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Sorry if that sounded harsh Smile What I meant was that when I came in contact with Brooks' work, I was like 20 or 21 and my tastes in fantasy was pretty well established already. The Shannara book I read didn't appeal to me at all, in fact it felt extremely trite and generic compared to  other stuff I was into at the time (like Michael Moorcock). Had I come across the book when I was younger and more impressionable I would probably have loved it.

I know what you mean though, I have a similiar feeling towards David Eddings. I love the Belgariad -- the first couple of books in particular, which are very inspired and well-written -- but boy oh boy how that entire saga goes off the rails eventually, especially with the Mallorean books. And the guy just basically kept writing the same thing over and over through the years, the same type of characters, the same type of plots, the same type of humor.
Also -- which I think I've mentioned in this thread already -- Katherine Kerr's Deverry books. The first cycle of four books are brilliant. The second cycle, while still well-written and quite passable fantasy, started introducing new things into the world that had never even been hinted at in the first cycle. Just like you mention about Brooks' arbitrary additions. I lost interest in the saga after that, since that type of... well I don't know if retconning is the correct term here, but the skewing of a storyline to make it become something it originally wasn't (just for the sake of writing more books), that can annoy the hell out of me sometimes.
(03-18-2019, 02:28 AM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]Sorry if that sounded harsh Smile What I meant was that when I came in contact with Brooks' work, I was like 20 or 21 and my tastes in fantasy was pretty well established already.

Oh not at all; I'm pretty much agreeing with you here. Shannara was just one of the first series I managed to get through more than a couple books of. I grew up with the fantasy aesthetic all around me and considered myself a fan, but I had a hard time focusing long enough to finish books for much of my childhood. Thus completing a trilogy felt like an accomplishment for me until I hit my stride in my mid/late teens. I actually read The Hobbit when I was eleven,too, but didn't read LOTR until after high school.


Quote:I know what you mean though, I have a similiar feeling towards David Eddings. I love the Belgariad -- the first couple of books in particular, which are very inspired and well-written.

I recently took up the Belgariad too after decades of aborted attempts and staring at the covers in my brother's room, and yeah, I have to say that at some point around the end of Magician's Gambit it felt like it started losing some of the pacing, atmosphere building, and general quality of writing that it began with. For one thing, I was getting annoyed by how easy it was for the protagonists to evade or even trick the enemies. It started to feel like there were very few actual threats to the main characters from those who were out to get them. If I'm not getting things mixed up, the first 2.5 books are pretty excellent, and I hope the elements that made them strong return again if/when I choose to finish the last two.
(03-18-2019, 03:03 AM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]I recently took up the Belgariad too after decades of aborted attempts and staring at the covers in my brother's room, and yeah, I have to say that at some point around the end of Magician's Gambit it felt like it started losing some of the pacing, atmosphere building, and general quality of writing that it began with. For one thing, I was getting annoyed by how easy it was for the protagonists to evade or even trick the enemies. It started to feel like there were very few actual threats to the main characters from those who were out to get them. If I'm not getting things mixed up, the first 2.5 books are pretty excellent, and I hope the elements that made them strong return again if/when I choose to finish the last two.

Yup, that is very much a glaring problem later on in the series. Pawn of Prophecy is great; after they leave Faldor's farm and head out on the roads there's this real sense of danger and urgency and adventure. This suspensefulness completely evaporates eventually and Belgarath and Polgara become like two superheroes and like you say there is almost nothing that presents them a challenge. Sadly the Belgariad never really returns to the quality of the early books, but it's well worth reading in its entirety anyway. Don't bother with the Mallorean or the various spinoff novels though, they're terrible.
(03-18-2019, 03:21 AM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]Yup, that is very much a glaring problem later on in the series. Pawn of Prophecy is great; after they leave Faldor's farm and head out on the roads there's this real sense of danger and urgency and adventure. This suspensefulness completely evaporates eventually and Belgarath and Polgara become like two superheroes and like you say there is almost nothing that presents them a challenge. Sadly the Belgariad never really returns to the quality of the early books, but it's well worth reading in its entirety anyway. Don't bother with the Mallorean or the various spinoff novels though, they're terrible.

Thanks for the tip. I do intend to finish one of these days. There were really some truly memorable moments in the books I did finish reading. I recall my brother echoing your sentiments about the later books. His complaint was that the main character was no longer a kid, which was what he felt was one of the stronger elements of the Belgariad. He said he wasn't as interested in reading about him as an adult.
(03-18-2019, 03:34 AM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]His complaint was that the main character was no longer a kid, which was what he felt was one of the stronger elements of the Belgariad. He said he wasn't as interested in reading about him as an adult.

That's very true. Garion was never a compelling character to begin with, but when he was a kid and had no idea what was going on, at least he was a good vessel for the story. Once he grows up and learns magic and knows everything, he's really not very interesting and throughout the Malloreon [which I just realized that it's called, could have sworn it was MalloreAN] it's very hard to feel anything particular about him at all.

At least that's a good thing about Eddings' Elenium trilogy: Sparhawk is an overall more dynamic and interesting main character. That's not to say he feels any more believable though; I have a hunch Eddings was criticized for the bland and naive Garion character and decided to come up with a decidedly more mature protagonist for his next big project. Problem with this is that Sparhawk feels borderline schizophrenic at times. He's set up to be a man with a conscience and a heart, though life has made him cynical. Yet the way he and his fellow knights outright slaughter people throughout the books is... disturbing. To the point where in the second trilogy I found myself wondering whether Sparhak et al were actually supposed to be the good guys.
OK, another technical/stylistic language question.

When you're describing something or someone with multiple adjectives, should you use commas or not? Example:

The man had a big, bushy, brown beard.

Or:

The man had a big bushy brown beard.

I've been leafing through a number of books here and I realize this choice might be mainly stylistic. Generally I dislike using many commas as IMO it breaks the flow of the text, but at the same time, too few commas or none at all will make the text look rambly with longer sentences. So I'm leaning toward the latter, but depending on the phrase I've noticed that sometimes the former looks better and sometimes the latter looks better. 

So basically I'm wondering if there's some obscure rule for this, or if I just need to make up my mind and go with one or the other?
(03-21-2019, 01:08 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]When you're describing something or someone with multiple adjectives, should you use commas or not?

This isn't an academic based opinion, but given your two examples, I'd say it will depend on how you imagine the line being spoken. If you want a pause after each item in the list, then use commas. If the line would have been spoken smoothly with no pausing or hesitation over each word, then leave out the commas.
(03-21-2019, 02:32 PM)Paul Battersby Wrote: [ -> ]This isn't an academic based opinion, but given your two examples, I'd say it will depend on how you imagine the line being spoken. If you want a pause after each item in the list, then use commas. If the line would have been spoken smoothly with no pausing or hesitation over each word, then leave out the commas.

Yes, this is kind of how I imagine it working too. The two examples have distinctively different flow -- the way I read them at any rate -- even though I suspect the one with the commas is the "correct" way.
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