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What are you reading this year 2020?


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The hyper-detailed combat descriptions definitely do tend to drag. I think the problem is that too often, their narrative influence is limited to who wins and loses. They rarely provide character, thematic, or plot development. There is little depth to them beyond the action being depicted.

I remember back in the day that the press blurbs were stuff like "R.A. Salvatore worked as a bouncer, which informs his realistic depictions of combat." <Insert wry chuckle>

I finished The Cleric Quintent, a five novel series by R.A. Salvatore this week. I had heard positive things about this series over the years, particularly about the unique characters, but have mixed feelings about the collection.

On one hand, R.A. Salvatore is a gifted writer when it comes to creating light page turners that don't require a lot of thought, but on the other hand, I thought his combat descriptions were unnecessarily lengthy, detailed, and at many times, highly unbelievable. I know, I know, it's fantasy, but still. Also the main character having essentially a Yo-Yo as a primary weapon was a major suspension of disbelief for me.

At any rate, there were fun moments in the books, but also large spans where I wanted the author to narrate through combat rather than providing play-by-play announcer and color commentator for every. single. battle.

:)
 

Nellisir

Adventurer
Bit of a slowdown recently. Read Rhialto the Marvellous, by Jack Vance, and Sister Pelagia and the Black Monk, by Boris Akunin. Boris Akunin is apparently a very popular Russian mystery writer, and I suppose it says something that he apparently wrote Sister Pelagia as a three-book diversion from his normal writings, and I'm angry about it. I don't care who his normal protagonist is, I want more Sister Pelagia!! I've read two and one more is Not Enough. :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

Not sure what I'll read next; kinda thinking I should look for something at least a little different...oh, I think I know.
 

KahlessNestor

Adventurer
Still reading Exploring Eberron by Keith Baker.

Finished The Shepherd's Crown, the last Terry Pratchett novel.

Still reading Night of the Assassins: The Untold Story of Hitler's Plot to Kill FDR, Churchill, and Stalin by Howard Blum.

Still reading Dawnshard by Brandon Sanderson.

Still reading Searching for Bobby Fischer.

Started Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher.

Started The Last Threshold by R. A. Salvatore.
 

Pawndream

Explorer
After finishing up The Cleric's Quintet I dove right back into another power fantasy by R.A. Salvatore, Legacy of the Drow. This is a collection of five books featuring the classic characters Drizz't Do'urden, Wulfgar, Bruenor Battlehamer, Cattie Brie, Regis. I am only 50 pages into the first book, but it's been nice revisiting with the characters from the Crystal Shard series.

Why the R.A. Salvatore power fantasy kick lately? After finishing up N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy, I desperately needed something light and figured I would check out some 'classics' of the pulp fantasy genre.
 

Pawndream

Explorer
The bit about R.A. Salvatore working as a bouncer prior to hitting it big as a writer, as proof of his "realistic depictions of combat" is laughable. :)
 

tardigrade

Explorer
Why the R.A. Salvatore power fantasy kick lately? After finishing up N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy, I desperately needed something light and figured I would check out some 'classics' of the pulp fantasy genre.
Hah - just finishing up book 3 of Broken Earth myself. What did you think?

Although I may have to put it on pause for a few days - I have to read War with the Newts before a SF book club meeting on Monday...
 

Pawndream

Explorer
Hah - just finishing up book 3 of Broken Earth myself. What did you think?

Although I may have to put it on pause for a few days - I have to read War with the Newts before a SF book club meeting on Monday...
Honestly, it was a frustrating read. Parts of the Broken Earth series were really engaging, but there were large swaths of what I call meta magical babble I really struggled to get through.

The use of alternate narrators was a neat concept, but also confusing because I wasn't sure who was who until maybe the end of the 2nd book. For the longest time I thought it was an unreliable narrator.

Overall, I am torn on Broken Earth trilogy.
 

Nellisir

Adventurer
Read Sandman Slim, by Richard Kadrey. Good solid read, 4/5. I bought it and a sequel at the book sale this fall, but I can't remember where I put the second one so probably reading something else. Edit: Found the other book, have started it.
Also finished up the X of Swords crossover (I've read the X-comics for...33 years now), and been reading misc gaming stuff. Got Tome of Beasts II and Tasha's Everlasting Cauldron last week; the DCC Lankhmar boxed set; the Basic Fantasy rulebook and the Basic Fantasy Field Guide; also last week, and Hunters in Death, a hexcrawl setting/mini-campaign fanzine by Gothridge Manor yesterday. So lots to browse through.
(X of Swords is definitely the tightest plotted crossover I've probably ever seen; amazingly good throughout. Tome of Beasts II was excellent; Tasha's is fine but not blowing me away; DCC Lankhmar absolutely blew me away with the insane production values; not so much with the vast number of pages taken up by situation specific charts (this is my first encounter with the DCC rule system and...wow. What a waste of space in this BEAUTIFUL product!!!); Basic Fantasy was fine (knew what I was getting); the Field Guide was actually very good; Hunters in Death was also very good/recommended.)
 
