Jump to content

DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Feedback on my review of TGS


Jason Denzel
 Share

If (and only if) you have read TGS in its entirety, how much do yo agree or disagree with my initial review?  

118 members have voted

  1. 1. If (and only if) you have read TGS in its entirety, how much do yo agree or disagree with my initial review?

    • I thought the review was accurate and fair.
      106
    • I don't agree with your review, but you're entitled to your opinion.
      12


Recommended Posts

I am talking about the start of the book and comparing it too the end of KOD. Maybe its just me but I certainly didn`t think of him as mad after reading KOD, but after reading two-three chapters of TGS I realized that he really was. And this before his encounter with Semi. 

 

That's a fair point. Although I've been thinking that Rand's mental state is 75% or more related to stress and depression rather than taint-induced madness. What do you think?dsd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 86
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I very much agree with your review.

 

The voice seemed to stay very true to that of the rest of the series. There were only a few points (and a couple PoVs the first few times they came up) that stood out to me as most definitely not being RJ. However, I completely forgot this was Sanderson writing as I continued reading. Sure, a word might stand out here or there every few chapters, but I could almost think this was RJ. I think Sanderson has done a wonderful job.

 

This definitely tied up several plot arcs that have been hanging around for quite some time. The setting was, well, dark. The torture and insanity Rand is going through in his mind was conveyed about as strong as it could have been. I think RJ would have been proud of how Sanderson handled this. I was literally shocked as I read from a certain chapter onwards at just how deep and dark Rand falls into madness. If for nothing else than this, I think the book was well worth reading.

 

I am not certain whether I am allowed to post the names of some people whose PoVs we get in this book, but I have comments on this book on several good and bad things regarding them and which were brought up in the review. I will not post them until I know whether it is alright or not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I very much agree with the review. Like you, the strongest part of the book was Egwenes story, though Rands encounter still sends chills down my spine (and I have read that single scene three times now).

 

The one scene that felt the most off for me was when Mat started to hand out alias, that seemed like something that was 100% Brandon. And yet, while I found it a bit off, it still worked. Maybe because it was quite entertaining to read.

 

The greatest complaint I can think of is that I felt a bit seasick by the structure. In the first 2/3 or so, almost every single chapter had different POVs, and a lot jumped between arcs as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would say your general review was fairly accurate.

 

 

You can tell most of Matt's chapters was a bit off. (Though I am not going to quit bloody gambling or drinking. Get me a drink and do you want to gamble for it exchange was hilarous)

 

Egwenes seemed right on.

 

Found it kind of hard to get on board the Perrin train, but its been that while for a while now

 

 

As for the book itself, it was great. Really dark randwise but great.

Had at least 6-10 series classic scenes in it.

 

Brandon did a really good job with what he was given, though you could see him in there and some places it seemed alot more obvious then others. The book might not of been all of Jordans but it stayed true to its heart. The pacing in the book was great.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm the one guy who voted no. I'm too tired now but I will be back to substantiate my opinion; I don't blame you for your bias, you freely admit how utterly linked you are with Tor and all that so good on you for the honesty. I also appreciate you weren't free, as the admin of The more-or-less official fansite to publish a review containing anything but positives. I leave with two thoughts, which I'll flesh out when it isn't 2am -

 

Pacing.

 

Bloat.

 

Edit : I just wanted to add because this sounds rather negative, that were I writing a review for TGS I wouldn't be coming along to give it zero stars or anything like that. There's plenty of good there and plenty of stuff I enjoyed reading. Yeah perhaps it would be better if I put together a proper review. My point is though that while I had problems with TGS my reaction to it is certainly not entirely negative, and I also feel that there are plenty of parts of your review with which I agree.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Pacing.

 

Bloat.

 

 

I am interested to see an explanation on this. This was faster than I think pretty much anything RJ wrote. Was that the problem? As for bloat, I just didn't see any. There were a few scenes that seemed out of place, but there were reasons they could not be put in the next book chronologically speaking.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember a particular RAFO comment about our good buddy Asmodean....

 

 

Either I missed it, or you teased me sir.

 

Either way your review was spot on.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought the review was pretty fair. I think Sanderson's getting a bad rap in some quarters. I loved me some RJ as much as anybody, but to criticize SANDERSON for pace? AMoL would have been books 12-20 if Sanderson were not writing them.

