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Author Topic: A question  (Read 1235 times)

Randall Flagg

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A question
« on: April 09, 2009, 12:52:06 AM »

Hey everybody. Well, I have read Magician through Rage of a Demon King, and I have a simple question for you guys: Is it even worth continuing to read these books?

First, please understand that I am not hating or flaming. I REALLY enjoyed the Riftwar Series. PotB and tKB were good, too. (I really liked tKB). However, the Serpentwar Series was quite a bit of a let-down for me. Here is what I dislike about this series:

When I first read the prologue of Shadow of a Dark Queen, I was beyond excited. Sauur, Demons, Pantathians...WOW. I couldn't wait to read this story. However, everything after that just got progressively worse and worse. I liked the first book, but Rise of a Merchant Prince, in my honest opinion, never should have even existed. It was almost painful to read, and I think only about 20 pages of the entire book progressed the storyline. Rage of a Demon King was better, but by this time, it was already a lost cause for me. And I kind of felt like the history of the original story was being rewritten, which I hate to see in any series. It was a really good concept, but I just feel like it was handled half-assed and should have been much better than it actually was. I mean, the Sauur really weren't even in the book!

Anyway, I never read the Empire Series, but I am going to go back and read those, because I hear they are pretty good. However, I think I might stop there, unless someone here can convince me that the books get better again.

So, please, let me know what you think. Does the story pick up again after Serpentwar? Was it just a temporary lull, or do the rest of the books continue on in this "meh" fashion? Any opinions are greatly appreciated.

If it helps, my favorite book was probably Darkness at Sethanon.
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Great One

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Re: A question
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2009, 05:05:24 AM »

If you felt the Serpentwar series was bad, then I'd advise you just quit reading REF altogether.
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Iluvatar

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Re: A question
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2009, 07:45:09 AM »

Well,

  In order of how much I enjoyed the various books. I'd have to say...

Empire Trilogy was my favorite. I've purchased and lost to loan more copies of those books than all other books I've ever owned combined.

Then comes the originals of course. In the 8th grade I picked up a hardback copy of the APE Magician in a single volume by accident one morning for required reading time in Language Arts class. I don't know who the book belonged to, but they left it in the classroom and probably never saw it again. That was the start of a long journey for me though. I quickly read through the 4 other books that were published by then and since have basically read each new book he's written within a year or so of it hitting paperback.

After the originals I'd say the Serpentwar saga is next. I felt like the books sort of hit a true "next generation" here, and seeing another young man rise and grow and struggle (Eric) through a completely different path was satisfying.

After that, I'd say the conclave series (Talon, king of foxes, exile's return). I'd almost rate them above serpentwar.

Then would be the Prince of the Blood / TKB pairing (Always linked in my mind for whatever reason).

Bringing up the rear is the Krondor books. Not really sure where darkwar will fit in there though.
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Gorath

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Re: A question
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2009, 03:39:41 PM »

I really liked RoaMP, it was the style of what happened in that book which gets me excited! I love being a tycoon in video games, and reading about someone else being a tycoon! BRILLIANT!
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James

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Re: A question
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2009, 06:49:58 PM »

Well, I rarely venture into this part of the forum and that is because I am not really a fan anymore. I read all the books leading up to Conclave of Shadows and really enjoyed them. It was Conclave of Shadows that did me in. The first and third books in the series were mediocre, but the second one, King of Foxes, was so utterly terrible that is has taken away any real desire to pick up a book by Feist, past, present, or future.
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Iluvatar

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Re: A question
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2009, 11:02:16 PM »

Well, I rarely venture into this part of the forum and that is because I am not really a fan anymore. I read all the books leading up to Conclave of Shadows and really enjoyed them. It was Conclave of Shadows that did me in. The first and third books in the series were mediocre, but the second one, King of Foxes, was so utterly terrible that is has taken away any real desire to pick up a book by Feist, past, present, or future.

I noticed a trend that began with the serpentwar books. Since then, each book has gotten shorter. The type is a larger font, more empty space on the pages, and less overall pages per book. He's taking 2-3 books to tell the story he used to tell in one book.

At one time, about 8-9 years ago now, I was part of a team developing an MMORPG, and I had occasion to contact REF for some preliminary discussion about licensing his work for the IP for the title. This was roughly around the time the Krondor books were still coming out as I recall. We actually would have done it had 9/11 not occured and frozen our funding, but that's a story for another day. In any case, he was quite friendly and knowledgable during our hour long conversation, and he knew exactly what questions to ask to make sure we weren't wasting his time... but he was highly insistent that whatever we do revolve around Krondor, because he was convinced that Krondor was what was marketable about his "franchise"... To my mind the moment he became more worried about marketing his stuff and less worried about telling great stories, something was lost.

I still love his books, and he still has a great hand at character development. But you are right that in some ways things are not what they once were. Still my favorite author though :)
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James

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Re: A question
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2009, 12:34:37 AM »

Quote
noticed a trend that began with the serpentwar books. Since then, each book has gotten shorter. The type is a larger font, more empty space on the pages, and less overall pages per book. He's taking 2-3 books to tell the story he used to tell in one book.

I have to give you credit, I didn't realize this until King of Foxes. I have pointed it out before, going so far as to take a photo of it to point out the large font and wider-than-normal margins. I initially caught it because I read KoF so fast. For a book its size, read slowly, it should have taken me quite a bit longer to finish it off. This actually plays a large part in why I can't really be bothered with the books anymore*.

Quote
To my mind the moment he became more worried about marketing his stuff and less worried about telling great stories, something was lost.

I picked up a similar feeling somewhere. I think it may have been in an interview a while back. Basically, it seemed to me that he was less interested in the stories he was putting out and more interested in the money he was receiving to do it. This realization and the waning quality of the novels did nothing to salve my waxing disinterest in the series.

* (Do Not Read If You Have Not Read King of Foxes)
Spoiler: "King of Foxes" • show
While this plays a large part, there is definitely one other major thing that lowered Feist in my eyes and it can be found in King of Foxes. A good bit of the book is dedicated to one story arc in particular, where Tal loses a hand and is thrown in prison. In the outset of this arc, it is great. The main character, a renowned swordsman, has been disabled! How great is that? And so we go along the arc and at the very end of it... he gets his hand back. My time, many pages, and a plot point that could have been highly respected was wasted with that.

In another thread, the Heroes thread, I talk about how the show has taken a bad turn by going with a "anything it takes" approach to advancing the plot. It is weak in the show and it is weak in any other medium it is used, but to me it is even worse when used in a novel. So to see it used showed me one that either the novel wasn't planned well or that Feist was running low on the word count and needed to pad it. Of course, it could have been planned from the outset, but I find that to be far worse than the other two.

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Randall Flagg

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Re: A question
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2009, 09:02:55 PM »

Thanks for the opinions. I think I will go back and read the Empire trilogy, and put the whole story to bed, before it "Gets ruined for me", which many people have said about some of the later books.

I think it was the combination of the "anything to advance the plot" and the constant addition of greater evils to the antagonist side. Its kind of like I enjoyed the idea of the Tsurrani, the dark elves, and the serpents each having there own agenda. Then, by the end of RoaDK, it pretty much turned into the "bad guys" just being bad because it is their nature. Evil for the sake of being evil just kind of loses something for me.

Also, Pug and Tomas have become pretty much gods in and of themselves, not to mention Macros. Its like Feist had to keep making the "bad guys" more and more powerful just to keep up so that, by the end, they were fighting the gods!

Anyway, thanks again for the opinions. This is a great forum.
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