What are you reading 2.0

Miliham Rastoubel

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well...to be fair there are 3 series going on at the end. and they aren't "intended" to be read at the same time. I mean a lot of people have read them all, but really the shadow's and the torch's are meant to be side stories and only the mainline honor books are the mainline series. so yes there are scenes that are repeated (not completely copied and pasted) from the side series into the mainline books where they overlap.
 
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Currently reading R.F. Kuang's The Poppy War. Was very excited based on her Hugo best new author win and the fact that it's inspired by Chinese history culture (she herself having been born in Guangzhou).

But so far, about 5 chapters in...all this wonderful worldbuilding I read about? It's LITERALLY just Chinese history, unchanged except for the names. And not even the names sometimes. Like, there's a scene where they're training in martial arts and the instructor tells them of who the author of the famous "Principles of War," who is named Sunzi (which is actually how Sun Tzu is rendered in Mandarin pinyin) was tested by the emperor by having him train his concubines. In which he was ultimately successful after beheading the two senior concubines when the women didn't obey the orders. That's not worldbuilding...that's an actual legend associated with actual Sunzi and nothing is changed about it. Earlier, when studying for the equivalent to China's Imperial Examinations, the girl recites a passage from a book that basically gives a super simplified overview of Confucianism. She says the name of the author was Mengzi. Mengzi is a real person...known in the west as Mencius, the most important Confucian other than Confucius himself. There are other examples and this is only like 60 pages in. It's constant.

I really hope this gets better...I loved her speech at the awards, and I would love to see more non-western themed fantasy out there. But thus far I'm unimpressed because the opening of the book has basically nothing original to anyone even remotely familiar with Chinese history and culture (so, probably explains why the western media raved about it's worldbuilding...)

/rant
 

Kassina Tendar

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The history of the world does deepen the further you get. (I'm reading the third book in the trilogy right now) It is heavily inspired by Chinese history, though, and obviously she doesn't try to hide that the trilogy is based on the 2nd Sino-Japanese War. I admit, I also thought naming the author Sunzi was a bit on the nose. :laugh:

YMMV, but I've enjoyed learning more about the world as the story progresses. It's become one of my favorite series, actually. I love it! I wouldn't say the world building is entirely original, but she's also pretty upfront about borrowing heavily from history. She's talked about wanting to do more in future series and has said she's learned a ton from the things she wishes she'd done better in this series.

So in my opinion, it does get better, but I can't say for certain how you will experience the rest of the series since the parallels with Chinese history didn't bother me personally, even at the start. Even when I thought it was being rather blatant.
 
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There's based on, and there's "these are some of the most famous people, places, books, and legends from Chinese history and literature without even the serial numbers filed off." I mean, ASOIAF is heavily based on the Wars of the Roses, but GRRM at least smudged it a bit. They literally have a Sunzi writing the literal Art of War (Principles of War, as it's called in novel, is an equally valid rendering of the Chinese original). They have literal Fuzi and Mengzi (proper Chinese way of referring to Confucius and Mencius) writing about Confucianism. Kitay shows his mind for strategy by coming up with Zhuge Liang's famous plan to "borrow" arrows from Wei right out of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms--one of the most famous scenes in the most famous book in all Asia (it's even got a painting in the Long Corridor at the Summer Palace in Beijing). When Rin is training in martial arts, the historical figure Master Jiang claims invented them--Bodhidharma--is also a real historical figure (considered the founder of Chan Buddhism, better known in the west by the Japanese rendering Zen).

I don't mind borrowing from history or culture. As mentioned, GRRM basically copies Wars of the Roses. JRR Tolkien took lots of inspiration from Finnish mythology. But they at least tweaked it enough, changed the names enough, that it's its own world. This for me is really immersion breaking. Even the place names are real places in China (the Wudang Mountains are real mountains and very famous in Wuxia literature. The Tianshan are also a real range, as are several of the others on the map). I know that the vast majority of westerners who are the intended audience won't know any of this, but for anyone familiar with China and its culture it takes you right out of the fantasy. It's like...imagine if Bilbo and the Dwarves had to cross the Alps instead of the Misty Mountains. Or if the instead of the Seven in Westeros, they read the Gospel of Mark. Literally called the Gospel of Mark and with the same content.

The historical parallels in the plot don't bother me at all. That's most fantasy. The (to me, lazy) insertion of real (and very famous) figures, real places, and real legends into what's supposed to be a fantasy world, and not just some mythic China a-la Jianghu, does because it's so immersion breaking.
 

