Question on Janny Wurts' Curse of the Mistwraith (War of Light and Shadow)

Sapienti

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I ordered the book a few days ago because I've been reading A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin and needed a way to fill the wait in between now and the next book. So I looked around and got a lot of recommendations for a number of different authors and series to look into and decided on A War of Light and Shadow to start me off because I heard she was a great writer.

After starting the book I realized that almost every book I've ever read before has been heavily POV/third person limited. (Inheritance Cycle, His Dark Materials, Harry Potter, ASOIAF etc) So starting this book was refreshingly new and different. However as I continued to read I found myself being very aware I was reading a book. Almost nothing has been explained (I'm on page 150 or so) and its written as if everything anyone mentions is completely known to everyone already so there's no explanation for the reader. At the beginning I couldn't find myself to care much about the characters because there was never any sort of background given but only what you saw before you. But now where I'm at things are starting to change and pick up. I guess I just need to get used to it but at some points the writing style seems severely dated.

Basically I want to ask any fans of the series who may not have immediately latched on, do things get better in the later books? When I started A Song of Ice and Fire I ordered the first two books without knowing more than what I read on the back of the soft cover and some info on Randomhouse. But I only ordered the first book of this series and originally planned to place an order for the second but now I'm not sure. I never read a book I didn't eventually like but this one seems different so I want to know: Does not liking the first 150 or so pages of a book with 688 pages in a 10+ book series mean I wont like the rest of the series? Or do things change a bit later on (characters get depth, writer style changes in later books a little maybe etc). Either way I'm going to continue reading the book the book and see if I don't change my opinion, I just ask here and now because, if things turn out different, I want to have the second book here by the time I finish reading the first. Thanks for any replies.
 

The Procrastinator

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I was in a similar boat to you with Curse of the Mistwraith. It is a slow starter, and the writer is embarking on such an ambitious and large-scale story that it takes a long time (or at least it took me a long time) to come to grips with it. Things do unfold later on - characters are better understood and deepen out - everything deepens out in fact. I can't say the actual prose style changes, but I found that as I kept on and got further in, the story and characters ended up grabbing me so much that I loved it anyway. So fear not, you are not the only one who felt "chucked in the deep end" with this book. But I found that perseverance was worth the effort, if that helps.
 

Sapienti

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I was in a similar boat to you with Curse of the Mistwraith. It is a slow starter, and the writer is embarking on such an ambitious and large-scale story that it takes a long time (or at least it took me a long time) to come to grips with it. Things do unfold later on - characters are better understood and deepen out - everything deepens out in fact. I can't say the actual prose style changes, but I found that as I kept on and got further in, the story and characters ended up grabbing me so much that I loved it anyway. So fear not, you are not the only one who felt "chucked in the deep end" with this book. But I found that perseverance was worth the effort, if that helps.

Thank you, that's exactly what I needed to hear actually. I do enjoy the book for the most part but right now it just felt like too much was unexplained to the point where I found myself looking for or waiting for explanations consciously rather than waiting to find things out in the flow of things. But since I'm not the only one, that makes me feel better. I'll probably order the second book tonight or tomorrow.
 

GOLLUM

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Moved to Janny Wurts subforum.

You may find further details of interest Sapienti in this Janny Wurts subforum.

I've read the entire current series to date and Yes things do get further fleshed out as the series progresses. I have everything published by Janny and there are several shorter series and stand-alones which are quite excellent.

Welcome to the forums, enjoy the stay...:)
 

Sapienti

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Moved to Janny Wurts subforum.

You may find further details of interest Sapienti in this Janny Wurts subforum.

I've read the entire current series to date and Yes things do get further fleshed out as the series progresses. I have everything published by Janny and there are several shorter series and stand-alones which are quite excellent.

Welcome to the forums, enjoy the stay...:)

Thank you. I hadn't looked hard enough and guess I missed the Janny Wurts sub forum. (was headed out to eat so didn't have much time). I like her style. The way she structures her sentences is something new to me and I plan on collecting more of her work. The only "problem" is I like to have all my books in hard cover (I plan on having a library in my home and want to share my love of reading with my future kids) so it'll likely cost a nice chunk of money but reading is something I'm not afraid to invest in.
 

