Nothing like series of fantasy books to get the BBspotters emailing me. I received plenty of email on the Sword of Truth and Wheel of Time series. Here's a sampling...
Date: Jun 20, 2007 3:52 AM
Subject: Re: Ugh
I agree when it comes to Wheel of time, there is nothing happening for ages between 50 pages of INSANE action. I've gotten through all of them on pure spite. book 9 actually has a lot happening suddenly, but book 8 was almost without action at all, an book 10! darn if I can find anything in there that isn't about troops moving about avoiding each other..
When it comes to Sword of truth though, I completely disagree. All of those books are good. Very good. each time I sit down to read one i get sucked in, and and I wake up three days later when I'm finished. I think they all are different enough to make it interesting, intense enough to keep you on the hook, and with such a bunch of entertaining heroes (whom, unfortunately, occasionally gets killed) put into such "slight predicaments" ( put there halfway by fixing the previous problem (probably this trend of which he speaks)) that it is very unlikely anybody will survive. Personally I fin this the most interesting part. That may be why book 4 is actually my favorite while Jonathan ended his reading right there.
Discussion on the books has moved to the BBoard.
Date: Jun 20, 2007 7:42 AM
Subject: Sword of Truth
To: Brian Briggs
Actually, don't avoid the series entirely. Read just the first one,
it's really good. The rest's crap, but the first one actually has
some original ideas. The rest is just rehashed crap.
Date: Jun 20, 2007 10:08 AM
Subject: Other series to avoid...
To: Brian Briggs <firstname.lastname@example.org>
If you haven't read any of the Dune books yet, I'd steer clear of
anything past number 3 (Children of Dune). The first three were pretty
good, in my opinion. After that it starts to go downhill fast,
particularly when Frank Herbert died and his son started writing the
In the fantasy realm, I'd also not recommend the Sword of Truth series
by Terry Goodkind. Unless you're in to S&M, the first book "Wizard's
First Rule" is going to make you want to skip through about a hundred
pages. Having the main character become someone's bitch by way of a
medieval dominatrix isn't my idea of heroics. Judging from the fact
that Goodkind is a best-seller I guess I'm in the minority on that
I also do not recommend The Rune Lords series by David Wolverton
(sometimes credited as David Farland). The entire premise involves
characters (both good guys and bad guys) stealing other people's
abilities through the use of magic rune tattoos. I don't just mean
their knowledge either. They steal good looks, intelligence, strength,
whatever they feel like at the time. I guess it just bothered me that
both the villains *and* the good guys did this. I expect my epic
heroes to have a sense of decency. This is *fantasy* after all.
If you're in the mood for some relatively cheap, easy reads, the
novels based on Star Trek: The Next Generation are actually not bad,
believe it or not. The best thing is if you have a used book store
around where you live (my personal favorite is Half Price Books)
they'll sometimes bundle five or six of them together and sell them
for very cheap. I picked up my last bundle for $4. You could do a lot
Date: Jun 20, 2007 12:16 PM
Subject: Sword of Truth, another unsolicited opinion
I'm not sure why the fellow in the mailbag criticizing the Sword of
Truth series would touch a nerve, but I have to agree with him. He's
right on the money with the exponentially declining quality of the
books. I read the first eight, and by then I couldn't take anymore. I
loved the first one, thought the second was good, and the third was
decent. After that they enter a painful spiral of self-destruction,
rapidly changing from the cleverly written and wonderfully creative
works of a talented author to the contrived, formulaic product of a hack
trying to milk as much cash from the characters as he can. "Here's my
next manuscript, boss, where's my paycheck?" If I didn't know better,
I'd swear Terry Goodkind developed a massive brain tumor, or became an
alcoholic or something.
Worse than that, though, they seemed to me to be getting more and more
transparently political, an allegorical soap-box for a deluded
right-winger to oh-so-very-subtly (that's sarcasm) defend idiotic neocon
policies with made-up fictional scenarios. The eighth book, /Naked
Empire/, could just as easily have been titled "My Defense of the Iraq War."
If you're planning to crack into the series, my advice is to read the
first two, and maybe the third and fourth if you have nothing else on
your reading list. Go any further than that, and you should expect to
feel disillusioned and cheated.
Date: Jun 20, 2007 9:46 AM
Subject: Wheel of Time
Long time BBspot fan here – I’m a faithful reader since 5+ years.
Just wanted to share my views on the Wheel of Time series. I’m sorry you didn’t like it and don’t want to read on; I was totally hooked on it as soon as I started. IMO the first 5 books are awesome, then the quality drops drastically for about 3 books before getting better again. For me it was amazing that the book could go on for dozens of pages, be totally riveting, and the only thing that really happened was that some guys walked down a lonely country road. But if you only thought the first one was so-so then it’s not really any point in going on to the second book. No way you are going to get through a 10+ book series if you only think it is so-so, it would just be a chore.
But if you like sci-fi, and who doesn’t, I can warmly recommend Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan. The wiki entry is here. It is a sci-fi detective story in a hardboiled noir setting. It is one of the best books I have read in many years, and a debut at that. But as always YMMV.
Date: Jun 20, 2007 6:15 PM
Subject: Metric Map
Just a wee nitpick, not that there's anything you can do about it since it's a link from your site and not actual content on your site; The UK hasn't exactly adopted the metric system. Sure, we measure short distances in meters, centimeters and millimeters, but our road signs are still marked in miles, not kilometers, and our cars' speedos are measured in MPH and not KPH. We buy petrol/gas in litres, but only since recently, but we buy milk and beer in pints. Hell, Europe will have to prise my pint glass from my cold, dead hand, though ironically I prefer to measure things in CM. Also, potheads still buy by the ounce, quarter and eighth. It's bloody odd, it's dysfunctional, and strangely representative of the contradictory nature of British life.
Just thought you might be interested/amused. We always take the mickey out of America for insisting on using an overly complicated and outmoded system of measurement but frankly we couldn't be much more odd about it if we tried...
The winner of the 2003 and 2006 Geek Limerick contest has volunteered to write a weekly limerick for BBspot...