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Is anyone disappointed in Runes?
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ussusimiel
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried to reread ROTE a while back. The thing I found about it was that it didn't start to get bad until Linden entered the Land. I found the stuff in the real world quite good and very readable. A difference I noticed about the way SRD wrote about the Land is that he treated it much more 'realistically', as if the magic had somehow been wiped off/out of it. For the first time in the whole series, AFAIK, he talked about the toilet facilities. Now nothing takes the shine off things like talking about the jakes Laughing You could say that it is an effect of Kevin's Dirt (a stupid, stupid name for a bane!) or you could say that SRD is stripping things back to basic needs, but none of that, IMO, justifies the writing and pacing being poor.

I gave up the reread when Linden started wandering around. I just couldn't go on. FR is definitely a better book, better paced, more interesting locations and events.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shuram Gudatetris wrote:
Re-reading ROTE for the third time I believe, perhaps the fourth. Started in January with LFB and am reading one book a month. Every book so far has pleased me, and I have gotten something new from each book so far. But all I can say about ROTE, almost halfway through, is:

This book still sucks.

It just feels disjointed and bloated. The story stumbles from one bland scene to the next. Halfway through, there is still no point. Linden Avery is just wandering around the southern Land clueless, she has no purpose, no plan, just kind of staggers around in everyone else's wake. She is not learning anything, not doing anything. I just don't get it.

I thought maybe this time around it would feel a little different. But it is just a bad book. It takes everything I have just to pick it up again and try to limp through to the end. I probably won't ever read it again. If I re-read the chronicles again ten or fifteen years from now, I think I would be better off just skipping Runes and instead reading the last part of WHGB in FR.


I suspect that Donaldson thinks he doesn't have to please his audience anymore, and that he is just writing to please himself.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I gotta agree with ussusimiel. The beginning of the book which takes place in the "real" world is amazing writing and I loved every word of it the first time I read it.. introducing roger like that and everything. I didn't see it coming. but after that I can only really look forward to esmer and stave fighting. I stil enjoy that book more than I do The wounded land though. for me its hard to read the second chronicles after the first.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, not at all. Just read it for the 2nd time in a few weeks. My re-read was too quick so I'm doing it again. Of course, I start from the position of not disliking Linden. So many new characters introduced in the first half of the book, and there is a lot of action. Can't understand why you all don't like it.

TheWormoftheWorld'sEnd wrote:
I suspect that Donaldson thinks he doesn't have to please his audience anymore, and that he is just writing to please himself.


Really? So SD has to ask his fans what they want and then write it? This fan is pleased with what he has done.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not much happens, that's for sure, and each thing that does happen takes 100s of pages. But this is part of his change in style, something repeated in later books, especially AATE.

I recently went back to check how far along the story moves at each 100 page mark. It's remarkably even in it's "revelations," or "big events," but astonishing how much space is between them. Roughly speaking:

100: Real world section, followed by entering the Land.

200: Linden finally leaves Mithil, learns that Anele is Sunder&Hollian's son, who lost Staff.

300: Linden meets Esmer, who gives her the idea to look for the Staff by entering a caesure and going to the past.

400: Linden finds Staff.

500: Linden meet Covenant.

Sure, there are things that happen in between, but these are the big "plot points," and each one takes about 100 pages to unfold. Personally, I would have preferred more adventure in the past, a greater challenge in retrieving the Staff, less repetition of points that have already been sufficiently made, and less pointless characterization for unimportant characters. For example, I don't need to know that Mahtiir is sneering in every scene; I kind of assume he is, since that's all he does. I don't need to know that Liand is still repeating Linden's name, because that's all he does. Hell, we're even told what the horses' incidental reactions are ... to minor fluctuations within the scenes!

And I don't need half a dozen conversations where Linden offers these committed people a chance to leave her--even after they've entered a caesure with her! Christ, Linden, it's clear they'll follow you anywhere!
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iolanthe wrote:
So SD has to ask his fans what they want and then write it?

Not this fan, Iolanthe. I didn't ask SRD (I only knew of him as SD as well until I came I found the Watch Laughing ) to write either the 1st or the 2nd Chrons and I love them.

I think that it's only fair, since SRD has succeeded in engaging me with the world he has created, that I can criticise him for what I perceive as falling short and letting down his own creation. Of course I can offer the ultimate criticism and not read his books (as many others have done Sad )(but then I wouldn't be able to have this enjoyable conversation with you Laughing ).