GOLLUM

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Well I have a library at my place basically for my own use but it is quite large. I'll be posting sometihng on it in the second half of this year if you're still about.

A lot of my books are PB but only because a large volume of HBs would be too expensive albeit they'll last longer.

Do you have an intro thread?...I'll go and check.

EDIT: OK, no intro thread but no harm to ask here what type of story do you like best?
 

Althain's Warden

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Hi Sapienti,
I only recently got involved with Janny Wurts and am now a huge fan. Her writing style does take some getting used to but imo it is well worth taking the time to get there. You will eventually find an almost breath taking amount of detail and thought has gone into building her world and plot lines that i hope you will consider as worthy of your time and effort. You've 7 more books after that one with number 9 hopefully out early next year ! Let me know how you get on!
 

Sapienti

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Well I have a library at my place basically for my own use but it is quite large. I'll be posting sometihng on it in the second half of this year if you're still about.

A lot of my books are PB but only because a large volume of HBs would be too expensive albeit they'll last longer.

Do you have an intro thread?...I'll go and check.

EDIT: OK, no intro thread but no harm to ask here what type of story do you like best?

My primary interest will probably always be fantasy but in that I honestly can't say what I like until I get a chance to read it. I like there to be a bit of mystery in what I read. Unexpected events are always great. But for the most part I'll pretty much read anything. Back in elementary school I used to mock the Harry Potter series then decided to start reading it (it was only as far as Prisoner of Azkaban at the time). I realized I liked fantasy a lot. Later I read His Dark Materials because I kept seeing ads in books for The Amber Spyglass. Went from that to Eragon and decided that I liked dragons a lot and eventually happened upon ASOIAF and found out that the political aspect of fantasy is beyond intriguing. So really, as long as the setting is something I like, the story can be anything, new things open up new doors and old preferences always provide satisfaction.

Hardcovers do get expensive but what my father would do with his DVDs when he started collecting was buy one or two every sunday and here and there some used copies as well and after a while he's got a DVD collection of well over 300 titles. I found out the hard way when he had me pack them all for him when we were moving...I want to do the same with books. Been reading since the middle of kindergarten and haven't been able to stop since and it'll be a treat to have kids the same way some day.

EDIT : Another thing I'll add on what kind of story I like. Stories that describe particular ways of life are something that I always find interesting, whether they be peasants and their daily labor or royalty in great castles. That's probably a linking aspect in most of the fantasy I've read to date.

@Althain's Warden
Yea, after this thread I found I'm actually getting pulled into the book a lot easier than before and things are starting to pick up (on page 204).
 

Althain's Warden

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Glad to hear it Sapienti :D
With you mentioning about liking to read about people's way of life i'd recommend the saga of recluce by LE Modesitt. He spends quite a lot of time on dealing with the more normal activities of his main characters, most of them have some form of craft for example. I always found that to be quite interesting myself, On a slightly different point i really like it when authors have different ways of life clash (something you'll soon see more of in Janny's work) Joe Abercrombie does this very well in his first law trilogy.
Happy reading !
 

GOLLUM

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EDIT : Another thing I'll add on what kind of story I like. Stories that describe particular ways of life are something that I always find interesting, whether they be peasants and their daily labor or royalty in great castles. That's probably a linking aspect in most of the fantasy I've read to date.
Off-topic: HMMM....in that case you'll love Ricardo Pinto's recently completed trilogy Stone Dance Of The Chameleon AND.....Steven Erikson's Malazan books with book 9 of 10 coming out very soon. Frankly the most complex and greatest EPIC fantasy series I've ever read w.r.t politics, unexpected plot twists, level of magical systems and world building second only to Tolkien. GRRM's ASOIF is probably next off the rank in favouritism of the modern EPIC series.
 

Clansman

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Welcome, Sapienti.

I echo Procrastinator, Gollum and A.W. above. There is no doubt about it, Janny Wurts' writing style is DENSE, as if you are stepping into a Victorian novel. She makes no bones about it, and in fact has described her style as trying to use the full pallet of English vocabulary in order to convey her descriptions. She is also an accomplished artist (all of the English language covers (UK and US) are her own art work), so her analogy has real experience behind it.

