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 PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:29 am Reply with quote  
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  Mara Jade Skywalker
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535 out of 836 pages into Wizard's First Rule. That is a lot of book! And I am not the fastest reader anymore. But I am really enjoying it. Smile
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 PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:39 pm Reply with quote  
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  GrandMaster
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GrandMaster wrote:
^I started re-reading the series a few weeks ago, and now I'm on Book 4.


So I decided to read Books 4+5 together in a chronological order, and it's really help to break up some of the monotony and made the whole reading experience richer. There's not a lot of jumping back and forth each chapter either, except to preserve some of the reveals.
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"But it was so artistically done."

“No. I am Ganner. This threshold is mine. I claim it for my own. Bring on your thousands, one at a time or all in a rush. I don’t give a damn. None shall pass.”

“Eventually, we all betray something, Tahiri. It’s what you stay true to that counts.”

"Shaken, not stirred, will get you cold water with a dash of gin and dry vermouth. The reason you stir it with a special spoon is so not to chip the ice. James is ordering a weak martini and being snooty about it."


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 PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 3:37 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Reepicheep wrote:
^ Wow. I was way off on a lot of them haha. I figured that Cei was pronounced "Kay" because I recognized the character, but wow, I would have never guessed some of those.


Haha, yeah. Even after many readthroughs I still get tripped on some of them.

Quote:
And I'm done. I really enjoyed The Winter King. It stood on its own feet as a good Dark Ages epic without even considering the fact that its based on Arthurian legend. It was really clever how you can see how this story could have spawned the legends after many corruptions and embellishments, but I don't think it would be necessary to know anything about the legend to enjoy the story. Even though the High Middle Ages is my favourite part of the Middle Ages and the idealized retellings of Arthur will always be closest to my heart, I liked how Cornwell kept the setting authentic to the Dark Ages e.g. motte and bailey castles, mail and leather armour rather than plate, rough warrior mentality with Arthur being the only really chivalrous character, the mixing of Christian and pagan cultures etc. I connected with Derfel and thought that Nimue and Cornwell's interpretations of Arthur and Guinevere were compelling characters. I second-guessed Arthur for the first 2/3rds of the book, thinking he had ulterior motives, but by the end I realized that while he is very human, he also has good intentions. Guinevere was basically a megalomaniac, but I have a soft spot for those kind of characters. I also liked Cornwell's descriptions and overall writing style. He kept me interested the entire time.


I'm really glad that you liked it (Read: I squeed a lot), and I understand completely that the idealised retellings will always be your favourites; I'm just glad that you did enjoy it. The thing I love most about Cornwell is his ability to create an authentic historical world. It makes me feel that it really could have happened this way. His attention to detail in even the little things just astounds me sometimes.

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Now for my gripe. I recognize that this is completely subjective, but I really didn't care for Lancelot's portrayal. While I do recognize the cleverness of the portrayal (can't you just see how the Lancelot of legend would have been created?), it pained me to see my hero basically slandered. Lies, all lies! Wink


Yeah, I was pretty much expecting that. And sorry for not warning you, but I felt it was too much of a character spoiler. But to be fair, Lancelot, in other stories, does have an affair with a married woman (and betrays his best friend in the process), so it isn't entirely out of the realm of the possible. Although, come to think of it, was that in the original stories?

Quote:
I was also less enthused with Merlin, simply because he felt a little too... magical? He didn't seem to fit as well into the world as the other characters.


Ah, now here's something I can probably help with. This is a deft touch by Cornwell: he does present Merlin, Nimue and other such people with magical powers, but afterwards (and during) he provides clues as to how this magic can be done through trickery. This way, the reader can take the 'performance', as it were, however they like: as a druid performing real sorcery, or as a trickster basically trolling the Arthurian world, using more mundane things to make himself look more powerful. I personally prefer the latter interpretation, because it's more in character as him being a mischievous old man.

