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Author Topic: A Kingdom Besieged Thread  (Read 3291 times)

Kikori

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A Kingdom Besieged Thread
« on: February 24, 2011, 01:46:22 AM »

So, I know this place is only a Feist Forum in the vaguest possible sense these days, but I just bought Besieged.

Figured once I'm done I might comment on it.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2012, 05:57:03 AM by Great One »
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Snowlock

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Re: A Kingdom Besieged
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2011, 11:31:53 PM »

I finished Besieged a few days ago, and it is his best book since the serpent war in my opinion. It still has a few of his lazy mistakes but tba it dosent matter as much this time around. The Story is much better and more to my tastes. (kingdom based)
So without spoilers i would recommend this to all of you who loved feists early work. Still to bloody short though.
There is so much i want to say but cant. hurry up and finish the book guys.
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Alrin

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Re: A Kingdom Besieged
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2011, 03:34:11 AM »

Had a brief flick through. Seems King Ryan never existed and Patrick's only son was actually Gregory. It also states that Gregory's rule is only five years old and his father - Patrick - is only recently deceased. So I guess it was Patrick sitting the the throne of the Isles through the last three series.

Of course, it also said way back in Talon of the Silver Hawk that Patrick was recently deceased, though it was only two years at that time. But since that book took place more than twenty-five years before this one (judged roughly on the age of Ty Hawkins), it seems we've had Zombie Patty on the throne for at least a score of years.

Oh, Ray, how I love thy keen eye for details. It's good to know you care so much about the little details and don't just pull random names out of a hat from book to book. You'll always have my devotion as long as you continue to set the bar so very high.
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Great One

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Re: A Kingdom Besieged
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2011, 09:34:04 PM »

Al, being fastidious is a sin, you know?

I'll give it a quick read through once I've slugged through Wise Man's Fear's faerie nonsense and gets to the real nugget of interest: proof of Denna's whoreishness and not beatin' 'round the bush.

I'm not excited, though. I like Feist, he's been significant in shaping my reading for a decade now. But the dude fails at writing a story of interest anymore. I'll be glad to finish 'Magician's End'.
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Kikori

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Re: A Kingdom Besieged
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2011, 04:32:14 AM »

Almost done with my re-read. Have been hard-pressed to fit in any reading time lately. I have to say that I quite liked it the first time through, and am pleased with the book as a whole. I agree with Al in that the descprencies, while often minor, do start to irritate - especially the second time around.
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Halfniak

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Re: A Kingdom Besieged
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2011, 12:07:44 AM »

It was good! Feist is kind of back.
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Ashen Shugar

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Re: A Kingdom Besieged
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2011, 07:07:12 AM »

Yeah it was good, he just needed to put this book and the next one into one. All that was missing from this one is a war to give it that epic feeling that has been missing from his books for so long.
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Liallan

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Re: A Kingdom Besieged
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2011, 03:44:37 AM »

...I'll just pretend this thread isn't half a year old.

I seem to be the statistical outlier in terms of reviews again. I fully expected to like this book and was kind of hyped for it (well, as hyped as I could be after waiting and waiting and waiting for it to be released in Germany and finally giving up and getting hold of it through other means). But I found that I could very barely get through it. I'm not even sure if I'm qualified to say I read it. I skimmed a lot.

Maybe it's because I've been spoiled rotten reading Pratchett's and Trudi Canavan's stuff lately, but while the prologue with the demons (and indeed the whole storyline with them) was engaging, Feist's writing style has been bothering me more than it used to, so much that I cringed through a lot of the scenes. In a word: Pacing and description. What happened to effective introduction of characters? Feist is still doing infodumps - and worse still, he's interspersing them with bits of dialog or, gods forbid, action sequences. It completely wrecks any sense of pacing. The first chapter is especially atrocious - just read the start of the conversation between Martin, Brendan and Bethany and count how many lines of actual dialog a page contains when showing what's supposed to be a flowing conversation. >_< I've complained that Feist has utterly forgotten the "Show, not tell" rule, and the problem still persists.

Speaking of those three, I just couldn't bring myself to care for these new characters (or Hal, or Ty) at all. Maybe it's the shoddy writing style. Maybe it's just me. But why do they even need to be there? There's only so many examples of the "young, inexperienced, talented and privileged nobleman/woman" template Feist can use before they become very interchangeable, and borrowing names from previous characters/historical legends isn't helping. The constant attempts to characterise them through references to the heroes of previous books are also tiresome.

Aside from the writing, my problem with this book is pretty simple: about 90% of the screentime belongs to characters I likewise couldn't be brought to care for when they were introduced. Sandreena and Jim Dasher are particular examples - they were both introduced with huge infodumps on their personal history, talents and abilities, and for some reason that makes me distinctly non-curious to keep reading about them. They also came as pretty much complete packages, with an intricate backstory, but one that never happens on-screen, and they change very little since their introduction. Like Jim Dasher's thing with Franzieska. The woman he loves, but can never be with. That's very touching, but I never saw their complicated relationship develop or unfold, never witnessed the moment when it was clear that it wasn't meant meant to be. I have no emotional investment in it. You can't just suddenly conjure up this new facet and expect me to care about it.

