Mark Lawrence

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Come to think of it, a crossover book would be interesting. One wonders whether Dr Lowenstein would be able to successfully integrate Jorg into post-apocalyptic society.
 

Tansy

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Whilst I wouldn't say I'm an out and out feminist I would certainly have a strong belief that females are portrayed in a lot of sff, particularly fantasy, in a way that makes me uncomfortable. I particularly have problems with GRRM's portrayal, and have avoided Jordan given the feedback on the forums.

So, a trip to the local library, which seems to have had a recent delivery of sff and has a pretty good range for once, and i've picked up a copy of Prince of Tides, and am curious as to what I'll find...
I have no issues with the way writers portray females in their fantasy worlds, we have always had a short shrift and in many parts of the world still do. In fact it's probably more realistic in a medieval/fantasy world that women are treated like possessions, however, it would be good to read a book about a world where women are in charge and treat men in a similar manner:)
 

Jo Zebedee

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I suspect i wasn't very clear, sorry. I have no problem with historical depiction of women. It is when it used in a gratuitous fashion, i don't like. So eg the scene with reek and the serving girl who is purporting to be anya on her wedding night is one of any in grrm tht strikes me as gratuitous.

But i don't want to derail the thread, and i m looking forward to reading it. :)
 

Perpetual Man

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Well, have ordered it now. :)
I really enjoyed it, so I hope you will too Brian.

I'm really looking forward to reading the second, it's there waiting for me, but I have no idea when I will have the time to get around to it....
 

Jo Zebedee

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Ok so i finished it. It wa a reasonably entertaining read. Jorg is suitably horrifying with an awfulness it is hard to look away from.

Few of the secondary charcters are drawn in detail - Makin is the exception - and the women are paper thin. The attraction between Jorg and Katherine is drawn so quickly and lightly, i failed to believe it on any level. The rape is mentioned and blanked out which is fair enough as it obviously has a huge part in shaping Jorg, but the lack of any female character i could buy into had an adverse effect for me. I am afraid i won't be looking for the sequel.
 

Mark_Lawrence

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Ok so i finished it. It wa a reasonably entertaining read. Jorg is suitably horrifying with an awfulness it is hard to look away from.

Few of the secondary charcters are drawn in detail - Makin is the exception - and the women are paper thin. The attraction between Jorg and Katherine is drawn so quickly and lightly, i failed to believe it on any level. The rape is mentioned and blanked out which is fair enough as it obviously has a huge part in shaping Jorg, but the lack of any female character i could buy into had an adverse effect for me. I am afraid i won't be looking for the sequel.

Thanks for the read :)

Pretty much all the characters who aren't Jorg are paper thin. By design.

Everyone has to choose their reads according to their tastes, but I won't ever be writing to satisfy any taste other than my own. If a story leads me to focus on a female character then that's what you'll get, but you'll never find me lobbing one in just to keep readers happy.
 

Jo Zebedee

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Thanks for the read :)

Pretty much all the characters who aren't Jorg are paper thin. By design.

Everyone has to choose their reads according to their tastes, but I won't ever be writing to satisfy any taste other than my own. If a story leads me to focus on a female character then that's what you'll get, but you'll never find me lobbing one in just to keep readers happy.
Which is absolutely right. I doubt if i would have chosen the book but for this thread, i am not your target market. :)
 

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I heard there's a trilogy to follow this that follows Jorgette and her journey to rediscover Nylon :)
 

Brian G Turner

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Well, finally read it - wasn't anywhere near as rapey as I feared, despite the murderous misogynist - reminded me of Glen Cook's Black Company stories, but more focused and better use of language.

Not sure how the Nuban was a "magical negro" though?

Main complaint was that it was a bit of a light read, really - the simple story with very limited character and world building made it feel somewhat YA.

I kept wondering when we'd see the ruined cities; and Jorg is saved by deus ex machina a little too often perhaps.

But minor complaints in what was a well-paced story with some good use of language. Enjoyed the dark humour, too.
 

Fried Egg

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Main complaint was that it was a bit of a light read, really - the simple story with very limited character and world building made it feel somewhat YA.
The second book gets a little more complex I thought.
 

Mark_Lawrence

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The second book gets a little more complex I thought.
Both books were written so that they could be enjoyed at a superficial level as a fast-paced fantasy romp. A fact to which the commercial success is probably attributable. There are (reported elsewhere, so it's not _just_ in my mind :) ) deeper levels, but it does skip over the faux-depth offered in much genre writing which squeezes philosophy into aphorism and has the main character monologue you some pontification that straight up tells you 'this is a deep and serious book' when in fact it isn't at all.

The depth in Prince of Thorns is more of the kind found in literary fiction, existing not in the 'to camera' pieces or in plot complexity (which is just complexity, not depth), but in the questions raised.

More here in a Clarkesworld interview: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/lawrence_interview/

Anyhow - to conclude. The book is (to my mind at least) as far from YA as it is possible to get whilst remaining in the genre and still selling the odd book to people in their later teens. But yes, a good number of people do breeze through it and call it a light read, whilst others call it a life changing read that makes them re-evaluate their views. I've seen both calls many times.
 

Connavar

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Well, finally read it - wasn't anywhere near as rapey as I feared, despite the murderous misogynist - reminded me of Glen Cook's Black Company stories, but more focused and better use of language.

Not sure how the Nuban was a "magical negro" though?

Main complaint was that it was a bit of a light read, really - the simple story with very limited character and world building made it feel somewhat YA.

I kept wondering when we'd see the ruined cities; and Jorg is saved by deus ex machina a little too often perhaps.

But minor complaints in what was a well-paced story with some good use of language. Enjoyed the dark humour, too.
That criticism i had after the first book too, wanted to see and learn more about the world and i didnt like the deus ex machina help.