Quote:
As a standalone, I actually think it would have served the story better for the characters to have their last stand and go down fighting rather than having Merlin save the day, but I recognize that there are two more stories to tell. Having all your character getting slaughtered in the first book would be inconvenient.


It's funny, but I hadn't thought of that before. Personally I love a heroic last stand, so I'd have been okay with that.

Quote:
Overall, really good book and I look forward to starting the next one. I'll probably pick up Enemy of God today or tomorrow.


Looking forward to your thoughts Smile .
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 PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:50 am Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Life Is The Path wrote:
Yeah, I was pretty much expecting that. And sorry for not warning you, but I felt it was too much of a character spoiler. But to be fair, Lancelot, in other stories, does have an affair with a married woman (and betrays his best friend in the process), so it isn't entirely out of the realm of the possible. Although, come to think of it, was that in the original stories?

It was. Lancelot's first known appearances are in the stories of Chretien de Troyes. One of these stories, The Knight of the Cart, is about Lancelot rescuing his lady Guinevere from Maleagant. Guinevere is married to Arthur, but Lancelot is clearly in love with her.

Lancelot is usually very conflicted about it, though. He's torn between two chivalric duties, to his lord and to his lady, both of which he loves. I actually like it because it adds humanity to Lancelot. Its complicated because Arthur really does love Guinevere, but husbands often didn't love their wives in those days.

I'm not saying it's the right thing to do, but I'm a little more understanding of people having affairs in the Middle Ages in general compared with today because, at least in the upper classes, marriage was almost never for love and women were treated as convenient acquisitions, and easily discarded once they became inconvenient.

Life Is The Path wrote:
Ah, now here's something I can probably help with. This is a deft touch by Cornwell: he does present Merlin, Nimue and other such people with magical powers, but afterwards (and during) he provides clues as to how this magic can be done through trickery. This way, the reader can take the 'performance', as it were, however they like: as a druid performing real sorcery, or as a trickster basically trolling the Arthurian world, using more mundane things to make himself look more powerful. I personally prefer the latter interpretation, because it's more in character as him being a mischievous old man.

Interesting. I guess I'd better reserve judgement. Smile
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 PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:05 pm Reply with quote  
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  GrandMaster
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^I've had Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell sitting on my shelf unread for a few years now - is it a good book?
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"But it was so artistically done."

“No. I am Ganner. This threshold is mine. I claim it for my own. Bring on your thousands, one at a time or all in a rush. I don’t give a damn. None shall pass.”

“Eventually, we all betray something, Tahiri. It’s what you stay true to that counts.”

"Shaken, not stirred, will get you cold water with a dash of gin and dry vermouth. The reason you stir it with a special spoon is so not to chip the ice. James is ordering a weak martini and being snooty about it."


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 PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:12 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Obviously I'm biased, but I think it's a good book, yes. The plot's certainly good, but what I enjoyed most were the characters, whom I found to be most engaging - Hook especially. And it was interesting to see a different version of the battle from Henry V - a scrap, essentially.
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 PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:22 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Finished A Clash of Kings. Having seen the current series, it's interesting, when reading, to see the little hints, or foreshadowing, to what comes next. I think he does it well, especially when he weaves them into the narrative, and it's interesting trying to figure out what's going to happen next (beyond what I already know). Not only that, but the amount of information he throws at you is more than enough to keep me interested. Those of you who've read the books before the TV series have my sympathy. I'm sure it felt like you were thrown into the deep end.

Now reading the next in the series: A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow.
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I am a Star Wars fan. That doesn't mean that I hate or love Jar Jar. That doesn't mean I hate or love Lucas, or agree or disagree 100% with him. That doesn't mean I prefer the PT over the OT, or vice versa. That doesn't mean I hate the EU, or even love all of it (or even read all of it). These are not prerequisites. Being a man is not a prerequisite. Being a geek is not a prerequisite. The only prerequisite is that I love something about Star Wars. I am a Star Wars fan.


