Author Topic: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback(Beware spoilers)  (Read 7416 times)

sortitus

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback(Beware spoilers)
« Reply #30 on: July 19, 2009, 10:48:13 AM »
Brandon's podcast, Writing Excuses, has an episode about writing groups and critiquing. In it, he and his co-hosts agree that critiques that contain only criticism are only marginally useful, as well as being hard on an author's fragile ego.

A manufacturer is glad to have succinct reviews of how their product has failed or not met expectations. The designer of that product would not appreciate a random person that got hold of the blueprints telling them without preamble why the product will not work. If you have enough credentials, they will take your advice. If you don't, they will be offended.

The bottom line is that everyone likes to be complemented, and unless you're talking to a very good friend you have to butter people up before criticizing them if you don't want them to get indignant on you. Even then, if you value your friendship you'll probably soften the blow a bit. Use courtesy, politeness, and civility. Even (especially) in text. I'm not saying that your review should be 4/5 praise if that's the rating you gave. A little bit goes a long way, and people usually assume that anyone who starts out by complementing them is alright. But you know all of this already. Carry on.
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shadow9d9

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback(Beware spoilers)
« Reply #31 on: July 19, 2009, 04:23:09 PM »
Brandon's podcast, Writing Excuses, has an episode about writing groups and critiquing. In it, he and his co-hosts agree that critiques that contain only criticism are only marginally useful, as well as being hard on an author's fragile ego.

A manufacturer is glad to have succinct reviews of how their product has failed or not met expectations. The designer of that product would not appreciate a random person that got hold of the blueprints telling them without preamble why the product will not work. If you have enough credentials, they will take your advice. If you don't, they will be offended.

The bottom line is that everyone likes to be complemented, and unless you're talking to a very good friend you have to butter people up before criticizing them if you don't want them to get indignant on you. Even then, if you value your friendship you'll probably soften the blow a bit. Use courtesy, politeness, and civility. Even (especially) in text. I'm not saying that your review should be 4/5 praise if that's the rating you gave. A little bit goes a long way, and people usually assume that anyone who starts out by complementing them is alright. But you know all of this already. Carry on.

Understood, but as I have said multiple times, I gave plenty of compliments at the beginning of the post.

Aranfan

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback(Beware spoilers)
« Reply #32 on: July 19, 2009, 08:36:56 PM »
Understood, but as I have said multiple times, I gave plenty of compliments at the beginning of the post.

No, you didn't.  One sentence of "this was good" followed by paragraphs of "this was bad", does not a balanced review make.  Also, each book is a discrete unit, with its own pros and cons.  When you didn't repeat the compliments for WoA and HoA it implied that they didn't have those positive things.

Basically, your review makes it seem like WoA and HoA are nothing but boring exposition fests when they aren't.


Also, I didn't find any of the reminders boring or out of place.  IIRC, most of the reminders about Kelsier had to do with expanding upon the religion that had formed around him.  When Vin notices the Spear necklace and wonders if it's meant to represent the spear the Lord Ruler used on Kelsier or the one she used on the Lord Ruler, it is perfectly natural and flows excellently with the story.  I recall most of your other examples being similarly well placed in the narrative, although I'd have to check to make sure.

shadow9d9

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback(Beware spoilers)
« Reply #33 on: July 19, 2009, 10:01:19 PM »
Understood, but as I have said multiple times, I gave plenty of compliments at the beginning of the post.

No, you didn't.  One sentence of "this was good" followed by paragraphs of "this was bad", does not a balanced review make.  Also, each book is a discrete unit, with its own pros and cons.  When you didn't repeat the compliments for WoA and HoA it implied that they didn't have those positive things.

Basically, your review makes it seem like WoA and HoA are nothing but boring exposition fests when they aren't.


Also, I didn't find any of the reminders boring or out of place.  IIRC, most of the reminders about Kelsier had to do with expanding upon the religion that had formed around him.  When Vin notices the Spear necklace and wonders if it's meant to represent the spear the Lord Ruler used on Kelsier or the one she used on the Lord Ruler, it is perfectly natural and flows excellently with the story.  I recall most of your other examples being similarly well placed in the narrative, although I'd have to check to make sure.

Have you read the post or this thread?

Let's look at the post.  1st I post good review scores.  Then I count 8 other praiseworthy points.   

"Interesting world, unique races, fun characters,  unique magic-like system, well paced, plenty of unexpected twists, and just the right amount of description.  The ending was decent as well.  Very good."