ROTE is a book that, IMO, plods along very badly. If the 1st and 2nd Chrons had never existed then I could have happily left it alone. Maybe the simplest difference between the writing in the 1st and 2nd Chrons and ROTE is that we spend so much time inside Linden's head. This has the effect of constantly taking us out of the world of the Land and essentially lodging us in the psychological stew of our own world again. And that may be one of my biggest beefs with the ROTE, it feels less and less of a 'fantasy' and more and more of our reality (and that's in spite of all the 'fantastic' things that happen Confused ). It may simply be about atmosphere, nothing 'shines'. It's as if everything is slightly soiled and grimy.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I came to ROTE after having read the 1st and 2nd Chrons years ago and not knowing that the 3rd Chrons had been started. At the same time I bought FR (someone had given me a book token Very Happy ) so I was avid to read them having been starved all those years.

Admittedly Runes is different. But, TC is dead, there is only Linden left that we have met before. All those new characters need introducing and of those Stave is the star. I can't say that I've grown as fond of Liand, Anele, Martiir etc. as I did of Mhoram, Foamfollower and Bannor.

Analysing the writing style, the content of books, isn't, or rather wasn't, something that I had ever done. I either loved a book or didn't. If I didn't like what I was reading I either struggled on or put it away. This forum was a revelation - how deeply everyone had studied every chapter, every word, every idea. But I didn't find Runes difficult to read, I enjoyed it. I had more trouble reading The Wounded Land than I did Runes.

So, we have to agree to differ. I am obviously not so discerning as you lot. Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iolanthe wrote:

Admittedly Runes is different. But, TC is dead, there is only Linden left that we have met before. All those new characters need introducing and of those Stave is the star. I can't say that I've grown as fond of Liand, Anele, Martiir etc. as I did of Mhoram, Foamfollower and Bannor.

Analysing the writing style, the content of books, isn't, or rather wasn't, something that I had ever done. I either loved a book or didn't. If I didn't like what I was reading I either struggled on or put it away. This forum was a revelation - how deeply everyone had studied every chapter, every word, every idea. But I didn't find Runes difficult to read, I enjoyed it. I had more trouble reading The Wounded Land than I did Runes.

So, we have to agree to differ. I am obviously not so discerning as you lot. Wink

Last thing first...I wouldn't be so sure you are less discerning.

I was amazed by the analysis when I discovered this place, too...there is much reason for amazement here, and as you may have realized if you've read many of my posts, astonishment doesn't happen to me often [heh...though some might argue, and have reason to do so, that the rarity of astonishment is a sign of my lack of discernment...I'd be astonished much more often if I really understood anything.]

I was highly interested/invested in the folk you mention BECAUSE of the connections and differences with the earlier folk.

For a similar reason, I disagree with u.'s statement [though perhaps it's taste, and I don't dispute/disparage the right to have it {though maybe can influence/alter it? I've mostly given up on persuading folk...though not typing contrary opinions, apparently. Bad habit?}] that:

"nothing shines. It's as if everything is slightly soiled and grimy."

Yes...and no. The people we have shine exactly BECAUSE of the soil and grime. In many ways, we feel that soil and grime ONLY because of the nostalgic presence of the past works...which, BTW, are seriously soiled and grimy in themselves from any objective view/analysis. Sometimes, I really don't understand people's view that the beauty/presence of the Land existed then in some way it doesn't now. [yea...in other ways, I do...but EVEN THEN, most of the true glory of the Land was long in the past.]

The other thing was/is: Given that everyone knew/knows there was a lot of story before this, and a lot of story yet to come...and at each stage the stakes are raised...I revel in the bleakness, anticipating the rise of light.
It's freaking easy to rub up tarnished silver.
Something else to go from coal to diamond.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did like runes as a book more than most other books but, what made it not one of the ebst chronicles books fo me was my own mindset. the first 77 pages of runes got me so exited and intrigued.. there was so many mysteries going on.. whats up wit Roger? why is Joan like that? how dos Jeremiah know about the land? How could covenants son possibly be a "bad" guy?? I built up my excitement pretty far but throughout the whole book the questions I had been awaiting for were never truly answered.