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 PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:59 pm Reply with quote  
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  Caedus_16
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Now about to re-read Doctor Sleep. I really enjoyed it on first read, we'll see if it holds up on a second read.
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 PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 4:40 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Finished Part 1 of A Storm of Swords, now on to Part 2.

I liked the book, but it was a bit of a weird place to end it. The only thing of consequence to have happened was the Jon Snow bit. All the other characters felt a little bit flat (as an ending).
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I am a Star Wars fan. That doesn't mean that I hate or love Jar Jar. That doesn't mean I hate or love Lucas, or agree or disagree 100% with him. That doesn't mean I prefer the PT over the OT, or vice versa. That doesn't mean I hate the EU, or even love all of it (or even read all of it). These are not prerequisites. Being a man is not a prerequisite. Being a geek is not a prerequisite. The only prerequisite is that I love something about Star Wars. I am a Star Wars fan.


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 PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:09 pm Reply with quote  
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  GrandMaster
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Life Is The Path wrote:
Finished Part 1 of A Storm of Swords, now on to Part 2.

I liked the book, but it was a bit of a weird place to end it. The only thing of consequence to have happened was the Jon Snow bit. All the other characters felt a little bit flat (as an ending).


Where did you get a two-part copy? I've only seen it as one whole book.
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"But it was so artistically done."

“No. I am Ganner. This threshold is mine. I claim it for my own. Bring on your thousands, one at a time or all in a rush. I don’t give a damn. None shall pass.”

“Eventually, we all betray something, Tahiri. It’s what you stay true to that counts.”

"Shaken, not stirred, will get you cold water with a dash of gin and dry vermouth. The reason you stir it with a special spoon is so not to chip the ice. James is ordering a weak martini and being snooty about it."


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 PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:08 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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The Uk editions are two parts. They do that for a lot of books. Brits don't like reading more than 300 pages at a time. Razz
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 PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:59 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Razz

I think it's just when it goes over 1,000 pages - at least in this series. A Dance With Dragons has done the same thing, though A Feast For Crows, at 800ish pages, hasn't.
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I am a Star Wars fan. That doesn't mean that I hate or love Jar Jar. That doesn't mean I hate or love Lucas, or agree or disagree 100% with him. That doesn't mean I prefer the PT over the OT, or vice versa. That doesn't mean I hate the EU, or even love all of it (or even read all of it). These are not prerequisites. Being a man is not a prerequisite. Being a geek is not a prerequisite. The only prerequisite is that I love something about Star Wars. I am a Star Wars fan.


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 PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:19 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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Anyone read Stephen King's Joyland? I thought it was a let down, it felt like he just phoned it in. He's written some great "nostalgic" stories, namely The Body and Hearts In Atlantis, but it didn't ring true with me. The middle of the book was good when it got into the story, but then it had a typical lame King ending.

Also recently read George arrarrr Martin's The Princess and the Queen, an account of the Targaryn civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons. Way better than the novel of that name. Actually for a novela I'd rank it as a better story than any of the individual Ice and Fire books, besides maybe AGOT.
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They have taken the hearts and minds of our leaders. They have recruited the rich and the powerful, and they have blinded us to the truth! Our human spirit is corrupted. Why do we worship greed? Because, outside the limit of our sight, feeding off us, perched on top of us from birth to death are OUR OWNERS. They have us! They control us! They are our masters! Wake up! They’re all about you, all around you!


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 PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 4:27 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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I finished Enemy of God last night.

I thought the first two parts - the Grail Quest and the war against the Saxons - was a little slow, but the last two parts - "Camelot" and Lancelot's rebellion made up for it. I found the themes in this book fascinating, all the stuff about the gods wanting chaos and Arthur wanting order. I like it sometimes when themes are left open ended like that. It seemed at least partially aligned with the heart of Arthurian legend as well - trying and to build paradise on earth and why that doesn't really work out.

