Overrated Books


Active Member
Dec 21, 2002
What books or series do you think are overrated?

The Wheel of Time has to be the most overrated series ever. I scream when people say its there favourite series, that said, I've only read the first book, but how can they be so blind.

The main character is a strong and tall farmer boy! Hey, never heard that before, and his nemesis is called the Dark One. The first book copies LotR completely,(I won't go into it) and the plotting and writing is horribly sloppy. It feels like he just hacked it out and its far too long. I've also read halfway into
book no 2 (out of pure curiosity) and it doesn't pick up.
Heh, as soon as I saw the title of this post I thought of Robert Jordan! No, I haven't read any of his writings - but for some mad reason my in-laws had a hardback sourcebook of his world. I had a flick through and squirmed continually with a rising nausea.

Maybe it's just me being hard-assed, but it was just too far removed from all proper reality for me - excepting those parts of history he'd plundered but barely covered up. I mean, Artur Paendrag? Shaitan?

And his world map is highly suspect - I'm taking bets that the major river that flows out from the south could never have originated only a few miles from the north western coast. But, hey, I'm a cynic. ;)
I got the first book of the Wheel of Time for Christmas. I'm more of a Sci-fi fan than Fantasy but my Grandparents obviously didn't know that. Is it really that bad. I know i don't want to read it because i really don't want to read such a long series, but does the Eye of the World stand alone?

Kilroy Was Here
Jordan is both skilled and experienced as a fantasy writer. His work is not the most original creation ever (and his understanding of basic geology is limited at best, as has been mentioned), but it is well worth the read for anyone that really enjoys reading for pleasure (if you don't really like to read for pleasure, then you will find little in Jordan's books to interest you).

The main problem is that the series is generally overhyped. It is not...any of the quotes on the jacket will do. Also, on a more personal note, he's written 8 or 9 of these books so far and the end is nowhere in sight. There is a significant lesser dramatic tension that is resolved for most of the books, so this is bearable, but it really bothers a lot of people.

In short, yes, World of Time...serpent...oh, right, Wheel of Time is probably one of the most overrated books right now, but that's because there is so much ridiculous hyperbole going about. It's a fun series of books, as long as you don't take them too seriously. Enjoy them, even imitate and improve on them, but don't feel like you'll be culturally illiterate if you don't read them.
There not terrible Kilroy, just very, very average. It probably picks up as it goes along, but spending your time and money on something else would be much more worthwhile. If you're new to fantasy you might not have read George RR Martin, Robin Hobb or Kate Elliott which are all far superior.

Yeah, the world is funny; the habitable land is cut into a square with the sea on two sides and a huge mountain range on the other two. The ending of the Eye of the World is so laughable and undramatic and you know everything would be alright in the end, anyway.

Jordan is an extremely unaccomplished writer and can be quite sloppy. I do read for pleasure, why else would I read fantasy.
I wouldn't say that he isn't accomplished...after all, he's written a few gazillion Conan stories ;)

But let's face it, experienced as he is, he is also somewhat formulaic and uninspired at best. This does not change the fact that his stories are entertaining and easy to read (again, assuming that you actually derive pleasure from reading--if a book of more than 500 pages makes you nervous, you'd best stay away).

I actually think that most writers (even those I admit to be superior artists) could learn a thing or two from Jordan's casually deft use of POV, though. Technically, he's no better than anyone else, but somehow, you don't notice his technical flaws so much. Artistically...let's not go there. It's not great art. But neither are most the video games I play (okay, I'm not into the "video game as Art rather than entertainment" thing, anyway).
Yeah I read the first two Conan books back when I knew absolutely nothing about fantasy and had no taste in books whatsoever. Thank God I never got hooked on Eddings!

What pisses me off is that its the most popular fantasy series and one fo the only few which can rival mainstream novels, in sales (of course!).

Another overrated series is Memory Sorrow and Thorn by Tad Williams. Far superior to Jordan but there's nothing original to it and I just can't get attached to them. I gave up the second book because I had better stuff to read.
Everyone ever in the history of the world is gonna hate me for saying this, but it's the damn truth. George Lucas is a terrible author and director. Star Wars is average at best. Everyone thinks they're good because they were set out at a time where the country needed something to recognize as that year's big thing, so everybody had to like it, or you'd be hated by everyone. I have seen all the Star Wars movies, and i enjoyed watching them, but they doesn't make them good. Everybody likes them, and i always ask them to watch it with an open mind, and they refuse to. Well, i've just started a major argument with everyone in the world against me. That is all. Fin.
I like parts of the Star Wars as I do parts of the Star Treks. You're right about the writing and directing.
Well, I hate to agree, but Lucas does appear...not as great as has been hoped.