Time travel is something im not particularly fond of as a plot element because whenever there is time travel my mind goes on overdrive to find a slight glitch in the story.. and that's really something I don't want to do.. but SRD did do the time travel in a way that I enjoyed most of it.. I was just pissed off that they did it again. id rather it only happen once and that be in fatal revenant.. I think time travel is too dangerous a plot element to be added twice. (jus my opinion)

Don't get me wrong I love the last chronicles and everything that comes to life In them. I think the begginign got me prepared for some kind of fast paced story that SRD wouldn't write.. so it's my fault that I was expect something that I had made up in my mind.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:
"nothing shines. It's as if everything is slightly soiled and grimy."

Yes...and no. The people we have shine exactly BECAUSE of the soil and grime. In many ways, we feel that soil and grime ONLY because of the nostalgic presence of the past works...which, BTW, are seriously soiled and grimy in themselves from any objective view/analysis. Sometimes, I really don't understand people's view that the beauty/presence of the Land existed then in some way it doesn't now. [yea...in other ways, I do...but EVEN THEN, most of the true glory of the Land was long in the past.]

True, but we only hear about that we don't experience it ourselves. In LFB Trell fixes a broken bowl and then lifts an impossible weight because of lore. Compared to our world that's glorious and Trell shines in our eyes. Even his despair has an awful magnificance about it (and he is a relatively minor character compared to Mhoram or Bannor).

True, in TWL the people are less heroic and yet they still shine. Hollian and Sunder are truly memorable characters (Memla is very human yet still manages a to make an impression). Hamako (another minor character) again finds true heroism even in despair. In the end Brinn manages to match Bannor and, in my eyes, Pitchwife is the equal of Foamfollower.

In ROTE everyone is all too human. Even the best of the characters, Stave and Liand, seem like pale shadows of Bannor and Sunder.

On top of that, IMO, two other stylistic factors go against ROTE, pacing and editing (I'm echoing Z's point above). These two go hand in hand because improved editing would have improved the pacing (or vice versa, an awareness of an issue with pacing would have led to tighter editing). I don't think that this would have mitigated the other problems that I have with the book, but it would have reduced the number of issues overall.

u.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
True, in TWL the people are less heroic and yet they still shine. Hollian and Sunder are truly memorable characters (Memla is very human yet still manages a to make an impression). Hamako (another minor character) again finds true heroism even in despair. In the end Brinn manages to match Bannor and, in my eyes, Pitchwife is the equal of Foamfollower.

In ROTE everyone is all too human. Even the best of the characters, Stave and Liand, seem like pale shadows of Bannor and Sunder.


That last sentence really says it for me. It's not just the characters, and not even just the Land - the whole world feels like a pale shadow of what we saw in the previous books.

Both quantitatively and qualitatively, we see far less of the Land and the larger world than in the First or Second Chronicles. There's less life to what we do see, as well.

In the First and Second Chrons, even though Covenant's inner psychological struggle was hugely important, it was balanced against the Land. In the Last Chrons, the balance is skewed completely towards Linden's internal struggle, and her quest to save her son.

The problem is that it isn't only in Linden's head that saving Jeremiah is more important than the fate of the Land...it's also feels like that's what SRD thinks. The Land isn't important itself in the Last Chrons - it's merely an arena for Linden to deal with her internal struggles and find her son, whereas in the First and Second Chrons, the Land felt vibrant and real and important in its own right, entirely aside from Covenant's struggles.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man...I just don't FEEL that at all. [indicating, probably, this will be a subjective-arena post, not objective, for the most part]
There's a fair amount of criticism, especially technical/structural, that
I can get behind...or at least understand from a distance.
I even understand [but don't agree with] some of the "Too much Linden, it's the TC Chron's."

I have a lot I want to say here...stuff that was just a mood/aura/expectancy when ROTE was all there was so far. But I daren't. I don't know how [without a lot of work/care I'm not willing to get wrapped up in] to do it without spoiling.

I completely disagree that there is less quant/qual. ...especially qual.
Quant. can be shown one, technical way...by verbiage, basically...
I'd argue that when you do that, you are ignoring the density.
Take Stave on those measures. In everything he says/does...even this early on, before some things are revealed...the weight/importance/deeds/failures of all the Har. we've known resurface/resurge...live again. ALL of them are the Har's history present, accounted for, filling and driving FORWARD.
A kind of parallel/example, silly and a bit over the top, but not untrue...in the "Airplane" movie...the lines
"Surely you jest."
"I'm serious, and don't call me Shirley."
Fucking SLAYS me. Even when other people say it too often, and do a bad impression of it it kills.
Cuz my Grandmother was named Shirley.
She was extremely important to me.
And funny/witty as hell.
I hear anything connected to that line/joke, my brain/heart is full of my Grandmother. [Same sort of tie/association is true, to some extent, of puns in general...and definitely, directly, to jokes with chickens in them].
Stave is full of Brinn, Cail, etc.
Maybe it's just the actor nature and training in me...everything is source and fodder for connection and authenticity for a fictitious endeavor.
Maybe I just have odd boundary problems in my brain and many of you are correct, it is objectively bad [or at least lesser] and I'm just rationalizing.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the first Chronicles, the Land was beautiful. In the first Chronicles, Covenant needed to be persuaded to save the Land. There's probably a connection.

