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Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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Are we treating this like the BS megathread?

I'm about halfway through Elantris and enjoying it well enough. It's pretty obvious that it's a first novel, though. There's a lot of telling and exposition that's either unnecessary (as in, it would be better to let the read puzzle out the meaning of something) or would be better as action (as in, we are told more how characters are than we really see them do). Still, I have book one of Mistborn waiting for when I finish this and I also downloaded Warbreaker when I finish that.

Sadly, I probably won't be able to get a copy of Way of Kings for a year or so.

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Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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Synastren posted:

I thought Elantris was OK. The only thing that was at all novel (heh) was his incredibly depressing setting. The characters were, by and large, cliches, and were uninteresting--perhaps with the exception of the Lightsong ark, which was actually enjoyable for me. Unsurprisingly, though, I did enjoy his magic system(s).

Well, I just finished it, and I definitely enjoyed it, despite it being rather predictable. It's kind of obvious how things are going to end, but it was a fun ride getting there. It's time to move on to Mistborn!

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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Optioning it doesn't really mean anything. Look at Ender's Game or Wheel of Time. The rights to those books were purchased years and years ago and they've never gotten off the ground. Do yourself a favor and forget about it entirely until it pops up on a movie news site in a decade.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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Wells of Ascension is really dragging. I get it, Vin, it's hard to trust and you're only very slowly growing as a person. But, please, let's not spend entire chapters in a dress shop.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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I just don't find Vin to be very interesting. I want to know more about Marsh and Sazed.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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I finally finished the Mistborn books. By the time I got to book three, I was really burned out on Sanderson. Even Hero of Ages suffered from the terribly slow middle.

I never, ever want to read about someone pushing or pulling metal again. There's a huge over reliance on made up terminology and it really got on my nerves. Besides, there was never really any tension in the fights. It felt like it was all just words filling up space before the hero miraculously won because they pushed and pulled at the right time. Or at least it felt this way in any sequence with Elend or Vin.

I hate Elend and Vin. I never bought into their romance. It felt awkward and juvenile, like a child writing about love. I find it interesting that the only time sex is ever mentioned explicitly, it's something evil that evil people do or good people were forced to endure. In fact, the least sexual character of all was rewarded with godhood.

I wish he wrote a book where Tensoon and Spook had zany adventures together. I could get behind that.

I actually really appreciated how by the end of the series, Ham got pushed to the side and most of the characters realized he was basically a fraud. His questions weren't really ever philosophical, he refused responsibility, and he wasn't necessary once Vin knew how to fight.

Marsh's plot was the best.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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I didn't care for the slog through the dual sieges. Book 2 was all about a siege and the change of perspective didn't do anything for me. They still sat there for most of the book trying to decide what they should do. I especially hated Elend and Vin going to the balls. The dance was kind of painful to read and I've never cared for authors having "intellectual" characters quoting fake books at each other that aren't previously established or a reference to something in the real world (I guess the quotes could be referencing things, but I totally missed it if they were).

Spook was cool up until he started to creepily stalk Beldre. I could have done without that.

I really hope that being forced to write action sequence after action sequence in the Wheel of Time books makes Sanderson better at the middle parts of his stories.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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The binding always fell apart. Which was a bonus, in a way, because then you no longer had the lovely cover art. It's like the book wanted to be free....

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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That was Preservation's body.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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Paracelsus posted:

Had he appeared anywhere else? By this point Sanderson has conditioned me to assume that if there is a detail, it's important.

He doesn't, but at the very end, Ruin's body is sitting next to Vin and Elend's.

I was so sad they put Elend's head back on.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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Yeah, that was kind of silly, but several languages have a gender neutral pronoun. English is actually developing one right now with the singular use of "they". Really, we have one already with "it", but that typically refers to something that isn't a person.

This is one of those areas where I feel like Sanderson's ability to plot outreaches his ability to write. I don't doubt that Sanderson was really careful when talking about the Hero of Ages throughout the series to make sure he never called it a man or woman, but the lynchpin was that the prophecies were written in old Terris, which we never see.

I don't think he actually needed to create a language, but he had a fairly important plot device that was never actually seen in the story. This doesn't seem fair to me.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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A Nice Boy posted:

Overall, definitely worth reading. 7.5/10

The only thing I kind of disagree with here is the earring. I saw that coming as soon as they started talking about spikes being linked to ruin. "Oh, Vin always has metal in her ear." I guess my problem is that I know Sanderson too well at this point. He doesn't really throw out any red herrings. Everything has some significance, so since the earring had been mentioned more than once, I was looking for what it could be connected to. Then he started talking about being pierced by metal and I rolled my eyes.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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You have to read Sazed's passages before the chapters more closely. Ruin and Preservation had human bodies. How they came into godhood is never explored, but it's definitely hinted at that they may actually have once been human. After the chapter where Elend talks to the mist spirit, Sazed's intro talks about how the body of a person fell into the ash. That was Preservation.