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Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Read Sandman Slim, by Richard Kadrey. Good solid read, 4/5. I bought it and a sequel at the book sale this fall, but I can't remember where I put the second one so probably reading something else.
Also finished up the X of Swords crossover (I've read the X-comics for...33 years now), and been reading misc gaming stuff. Got Tome of Beasts II and Tasha's Everlasting Cauldron last week; the DCC Lankhmar boxed set; the Basic Fantasy rulebook and the Basic Fantasy Field Guide; also last week, and Hunters in Death, a hexcrawl setting/mini-campaign fanzine by Gothridge Manor yesterday. So lots to browse through.
(X of Swords is definitely the tightest plotted crossover I've probably ever seen; amazingly good throughout. Tome of Beasts II was excellent; Tasha's is fine but not blowing me away; DCC Lankhmar absolutely blew me away with the insane production values; not so much with the vast number of pages taken up by situation specific charts (this is my first encounter with the DCC rule system and...wow. What a waste of space in this BEAUTIFUL product!!!); Basic Fantasy was fine (knew what I was getting); the Field Guide was actually very good; Hunters in Death was also very good/recommended.)
Tasha's you kind of have to read, just to keep up on everything - especially if the players are asking to include it. I do like the optional feats; I'll be allowing them.

Sandman Slim I liked, the 2nd one was pretty good too. I haven't gone on to read the rest; but apparently Kadrey produced the final one in the series this year. I like series that come to an end. (Ah, a quick glance at GoodReads, 12th book coming out next summer will be final volume.) Maybe I'll get back on the train and try to read the rest before the end.
 

Nellisir

Adventurer
Tasha's you kind of have to read, just to keep up on everything - especially if the players are asking to include it. I do like the optional feats; I'll be allowing them.
Agreed. It doesn't seem bad, I guess, but I don't run or play a game currently so it's just homework for me.

Sandman Slim I liked, the 2nd one was pretty good too. I haven't gone on to read the rest; but apparently Kadrey produced the final one in the series this year. I like series that come to an end. (Ah, a quick glance at GoodReads, 12th book coming out next summer will be final volume.) Maybe I'll get back on the train and try to read the rest before the end.
12 volumes. Sheesh.
Mike Carey's Felix Castor series is only 5 books and pretty similar in tone, if you like that genre. I liked the series.
 

Aeson

Adventurer
Godless Citizens in a Godly Republic: Atheist in American Public Life

A book about politics and religion. It's an excellent history book thus far. It starts off in the early colonial days. I'm finding it fascinating.
 

Nellisir

Adventurer
Found, and read, Kill the Dead, the second Sandman Slim book by Richard Kadrey. Decent, not spectacular. I don't mind looking for more but I'm not going to go nuts about it. 3/5

I've got non-SF/Fantasy books piling up, so going to try and switch gears for a bit and read those. We'll see how it goes.
 

The DCC Lankhmar boxed set is a wonderful work. Even if you're not planning on running it, seeing all the information about Lankhmar codified and centralized is just grand. As for the tables and charts, DCC RPG definitely leans in on those heavily - it's one thing I'd say is a flaw in an otherwise lovely product. Every spell having its own caster chart is just too much.

DCC Lankhmar absolutely blew me away with the insane production values; not so much with the vast number of pages taken up by situation specific charts (this is my first encounter with the DCC rule system and...wow. What a waste of space in this BEAUTIFUL product!!!);

I finished reading Farmer's A Private Cosmos - it's a rollercoaster of a read, though I think I preferred Wolff as the protagonist. Winter's The Fires of Vengeance was amazing. Evan Winter is a phenomenal new voice in fantasy literature. And I finished Lord Dunsany's The Book of Wonder. I loved it, but maybe not quite as much as other works by Dunsany.

Now I'm reading Robert Adams' Stairwell to Forever. Last time I read this was when the book was new, and that was some time ago.
 

KahlessNestor

Adventurer
Still reading Exploring Eberron by Keith Baker.

Still reading Night of the Assassins: The Untold Story of Hitler's Plot to Kill FDR, Churchill, and Stalin by Howard Blum.

Still reading Dawnshard by Brandon Sanderson.

Still reading Searching for Bobby Fischer.

Still reading Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher.

Still reading The Last Threshold by R. A. Salvatore.
 


dragoner

Dying in Chargen
After the Norton kick, I have been reading some Delaney: Driftglass (shorts), The Einstein Intersection; except I do have a Ben Bova book waiting - Exiles of Earth Omnibus that I want to read.
 

Nellisir

Adventurer
I couldn't sleep and started Don't Look Back, by Karin Fossum, a Norwegian author. VERY readable. Flows right along. Biggest hassle was putting down the book to try and sleep again.

In the general category of "things that are written", I actually got a pile of Christmas cards addressed yesterday and filled a good chunk of my new address book. This is stuff I've been meaning to do for years and I'm quite chuffed about it. It's awful trying to think of exactly what to write on each card, though.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
Just finished Everything All at Once by Bill Nye. Someone put it in our little library months ago....not bad, not great. I wouldn't buy it. I have a huge number of books to read next. Waiting for my Sanderson books to come in the mail (though I have Stormlight? one here.....).
 

I finished Robert Adams' Stairwell to Forever, and I was glad to be done with it. Hoo-boy, there's a lot to unpack. It's so very 80s, but in a bad way. Imagine if the The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe began with finding a treasure in Narnia, then spent 75% of the book detailing the main characters getting rich selling it in our world and having to defend his wealth from "furiners" and "the guvamint." Just about everyone but the main characters are written speaking in some sort of crude and stereotypical dialect, and it starts to feel insulting to the people depicted. In general, the book feels very sordid.

In conclusion, it was a trainwreck that I couldn't look away from. Also, I can't believe I read the thing when I was 12.

Next up is Seanan McGuire's Down Among the Sticks and Bones, which is already a much better portal fantasy.
 

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