Author Topic: Is it just me?  (Read 1970 times)

Offline MilknCookies

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Is it just me?
« on: November 03, 2016, 06:23:47 AM »
I've lurk around for years and am an enormous fan. I've gotten many friends hooked on his series. I've read all of Dresden and Alera three times. Is it just me or this book is mediocre overall or terrible compared to other Jim's works. My friends agree too.

I'm keeping it short for first post.

The three girls seem to come from the same voice. Little difference in personality or how they would react to the same situation. Especially, I keep having to check and confuse between Bridget and Gwen.

On land action seemed like a weaker version of Alera. Weaker swordplay, long range weaponry, insects, circumstance, suedo magic, everything. Cats were cool but they save the day? Compared to highlord or wizards? I can't stop picturing cute but fat cats.

Best part, I love ship battles a lot. Second read through though, I realize battleship is overpowered. Why would you build three heavy cruiser instead of a battleship. Three power crystal, extra armor, shroud, speed of light frigate, and omg super fast turning to match diving ships. Soooo stupid two heavy cruisers got destroyed. Because any reasonable person would combine the three into a battleship. Then use light single person ships for scout and signals.

Offline Quantus

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Re: Is it just me?
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2016, 12:13:48 PM »
I've lurk around for years and am an enormous fan. I've gotten many friends hooked on his series. I've read all of Dresden and Alera three times. Is it just me or this book is mediocre overall or terrible compared to other Jim's works. My friends agree too.
Well, it's probably not just you, tastes are a personally thing and this series is wildly different from his others.  I for one loved them though, and think they are some of his best work yet.  That being said it /is/ the start of a new series so it wont be as satisfying as the recent dresden or the late books in Alera, where the setting and characters are all well-established.  I personally really didnt like Furies of Caulderon very much for many similar reasons, to the point that I gave up on the series (this was back before Id even heard of Dresden) but once I read Academ's fury I was hooked. 
Quote
I'm keeping it short for first post.

The three girls seem to come from the same voice. Little difference in personality or how they would react to the same situation. Especially, I keep having to check and confuse between Bridget and Gwen.
Dont really get this.  There is the rational socially awkward introvert, the loud headstong heiress, and...Folly.  I never once had trouble keeping them apart.
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On land action seemed like a weaker version of Alera. Weaker swordplay, long range weaponry, insects, circumstance, suedo magic, everything. Cats were cool but they save the day? Compared to highlord or wizards? I can't stop picturing cute but fat cats.
Did you miss the etherealists?!?   :P  I for one can't wait until we really get to see Ferus cut loose. 
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Best part, I love ship battles a lot. Second read through though, I realize battleship is overpowered. Why would you build three heavy cruiser instead of a battleship. Three power crystal, extra armor, shroud, speed of light frigate, and omg super fast turning to match diving ships. Soooo stupid two heavy cruisers got destroyed. Because any reasonable person would combine the three into a battleship. Then use light single person ships for scout and signals.
Setting aside the economics of building a bunch of the massive flagships, there are tactical advantages to having multiple smaller ships instead of the single massive one, in terms of maneuverability and ambush tactics, not to mention actual spire defense.  Though sure in a one-on-one battle the ship designed to take out other ships is going to do it well. 
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Offline Dina

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Re: Is it just me?
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2016, 01:45:03 PM »
I agree with Quantus, is probably not just you.
But I personally love the book and the three girls are great. Bridget and Gwen are probably my favorite characters and I never had any trouble sorting them apart. In fact, I didn't confuse any character with another one, except perhaps a few crew members (and only early in the books).
I have not read Alera and battleships fights were good but not my favorite parts. I like the characters, it's the best of the book for me
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Offline Second Aristh

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Re: Is it just me?
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2016, 05:42:55 PM »
I think that the first book in a series can be a little harder to hook people.  One of Jim's strengths is tying material in a story to seemingly unrelated things that happened earlier.  He can't really do that in the first book. 

Overall I enjoyed the book.  Grim and Bridget seemed a little bland compared to some of the more colorful characters to me, but I think they both have a ton of potential.  I never had trouble telling any of the main party characters (Grim/Gwen/Bridget/Benedict/Folly/Ferus/Rowl) apart.  The trickiest part was keeping some of the Predator's crew straight.

As far as airships go, there are some strategic advantages to having some smaller ships.  It lets you use different tactics and to split your forces in multiple locations.
We shall not fail or falter, we shall not weaken or tire...Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.--Winston Churchill     

Offline Quantus

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Re: Is it just me?
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2016, 06:14:56 PM »
I think that the first book in a series can be a little harder to hook people.  One of Jim's strengths is tying material in a story to seemingly unrelated things that happened earlier.  He can't really do that in the first book. 

Overall I enjoyed the book.  Grim and Bridget seemed a little bland compared to some of the more colorful characters to me, but I think they both have a ton of potential.  I never had trouble telling any of the main party characters (Grim/Gwen/Bridget/Benedict/Folly/Ferus/Rowl) apart.  The trickiest part was keeping some of the Predator's crew straight.
And I think that blandness has more to do with my general impression of overly-polite people than with the way the characters themselves were presented.  Though I will say I enjoyed the hell out of Bridget's dry sense of humor. 
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Offline Second Aristh

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Re: Is it just me?
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2016, 06:26:19 PM »
And I think that blandness has more to do with my general impression of overly-polite people than with the way the characters themselves were presented.  Though I will say I enjoyed the hell out of Bridget's dry sense of humor.
Possibly.  It's hard to put my finger on.  I should note that bland isn't the same as bad in this case.  I don't think there was anything wrong with them; they just didn't excite me as much as other characters.
We shall not fail or falter, we shall not weaken or tire...Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.--Winston Churchill     

Offline MilknCookies

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Re: Is it just me?
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2016, 06:34:12 PM »
There was a scene when Gwen rushed out of infirmary to see Capt Ransom jump off the ship. I had a moment of wait which girl came out again? Other than external characteristics, size, weaponry, etc... There are a few scenes I felt they'd acted exactly the same way. Like running after Benedict to the burning temple. There are personality differences of course, but a lot of similarities like strong-willed, bravery, sense of honor, strong desire to help others. Folly is totally different. I was a little drunk and didn't think it through carefully.

