Author Topic: Rate the last book you just read  (Read 64218 times)

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Offline pandamonium

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2011, 08:38:19 PM »
Sword of Truth series
(currently on book 6 of 11)
7/10

I've read all of these before, and recently decided to reread them.  It is solid fantasy, with a pretty rich world built with functioning political structure and a working (albeit sparesly detailed) magical system.

Too often the story falls back on the hero just "knowing" what to do with no real explanation why, but all in all it is a good fantasy.

About midway through the series, the story kind of becomes heavy handed propaganda on the superiority of capitalism over communism, but whatevs.  I still like it
That's Terry Brooks, right?
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Offline wastrel

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2011, 08:50:40 PM »
Terry Goodkind

Offline Caffiene

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2011, 08:50:58 PM »
That's Terry Brooks, right?

Terry Goodkind.


Ive got the first 7 or 8 of them... I quite enjoyed them, especially the first 2 or 3. But as the series went on I couldnt help noticing each book felt like it very strongly stuck to the same formula. The details and locations and magic involved changed, but the overall structure started to feel very familiar and imposing. The more I read, the more I noticed the repeated themes becoming overbearing.

Since then, Ive also read that apparently Richard is supposed be Goodkind's version of a perfect man, which just doesnt fit with my picture of him... One of the big structure points that gets repeated is his big mistakes that lead to dire consequences.

Id rate them probably 8/10 for the first book, progressing down to 6/10 by the last one I read.

I give it bonus points for not sugar coating the kinkiness with the Mord-Sith, though.
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Offline MikeHz

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2011, 08:52:30 PM »
"Prisoner of Birth," by Jeffrey Archer. 8 of 10. The old felon still tells a good story.
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Offline pandamonium

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2011, 08:54:11 PM »
Terry Goodkind
That's Terry Brooks, right?

Terry Goodkind.
OIC.

Quote
Ive got the first 7 or 8 of them... I quite enjoyed them, especially the first 2 or 3. But as the series went on I couldnt help noticing each book felt like it very strongly stuck to the same formula. The details and locations and magic involved changed, but the overall structure started to feel very familiar and imposing. The more I read, the more I noticed the repeated themes becoming overbearing.

Since then, Ive also read that apparently Richard is supposed be Goodkind's version of a perfect man, which just doesnt fit with my picture of him... One of the big structure points that gets repeated is his big mistakes that lead to dire consequences.

Id rate them probably 8/10 for the first book, progressing down to 6/10 by the last one I read.

I give it bonus points for not sugar coating the kinkiness with the Mord-Sith, though.
I would probably get frustrated with that pretty quickly. I might give 'em a try. Eventually.
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Offline wastrel

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2011, 10:49:17 AM »
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Pretty spot on criticism, but I've found pretty much evey fantasy series to be formulaic at its core.

It is pretty obvious that Goodkind considers Richard a god among men, but Richard is my least favorite character anyway.  The tertiary characters are what always made the books worth it to me.

And yeah, Mord-Sith are awesome

Offline amysrevenge

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2011, 11:00:45 AM »
Terry Goodkind.


Ive got the first 7 or 8 of them... I quite enjoyed them, especially the first 2 or 3. But as the series went on I couldnt help noticing each book felt like it very strongly stuck to the same formula. The details and locations and magic involved changed, but the overall structure started to feel very familiar and imposing. The more I read, the more I noticed the repeated themes becoming overbearing.

I've read the first 4-6 of them.  On a 1-10 scale, I'd rate the ones I read as 9.5, 5, 2, 1, 1, ... (however far I got before I stopped).  The first one is really good, and worth reading on its own.  They go downhill pretty fast.
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Offline wastrel

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2011, 11:17:32 AM »
Terry Goodkind.


Ive got the first 7 or 8 of them... I quite enjoyed them, especially the first 2 or 3. But as the series went on I couldnt help noticing each book felt like it very strongly stuck to the same formula. The details and locations and magic involved changed, but the overall structure started to feel very familiar and imposing. The more I read, the more I noticed the repeated themes becoming overbearing.

I've read the first 4-6 of them.  On a 1-10 scale, I'd rate the ones I read as 9.5, 5, 2, 1, 1, ... (however far I got before I stopped).  The first one is really good, and worth reading on its own.  They go downhill pretty fast.

I agree the quality falls off initially after the first book (Blood of the Fold is especially pretty bad), but by Temple of the Winds, the story picks up quite a bit (IMO)

Offline Grimner

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2011, 05:21:27 PM »
Just finished The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Good read - let's say a 7 of 10. Good on brutality, dialogue and feelings. Bad on background - I keep inventing a long, dark decline that the author spends a couple of lines on.
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Offline Stovetop32

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2011, 09:33:14 PM »
Though not quite done yet (it's a big book with lots of figures), I''ll put in a few good words for Pinker's latest book:

The Better Angels of our Nature:  Why Violence has Declined

Overall I'd give it an 8.5/10

Pros: 
- He does a great job of highlighting alternative ways of looking at historical violence (both statistically and contextually)
- The tone of the book is a surprising amalgamation of haute-academic and lay-terminology.  As one friend put it, you feel smarter when reading it without having to pick up a dictionary or textbook every other passage.  Pinker's voice is somewhat playful, but never flippant.
- The topic is timely, as we are almost always confronted with reminders of how violent our species can be in the MSM.  He goes to great lengths to uncover how easily we tend to focus on the most extreme examples of human cruelty, while simultaneously ignoring acts of kindness and the general absence of violence that we experience on a day-to-day basis.

