the way through I kept thinking that the concept seemed oddly familiar, and that it had been done better the first time around... But then, I'm a diehard Buffy fan. :) I couldn't get through the second book, and I found it extremely disturbing that, #1, Bella is "in love" with someone who wants to EAT HER, and, #2, that she wants to be a vampire.
It's also hard for me to accept the idea that we should encourage kids to read anything, as long as they're reading. While reading the Twilight books or the Goosebumps series may be better than watching TV or getting into trouble, it's doubtful that those books would spark an interest in better-quality literature. And, as others have pointed out, there's not much benefit (indeed, there may often be much harm) to be gained from trashy novels.
Wheel of Time
It should have ended long before Sanderson started wasting time finishing it.
My view is different on that one. The series started wandering and got bloated after Book 5, but I think Sanderson is doing a great job wrapping it up.
I would be happier if Sanderson was working on his own books. Especially since he published The Way of Kings and then told fans they would have to wait until after WOT finished for book 2 in the series. IMO, mean.
As I understand it, that was more of a publishing decision than anything that Sanderson had to with. They wanted a book with his own name on it to publish in between the final WoT volumes and Way of Kings had already been written. We'll be getting more of his books soon including a new Mistborn later this year.
> # 105
Which Pratchett books did you read? The earlier ones are quite different from his later books.
Glad to see all the Twilight comments! I read the first book after it first started picking up in sales and I had only heard good things, and I had just enjoyed Sunshine by Robin McKinley (wonderful) and Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (meh) and various other vampire tales that I can't recall now because they weren't that memorable. I think I tried Guilty Pleasures and didn't think much of it, so I guess there is another book to add to this thread.
But so I innocently picked up Twilight, and found myself absorbed in the easy breezy escape writing, enjoying it despite wishing that Meyer had kept a thesaurus on hand... until it started to dawn on me, about a third of the way through, that the book wasn't going anywhere. The characters and supposed romance wasn't going to be developed beyond what was established in the first few chapters. This bland brunette with "clumsiness" to make her endearing or something was just serving as a blank character that readers could project themselves onto, and the love between her and the obsessed stalker was just going to be established with her saying how beautiful he was over and over and that is apparently a valid basis for eternal love. I did finish the book, but it was a very frustrating experience and I did a lot of irritable harumphing. Alice Cullen was alright I guess.
I would recommend reading Twilight only to get full enjoyment out of all the excellent parodies out there... but really for that you can just watch the movie (nice soundtrack, beautiful scenery, comical acting and such = kinda fun), or as a previous poster said watch Alex Reads Twilight on youtube. Good fun to be had in those videos.
I also agree with the Sabriel comments - it was highly reccommended repeatedly and I was very excited to finally get to read it... only to find disappointment. Very mediocre book in my opinion, but perhaps it just wasn't my cup of tea.
I found the second one, Lirael, to be better than Sabriel. Plus, kick-ass librarian, we all love those, right?
really? Lord of the Rings? Not to judge you opinion but I read all those books in like third grade and i think they rock...but I haven't read them for a while...
<117 I didn't care for the Lord of the Rings either. They are just so hard to get through...
I tried to read Donaldson once and ended up burning the damn thing. Never again on him.
This is going beyond the sci-fi/fantasy genre, but when The Shack by Young came out, my wife at the time loved it and convinced me to try to read it. The writing was so sloppy I didn't make it past the first ten pages.
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