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Robert Jordan is (was) a joke

ArteEtLabore14

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Originally Posted by horndog
Anyone read Salvatore? I loved the Dark Elf Trilogy when I was 14 but after reading a few more books after that got pretty bored. Seems to be that the general trend with fantasy writers. The WOT books always looked way too intimidatingly long for me.

Read probably 12 Salvatore books "starring" Drizzt, which were entertaining. Held their value for me longer than their Dragonlance counterparts, but I've mostly moved past them. Tried another Salvatore book "The Highwayman" and didn't really enjoy.

WoT books are long, in all the wrong ways for all the wrong reasons. I recommend not reading it. Any of it. If you want a great fantasy epic, go with George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series starting with A Game of Thrones.
 

CDFS

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Originally Posted by ArteEtLabore14
I'm going to go against the mould and say... no. Let me explain. Tolkien was a revolutionary with the content of his books, the entire world he created is simply astounding. Breathtaking. That being said, for me his prose is... flat. Boring. For me, he's not able to create mental images like George R.R. Martin or even Steven Erikson.

His modern day protege, Terry Brooks, suffers from a similar writing style. But his novels are also extremely formulaic, something Tolkien was at least able to stay away from.

I've read The Hobbit (my personal Tolkien favorite) and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as well as the first half of The Silmarillion. Obviously it's personal preference, but I feel like everyone jerks off all over Tolkien because he's the grandfather of modern fantasy. If LoTR were to come out today, I don't think people would give it as much praise from a purely literary standpoint.

I read LoTR when I was a little bit older than a lot of people (14-15) and so maybe that's why it never made much of an impression. I know people will crucify me for this, but for my money I'd take Harry Potter over Lord of the Rings all day, everyday.


I just lost any respect I had for your opinion. Harry Potter is for children and women, and I know, 'cause I read like 1 1/2 pages in a book store and another 2 in a friends house.
 

otc

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Originally Posted by ArteEtLabore14
If LoTR were to come out today, I don't think people would give it as much praise from a purely literary standpoint.

While I also had trouble when I tried to read the hobbit, this is an unfair argument.

Just like with a lot of film--some stuff is great because it did it first. If star wars came out now...it would be a joke and if LoTR came out now, it would be chided as an awful copycat.

I'll have to check out the Death Gate cycle...seems interesting
 

ArteEtLabore14

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Originally Posted by CDFS
I just lost any respect I had for your opinion. Harry Potter is for children and women, and I know, 'cause I read like 1 1/2 pages in a book store and another 2 in a friends house.

lawl! I mean that's your opinion. IMO J.K. Rowling writes more entertaining prose and develops her characters in such a way that you care about what happens to them. I grew up reading Harry Potter so that's part of it, but I never cared about Frodo/Aragorn/Gandalf. I was mildly interested in what would happen, and that's about it.

So while HP may not be as significant in a literary sense as LoTR (though this could be argued) I think Rowling is the more entertaining of the two authors.

Originally Posted by otc
While I also had trouble when I tried to read the hobbit, this is an unfair argument.

Just like with a lot of film--some stuff is great because it did it first. If star wars came out now...it would be a joke and if LoTR came out now, it would be chided as an awful copycat.

I'll have to check out the Death Gate cycle...seems interesting


Exactly. My only point is that LoTR should be praised for certain things, and not others. It was one of the first fantasy epics and Tolkien created a vast, impressive universe to go along with it. For that, Tolkien gets 5 stars from me.

That being said, I've never been impressed by his writing. I feel like people are too quick to praise LoTR because it's a huge part of the fantasy canon without actually stopping to examine the prose. This is where his books fail for me, and why I've never been a huge fan of the LoTR universe.
 

Valor

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Originally Posted by ArteEtLabore14
Any of it. If you want a great fantasy epic, go with George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series starting with A Game of Thrones.

I read Game of Thrones and thought it was more or less retarded. There's a crapload of factions who are all fighting each other and there isn't really a point to it. Should really have focused on one faction so the reader can side with someone or at least feel some sort of commonality with.

I think WOT and SOIF are similar in calibre but WOT is for a younger audience.
 

Fuuma

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I don't like fantasy very much but Elric is king; punk rock of fantasy writing and interesting take on the inversion of accepted narratives.
 

su_maverick

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Originally Posted by Valor
I think WOT and SOIF are similar in calibre but WOT is for a younger audience.

I think this hit on it right here. I remember reading a couple of the WOT books almost 7-8 years ago and thought the same thing. The author sort of skips over anything that seems adult in nature (ie violence and sex) and at best, hints at it. All of the relationships between the characters seem immature at best and they are supposed to be in their early 20s. I do like SOIF but Ive lost my edge on it with how long the author has danced around the latest book. I am not sure I would pick up the next book if it took another 6 years to get another after it.

Overall because of these two I have veered away from multi volume fantasy epics and have looked more into other fictional books. One stand alone I would recommend (though not fantasy) is Liberation: The adventures of the Slick Six though it does tend to have a hippy feel to it.
 

imatlas

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Originally Posted by Fuuma
I don't like fantasy very much but Elric is king; punk rock of fantasy writing and interesting take on the inversion of accepted narratives.
Good reference. Do the young 'uns still read Elric / Corum / etc? Another writer with a post-modern take on the fantasy genre is Samuel Delany, in particular the Nerveryona books. I found the Harry Potter books juvenile in a way that LoTR is not; the better comparison is perhaps between HP and The Hobbit. I also could not stand her bogus latin; Tolkien was a philologist and his creation is rooted in language and myth in a way that has never been approached by another writer.
 