 

I mentioned this in another thread, but either Sanderson has an acute sense of humility/self awareness as a writer regarding his characterization of Mat, or the change was intentional. Several of the characters are noted to observe that Mat is acting strangely. And as for the whole RJ Vietnam thing... Maybe. But Mat wasn't in a campaign in this book. And he made his typical observations of avoiding battle, etc. etc.

 

I would be very interested to know how much RJ contributed to Rand's scenes in this book. Heck, I'll just say it. I thought Rand was going to finish Min for good despite "knowing" that it couldn't happen. If Rand in this book was largely Sanderson, he writes Rand better than RJ did, at least the dark version of Rand. And as for the assigning grades...Again, no disrespect to RJ, but its not like a competition with R. R. Martin. I always loved WoT because of the sheer scope of the world RJ created, not the prose. What makes RJ and the WoT so great is the scope of the vision. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't, but he swung for the fences. Unlike say R. R. Martin, who might be more talented, but basically seems to have given up with Ice and Fire. I understand the animus towards Sanderson, but I'll just say it. WH and CoT were terrible and the series had spun out of control. I'm glad that RJ got to finish strong with KoD. As for books I'd put ahead of this one in the series, too early to tell but, I'd say the ones I like better than TGS for sure are TSR, tFoH, tEoTW, tGH. Maybe KoD as well. For someone like Sanderson to come in and pull off what I think can fairly be assessed as a book that ranks in the top half of the series, well... What more do you want? Rant over. =)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My personal favorite after this book is Tuon and I look forward to read more on how she changes her view on people channeling.

 

There is no Tuon, only Fortuona!  :)

 

I posted this elsewhere, but I also felt that Mat's POVs were not written as Jordan would have.  But I actually liked them, anyway.  I've rarely actually laughed out loud while reading of the other books in the series.  I think it's a nice contrast to how dark so many parts of the books are.

 

I think it was a great review - though I am annoyed by the Asmodean RAFO comment.  You could have just not mentioned him.  :/

 

I loved this book.  It is definitely in my top five - it might make my top three, but I'll have to give it a re-read.

 

I thought there was considerably less bloat than any other book in the series, btw.  Just my humble opinion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i thought it was a good review, but it was wise of you to put in your disclaimer as it makes your praise more understandable.

 

however, don't think this means i am critisizing the book as i am not. to me it was a top 3 and completely unputdownable, easily as good as KoD

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Edit : if I get time tonight I'll write up a serious review rather than just a response and explanation of the points I made last night.

 

To begin with I'd like to, perhaps unfairly picking on one person, quote a poster over at Westeros who asserted that he was a true fan and to him "there are no secondary characters, no plotlines of lesser importance, no detail to small or drab or boring" and I think this is a very true statement and also the most major problem I have with quite a few things. I'd like to point out, with no offence intended to ya'll that you, the membership of this site, make up the tiny most fanatically devoted percentage of the Wheel of Time's readership; there are millions of people out there buying and reading these books but only ya'll care enough to come on to the internet and talk about them.

 

To some extent I have to include myself in this number too, of course.

 

My point, however, is that when I'm about to say "the pacing in TGS is horribly uneven and nothing happens for half the book" I'm going to be met with outraged screams and a torrent of people will quote every minutia that happened at me. When I say that Mat and Perrin's chapters were mostly unnecessary, and that that so were most of Gawyn's, I'm going to be told that of course they were important. And so on. For a fan every single extra detail we get to see of the world is important and interesting, but if I'm writing a review I have to be looking at just another novel and asking myself to think more critically than that.

 

To that end my primary criticism of your review is your assertion that the pacing is well handled and even, which I think is one of TGS biggest problems. I know it's become anathema around here to speak critically in the direction of Tor/Brandon/the Jordan estate but I honestly think that given the amount of bloat, and the ridiculously high, even for a hardback, RRP, the profit mongering should be becoming obvious. I think TGS could have been a very very good book, up there with the best in the series, but it suffered from a massive lack of editorial discipline. All Perrin chapters could have been cut and handled through a couple of paragraphs of Rand seeing Perrin through visions (which it seems is a device that someone writing the book wanted to use - the Perrin chapters do stop suddenly and we then get our updates via Rand's visions, for ex. Perrin with Galad) or perhaps wrapped up into a single chapter rather than three or four. Mat only needed the one chapter to get his meetings with Aludra and Verrin done, or that could have been skipped entirely and left to the next book. Likewise the first load of "Gawyn wanders around doing nothing" chapters could have been entirely removed. At least one Rand chapter could be skipped and I think another few could have been edited down and amalgamated. The only plot line in which I feel there isn't a whole hell of a lot of bloat is the Egwene/Suian one, where every chapter provides a distinct purpose, character development and a sense of plot-progression.