She is definitely not fantasy lite, more like a Porterhouse steak, but done to (in my mind) perfection over time. CotMW by necessity has a lot of set up for the later part of the series. Also, and typically, she sets up the reader in the first half of her books, and then explodes into the second half (I find Erikson similar in this regard). You will really begin to care about these characters, and also enjoy seeing them changed. Her characterization, to me, is her greatest strength.
 

Sapienti

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I don't know what to say. My first impressions of the novel have been shattered to a million pieces. I actually can't believe I didn't wholeheartedly embrace it outright. I'm at the point just after the Koriani tried to spy on the princes and I've been completely engrossed in the book up to this point its amazing how fast it changed for me. I guess all it took was me hearing from someone else that the book was amazing and then a switch clicked and my mind just adapted to a new style. I've been reading almost non stop I can't put it down.

I really do feel like she is trying to implement the full English vocabulary and I find it great. I've already learned 13 new words and am sure to learn more. I'm actually in awe right now because of how I felt just a few days ago compared to now.
I definitely want to check into Erikson too after doing a quick look-up of him and the series you guys mentioned. As well as The Saga of Recluse (probably in that order).
 

Clansman

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Glad to hear you love this book, Sapienti. I note you say you are from California. Therefore, you will be able to get every book in the series over the coming months, instead of doing the second hand search like so many have had to do in the last few years. All of The Wars of Light and Shadow books are being re-released from now through the end of the year, and the latest one, Stormed Fortress, is already out there. I believe CotMW, Ships of Merior and Warhost of Vastmark are all available now. Fugitive Prince, Grand Conspiracy, Peril's Gate and Traitor's Knot will be out over the coming months of 2009. So will her last one-shot novel, To Ride Hell's Chasm (great read, too).

The next book, Sword of the Canon: Initiate's Trial, is rapidly being written. On her website, Wurts indicates great progress on the first draft, so we may see a release next spring (budget at least nine months for publication stuff), so you are coming on to this series at exactly the right time (like there is a wrong time). After Initiate's Trial, there are only two books left to be written, namely Sword of the Canon: Destiny's Conflict, and finally the last book, Song of the Mysteries.

There are three short stories too, that can be read at any time, but I would wait to read them until you are well into the series, as you will have more context. To access all of her stuff, check out the bibliography thread in this sub-forum, at this link:

http://www.sffchronicles.co.uk/forum/44333-janny-wurts-publications-list.html
 

Sapienti

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Glad to hear you love this book, Sapienti. I note you say you are from California. Therefore, you will be able to get every book in the series over the coming months, instead of doing the second hand search like so many have had to do in the last few years. All of The Wars of Light and Shadow books are being re-released from now through the end of the year, and the latest one, Stormed Fortress, is already out there. I believe CotMW, Ships of Merior and Warhost of Vastmark are all available now. Fugitive Prince, Grand Conspiracy, Peril's Gate and Traitor's Knot will be out over the coming months of 2009. So will her last one-shot novel, To Ride Hell's Chasm (great read, too).

The next book, Sword of the Canon: Initiate's Trial, is rapidly being written. On her website, Wurts indicates great progress on the first draft, so we may see a release next spring (budget at least nine months for publication stuff), so you are coming on to this series at exactly the right time (like there is a wrong time). After Initiate's Trial, there are only two books left to be written, namely Sword of the Canon: Destiny's Conflict, and finally the last book, Song of the Mysteries.

There are three short stories too, that can be read at any time, but I would wait to read them until you are well into the series, as you will have more context. To access all of her stuff, check out the bibliography thread in this sub-forum, at this link:

http://www.sffchronicles.co.uk/forum/44333-janny-wurts-publications-list.html

Thanks for the link. And that's great to know that her books are being re-released. When I buy books I always feel like supporting an author I really like by buying knew whenever I get the opportunity. Definitely an author I want to show support to. I hope to start writing someday (hopefully) and her verbosity is something I'll likely pull inspiration from.
 