Star Wars doesn't hold up as science fiction, of course, but it is wonderful (not great, but wonderful) high fantasy, as were Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. His other movies have been pretty lackluster (I liked the American Graffiti movies, but they weren't even close to greatness nor were they wonderful).

And some of them have been really disappointing.
I am reading WoT and yes, Jordan IS overrated. He has a great grasp of character....... but his characters have a way of eclisping the plot. So much so I find myself skipping pages to find the next piece of action.

I am also less than impressed with his view of women. OK so there are major females characters in WoT <faints> BUT his depiction of them is dodgy at times.

Also Murdur in LaMut by... I forget. Awful. Avoid like the plague. Written for little boys who like blood and guts. And so very, very boring. I read the whole thing just in the vain hope that SOMETHING would happen.
You gotta take Jordan for what he is: entertainment. Some people do make more of him than is justified, true. But some people take succes as meaning high quality and that is just not the case.

I have to say there are few books or authors I find overrated. I always judge them by what they are, rather than setting my standards so high, I can't really enjoy anything anymore. So in my library you will find a row of Star Trek novels and novelisations, my collections of romance novels, the penguin classics and children's books.

There is one writer I really find overrated. I read enough of his books to make a good enough judgement on it. Harry Mulisch, a Dutch author. You know, the one who wrote The Assault and Discovery of Heaven. So very very overrated. His philosophical musings are so commonplace, anyone could have come up with that. Really overrated. Too simple by far.
I don't set my standards far too high. I enjoy most mainstream fantasy and I'm very far removed form the silly bigots who call everyhting spec fic and can hardly find it in themselves to like Martin or Elliott, but WoT is too insultingly poor, as is Eddings, and Feist only just makes the grade.

WoT isn't even enjoyable entertainment adn seems to be written for those with the plot appreciation of little children. I feel more strongly and a little too bitterly about it than any other overrated book because I had heard so much golden praise for it but from around page 50 onwards I started to feel let down.
Well, I guess I have a childish plot appreciation then. And I am very proud of that! Instead of being bitter, as you seem to be, SirRob, I can still look at books and like them.

I would rather have people read WoT then not read at all. Who are we to judge when someone should or should not enjoy a book or a story?

I bet you have something against Harry Potter as well! Then again, everyone is equally entitled to their own opinion.
Actually, I'm the one that has (or had, I haven't really decided yet) the problem with the elitism evident in the Harry Potter books.

Does anyone know if they ever get around to explaining about the Black Plague and the resulting Sprenger Heresy? I can understand if not, since they are kids books and the topic is a grim one, but the simple fact is that if you dance around it...then it just becomes elitist propaganda.
Maybe 'the plot appreciation of little children' was another of my no so well chosen phrases... :-

I don't mind Harry Potter. Its good but nothing great.
Yeah, I'm probably just being...you know, a kook, for not reading them. I stopped being able to read Anne McAffry after about 16, along with anything what smacked of that kind of elitist world view. Harry Potter just sounds like more of the same kind of thing to me.

Of course my entire "people with special abilities cannot thereby claim independence from the larger community" speil is just an intellectual pose. I totally act without reference to the larger community, and although I don't claim that autonomy on the basis of superior ability, the fact remains that I couldn't enjoy such freedom without my peculiar abilities. So although intellectually I am opposed to elitism, in practical terms I am extreemly elitist.

Which is the way I think it should be. People shouldn't be allowed to claim theoretical immunity from the rules of society because "they are so special". If a person wants that degree of personal sovereignty, it must be taken and backed by force, just as nations defend their independence in the real world. No one is "above the law" except by dint of greater actual strength than the law can weild.

P.S.-I am not a criminal or anything like that. I'm all in favor of law and order and so forth. I'm just expressing my opinion of those that think they should be "exempt from the rules that govern lesser men" and all that rot.
Special abilities is a relative concept. The ability to discuss the ramifications of Plato throughout Renaissance literature is useless when faced with a flat tyre.
Not if it means that you have been successful in pursuading someone to share the ride with you, or if you have thus made enough money to afford a cell-phone and a roadside assistence contract, or if you are able to control your irritation, thus not transforming into the Incredible Hulk and smashing your car in a fit of green tinted rage...okay, that last is a bit of a stretch, if the rage of the Incredible Hulk could be controlled by such an effete means, then Banner would never lose his temper at inopportune moments. I mean, the guy was a Phd., right?

But I endorse the point. Having a special power doesn't give you some kind of magical immunity to the real world. Having ten special powers doesn't confer that immunity. Perhaps if I had just a couple more...nah! Nobody is immune from reality.
And I'm still having problems reading Peter F Hamilton's writing. I just don't care about any of the characters in "Fallen Dragon". When I was drawn into them in "The REality Dysfunction" it was only to find them plot irrelevant. That idea still haunts in this work, which still hasn't offered any kind of plot to pury on!

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