 

The worst thing for me is that at the same time as the bloat there are some wonderfully well done chapters that because I've had to slog through 100 pages of screw all happening feel rushed. I'm unaware if whether or not this is considered a spoiler topic, but particularly the resolution of Rand's plotlines with the forsaken feel terribly rushed when contrasted with the glacial lack of progression in other chapters. This is what I mean when I criticise the book for having uneven pacing. The last... mm quarter? 200 pages maybe.. whatever. But anyone who's read the book knows what I mean. The last section is so much better with regards to this. If the whole book was paced at the same speed and handled as well as the last few chapters then those would be occurring about half way through instead of at the end.

 

You didn't really address the characterisation in TGS, or much beyond describing your excitement at how much happened so fast (which I admit, when contrasted with the continental drift that was CoT is a lot) but if I'm going to be fair then I should cover everything. Besides this is one of the things that, with one extremely major exception, I thought was handled very well. Rand's journey through madness is entrancing. Egwene's coming of age is pretty well done, even though she'll never be a character I can actually like because she's way way too perfect 'can do no wrong' 'always knows the right thing to do' 'wiser than her years' etc. she's a super-Aes Sedi robot and for that I can never forgive her, but nonetheless I think her characterisation and character  development was very well handled. Gawyn is exactly as annoying as he always has been, which is to say very. Cads is as insufferable as always, Nynaeve is Nynaeve and so on.

 

I thought Semirhage was absolutely butchered though. She's practically comic relief with all her ridiculous posturing; she comes off like a bad b-move horror 'mad doctor' cackling away they she would have gotten away with it but for those blasted kids rather than anything resembling the Evil and sadistic supervillain that everything we've previously been told about her would suggest. I can't believe that she was meant to be ridiculous. We know she was one of the Dark One's inner circle, his closest, strongest, smartest, most nasty, most devious, those who have survived 10 years of infighting, backstabbing and betrayal by the other Chosen, and managed to fight and more-or-less win a war at the same time. There's nothing of that woman in the Semirhage we see - we get a few scenes of 'Evil Doctor Semirhage's House of Horrors' and then one overtly BDSM inspired scene 'breaking' scene which I've even read people here describe as 'hilarious'.

 

The TL:DR version -

 

-Lots of stuff that could and should have been cut by people who know better than to leave a wheel of time writer without some strong editing, but clearly don't care. Bloat.

 

-Poor pacing. Important stuff happens quickly, boring stuff drags out. Much better in the final couple hundred pages.

 

-Characterisation largely very good. Rand - entrancing. Semirhage like a bad b-movie villain.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought the review was spot on. Mat is my favorite character and unfortunately doesn't feel the same, he's not the same Mat and took about half of chapter 20 (first chapter he appears) to get used to, but he was still enjoyable and quite hilarious. Some of the things he did didn't seem very Mat like but I still enjoyed reading him the most. I hope Brandon doesn't decide to restyle anyone after TGS because I'd hate to see a character's personality get tampered with again and possibly becomed different. If it keeps consistent with what he's already written, I think it will still turn out well.

 

Aviendha was my other favorite and I'm glad to have more POVs from her (finally!!) and hope they will continue to be as entertaining as fun to read in the future.

 

There were definitely times, particularly Egwene chapters, where I found myself applauding or jumping out of my seat in excitement and needed a few minutes before I could continue on with that page. I finished the book in about 17 hours, which is -very- slow for me. I only took about an hour break (included in that 17.  I found myself often reading entire paragraphs or pages because of the shock of some of things, to see if I was actually reading what I thought I was. It was incredibly hard to put the book down for very long, I just couldn't force myself to stop (not that I wanted to) or take many breaks.

 

I was a bit surprised to see Elayne not in this book, as the one main character who was missing. She had a large portion of KoD and I figured she'd show up in TGS as well but apparently I was wrong there. I always figured (prior to reading the book) that Lan would be the one who was missing but thinking back, I guess he's not been very main character like since he doesn't have any PoVs that I can recall offhand so I figured out about 3/4s the way through, it had to be Elayne missing.