Althain's Warden

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Ha Ha Success ! Another dedicated follower has been garnered from the community :D Lol
Glad you've got into it Sapienti i can honestly say from where you are now you have many hours of enjoyment ahead. I almost envy you! Let us know how you get on, perhaps check out the JW subforum for further discussion of particular points.
Happy reading !
A.W
 

Ross

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You will love them!

I was recruited into this dark cult of Janny Wurts by Mr Clansman mainly and have to say I'm in his debt!

I first read the stand alone novel To Ride Hell's Chasm to get an idea of what Janny is like and what I had to look forward to.

Upto now I've read the first 4, those being The Curse of the Mistwraith, The Ships of Merior, Warhost of Vastmark and Fugitive Prince.

Every one brings something new to the table and I for one can't wait to start reading the next. At the moment I'm reading Raymond E Feist's latest Rides a Dread Legion but will most certainly be going back to Janny.

I am not as intelligent as these guys for the whole in depth explanations but I listen to what they say and trust them entirely with it.

Thanks guys!

And welcome to the Dark Cult of Janny Wurts Sapienti. There is no escape:p

p.s. I just made up the Cult:D
 

Clansman

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Thanks for the link. And that's great to know that her books are being re-released. When I buy books I always feel like supporting an author I really like by buying knew whenever I get the opportunity. Definitely an author I want to show support to. I hope to start writing someday (hopefully) and her verbosity is something I'll likely pull inspiration from.

Wurts has some great tips for aspiring writers on her website. Here is the link for the website:

The Janny Wurts Official Webpage

and for the Tips for Aspiring Writers:

Tips for Aspiring Writers

Check them out, but avoid the chat area at all costs! Given the twists and turns in this series, your read of the coming 7 books would be spoiled. I'd avoid the spoiler topics in this sub-forum too, again at all costs. Us older fans have a tendency to blab too much, and there aren't always spoiler warnings, so stick to the individual book threads for the books you have read, namely CotMW:

http://www.sffchronicles.co.uk/forum/46989-curse-of-the-mistwraith-where-the-atheran-journey.html

We still need to put up threads for the other books in the series, and who better to start those than the newer readers, who have just read the books? (this means YOU, ROSS!). I am just about finished a re-read of Ships of Merior, and I'll start a thread on it when I have finished.
 

Ross

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Wurts has some great tips for aspiring writers on her website. Here is the link for the website:

The Janny Wurts Official Webpage

and for the Tips for Aspiring Writers:

Tips for Aspiring Writers

Check them out, but avoid the chat area at all costs! Given the twists and turns in this series, your read of the coming 7 books would be spoiled. I'd avoid the spoiler topics in this sub-forum too, again at all costs. Us older fans have a tendency to blab too much, and there aren't always spoiler warnings, so stick to the individual book threads for the books you have read, namely CotMW:

http://www.sffchronicles.co.uk/forum/46989-curse-of-the-mistwraith-where-the-atheran-journey.html

We still need to put up threads for the other books in the series, and who better to start those than the newer readers, who have just read the books? (this means YOU, ROSS!). I am just about finished a re-read of Ships of Merior, and I'll start a thread on it when I have finished.

I'm sorry, I keep meaning to do it!

I'll try and do it over the weekend. Promise:D

Will just have to figure out a structure and everything. Not as smart as you guys:p
 

rol7805

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I just read Curse of the Mistwraith. While I also found her writing style unusual, I didn't mind it and in fact enjoyed it. I really did want to enjoy the book, but I don't think I'll be reading any more. I just couldn't get past the basic notion that sticking a foreign king into a world ruled by councils (albeit corrupt ones) is a good thing, end of discussion. I know I should just accept it (aren't there great benovelent kings in all fantasy?) but something just never sat right and I couldn't quite buy it. Plus, it felt like the development and conflict of the two brothers was coming along well until the curse, then it just sort of left it to be: watch these two fight it out for 500 years. Maybe someday I'll pick up the next book and try it.
 

The Procrastinator

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Thankfully nothing remains simple in further books, rol, so if you ever pick it up again later you'll probably enjoy all the twists and turns that develop along the themes you mention. The conflict theme in particular is well examined and takes some interesting (sometimes unexpected) paths.
 

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