Then I go on to describe 2-3 bad things that only affected the 2nd and 3rd books.  I needed to describe them in detail so the points could be understood.  All of the positives were self-explanatory.  Why should I go on and on about positives that are quite obvious?  The negatives needed explanation. 

9/3 sounds pretty balanced to me.


 I also gave pages and paragrpahs with examples of the repetitive reminders.  Go look them up.  Who knows... Maybe 2-5 times each book you had forgotten how Vin grew up, or forgot how the lord ruler was killed and needed the reminder...

little wilson

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback(Beware spoilers)
« Reply #34 on: July 19, 2009, 10:13:40 PM »
You know, with how defensive you're getting about this, it doesn't seem like you're a fan of the books at all. You say you like them, but other than those first 64 words, you spend the next 355 bashing them. About very minor problems.

Yes, I understand that you're giving feedback, but keep in mind how minor these problems are, and Mistborn is at the beginning of Brandon's writing career. Go take a look at Warbreaker, and if you see the same problems to the same degree then you might have something to say. But until then....I just think you're beating a dead horse.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2009, 10:44:23 PM by little wilson »
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shadow9d9

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback(Beware spoilers)
« Reply #35 on: July 19, 2009, 11:47:52 PM »
You know, with how defensive you're getting about this, it doesn't seem like you're a fan of the books at all. You say you like them, but other than those first 64 words, you spend the next 355 bashing them. About very minor problems.

Yes, I understand that you're giving feedback, but keep in mind how minor these problems are, and Mistborn is at the beginning of Brandon's writing career. Go take a look at Warbreaker, and if you see the same problems to the same degree then you might have something to say. But until then....I just think you're beating a dead horse.

"Very minor problems" in your opinion maybe.  As I stated already(and you ignored), every time he repeated information that was in previous books, or even worse, was repeated already in the same book, it completely took me out of the story.  It was like cold water being splashed in my face.

I don't know if he needed filler, the editors heavily pushed to dumb down the books, or if he really thought that 2 pages later you'd forgot what was just repeated as a reminder, and you already know from previous books where it was repeated multiple times, and from the original book... but it was a problem.

Feel free to look up what I found in a quick 10 minutes of skimming.. He repeated things you knew from previous books, and repeated some things 2 pages later or multiple times PER BOOK. 

And I could assure you that I enjoyed the books.  It is the only reason I care enough to give feedback.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2009, 02:13:12 AM by shadow9d9 »

Aranfan

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback(Beware spoilers)
« Reply #36 on: July 19, 2009, 11:53:08 PM »
I might just take you up on your offer shadow, but later, when I don't have schoolwork to do.

shadow9d9

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback(Beware spoilers)
« Reply #37 on: July 20, 2009, 02:14:15 AM »
I might just take you up on your offer shadow, but later, when I don't have schoolwork to do.

Also, to respond to your "Go take a look at Warbreaker...".  Only a series would have a problem of repeating previous plot points.  This is why I made no complaints of such in Mistborn.

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback(Beware spoilers)
« Reply #38 on: July 20, 2009, 02:16:55 AM »
In that case, I'd think you'd prefer Warbreaker or Elantris.
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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback(Beware spoilers)
« Reply #39 on: July 20, 2009, 04:16:36 AM »
I might just take you up on your offer shadow, but later, when I don't have schoolwork to do.

Also, to respond to your "Go take a look at Warbreaker...".  Only a series would have a problem of repeating previous plot points.  This is why I made no complaints of such in Mistborn.

Huh?  I never said anything about Warbreaker in this thread.

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback(Beware spoilers)
« Reply #40 on: July 20, 2009, 04:22:05 AM »
Huh?  I never said anything about Warbreaker in this thread.

Yeah...that was me...

And shadow, just wait for Nightblood, then...It's the sequel to Warbreaker. I still heartily recommend it, even if it's a stand-alone. Fantastic book. Same with Elantris.
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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback(Beware spoilers)
« Reply #41 on: July 20, 2009, 04:42:51 AM »
Huh?  I never said anything about Warbreaker in this thread.

Yeah...that was me...

And shadow, just wait for Nightblood, then...It's the sequel to Warbreaker. I still heartily recommend it, even if it's a stand-alone. Fantastic book. Same with Elantris.

I intend on reading both elantris and warbreaker, since I enjoyed this trilogy.

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback(Beware spoilers)
« Reply #42 on: July 20, 2009, 05:21:16 AM »
shadow, I haven't yet looked at the pages you cited, but will tomorrow. However, you may not be aware that it's industry standard practice to repeat things from previous books to get people up to speed. Brandon might have preferred the summaries to be put at the beginning instead of the end, but Tor would not allow that. It's considered very bad form to require people to read a summary at the beginning—you're supposed to sprinkle the catchup info throughout the book instead, as Brandon has done.