 

Jason, I hate you for making me think that Moraine would appear by the end of this book. I was TOTALLY expecting it, especially with a chapter entitled "The One He Lost", along with having read your review. I hate you, and salute you, for fooling me to such an extent... I was completely fooled. xD

 

Perrin is still pretty lackluster, I enjoyed Cadsuana and Nynaeve chapters, and I no longer want to call Egwene "Egghead" since KoD and with TGS I wonder why I ever did in the first place. Rand was a lot of fun, dark... very dark but fun and I'm glad he got as much of the book allotted to him as he did, even if it did take away from possible Mat time! *shakefist*

 

Finally, at the live stream of the midnight signing folks (Lost_Maji here), I LOL'd when I saw the actual chapter title of Chapter 36 and how some guy said Brandon was cruel for it. I'm sure they knew she couldn't die, or at least shouldn't have since I believe it's been mentioned in one of the books that once you become empress you take a new name but I still got a kick out of it ;D

 

P.S. <3 Verin, and how she went out with class and style. I really did have to applaud her and agree she was one of the white, brilliantly, blazing white.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  Jordan's books seem to be set at a 10th grade reading level (16 years old) while TGS seems to be set at a 3rd grade (9 years old) reading level. 

 

That seems a little harsh.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with the review

 

Personally, I think BS was faced with a nearly impossible task. To pick up a series after 11 books, so many characters and plot threads and maintain the same writing style and character POV... in many ways that is way more hard than writing a book from scratch

 

overall BS did a great job. I'm sure we can all be tough on him and find a flaw or two if we looked really hard but in all honestly, I'd like to see even one person have the guts to say they did not enjoy this book and cherish some of the very cool scenes in it.

 

and Verin's scene... WOW!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought you did a good job at a review. There were parts that seemed *off* to me, and like you said, it was mostly during Mat. But it wasn't that they were 'bad', just different, and I still enjoyed most of the scenes.

 

@Maji, I couldn't agree more about Verin... I had to stand up reading that part, I kept bouncing too much in my seat to focus.

 

Thanks Jason, and I think you were as fair as any of us could have been. We all love the series so much that its hard to be completely fair :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with most of your review, Jason, and let me tell you, I'm most bitterly jealous of you--for getting to read so many advance copies.  But I suppose the fans who create websites deserve more than guys like me, who merely read/recomended the series.  Not that I necessarily think that anyone is a larger fan than I am--at best, a tie--but you clearly have done a lot of legwork for RJ over the years.

Still jealous though!!

Where I agree with you is on the breakneck pacing and blow-your-mind moments that Brandon made happen.  I utterly agree with you about the scene that is now one of my series favorites--Rand channelling the True Power--as it totally blew my mind!  So did other events, but none so large as that.

Where I disagree is that I, as a fan and reader, wouldn't notice or even care about the different styles.  Brandon all but eliminated the Forsaken perspectives, ignored important characters like Logain and Elayne, and littered the book with small inconsistencies that RJ would never have missed.  Like having Graendal wear a normal dress when she has streith, or ignoring the fact that Egwene's stole in Salidar and beyond had no red stripe--to name two of the more glaring differences.  To name them all would take a long time, and I don't want to seem like a nit picker here.

That said, I was still rivetted, and think that for the large part, Brandon did as well as could be expected of him--and far better than most could have done.  But it is a Brandon Sanderson novel set in RJ's world, not a Jordan novel.  Having read both authors, and enjoyed them to varied degrees, I can say that with confidence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fairly accurate review, though you definately misled us with your comments on Mat. :P  Would be interested to know your top 5 scenes in the book, this book was so jam packed, it's difficult to pick out just 1 or even just 5 scenes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your review was good. I have to say I was impressed with Brandon Sanderson's work. Mat was a little off but still not bad. I have to say Rand was starting to irritate me not just in this book but the previous couple books as well. Rand was starting to get to be too arrogant for me to like him much. Mat knows he's good but doesn't want everbody to treat him like a lord, Rand however expects it from everyone. I will definately be looking forward to the next two books and I think Brandon got the pacing going prretty good. There are so many threads that need to be wrapped up and I think he will be hard pressed to do it with two more books to work with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's a good read, but not a great book.  I think the amount of positive feedback is more gratitude for finally having another chapter in the saga than anything else.

 

Sanderson does a very good job at filling Jordan's shoes.  Unlike some others, I think he did a remarkably good job with getting the "voice" right for all of the characters.

 

That said, Jordan ran the train off the tracks several books back, and I don't know whether Sanderson can get it righted and headed back in the right direction in the time he's got left.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Accurate and fair.

 

There were some really, really great chapters in the book. The rest of them were also interesting and fun to read.