Second point was just my personal opinion. But because silkweavers are so similar to vord. I keep drawing comparison between Cinder Spire systems with Alera systems, which were much more epic.

Again, I loved the ship chapters a lot, by far my favorite sections of the book. I firmly believe there is no reason to create anything less than battlecruiser, other than scouting concerns, which you can do with tiny ships on one trim crystal probably. Ithaca had more firepower and toughness than three heavy cruisers combined. The fact that it chased down Predator was ridiculous. I can buy the great straight line speed, but it took no discount on maneuverability. Image US Navy has battleships that can turn and accelerate like a small frigate. Why would US Navy split the resource it takes to build one battleship into three smaller ships? Especially in engagement, USS Ithaca can just shrug off fire from the three smaller ships and annihilate 1/3 of enemy strength in the opening moments.

If you draw parallel to WWII or pervious navy conflicts, you never split your navy into different locations. Splitting your 30 ships into different battle groups is just throwing them to easy destruction if they run into enemy concentrated navy group.

Offline Dina

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Re: Is it just me?
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2016, 06:54:35 PM »
Well, you can say the same characteristics apply to Grim, Benedict and several others, that doesn't mean than Gwen and Bridget are the same. I absolutely love them both and I can distinguish them. By the way, I love mom Lancaster too.
I do think Grim is quite similar to Harry, but he is more polite and that is a serious bonus in my opinion
 He is great.
Missing you, Md 

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Offline MilknCookies

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Re: Is it just me?
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2016, 07:05:51 PM »
How about comparing Gwen and Bridget to other characters by Jim? Isana and Amara had very different motivations and backgrounds. They were rich and distinct from each other. Murphy was a very interesting character in the beginning. I can't think of a "rival" female main character until Molly later. Susan was a side character. And a little bland like Gwen and Bridget....

Offline Dina

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Re: Is it just me?
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2016, 07:27:38 PM »
You are trying to tease me, right? You are going to say Maggie Jr is your favorite character?  :P
Missing you, Md 

There are many horrible sights in the multiverse. Somehow, though, to a soul attuned to the subtle rhythms of a library, there are few worse sights than a hole where a book ought to be. Someone has stolen a book (Terry Pratchett)

Offline Quantus

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Re: Is it just me?
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2016, 07:28:11 PM »
Again, I loved the ship chapters a lot, by far my favorite sections of the book. I firmly believe there is no reason to create anything less than battlecruiser, other than scouting concerns, which you can do with tiny ships on one trim crystal probably. Ithaca had more firepower and toughness than three heavy cruisers combined. The fact that it chased down Predator was ridiculous. I can buy the great straight line speed, but it took no discount on maneuverability. Image US Navy has battleships that can turn and accelerate like a small frigate. Why would US Navy split the resource it takes to build one battleship into three smaller ships? Especially in engagement, USS Ithaca can just shrug off fire from the three smaller ships and annihilate 1/3 of enemy strength in the opening moments.

If you draw parallel to WWII or pervious navy conflicts, you never split your navy into different locations. Splitting your 30 ships into different battle groups is just throwing them to easy destruction if they run into enemy concentrated navy group.
Don't forget, the Itasca still lost that fight.  Take, as a counter example, the opening ambush on the Spire.  They specifically could not have engaged any ships larger than they did because they cannot dive (which is apparently the premiere offensive maneuver on airships) and they'd have been destroyed by the spire-mounted defenses.  The Itasca only managed to catch the lighter ship because she was still heavily damaged and not especially capable of those maneuvers that should have been it's balancing ability.  That and Grimm was attempting to lure her into a trap. 

Also, I seem to recall hearing a proverb somewhere, something about baskets and how many eggs you should store in each one ;)


I do think Grim is quite similar to Harry, but he is more polite and that is a serious bonus in my opinion
 He is great.
Ya, he's sort of an unholy amalgamation of Harry and Tavi, the disdain for authority combined with skilled leadership.
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Offline Dina

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Re: Is it just me?
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2016, 07:38:23 PM »
I don't know Tavi. Grim is more level headed than Harry though.
Missing you, Md 

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Offline Quantus

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Re: Is it just me?
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2016, 07:59:25 PM »
I don't know Tavi. Grim is more level headed than Harry though.
Whaaaa?  Not an Alera fan?
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Offline Second Aristh

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Re: Is it just me?
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2016, 08:09:46 PM »
I don't know Tavi. Grim is more level headed than Harry though.
Codex Alera is definitely worth a read when you get a chance.  Tavi is set up to be the opposite of Harry, not particularly strong but really sneaky whereas Harry is stronger than many but very direct.
We shall not fail or falter, we shall not weaken or tire...Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.--Winston Churchill     

Offline Dina

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Re: Is it just me?
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2016, 11:31:52 PM »
Quantus, haven't you read my posts in this thread? I have not read Alera.  :)
Missing you, Md 

There are many horrible sights in the multiverse. Somehow, though, to a soul attuned to the subtle rhythms of a library, there are few worse sights than a hole where a book ought to be. Someone has stolen a book (Terry Pratchett)