I’ve always enjoyed reading fantasy (Lord of the Rings being one of my favorites!) and when I was a teenager, I enjoyed reading David Eddings’ fantasy series—with his Belgariad series being another favorite. Lately, I have found it hard to get into fantasies. Several series start really promising and then get frustrating as you continue on.
I remember starting on Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series (even introducing it to other friends) and then getting really frustrated as it slowed down and never seemed to end—the main character got really whiney and the female characterization was making me unhappy. I stopped at Book Four and never looked back. Turns out, he died before he even finished, though I hear that his son is finishing the series for him.
I’ve been really put off by fantasy series that start off really well, but don’t follow through. For instance, I enjoyed reading Eragon, only to struggle with the second book Eldest. The story dragged and I could not get past page 100. I don’t know if I am willing to invest the time in reading it if the third and fourth turn out to be just as problematic.
Then one day, as I was browsing in Amazon, I came across a fantasy book that had been given really good reviews—The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I borrowed the book from the library and ploughed through it in no time at all. I recommended it to many fantasy-loving friends. I was thrilled to find a new author I could get into. Then, I had to wait for the second in the series to arrive.
Well, it recently did. And even though it was costly, I bought the book on my Kindle. Only after buying it did I start to read the reviews on the book. My heart started to sink as review after review got more negative. Surely someone who could write so well and who told the first story so beautifully couldn’t have stumbled. I didn’t even think to check before buying because I was confident I would enjoy this book.
Even with the negative reviews, I read my bought copy. For those of you who have not read it, I won’t give away the storyline. Suffice to say, the reviewers were mostly right.
This second part (of three) is slow and the story moved in a way that disappointed me. Kvothe (the main character) behaved in ways that were so confusing to me. The author seemed to spend so much time on some parts of the story that I felt did not really move the main story along.
The second half of the book dragged and I kept wondering how he was going to get to the finish in his third book. Why did he have to go on and on about his time with Felurian and then again so much time with the Aren? If anything, I felt this book was in need of a better editor.
Having said this, I did enjoy the story still. Rothfuss has a way with words and he is able to draw me into the world he created. I just wished that he would have done a better job of getting somewhere in this book. He did, however, make me curious about what would be coming up. He left enough hints for me to look forward to buying the third book. Would I really recommend this book? I would have to say it all depends on whether he is able to redeem himself in the third.
I Hate to Wait
That is the other reason I hate fantasy series. The waiting! Sometimes, I prefer to discover an older series where the author has completed the series. That way, there is no waiting involved and I am able to read the series right through. I’m always afraid of an author dying or losing interest and leaving the readers cheated of a good ending.
I recently started reading another series that sounded really promising—A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin. I started in about 100 pages, and got really excited. This was a story with depth and great characterization.
But then, my recent experiences kicked in and out of caution, I went to Amazon and looked the author up. Turns out, he’s still writing his series. I read the reviews on the first four books of the series—first one, fantastic; second one, even better; third one, really good. At this point, I got quite excited. This author is consistent. The reviews paint a great picture.
But then, I read the reviews for the fourth book and they were not good. Quite critical as a matter of fact. And I found out he took FOREVER to write that fourth book. Hmmm…now that began to worry me.
This series is supposed to be 7 books long. And each book was about 1000 pages. That is a lot of investment in time. What if the rest did not go as well? Did I want to start and be disappointed? I was torn.
And as I read about the author, I couldn’t help but notice that he was OLD. What if he died before he finished ala Robert Jordan (sorry George Martin for being so morbid!)? I would definitely be left hanging.
I’m still tempted to continue reading his series but I might decide to be patient and wait a little more.
What would you do? Are you a fantasy fan? Do you have other books that you would recommend to me? Let me know if you have had similar experiences with being let down by sequels to books that started well. I’d love to hear about them. I would also love to hear of sequels that you have enjoyed as I’m always looking for good books to read.