At the end of the book, they find the bodies of Vin and Elend and there's a redheaded dude next to them. That's Ruin's body.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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I really liked the one-off chapters that fleshed out the rest of the world. They felt like good breaks from the rest of the narrative and kept me from burning out on the story.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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I found Wit to be equally unfunny and have the same opinion whenever Breeze is trying to prove how clever he is. I chalk it up to Sanderson being a terribly nice person and not actually having any understanding of what sarcasm or wit is.

Just to be more specific on Wit, I felt when he was hurling insults, they were terribly unfunny and often painful to read. When he was pointing out a character's flaws, he was spot on. One requires you to be clever, the other just honest.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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Musings and dialog in general really seems to be Sanderson's weakest point. For all the world building and plotting he does, he can't get two characters talking to each other to sound natural.

It's why I really hated any scene with Ham in it. Ham seems like an interesting character, but loving Christ I despised reading anything that came out of his mouth. I like to think that the reason why he played a smaller and smaller role in each book was because all of the other characters were tired of his bullshit, too, and just wanted him as far away from them as possible.

Having read everything but Warbreaker, I still couldn't recite a single line of memorable dialog from any of his books. Compare that to Jordan or Martin who for all of their flaws still manage to crank out some fantastic lines. Those guys, and Jordan especially, get a ton of poo poo for what their characters have said, but in my opinion that's because when they're bad, it stands in such stark contrast to the rest of their work and they end up being held to a much higher standard.

Sanderson at his best is merely passable, but at his worst I want to slap his characters in the face.

I read Sanderson now mostly for the cool magic systems and set pieces, but I don't really expect any actual depth from his characters or characterizations.

Edit: Ham's only even interesting because he's a somewhat unique take on a cliche. We expect him to be big and dumb because he's a Thug, but he's actually deep and philosophical. Really though, that's also a cliche these days. But he's not! He actually uses his faux-philosophic queries to hide the fact that he really is big and dumb. Elend even comments on it towards the end of HoA. In my opinion, this is why he always turned down positions of command. He didn't want his secret to be out or to disappoint everyone with his terrible leadership skills.

Atlas Hugged fucked around with this message at 08:10 on Jun 9, 2011

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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I just realized that she was a selfish girl who didn't trust anyone thrust into a world of research who learned to love that lifestyle.

Wait, which book are we talking about?

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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So she's basically Vin, again.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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Yeah, that was unfair of me. I just feel there's a certain sameness between all of Sanderson's female characters. Yeah, the minute details are different, but the voices end up being fairly similar.

If this were a GRRM novel, I wouldn't be shocked to see her dead or mutilated, but I just don't think Sanderson has it in him.

Instead, she's probably going to be another clone of Sarene.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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I'm trying to imagine Sanderson writing something like the "Raped her, killed her, murdered her children" sequence from Storm of Swords. That scene only works because of the dialog. The action is nice, but it's all in what the characters say. In Sanderson's version, I imagine The Mountain would crack a witty one liner rather than hitting back with brutal and disturbing honesty.

I'm definitely in the "I believe he can get better at this in time" camp, but I'm not rushing to read Alloy of Law. I enjoy Sanderson, but I need to cleanse my pallet.

Atlas Hugged fucked around with this message at 03:00 on Jun 10, 2011

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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Ah, right, I forget that was part of the Tyrion trial plot.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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Very useful information, I think. It really lends to the realism and texture of the world.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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Who doesn't like naked chicks in a bath?

Especially when they're pregnant, and whiney.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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Not sure I'm digging this. It's a little too wink and nudge for my tastes, like we're supposed to be in on the joke about the steam-punk stuff. "He grabbed his REVOLVERS and put on his BOWLER HAT that he wore with a DUSTER. Heh heh."

Also, the dialog is still... Sandersonesque.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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I want to add that I actually find this kind of world building to be rather lazy. Why does a society with revolvers and new fangled electric lights have to have a Victorian aesthetic? I don't mind if there are some real world parallels, but it felt a lot like "Mistborn: 1880s" to me.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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I guess they felt too obvious to me. You'd think over the last couple of hundred years, the names would have mutated a bit. I would have preferred to figure out exactly what it was referencing instead of having it really explicitly stated. It just doesn't feel natural.