The second book felt much less lighter read and broader, more complex story because it you will get what you ask for to see more of the world, more mature Jorg that needs less deus ex machine help.

I never really saw Nuban they way you guys describe Magical Negro, he was more typical stereotype of blacks in modern epic fantasy it seemed to me. Silent,cool side character there to help and be a tool for the hero to grow up. The type i have seen too often and i just had to look past. A negative stereotype that is part of the field.

A very easy character to forget like many of the brothers except Makin. It was clear Jorg was the real focus since we never really get to know the brothers of his band in the first book
 

Jo Zebedee

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The depth in Prince of Thorns is more of the kind found in literary fiction, existing not in the 'to camera' pieces or in plot complexity (which is just complexity, not depth), but in the questions raised.

QUOTE]

I am a bit confused by this. Literary fiction is such a wide field, i wonder what books you are referring to.

To my mind, your style of writing is very far from literary fiction (this is not to knock it, btw, i like fast paced), but certainly the depth does not come close imho to most literary fiction i have read.

In terms of the questions raised, i am afraid i have rarely read a book that raised less questions in me as a reader. I enjoyed it for what it seemed to be: a pacy, easy to read tale, with an interesting protagonist. But not literary fiction.

Once again, this isn't to knock it; whilst i have read my fair share of literary, my preference is to easy reading, albeit ones that spark thinking in me.

I also wonder, sorry, why there is a need to justify it? It has had good reviews, good sales, is published (gah, i wish :)) so surely it stands in its own right irrespective of readers' viewpoints? J
 

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I also wonder, sorry, why there is a need to justify it?
Heh - a funny thing to put at the end of a long request for justification :)

Well, I'm not going to justify it - I'll go with your final sentiment.

We will have to agree to disagree. I only recently returned to reading fantasy after a decade+ sojorn in literary fiction and clearly we have divergent perceptions on the subject.

In my experience people see what they expect to see and it's largely determined by context. The concert soloist playing for free on the street corner will be ignored my many who might pay to see him in a grand hall.
 

Mark_Lawrence

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That criticism i had after the first book too, wanted to see and learn more about the world and i didnt like the deus ex machina help.
Seems every board I look on is full of a hunt for & take against "deus ex". As an outsider I'd not previously noticed it. It seems to me to stem for the great focus in the genre on plot above all else.

http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/sugar-and-spice-and-slugs-and-snails.html

This "deus" is used as a substitute for describing luck. It's taken as a failure of imagination on the part of the author. This utterly foreign to me - it would have been trivial to avoid & thus I assumed the reader would know it was choice and statement ... but no.

[general spoilers]
Take the horse kick - this wasn't a failure of plotting or imagination - it was an open acknowledgement of the luck we all depend on (especially in fiction). Take it as a concentrated and visible admission of the traditional sweeping away of the luck (endemic in surviving those annoyingly field-levelling projectile weapons) under the rug of convenience.

For me that kick was the remedy to the rather silly (though emotionally appealing and common, especially among young men (Jorg for example)) contention that simply wanting something enough, simply being wholly committed to your goal, will deliver that success as if (taking a random example) some higher power (the author maybe) acknowledged the necessity/rightness of your desire and rearranged the world to give it to you. Jorg rode that conceit almost to the end of the book, but in the final analysis no mattter how important it was to him to break Corion - how passionately his revenge etc demanded it - the 'reality' of the situation simply wouldn't allow it, and if not for a lucky break he would have died there and his story not be told. And (implicitly) for every book such as this one where luck delivered and the tale gets told, we imagine many protagonists who failed in some similar way and led to no tale, no book.






I never really saw Nuban they way you guys describe Magical Negro, he was more typical stereotype of blacks in modern epic fantasy it seemed to me. Silent,cool side character there to help and be a tool for the hero to grow up. The type i have seen too often and i just had to look past. A negative stereotype that is part of the field.
Having wikipedia-ed the subject & made myself an instant expert :) it seems to me that this is an idea born of American cinema's reflection of American social issues. That's not where I come from, and whilst I can accept that's the echo is might summon up in some readers it's no part of mine. I draw on my own experience when I write - which is personal, different, and in no part taken from a shelf of tropes.
 

Connavar

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I have seen Nuban like characters often in British modern epic,heroic fantasy and i can see why there is a character like that in medieval european like fantasy setting, too add color. History of modern literary is full of that in every field of western literature. I didnt say it was taken from Hollywood or tropes but the stereotype is part of the genre.

Frankly the books are fun,enjoyable epic fantasy to me and i mention Nuban this way only because its personal to me how he is written, i cant avoid seeing how he is a type in the genre and that i must deal with it and forget. I dont judge the book and read post colonialism issues in it. Im no literary scholar writing Post colonialism paper.

There are so called critics that i found to be silly they made the fact we dont learn Nuban real name in the first book, that he doesnt say much like it was sheer ignorance,prejuidce by the writer.
 

Brian G Turner

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"deus" is ... taken as a failure of imagination on the part of the author.
In the original Greek theatre usage, yes, but a degree of chance, luck, serendipity I think can be acceptable so long as the use is limited - my reading is that it's actually quite common to some degree.

However, the more often a character escapes death due to circumstance rather than through own initiative, planning, or strength of character, the more it looks like deus ex machina and may grate on the reader.

In Prince of Thorns, the hoof incident aside, compare the two violent confrontations in the Ancrath throne room, and how these are resolved.

I'm not going to try and focus on the issue of deus because I think that would be unfair - you wrote a good book and the story of how you got published is quite brilliant - and I don't want to take away from that by fixating on minor criticisms that are arguably a subjective part of the reader experience.
 
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