ArteEtLabore14

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Originally Posted by Valor
I read Game of Thrones and thought it was more or less retarded. There's a crapload of factions who are all fighting each other and there isn't really a point to it. Should really have focused on one faction so the reader can side with someone or at least feel some sort of commonality with. I think WOT and SOIF are similar in calibre but WOT is for a younger audience.
That's kind of the point. It's not as simplistic as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings where there are clear cut "good guys" and clear cut "bad guys", it's more like real life. In that sense, the characters in A Song of Ice and Fire are more human than any of their literary (fantasy, at least) counterparts. There are intricacies to the series that allow the individual reader to decide who they want to "win", much more so than in other books. In my opinion, that's one of the great strengths of the series.
Originally Posted by imatlas
Good reference. Do the young 'uns still read Elric / Corum / etc? Another writer with a post-modern take on the fantasy genre is Samuel Delany, in particular the Nerveryona books. I found the Harry Potter books juvenile in a way that LoTR is not; the better comparison is perhaps between HP and The Hobbit. I also could not stand her bogus latin; Tolkien was a philologist and his creation is rooted in language and myth in a way that has never been approached by another writer.
For the most part HP deals with a more immature subject matter than LoTR. That being said, I still think JK Rowling is a better writer than Tolkien. I agree with everything you said about his Middle Earth universe, and the language he created, and that aspect of his stories always astounded be. However, it's his writing that I take exception to as it's always underwhelmed me.
 

Valor

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Originally Posted by ArteEtLabore14
There are intricacies to the series that allow the individual reader to decide who they want to "win", much more so than in other books. In my opinion, that's one of the great strengths of the series.
Actually it just became convoluted and I got tired of keeping track. I agree that having a lot of characters is great (such as in Le Pere Goriot), but the calibre of writing is just not there, and character depth/development is non existent.
Originally Posted by ArteEtLabore14
That being said, I still think JK Rowling is a better writer than Tolkien.
This is probably the dumbest thing I've heard said in the history of literary review. Any credibility you once had regarding writing is hereby revoked. This is the equivalent of comparing Dan Brown to Balzac.
 

MetroStyles

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Originally Posted by Valor
This is probably the dumbest thing I've heard said in the history of literary review. Any credibility you once had regarding writing is hereby revoked. This is the equivalent of comparing Dan Brown to Balzac.

I often compare Dan Brown to my ballsack.
 

ArteEtLabore14

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Originally Posted by Valor
Actually it just became convoluted and I got tired of keeping track. I agree that having a lot of characters is great (such as in Le Pere Goriot), but the calibre of writing is just not there, and character depth/development is non existent. This is probably the dumbest thing I've heard said in the history of literary review. Any credibility you once had regarding writing is hereby revoked. This is the equivalent of comparing Dan Brown to Balzac.
And what qualifies you to revoke my credibility? Fantasy has never been known for its character development, but GRRM pursues it more than most. You're proving me point about LoTR. The majority of people fawn all over it without actually looking at it. Tolkien is a technically proficient, but boring writer. Just like his modern day protege, Terry Brooks. I will amend my previous statement. JK Rowling is a more entertaining writer than Tolkien, her prose is more evocative. In a technical capacity Tolkien is superior, but reading it is almost like reading a manual. And for the record, comparing JK Rowling and JRR Tolkien is nothing like comparing Dan Brown and Balzac. P.S. I don't know why you have such a hard on for Balzac. He was obviously very influential, but I have little interest in his body of work. P.P.S. It's not my fault you're incapable of keeping track of a larger than normal dramatis personae. As for quality of writing, I challenge you to find any modern fantasy writer more talented than GRRM.
 

Valor

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Originally Posted by ArteEtLabore14
I will amend my previous statement. JK Rowling is a more entertaining writer than Tolkien

This I can actually buy, JK Rowling is very entertaining, but her prose is simple flowing and more or less not descriptive.

Originally Posted by ArteEtLabore14
You're proving me point about LoTR. The majority of people fawn all over it without actually looking at it. Tolkien is a technically proficient, but boring writer.

I think you mistake me for some 14 year old who read a review of LOTR and then watched the movie. Tolkien is boring in the sense that he is way more descriptive than most fantasy writers are today. I think of Tolkien as much closer to literature than the trashy entertainment to be found in WOT or SOIF.

Originally Posted by ArteEtLabore14
P.P.S. It's not my fault you're incapable of keeping track of a larger than normal dramatis personae. As for quality of writing, I challenge you to find any modern fantasy writer more talented than GRRM.

I don't think my ability is the limiting factor in anything within SOIF. The writing is just mediocre and not even as exciting as first few WOT for how cheap the narrative is. Talent is very much subjective, are we measuring it by sales volume? I would say Rowling is strictly better than GRRM.
 

Tangfastic

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Jordan really is tripe. It is one of my few regrets in life that I wasted time on his rubbish. I disagree with the comment on Tolkien's prose style being flat. I recently read one of William Morris's fantasy novels, and it is written in a dreamy, poetic style as if translated from some ancient language. Tolkien was a big admirer of Morris's prose and I think was consciously emulating Morris's otherworldly tone. Tolkien also admitted to enjoying Howard's original Conan stories which are great fun if a little more low brow.

Agree with the Elric comment - I can't remember reading anything that affected me as much as the passage where stormbringer first makes Elric kill a good friend (and enjoy it). I had to put the book down and think hard about if I wanted to carry on (I was a child / young adolescent used to more stereotypically heroic fantasy at the time).
 

Gorthaur Melwasul

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25 years and Robert Jordan ain't finish his Wheel of Time.
The first novel was so boring that after 150 paes, absolutly nothing happen. It's a shame.
A classical move "not to do" in Fantasy Book!
 

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