I think the only thing that really changed was The Ascendant Warrior. I'm not actually sure if that refers to Vin or to Spook.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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Decius posted:

Why should they? They aren't figures and places out of a mythological age or preserved through several different languages. The civilization is a direct continuation, as are the recordings made.

Yes, it's a direct continuation, but it just feels too on the nose. You're right in that there's a good chance that it wouldn't have changed, but it still feels out of place. Maybe if only one or two things were directly named after characters from the other book, but even loving Demoux got a major road named after him.

Ugly In The Morning posted:

I got a more western-y vibe from everything that wasn't Wax-related. Wasn't there even a line in the prologue about how weird it was he was wearing that stuff? The over-the-top dandy aspect fits with what I'd expect from a descendant of Breeze, anyway.

The thing with Western and Victorian is that they occurred at the same time. The fancy cities, such as Elend, are going to have a Victorian feel, and the rugged outskirts, like Weathering, will have the more Old West vibe.

The men at the party were described as wearing suits with tailcoats, and the women had "narrow waists and dresses with many folds". That comes across as way more Victorian than the Western duster he was wearing while out in the Roughs.

So, yes, it has both, but that's not surprising given that the two worlds existed at the same time. Wax is our guy who's caught between them.

Edit:
I want to clarify why I'm coming down so hard on this because I don't want to come across as just a hater.

For me, one of the biggest reasons to read a Sanderson novel is because of the world building and magic system. We've talked about how his characters can be a little flat and his dialog often leaves something to be desired, but the worlds are always rich and highly imaginative.

Elantris, Mistborn, and The Way of Kings are all obviously fantasy settings, but they are unique and nuanced, and that partly comes from their very well developed magic systems. But it goes deeper than that with cultures and religions and even gender roles being different and specific to each novel.

Alloy of Law seems to be missing those two critical features. Since so much of the setting seems to be lifted wholesale from real world examples, I don't really feel interested in exploring it the way I did in his other books. Further, this is still largely the same magic system that was pervasive and highly overused throughout the other Mistborn books. Given how many times I've already read the words "pushed" and "pulled", I don't feel particularly interested in doing it again. Yeah, the feruchemists and allomancers have interbred and there are two new metals, but it's more like an expansion back or an edition revision than something brand new.

By sticking his story into a world that he doesn't own, Sanderson is actively working against one of his greatest strengths. I'm not really interested in his take on Wild West/Victorian/Steam. I want to see something I've never seen before.

Fortunately, he still has five free chapters to win me over. Assuming that his plot is as well scripted as the others are, I might be able to find enough to keep me reading. He could really surprise me. The setting could just be purely aesthetic and there's lots of new ideas and twists on convention that I'm not expecting waiting to be discovered. But if it's just going to be "Mistborn with Revolvers and Bowlers" I'm not really feeling it.

Atlas Hugged fucked around with this message at 17:33 on Jun 16, 2011

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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I thought Sanderson himself referred to it as steampunk. I've only been calling it that because other people have. Steampunk is heavily based on Victorian aesthetic, though. So anything that's Victorian plus MAGIC ends up getting categorized as steampunk, even if it isn't technically.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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Like I said, you strip out the world building and that's what you're left with.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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It doesn't matter if he's allowed anachronisms if the writing is cheesy regardless.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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Decius posted:

Is it even an anachronism? The world obviously has a very rich scientific culture, even if it is (at least in the regions we have seen) limited to women. Experiment, Treshold, Empirical should be completely fine words for them, even if not for the illiterate men.

I wasn't saying it was. You said Wit can say out of timeframe stuff and I said it doesn't matter what he's allowed to say because it's still terribly awkward when Sanderson tries to be funny.

I've never really cared if characters used words that weren't setting appropriate if it helped the story.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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Maybe we should have an intervention. It's for his own good. Stick to the story telling please!

He's still better than Lucas.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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My only complaint is that sex is a normal human activity that happens all the loving time. The only time it really appeared in Mistborn, it was rape through prostitution that almost always resulted in murder. Sex is only portrayed negatively. In Way of Kings, it's the noble and honorable thing to deny sex. Yeah, this kind of thing really does happen, but there's no counterweight to it.

I think there was a brief mention of Vin and Elend doing something after they got married, but it was really subtle.

It's not just the lack of sex, it's the lack of realistic relationships between the characters.

Wheel of Time is probably not the best example, but Jordan doesn't pretend that the people don't have sex. He doesn't let his Catholic sensibilities mar his writing. The sex is barely described on the page, but it's obviously there, and it only gets weird once.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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The brothels were mentioned, but in almost all cases they were mentioned in the context of being places nobles went for sport and all of the prostitutes were murdered after a couple of years.