Cons: 
- A bit long, and a bit repetitive at times.
- I don't know that he paid enough thought to the potential for massive, unprecedented levels of death and destruction at the hands of nuclear weapons, considering how many countries now possess them, and how poor of a job non-proliferation agreements have done to contain their spread.  Yes, our level of violence may be at an all-time low as he is calculating it, but the potential for large scale calamities at the push of a button is much larger than the threat of invading armies in the middle ages.
- I'm not sure that he's including enough about psychological violence (think of the bullying problem we have, or internet anonymity issues).
- I don't completely buy that our currently low levels of violence stem completely from the enlightenment era developments in the philosophy of morality.

Overall, a good read though.


Offline pandamonium

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2011, 10:06:30 PM »
Quote
I don't know that he paid enough thought to the potential for massive, unprecedented levels of death and destruction at the hands of nuclear weapons, considering how many countries now possess them, and how poor of a job non-proliferation agreements have done to contain their spread.  Yes, our level of violence may be at an all-time low as he is calculating it, but the potential for large scale calamities at the push of a button is much larger than the threat of invading armies in the middle ages.
Eh, that's just speculation though. You can speculate until you're blue in the face, but we can't know what will happen until it actually happens. I'm not saying it's not a problem that should be watched, but I can understand why Pinker would chose not to add that speculation to his book.
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Offline Drunken Idaho

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #26 on: October 19, 2011, 12:20:15 AM »
Interesting review, I need to look into that. Thanks Stovetop.
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Offline Stovetop32

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #27 on: October 19, 2011, 09:20:26 AM »
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Eh, that's just speculation though. You can speculate until you're blue in the face, but we can't know what will happen until it actually happens. I'm not saying it's not a problem that should be watched, but I can understand why Pinker would chose not to add that speculation to his book.

Absolutely, it is speculation, but I'll push back a bit here for one reason:  He urges readers to consider situations such as (paraphrasing) "how it would feel to live in such a society, knowing that you'll eventually be invaded," or the general uncertainty of your safety in civilizations of the past.  I'm not saying that he should have turned this book into an anti-nuclear treatise, just that I think his estimate of our current level of security (which plays into his assertion of there being less violence), isn't as comprehensive as I might like.  It's small beef, and you're right, it would require speculation on both Pinker's and the reader's part.  It's just that, given the way he positioned threats to individual/family security throughout the book, I thought it might garner more attention - especially considering the way nuclear proliferation flies in the face of the moral philosophies he champions from enlightenment thinkers (consider Diderot, for example).

Another point I'd raise is that your criticism regarding speculation is one of the greatest he's received in this book.  Many people feel that Pinker unjustly argues that violence will continue to decline because it has been doing so historically (i.e. it is the current trend, and will thus continue in the same direction). 

Anyway, if any of you get to read the book, let me know what you think   :)

EDIT: stupid typo fixed
« Last Edit: October 20, 2011, 12:34:03 AM by Stovetop32 »

Offline amysrevenge

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #28 on: October 19, 2011, 10:25:48 AM »
Just finished this one last night:

Audiobook

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton

10/10

Blurb
Quote
At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of 10,000 planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late 20th century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

This one really worked for me.  It was kind of inevitable, since I have the hugest man-crush on Wil Wheaton, but the thing was a win on all levels for me.  I'm a gamer and fan of 80s crap of all varieties.  The book was frankly written just for me - I'm the exact target audience.*

The climax was really exciting, both the writing and the performance, and my heart was actually racing as I listened to it walking home from the university last night.

Best book I've listened to in a long time.

*I hesitate to recommend the book to the general audience - if you're a 30-something nerd you'll like it, but if you're not you might think it's stupid/preposterous/dull.
Big Mike
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Offline pandamonium

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #29 on: October 19, 2011, 09:01:40 PM »
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Eh, that's just speculation though. You can speculate until you're blue in the face, but we can't know what will happen until it actually happens. I'm not saying it's not a problem that should be watched, but I can understand why Pinker would chose not to add that speculation to his book.

Absolutely, it is speculation, but I'll push back a bit here for one reason:  He urges readers to consider situations such as (paraphrasing) "how it would feel to live in such a society, knowing that you'll eventually be invaded," or the general uncertainty of your safety in civilizations of the past.  I'm not saying that he should have turned this book into an anti-nuclear treatise, just that I think his estimate of our current level of security (which plays into his assertion of their being less violence), isn't as comprehensive as I might like.  It's small beef, and you're right, it would require speculation on both Pinker's and the reader's part.  It's just that, given the way he positioned threats to individual/family security throughout the book, I thought it might garner more attention - especially considering the way nuclear proliferation flies in the face of the moral philosophies he champions from enlightenment thinkers (consider Diderot, for example).
Ah, so speculation was already a feature of the book. Yours is a fair point, then, in that case.

Quote
Another point I'd raise is that your criticism regarding speculation is one of the greatest he's received in this book.  Many people feel that Pinker unjustly argues that violence will continue to decline because it has been doing so historically (i.e. it is the current trend, and will thus continue in the same direction).
I can see why he'd argue that, and I can see counter-arguments to that argument. I chose to believe that violence will approach, but never reach, zero. There'll always be a bit of mad chimp in all of us, and that's probably a good thing - it makes things more interesting. If not for our aggressive natures, this forum would be boring (and easier to moderate, to be honest).

Quote
Anyway, if any of you get to read the book, let me know what you think   :)
I'm interested in reading the book. I don't know if I'll get around to it any time soon, though. I'm a bit broke/busy. Not a fun combo.
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