It was an okay read, but I found it entirely too predictable. Not so much in the sense of knowing what was going to happen next as not caring what happened next, because the overall plot was plodding along to an inevitable confrontation which wouldn’t take place till the end of book 3.
None of the main characters died until the end, and some of them you thought died really didn’t (a personal pet peeve). The battles were poorly described and confusing because they relied too much on remembering side characters who lacked for any characterization beyond a name.
It’s certainly not as bad as Goodkind or Eddings, but I wouldn’t recommend it to people who haven’t already read the really good stuff.
I’m not so much a glutton for punishment as someone who has trouble quitting. There’s tremendous sunk costs once you get to book 7+ that make it hard to drop the series. And I genuinely enjoy a lot of the parts with Perrin and Mat, it’s just that there’s so much filler that I can’t say I’d recommend the series to anyone who isn’t also grinding it out to the end. Everything involving the Aes Sedai is confusing as hell because as someone mentioned, all Jordan’s women are basically the same character except with different names, and it would be hard enough telling them apart even without a year or two lag between books.
Marron Shed in the second Black Company book is one of my favorite characters of all time. A very deeply flawed character who does some despicable things and yet I found myself rooting for him the entire book.
No, really - I’m sure it was written by Erik Van Lustbader - perhaps his Sunset Warrior series. If you’ve ever read “The Ninja” you’ll know this guy likes to mix it up. Anyway, this was at least 20 years ago.
I really enjoy the stuff with Perrin and Mat as well. I agree about Jordan’s women to a certain extent but I actually think that the main problem is that there are just too many characters in general and women in particular and, of course, each character is involved in his or her own sub-plot. Which would actually be fine if it weren’t for the fact that Jordan has a woeful habit of introducing a character and sub-plot in book three, say, and not revisiting them until book seven. At which point I haven’t the vaguest notion who they are or why I should care about them.
He does have some good female characters though - Faile for example, or Min. Elayne and Egwene have good arcs as well but Nynaeve’s character could easily be collapsed into either of the previous two that I’ve mentioned with little or no problem. Oh, Aviendha isn’t too bad either - she’s a bit like Mat in that she provides some of the humour in the books.
You know, my good man, that the man wrote the book of the manuscript for Star Wars Ep. 1: The Phantom Menace?
That’s the kind of writer Terry Brooks is, and he’s a scourge upon this world. I hadn’t read any truly woeful fantasy before I stumbled over the Shannara series, and suddenly I realized why a lot of people consider fantasy silly and childish. I hold R.A. Salvatore to be of his ilk: He’s the Harlequin Romance of fantay. And that’s saying something.
I’m trying to remember any other fantasy that I might have read. I know that I devoured a shitload of fantasy early in my teens, before this whole Lord of the Rings mess came along and made it mainstream (allowing anime to take over as nerd culture staple number one), but I just can’t remember anything. That’s really, really strange.
Same experience here as I’m sure nearly everyone else in this thread. I read a ton of fantasy books from ages 9 to 15 or so. There’s stuff I remember liking a lot which I’m fairly sure is in fact total crap. E.g.: the Thieves World anthologies, Eddings, Saberhagen’s books of swords, Joel Rosenberg’s Guardians of the Flame, etc.
Martin is the only fantasy author I’ve read since then that doesn’t make me feel like I’m reading something geared at 12 year olds.
I have to add my voice to the Guy Gavriel Kay contingent. Tigana is one of the best fantasy novels I’ve read, and I’ve been reading them for almost 30 years. A Song for Arbonne and The Lions of Al-Rassan are both pretty fantastic as well.
I’m not going to argue about your characterization of Brooks or Salvatore. I think it’s maybe a little harsh, but meh. But, seriously, writing a Star Wars book is supposed to show how bad a writer you are? C’mon. Star Wars is one of the few licensed series that actually occasionally draws people who can write. Greg Keyes, Matthew Stover (who wrote the Episode III novelization, the only one of the three I actually bothered to read. Not Stover’s best book by any means, but so much better than the movie that it’s not even funny.), Michael Stackpole, possibly Barbara Hambly. They’re maybe not the best writers working in the field today, but they’re pretty solid.
I would rather shove a fork in my eye than try and read Tolkien again, just stating that to get it out of the way. Probably the most read series of fantasy for me; though not hard fantasy, has been the Myth series by Robert Asprin. As for hard fantasy, I agree on Feist being probably the most fun, with Tad Williams coming in a close second. As for writing style, I love R.E. Howard and Gene Wolfe. Gene’s The Knight (linkage) and his follow up The Wizard are currently my favorite read. Almost lyrical at points, at least in similar ways to why I like Steinbeck’s work.
I have read about 80% of the Jordan books with much skipping. I am looking at them as more of a long task I have set for myself hoping that the end will be worth it, but knowing I am in for dissappointment.
I read all the Feist and Brooks I could get my hands on after rampaging through every available Dragonlance book (ugh) when I was a young lad. I have to wonder if when I’m older I will go back through my Gibson and Gaiman books and have the same reaction to those as to my old pulp fantasy books. Incidentally, I gave them all away at the thrift-store. I figure some kid will get a kick out of them; I know I did.