Bringing Tal Hawkins back, and giving him a kid to boot (because there weren't enough young noblemen characters already, it seems) also left a bad taste in my mouth, as I consider him one of Feist's worst characters. (In a nutshell, he's perfectly skilled and talented at pretty much everything, in a way that does certain characters legendary for a particular skill much disservice. Also, that arm-regrowing thing. Yeah.) The "Jommy, Tad and Zane" trio similarly - I found them completely un-memorable from the books they were in.

Now, Amirantha, Pug, the taredhel - those are still pretty interesting, but most of them had pretty few appearances and, more importantly, little stuff to do. It's especially weird with the taredhel in general after so much hype over their settlement on Midkemia in RaDL. I couldn't find much interest for reading about Kingdom/Keshian politics all of a sudden. Feist keeps jumping between interdimensional-type stuff and petty court and inter-kingdom politics, and it's kind of jarring. And why would it be Kesh again? Why not the moredhel or the eledhel, who are much more closely related to the entire fundamental struggle of the cycle? The eledhel especially are direly in need of characterisation. Thirty books, and they're still an obscure nation of Mary Sues living in a flawless utopia (as in "seen by the author and thus the narrative as flawless", not genuinely flawless, which is subjective, and ought to be acknowledged in-universe as such) with completely unexplained and puzzling traits. (Why do they have a queen? What do they do all day? How come they're all Lawful Good and never turn evil-ish, if they and the moredhel are the same people? Are they being brainwashed into goodness by the Spellweavers? No wait, that would be controversial. We can't have them being controversial. Plot holes are much better, yes.) Barring that, I'd rather read more of the Tsurani and their resettlement, to be honest. At least they're a culture we've come to genuinely know and love from previous books, one that means something to us.

Some of the touches were pretty interesting - the Child arc, the foreshadowed loopholy-role of the Hall of Worlds, the role of the Nighthawks, and of course the final chapter and indeed the final line... But that's where it was just getting good, and the book stopped. It felt very short. As in, too little has happened. I liked At the Gates of Darkness, but that one was already an information-gathering type plot. I didn't feel that the characters moved forward very much - there is the confirmation that 'Le gasp! It's the Dread!' but even a casual reader was aware of that at least in the previous book.

So... I'm hesitant to call it the worst ever book, but it IS the first Feist book I've had major trouble reading. I feel that Feist has been very lazy in creating characters lately and the writing style is shoddy. Even the RPG-like style of the Legacy books was better - at least it was to the point. So I'm kind of puzzled by the comments that the "old Feist" is back and am glad I was lent the book, because I sure would've regretted paying its price for it. Maybe there's something I'm missing?

« Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 01:14:02 AM by Liallan »
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Ashen Shugar

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Re: A Kingdom Besieged
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2011, 02:14:51 AM »

Pretty much agree with most of what you said. I don't like his new characters as much as I should, I don't like how he is reusing characters, and I especially didn't like the ending.

To me it was still better than anything he's written since the end of the serpent war with maybe one or two exceptions. It started to feel like his older works, which normally is nothing special but with Feist it's been awhile since he was anywhere near his best. I've been buying his books out of nostalgia as much as anything else and this one felt to me a cut above all the conclave books etc. Still it felt like half a book, but at least it left me wanting more instead of "ok, finally finished it".
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Great One

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Re: A Kingdom Besieged
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2012, 05:51:25 AM »

Cracking belatedly into this now. Having just wrapped up ADL and GoD in quick succession, I'm warmly interested in seeing what pans out. ACI soon to follow, too!

Hopefully we'll see less of the,
'Pug wondered how Laromendis was doing.

Laromendis...'

Urgh. Hope the new Elves have gotten over Tomas, as well.
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Great One

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Re: A Kingdom Besieged Thread
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2012, 12:45:59 AM »

Now, Amirantha, Pug, the taredhel - those are still pretty interesting, but most of them had pretty few appearances and, more importantly, little stuff to do. It's especially weird with the taredhel in general after so much hype over their settlement on Midkemia in RaDL. I couldn't find much interest for reading about Kingdom/Keshian politics all of a sudden. Feist keeps jumping between interdimensional-type stuff and petty court and inter-kingdom politics, and it's kind of jarring. And why would it be Kesh again? Why not the moredhel or the eledhel, who are much more closely related to the entire fundamental struggle of the cycle? The eledhel especially are direly in need of characterisation. Thirty books, and they're still an obscure nation of Mary Sues living in a flawless utopia (as in "seen by the author and thus the narrative as flawless", not genuinely flawless, which is subjective, and ought to be acknowledged in-universe as such) with completely unexplained and puzzling traits. (Why do they have a queen? What do they do all day? How come they're all Lawful Good and never turn evil-ish, if they and the moredhel are the same people? Are they being brainwashed into goodness by the Spellweavers? No wait, that would be controversial. We can't have them being controversial. Plot holes are much better, yes.) Barring that, I'd rather read more of the Tsurani and their resettlement, to be honest. At least they're a culture we've come to genuinely know and love from previous books, one that means something to us.

I lol'd at Snowlock saying it was the best book in a while, and it's the author's return to form. Liallan hits the nail on the head, firmly, and this paragraph in particular sums up my feelings fittingly.

I've gotten over Ray's writing being sub-par, but he really didn't use this book wisely.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2012, 12:47:34 AM by Great One »
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