I continued to enjoy Cornwell's writing style. He is obviously well researched and I enjoyed the medieval politics. I like the Derfel/Igraine interludes and started looking forward to them. I also got geeky delight out of the references to what was going on around that time period (e.g. St. Patrick, the Pelagian controversy).

The ending was really sad, in a good way. I thought it was interesting though that, by turning Lancelot into such a scumbag, his rebellion was actually more black-and-white than in the legends. Cornwell basically took all, or most, of the despicable characters and put them on one side rather than having good but flawed men fighting each other. Unlike the re-imagined Grail Quest (turning the grail into a cauldron and basing it on older pagan myths was interesting, but the actual quest wasn't as interesting as the original imo), the re-imagined Lancelot-Arthur conflict was still really compelling, but in a different way. Lancelot's character suffered, but I really enjoyed Arthur's character development in this book. I'm curious to see what Arthur will be like in the third book now that his naive optimism has been shattered.

I'll start Excalibur soon.
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Where sky and water meet,
Where the waves grow sweet,
Doubt not, Reepicheep,
To find all you seek,
There is the utter east.


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 PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:51 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Reepicheep wrote:
I finished Enemy of God last night.

I thought the first two parts - the Grail Quest and the war against the Saxons - was a little slow, but the last two parts - "Camelot" and Lancelot's rebellion made up for it. I found the themes in this book fascinating, all the stuff about the gods wanting chaos and Arthur wanting order. I like it sometimes when themes are left open ended like that. It seemed at least partially aligned with the heart of Arthurian legend as well - trying and to build paradise on earth and why that doesn't really work out.


I agree. And I quite enjoy how Arthur tries, often in vain, to build an ordered, safe society in a chaotic world. Which is even more fascinating (to me) given that all it would essentially need to happen is for him to take power. But such an action would be contradictory to his vision, and thus cause all the problems that you've read about.

And personally I liked the Saxon war and the Grail Quest - though I do think it lacked a little something. I can't quite recall what it is that I think it should have had, at the moment.

Quote:
The ending was really sad, in a good way. I thought it was interesting though that, by turning Lancelot into such a scumbag, his rebellion was actually more black-and-white than in the legends. Cornwell basically took all, or most, of the despicable characters and put them on one side rather than having good but flawed men fighting each other. Unlike the re-imagined Grail Quest (turning the grail into a cauldron and basing it on older pagan myths was interesting, but the actual quest wasn't as interesting as the original imo), the re-imagined Lancelot-Arthur conflict was still really compelling, but in a different way. Lancelot's character suffered, but I really enjoyed Arthur's character development in this book. I'm curious to see what Arthur will be like in the third book now that his naive optimism has been shattered.



I didn't know that it was more black and white than the legends, and that's rather interesting. I've only got the films to go by, and they're not very good, in my opinion, so I don't think I can compare them.

Also, I think it's arguable that the Holy Grail quest is the re-imagined one, historically Razz . It's plausible that the Holy Grail stories were based on stories such as the thirteen treasures of Britain (which were 'real' - I use the term loosely, of course - things). But I understand what you mean.

Sorry to go slightly off topic, but Cornwell wrote a series of 4 books centred around a Grail Quest - aptly named The Grail Quest series. Set in the 14th century, during the Hundred Years' War, with the main character being an archer named Thomas of Hookton. I can't give any more information, though, because those are some of the few Cornwell books that I haven't read. Just putting it out there Wink .
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I am a Star Wars fan. That doesn't mean that I hate or love Jar Jar. That doesn't mean I hate or love Lucas, or agree or disagree 100% with him. That doesn't mean I prefer the PT over the OT, or vice versa. That doesn't mean I hate the EU, or even love all of it (or even read all of it). These are not prerequisites. Being a man is not a prerequisite. Being a geek is not a prerequisite. The only prerequisite is that I love something about Star Wars. I am a Star Wars fan.


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