You're off the mark if you're saying he shouldn't repeat things from previous books. Your wish will not be granted, because Brandon HAS to repeat things from previous books. That is the way the publishing world works. What your real complaint should be is that you don't like the WAY he repeated info from previous books, not that he did it at all. The repeated information knocked you out of the story—that's a valid criticism. Perhaps Brandon needs to work on making his catchup information more seamless. Most readers haven't minded it at all, but if there are enough readers like you who do mind it, then it could use some improvement. The same goes for any information repeated within a book. None of it is filler—it's required for plot and rhetorical reasons. If there are enough people like you who are bugged by it, maybe Brandon needs to work on making it more seamless.
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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback(Beware spoilers)
« Reply #43 on: July 20, 2009, 02:35:26 PM »
shadow, I haven't yet looked at the pages you cited, but will tomorrow. However, you may not be aware that it's industry standard practice to repeat things from previous books to get people up to speed. Brandon might have preferred the summaries to be put at the beginning instead of the end, but Tor would not allow that. It's considered very bad form to require people to read a summary at the beginning—you're supposed to sprinkle the catchup info throughout the book instead, as Brandon has done.

You're off the mark if you're saying he shouldn't repeat things from previous books. Your wish will not be granted, because Brandon HAS to repeat things from previous books. That is the way the publishing world works. What your real complaint should be is that you don't like the WAY he repeated info from previous books, not that he did it at all. The repeated information knocked you out of the story—that's a valid criticism. Perhaps Brandon needs to work on making his catchup information more seamless. Most readers haven't minded it at all, but if there are enough readers like you who do mind it, then it could use some improvement. The same goes for any information repeated within a book. None of it is filler—it's required for plot and rhetorical reasons. If there are enough people like you who are bugged by it, maybe Brandon needs to work on making it more seamless.

Doing it in the first 20 pages is understandable.  500 pages into the 3rd book is not.  Repeating the same info within 2 pages of each other is not.  I've read many books and I have NEVER seen anything like what was in these...

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Re: Mistborn trilogy review and feedback(Beware spoilers)
« Reply #44 on: July 20, 2009, 04:30:30 PM »
You did not post any page numbers that are 2 pages away from each other. Do you mean some other number than 2?

Also, with a book of this size it's not possible to recap everything within the first 20 pages. It's better to spread it out and insert the information where it's logical to insert it according to the needs of the story.

HoA p. 106: This is the first time Reen is mentioned in the book. A refresher is needed. His voice is a crucial plot point.

HoA p. 402: This explains why Reen did what he did, something that is missing in the previous mention. And it's important to reiterate it here because she's faced with Ruin pretending to be Reen. He can't fool her.

HoA p. 182: "Alendi's logbook" was mentioned once before in this book but not explained. A refresher is needed.

HoA p. 223: Okay, you've got a point here. The "stained-glass windows" information is repeated much too closely. I'm guessing this is a revision error—the info got moved from one paragraph to another, but not deleted from the source paragraph. It looks pretty dumb.

HoA p. 261/265: The focus is different here. Also, it's not repeating information; it's a continuation of the same thought within the same scene. She is reminded of her first ball. The first part of the reflection is about how she feels to herself like a different person now. The second part of the reflection is about how everyone else will now treat her differently.

HoA 383: This is the first time Vin's sister is mentioned in the book. A refresher is needed.

HoA 546: As far as I can tell, this is the first time drawing upon the mists has been mentioned in the book. (I may have missed an earlier reference though, if the words "draw upon" or "drew upon" were not used.) And it makes perfect sense for Vin to think about it here, because here is where she is explaining to Yomen what happened. And it makes perfect sense for her to explain all this to Yomen right now, because he is incredulous and wants to hear it from a firsthand witness.

HoA 598: The part about drawing upon the mists here is letting us know when it was that she felt Ruin's fear. She is thinking about it right at that moment. It's important to make the connection between Ruin's fear and drawing upon the mists.

HoA 222: This is the first time Vin's burglarizing past is mentioned in the book. Mentioning it serves to draw a contrast between her and Elend.

So basically, of everything you cited, it looks to me like just one of your complaints is about something that actually should have been changed. The rest of it is fine.

Nevertheless I'll try to be on the lookout for too much repetition in future manuscripts and let Brandon know if I see any.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2009, 05:14:12 PM by Ookla The Mok »
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