In the Second Chronicles, the Land was sick. In the Second Chronicles, Covenant needed to realize that a physician, not he, must save the Land. There's probably a connection.

In the Final Chronicles, the Land has become ... mundane. Is that connected to what Covenant needs to do? I do not doubt it.

It's almost as if the Land has existed longer than it should have. The magic that had infused it has all dried up.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to say that I loved all the First and Second Chronicles, but I agree with a lot of the points made here.
ROTE is FAR to slow paced for me when Linden enters The Land and as some have said the characters are "pale shadows" of what we have seen before.

Reading ROTE put me off getting the rest of the series. (sad I know) but it just didn't GRIP me the way the First and Second did.....

I have just started FR as I am determined to give this another go and I hope to re-capture some of the magic (pun intended) that the earlier books in the series brought me.

Best wishes

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shuram Gudatetris wrote:
Re-reading ROTE for the third time I believe, perhaps the fourth. Started in January with LFB and am reading one book a month. Every book so far has pleased me, and I have gotten something new from each book so far. But all I can say about ROTE, almost halfway through, is:

This book still sucks.

It just feels disjointed and bloated. The story stumbles from one bland scene to the next. Halfway through, there is still no point. Linden Avery is just wandering around the southern Land clueless, she has no purpose, no plan, just kind of staggers around in everyone else's wake. She is not learning anything, not doing anything. I just don't get it.

I thought maybe this time around it would feel a little different. But it is just a bad book. It takes everything I have just to pick it up again and try to limp through to the end. I probably won't ever read it again. If I re-read the chronicles again ten or fifteen years from now, I think I would be better off just skipping Runes and instead reading the last part of WHGB in FR.


Ok.
Sooooo....I am not doing a 180 degree turn. But, I must say, almost immediately after I posted that, things...well...they picked up!

So the first 40% of the book I find unenjoyable. But then Linden meets the Ramen, and it's all: hold on to your horses, we're going for a ride!
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Runes was a disappointment, except for the opening chapters before entry into the Land. FR on the other hand was very good in my opinion while AATE was still good part of the time.

Donaldson's emphasis on protagonist's psycho-drama instead of world building and side characters in these last chrons fit FR perfectly. Even Jeremiah as the central motivation of Linden came naturally out of its plot. Runes sadly turned out into a pat adventure story.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loved the First and Second Chronicles and have re-read them many times over the years. The TRTE seems written in a very different style, which I guess is understandable, an authors' style will change over 20 years. It just seems a little plodding to me. Add that to a dislike of Time Travel stories, and a deep burning hatred of LA.... well I have not been able to complete it.
I am quite dissapointed. Can I just skip to the last chapters and proceed to Fatal Revanent?
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CerealKiller wrote:
Loved the First and Second Chronicles and have re-read them many times over the years. The TRTE seems written in a very different style, which I guess is understandable, an authors' style will change over 20 years. It just seems a little plodding to me. Add that to a dislike of Time Travel stories, and a deep burning hatred of LA.... well I have not been able to complete it.
I am quite dissapointed. Can I just skip to the last chapters and proceed to Fatal Revanent?

Probably. FR picks up a good bit and, IMO, it's the best book of the Last Chrons.

u.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Definitely do not forego the last few chapters of Runes. There are some great character-defining scenes there...
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CerealKiller wrote:
Loved the First and Second Chronicles and have re-read them many times over the years. The TRTE seems written in a very different style, which I guess is understandable, an authors' style will change over 20 years. It just seems a little plodding to me. Add that to a dislike of Time Travel stories, and a deep burning hatred of LA.... well I have not been able to complete it.
I am quite dissapointed. Can I just skip to the last chapters and proceed to Fatal Revanent?

I thought the same thing when it first came out and read it. But after Fatal Revenant and Against All Things Ending came out and I read both, I went back and re-read ROTE. You know what? I found it much more satisfying.
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