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Thoughts on Lev Grossman's technique

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Trick, Jul 20, 2015.

  1. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

    Hi, reading this thread has been fascinating for me because last year I, too, became obsessed with getting a copy of The Magicians and reading it. I "looked inside" the cover on Amazon and thought it would be my kind of Fantasy story.

    Once I started reading the book, however, I felt the pace was terribly slow and I couldn't identify with or empathise with any of the characters. I later discovered that it was written as a kind of cynical anti-Narnia book. Maybe that was my problem?
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015
  2. Trick

    Trick Auror

    And, of course, I love Mark Lawrence's books. Tyrion is also my favorite in ASOIAF. I've not watched the show at all, just read it. I'd say Tyrion is quite likable but perhaps only in comparison to most of the other 'bad' characters.

    What you see as apathy and a lack of kindness is to me a person with muted emotions struggling to understand why they feel (or don't) the way that they do. Others seem full of life and they wonder why they are not. It's a journey I experienced.
  3. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

    I didn't really have a problem with the content as I typically pay little attention to whatever an author might be trying to say with their story. I usually just take the story at face value.

    The part where you couldn't empathize with the characters and the slow pace are what got me.
  4. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

    Well, we have some overlap. I finally gave up completely on ASOIAF after A Dance With Dragons. I put the book down, thought "I had absolutely no fun reading that," and decided I had no desire to read any more of the series.

    I think that, if a particular character speaks to you, it can definitely enhance enjoyment of the book. Aside from that, though, did you notice the slow pace? I know that others are much more tolerant of such than I am.
  5. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

    Well, I just got to the 63% point last night which, incidentally, is the point at which something that might actually lead to an interesting story happens. I have to agree that the pacing is frustrating. And Quentin... In most books main characters get more sympathetic as you get to know them better, but this guy. The more I read the more I really, strongly dislike him. I'm hoping that the first chapter of Book II (which was at about 61%) was his low point and that he'll start becoming a better person sometime soon. Otherwise he'll be in the running for worst MC ever, imo. And honestly, there are practically no sympathetic characters in this story for me. Alice is better than the rest, but not actually good. Pretty much everyone else who isn't peripheral is pretty awful. Eliot and Janet in particular. Oh, I did like the professor in Antarctica. Too bad he's such a minor character.

    And I don't see anything particularly good or unique about Grossman's style. The extremely tight 3rd is the trend these days and maintaining it over the whole course of the book isn't original. There are so many problems with his pacing I don't have the fortitude to go into them all. As for the story, I can't believe a story about a guy going to a magic school can feel so incredibly mundane and tedious. I feel like someone should force Grossman to read and study A Wizard of Earthsea which manages to send Ged to wizard school, have him screw up a huge piece of magic that has dire consequences, run from the consequences, ultimately face them and resolve the conflict along with demonstrating very good characterization and some of the best worldbuilding in all of fantasy lit, all in a very slim and satisfying volume.

    Unless something dramatically awesome happens in the remaining 37% I can't imagine this being my definition of a good book.
    BWFoster78 likes this.

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