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The war within
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Hunchback Jack
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I wanted to show it was longer and just give people an idea of the physical dimensions of the book.

SRD estimated that TWW was about 2.5 times the length of SD. The ARCs seem to confirm that estimate.

I will start reading TWW today. I'm a slow reader, but will post spoiler free impressions when I can. SUPER excited to start it!

HBJ


Last edited by Hunchback Jack on Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:08 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking forward to that. Thanks!
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Hunchback Jack
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm 200 pages into The War Within - about one-third. My initial impressions are a bit mixed.

Donaldson has introduced new characters and new locations, and has established the basic premise of the novel. But not a lot has actually happened. Most of the chapters so far have been characters meeting, to update each other on the current situation - much of which the reader already knows.

The dialogue is compelling, the stakes are high, and we learn much about the characters themselves from these exchanges. But the story isn't really moving forward.

Having said that, I've reached a point where I expect that to change. I'll post some more impressions after another 200 pages.
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renny
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your thoughts. I'd be very interested to know what you think after another 200 pages as this sounds very much to me like the beginning of the gap cycle before everything ramped up in ADAHGA. Is that fair?
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds very different from the Gap to me. Sounds more like AATE where characters sit in one spot and talk for 100 pages. Granted, nothing wrong with that, necessarily. I was even impressed that SRD had so much for his characters to say (at least, the first time he did this). But most of the time, the characters were literally moving in the Gap. They were on a spaceship going somewhere for a specific reason. Even when they were constrained to one "set," that set was itself moving (which is one of the narrative benefits of writing s.f.).

I don't mind a slow build at the beginning of a novel, but I thought that's what the first novel was for. If 1/3 the way into the 2nd novel is still slow--which is nearing the halfway mark for the entire series--we've got a serious pacing issue here.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say that it's not nearly as static as AATE was. We are shifting between locations, getting the narrative from different character points of view, and seeing more of this world.

When reading AATE, the story felt stalled while all the dialogue between characters went on. Here, the feeling is quite different. Things are gradually being revealed, but the characters actions in response have not yet begun.

To contrast with Mordant's Need, for example, the story in MD felt more dynamic still because we stayed with Terisa's POV, and she moved within Orison to meet and talk with people. She was also personally attacked, which drove the story forward. In TWW, we are getting "snapshots" of events from different POV, and the main purpose of scenes is to introduce story elements, not further plot.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This sounds a bit more like what I was hoping for. A bigger cast and glimpses of a bigger world. Anticipation building!
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the clarification. Sounds good. Cautiously optimistic! Very Happy
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for the long delay in posting again. I'm a slow reader, and Real Life has been eventful (for good reasons, mostly).

I'm 150 pages further in - now at page 350 of 576. The pace has really picked up, for the better. I wouldn't call it fast-paced, by any means, but there's a lot less discussion and a lot more doing. The focus has remained primarily with one character, to the story's benefit, in my opinion. The characters are interesting, the dialog is fantastic, and the intrigue is intriguing.

I do have a few criticisms which I can't talk about without spoilers.

I'm not sure where the story will go from here. Donaldson has set up a few things that it will be interesting to see develop.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent. Thanks for the update. It really does sound as though this book has the SRD feel to it. Seriously cannot wait.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HBJ, I am intrigued by how you (as an ARC reader) skate the line to always be a teaser and never a spoiler. Well done!

So looking forward to these books...
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the kind words. I hope people find my comments useful.

I finished The War Within last night. I liked it, and am looking forward to the concluding volume.

It's quite different from his other work - I'd call it political intrigue in a fantasy setting. There is much scheming and plotting, and a lot of world- and character- building. There is not much physical conflict, and surprisingly little overt sorcery - although sorcery does play a pivotal role in the story.

Donaldson's prose and dialogue is as compelling as ever. I've really come to like these characters.

There are a couple of weaknesses, though:
- there is no clear villain or threat yet revealed to the reader, so while I understand the stakes, it's hard to feel the characters are in danger. So the story doesn't have the passion or emotional intensity of some of his other work.
- the pacing is a bit uneven. Confrontations that take chapters to build up to are resolved in a few pages. I noticed this in the Last Chronicles as well.

I expect both of these weaknesses will improve in the final volume though. While this volume reaches a point of resolution, it is clearly the first half of a longer tale, and there is much to relate yet.

"The War Within" is a great title, by the way.

I'd give it a solid 3/5.

HBJ
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brilliant. I've got this on pre order and I'm really looking forward to it. Thanks for your thoughts.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The audiobook for The War Within is now available at audible.

https://www.audible.com/pd/The-War-Within-Audiobook/0525499180
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing your impressions. I had forgotten that TWW is coming out in April, instead of usual SRD-October...
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Picked up a copy from waterstones just now so I have it! Annoyingly I am half way through my re read of seventh decimate so I can't start until tomorrow lol
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My copy arrived today!

I've reached out to the admins and my fellow mods to have a The War Within subforum created here. Once that happens, I'll move this thread (and any other germane threads) to that forum so that the separate volumes are addressed in appropriate fora.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sadly mine won't be available until the 9th apparently. But I'm also about half way through Seventh Decimate now, so hopefully there won't be too much of a gap between finishing that, and starting the new one.

Once I've read it, I'll read this thread, but until then I'll stay out of it to avoid anything remotely resembling a spoiler Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple of short online reviews popped up today.

https://www.thedigitalfix.com/life/content/5976/book-review-the-war-within-by-stephen-donaldson/

https://www.geeksofdoom.com/2019/04/03/book-review-the-war-within-stephen-r-donaldson
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
A couple of short online reviews popped up today.

https://www.thedigitalfix.com/life/content/5976/book-review-the-war-within-by-stephen-donaldson/

https://www.geeksofdoom.com/2019/04/03/book-review-the-war-within-stephen-r-donaldson


Thanks!
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