Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Words I don't Like

This is a sensitive matter. I think my taste in fiction has changed. Perhaps in my seemingly vain attempts at publication my writing skills have helped to make me a more discerning reader, or I’ve matured in what I call ‘quality writing’ as I’ve exposed myself to more literature. I’d like to think it is a combination of the two.

My quandary at the moment is Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn. A few years after the final book’s entry and I’m just now making it around to reading the series. I loved Elantris when I read it a few years back and sang Sanderson’s praises. That’s why with Mistborn I was hoping for something… not necessarily different, but more substantial and not quiet so genre fantasy.

In addition to Sanderson’s writing, I’m heavily inclined to liking him as a person. I passed up on meeting him in person at some convention that had to deal with Robert Jordan, but I have written the guy; he wrote back. Not an in depth correspondence but honest communication on multiple occasions. He encouraged me in my writing efforts, was very humble about my praise of his, and as best I could tell seemed like a regular guy who has a great gig going for him. Someone that I admire.

We are a good ways away from being family, in truth not even ‘friends’ outside of a couple of causal emails, but I still find it hard to say anything negative about him.

I’ll be finished with Mistborn ,The FInal Empire book one by this Friday. (While I don’t intend to start doing reviews in a traditional sense I will write more on this book upon completion, as I plan to do for the other two entries.) In every possible way I feel this book is a step back for Sanderson’s writing when compared to his previous work in Elantris. If I didn't know otherwise, I would guess that Elantris was written after Mistborn.

The dialogue is regularly cringe inducing: characters talk about things that are common knowledge to the people they are talking to. The repetition--both repetition of words, and ideas--is either offensive or I'm supersensitive to it. The subtleties that made me wonder about events in Elantris are all explicitly spelled out for me in Mistborn. The general intrigue and uncertainty that drove event’s forward in Elantris seems to be missing in Mistborn.

I understand that all of my gripes are personal and that others may disagree. I encourage everyone to read the books and make up your own mind. I don’t want to be the gospel for anyone concerning what is good or bad to read.

I’ve said my piece on books in a series many times. Mistborn is not helping me feel good about starting other fantasy trilogies like Joe Abercrombie First Law or Patrick Rothfuss’ Name of the Wind. The latter of which has been heralded as the greatest thing since rum.

I guess my predisposition to liking fantasy, Elantris, and Sanderson makes it harder than it should be, but I was really expecting something more ‘literary’ from Mistborn. (There. I said it.) Perhaps it kicks in later...

Anyone have suggestions on literary fantasy?

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