 

I think Sanderson managed to get the voices of all characters right. Maybe there were a few lines that didn't have the "RJ" feel about them. But I don't think anyone could have done a better job than Sanderson. He said that he didn't intend to "copy" RJ all the way. I never expected him to try that, if it had even been possible in the first place.

 

Overall, I give Sanderson the highest possible praise that anyone could ever get under these circumstances. I very much look forward to reading the remaining books.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Under the heading of Errors and Omissions:

 

Sanderson has Bashere as Tenobia's cousin - he's her uncle.

 

We have a scene of Harine arriving to join Rand.  Not only are there no further scenes involving her, she isn't even mentioned anywhere else.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I mostly agreed with your review. I don't agree with your favorite scene, mine BY FAR was Chapter 39 with Egwene and Verin. I also think you misled us with the Mat arriving somewhere and ASmodean comments :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought the review was splendid. It covers the essential basic feeling of this volume. However, since it did specify that spoilers followed, I would have liked to see more, well, spoilers. Specifics on character references and chapter references, that sort of thing.

 

As for Brandon Sanderson, masterful job on an extremely difficult task. I didn't even remember it wasn't RJ for 85% of the novel.  Having read Mistborn, I picked out the favorite analogy of his, though; the parent to child comparison. I'm sure that's how Brandon initially felt when tackling the project--that he was the child being taught by RJ the parent.

 

But if that is true, the lad has surpassed the master. This book reveals an injection of a youthful perspective that was sorely needed as far back as book 7. The fast pace and dense plot has much to do with it, but also the verve Brandon demonstrates in the elongated battle scenes is refreshing.

 

I have to say my favorite line in the whole book was by Suan, (I read the audiobooks only, so spelling?) when she says, "I feel your pain, Brin."

 

*****************************MAJOR SPOILER FOLLOWS*************************

I am completely confused, however, as to why Moridin informs Rand about the balefire trick in his dream. That just gives Rand a total advantage against the shadow, right? I can only assume it has to do with the same reason that Rand is able to defeatSemerhage.  Who knows?!

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought the review was mostly fair and accurate.  Anyone who couldn't see the Asmo comment was a joke deserves their disappointment.  You certainly could have included more spoilers if you were going to devote a section to them.

 

As for Sanderson, I agree with many of Smoke's comments.  The biggest difference between Sanderson and Jordan is not characterization, or plot lines, or descriptive language.  The difference is that Jordan's writing had nuance, and Sanderson's does not.

 

Jordan always did a tremendous job of weaving internal thoughts in with the dialogue and action to give a reader a clear, but subtle view into a character's mind and motivations.  Sanderson simply dumps two paragraphs of internal monologues into the middle of a scene, and lets the reader muddle through it.  Even worse is that Sanderson feels the need to describe the characters' inner struggles in excruciating detail.  To put it bluntly, this is lazy writing for lazy readers. 

 

Good readers want to be shown what a character is doing, why he is doing it, and where it is expected to lead him.  This should be done through small accretions of subtle gestures and actions.  Jordan was brilliant at this; Sanderson is not.  Spelling out for the reader the character's exact "inner demons" disengages the reader and makes reading the book a less engaging experience.  Simplistic though it may be, the reader feels rewarded when he can put together the pieces and say, "Oh, Character X did Y because of Z."  That encourages him to read more closely, to pick out understated character traits, and try to analyze what will happen next. 

 

When all of a character's struggles and motives are laid out as Sanderson does, there is no room for analysis, only regurgitation.  "Oh, Character X did Y because it's perfectly consistent with that giant chunk of text I read two pages ago."

 

This is not the most obvious example, but was the first one I was able to find easily.  Perrin's POV, page 164.  "He hadn't been a good leader lately.  He'd never been a model one, of course, not even when Faile had been there to guide him.  But during her absence, he'd been worse.  Far worse.  He'd ignored his orders from Rand, ignored everything, all to get her back."  [Four more paragraphs of more of the same.]

 

Great.  Everyone's who's paid the slightest amount of attention for the last few books knows Perrin has been a lousy leader.  We don't need four paragraphs about it.  Moreover, we should see him now trying to be a better leader, not be told that he's going to try harder.  Maybe a line of dialogue here or internal thought there to emphasize the point that he realizes he hasn't done well, but we don't need to be beaten over the head with it.

 

Jordan used a needle and thread with his characterization.  Sanderson uses a sewing machine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...