Characters were definitely couples, but everything was handled with kiddy gloves. There's basically only one sentence in the books that makes mention of the fact that Elend and Vin had a sex life. The closest thing to an intimate scene with them was the nauseating dance sequence in Hero of Ages.

Spook chased two girls in the book, Vin and that Misting sister who was sent to kill him. There is never anything physical between these characters.

Ham is an even worse example. He had a wife, and children, and they were constantly kept off screen. They're not part of the story. They're not part of his life. They're basically there just to give him character background. They're a trait on his character sheet that provides some penalty or bonus.

I don't need detailed descriptions of sex. I want acknowledgement of human behaviors. I want society to reflect reality to some degree. Just because characters are couples doesn't really fix the problem in the first place. Male and female characters constantly act weird and unnaturally around each other. The romances are all incredibly naive and feel like the kind of thing I would have written in junior high.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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arioch posted:

Uh, Dalinar and Navani do get together in Way of Kings. It's clear that the "noble and honorable thing" you refer to is Dalinar's own expressed opinion which he, by the end of the book, ends up feeling was misplaced/misguided.

I guess what I mean mostly is that I'm really sick of these long drawn out romances or the whole, "Will they, won't they," schtick. I'm sure some romances in medieval times really were drawn out, courtly affairs, but that doesn't account for all of the daily encounters men and women are going to have.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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I have said plenty of times that there's lots of things about Sanderson I like, but as others have echoed his dialog and characterizations are weak and sometimes stuff leans close to YA.

I don't expect random casual sex. In WoT, there was lots of stuff going on with different characters, it was never explicit, but it was there, and it was there pretty early (just not with Rand or Perrin immediately).

Sanderson frequently relies on long, drawn out romances that are punctuated by cheesy dialog while sex itself is often vilified. That's all I'm saying.

People meet each other. They get together after a short period. Sometimes they stay together, sometimes they don't. Yes, this is fantasy. Things aren't going to be like the real world. I should probably just get over it.

His world building is fantastic. His magic systems are interesting. He's fantastic at putting together a plot. I just want him to work on some of the things in the middle so I have a reason to keep caring about the big details.

Edit: Also, I'm certainly not heralding GRRM's perspectives on sex as the pinnacle of the genre. I just like the fact that he doesn't mind making mention of it or acknowledging the fact that people in positions of power gently caress a lot. But this isn't particularly constructive so let's just drop it and talk about pushing flared metal or something.

Edit2:

IRQ posted:

Arioch's outburst aside, do you read much fantasy that isn't Gurm? What you are describing right there is basically a staple of the genre. It's ok if you don't like it, but it's legitimately A Thing. Sanderson has his faults, but this really isn't one of them.

Yeah, I get that. I read enough fantasy, less than a lot of you guys though, and some stuff is cross genre (like Stephenson). I guess I dislike when things become A Thing and like when authors try to break from the norm is all. If it's not strictly a Sanderson thing, then whatever.

Atlas Hugged fucked around with this message at 17:28 on Jun 27, 2011

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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Cartoon Man posted:

Where does he vilify sex?

It's fine to disagree with me on this, but I just found it odd that during the Mistborn books the only times sex was really ever prominently discussed it was in the context of prostitutes being pimped out to the degenerate nobility and then murdered. Later, we find out that this was done to allow Mistings to be born to produce new Inquisitors, so it was a tool of Ruin.

If you think I'm reading too much into it, fine. It was just something that caught my attention and it seemed relevant to discuss when someone made mention of Sanderson doing his best not to let his own beliefs leak into the books.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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Like I said, I'm probably reading too much into it.

Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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Finally finished it. Enjoyed it well enough, but I really do not enjoy Sanderson dialog at all. I don't feel like he really gets people and how people interact. Also the anime music video stormlight kanji showing up every time Kaladin landed was a bit over the top.

I can't wait for the second set of five because I hope they're all just about Lift and her awesomeness.

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Atlas Hugged
Mar 12, 2007


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nucleicmaxid posted:

You are literally the worst person in every way for this opinion. Just FYI.


Ethiser posted:

No Lift was the best because she acts exactly how a kid with superpowers would act.


Habibi posted:

Sanderson is not great at dialog for the same reason he is pretty good at fights - it's all god drat anime. It hit me a while ago when rereading Towers (or whichever the penultimate one was) in prep for AMoL. Rand is like the animeist character ever when Sanderson is writing him.

And this is the reason Lift works for me. Yes, the dialog in her section is no better than anywhere else, but the context of it being a kid with superpowers and a very loose understanding of the world around her made it feel right to me. Kaladin's constant whining and Shallan's dreadful banter just make me roll my eyes.

I guess I'm cool with Taravangian getting more screen time too.

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