Sela Narian

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Just finished One Last Stop by Casey McQuinton. It is a wonderful time travel-ish lesbian romance and I loved every page. It's a total love letter to the LGBTQ+ community, just like her last book, Red White & Royal Blue (which is AMAZING and HILARIOUS). Can't wait to see more books from her in future; she's batting a thousand right now.
 

Ephrem Elpidius

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I just finished The Martian by Andy Weir a few days ago, and I am about to finish Artemis by Andy Weir within a day or two... then I will start up Project Hail Mary by the same guy... I'm on a sci fi kick these days. Having a lot of fun with it.
 

Sela Narian

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I just finished The Martian by Andy Weir a few days ago, and I am about to finish Artemis by Andy Weir within a day or two... then I will start up Project Hail Mary by the same guy... I'm on a sci fi kick these days. Having a lot of fun with it.

Ephrem, I love The Martian. It's such a fun read. I saw last week that Project Hail Mary came out a few weeks ago. I'll start it...sometime.
 

Merena Orithana

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I'm currently reading Beyond by Mercedes Lackey.
This is a prequel to her Heralds of Valdemar series. In the past, she had said she wouldn't be writing about this time period, but so excited she finally decided to do so!

So far, I love the dedication:
aW3Xjki.jpg
:love
 

Ephrem Elpidius

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I'm halfway through Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir, it is so good! It may end up being my book of the year, depends on the ending. :yay
 
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So far, I love the dedication:
:love
I’ve never seen an author dedicate something “with furious disgust” …Mercedes Lackey is more fierce than I gave her credit.

I’ve only ever read her Mage Storm trilogy. I found them so calming to read as divides in America were deepening.
Reading about her characters coming together to solve a global crisis was very soothing for me.

I’m drawn to soothing books lately! Currently reading The Little Book of Hygge, and Spark Joy to get my head straight as I pack to move. They feel like hugs in book form. Thank you Meik Wiking and Marie Kondo for giving me some chill.
 

Merena Orithana

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@Arevori
She is really cool and so is her husband- I'm really hoping to meet them! They sometimes go to GenCon in Indy... here's hoping!
 
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I just finished reading Good Omens for the first time.

I enjoyed the surprising wisdom in so much of the dialog, especially from the children.

However, controversial as it might be to say... I find Terry Pratchett really hard to read so I struggled to get through this. Neil Gaiman diluted the writing style enough for me that I could enjoy it even if it was slow going.
 

Cahalan Sothron

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Picked up Billy Summers by Stephen King and so far I'm really enjoying it. Hard not to love the main character, even if he's contract killer. Curious to see what happens when things inevitably go south.
 

Toral Delvar

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I'm re-reading Dance of Dragons for the first time, also doing a Malazan re-read - On Deadhouse Gates of the main series, and going through the Path to Ascendecy prequel series
 

Aduiavas Ida

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I tried to reread ASoIaF, but knowing how many of the people in the early part of the books die, and with the TV show showing what parts of the plot are (most likely) irrelevant, I just can't... I also can't stand most of the plotthings in Kings Landing, so I hate the fourth book...
 

Toral Delvar

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I liked the fourth more than the fifth, though I have seen others who felt like you. I didnt love either, and I have decided that unless he finishes the series, I won't be reading the rest - it isn't good enough for me to be interested in book 6, unless it is to finish the story
 

Aduiavas Ida

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I actually like his stories from the Targaryan dynasty a lot more :look:
 

Elania al'Manir

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I actually like his stories from the Targaryan dynasty a lot more :look:
I saw that they're making a show about the Targaryeans. Do you know if it's based on these stories?

And I just finished a book I've been reading on and off for almost a year (Intuitive Eating by Tribole and Resch). I haven't picked up the Witcher series yet (which is next on my list) so... I guess I'm not reading anything right now? :eek
 

Arella Mathara

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I saw that they're making a show about the Targaryeans. Do you know if it's based on these stories?
The show is called House of the Dragon and is based on the Targaryen civil war, known as the Dance of Dragons, Elania Sedai. It's set approximately 150 years before Game of Throne or so, I believe. I did google quickly now and an article said 300 years earlier. That doesn't fit with the books but they might have changed it :cheeseeni:

I love the books and am still looking forward to the next one.

And the Witcher books are great :joy

ETA: I'm reading Iron Gold now. Love the Red Rising series so far!
 

Juliya Karisu

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An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor - about a doctor in the 60s who goes to a rural Irish village and meets the crazy eccentric doctor there and all the unique people. Patrick Taylor is an Irish Canadian doctor - the books are not autobiographical but I imagine he drew a lot from his experiences of growing up in Ireland as well as being a practicing doctor in both countries.
 
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