Author Topic: Robin Hobb  (Read 3112 times)

Recovering_Cynic

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Re: Robin Hobb
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2010, 07:24:02 PM »
That is interesting.  I never made it to the Tawny Man series.  I was so put out after finishing the AA series that I didn't want to plow on, especially after a friend advised me that the Live Ship books were even more whiny than the AA series.  I didn't want to read them, and since it precedes the Tawny Man series, well, I was done.  That being said, the Tawny Man books did pique my interest.  By far the most interesting character in the AA books was the Fool, and I was interested in how he would develop.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2010, 07:26:21 PM by Recovering_Cynic »
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ErikHolmes

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Re: Robin Hobb
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2010, 09:47:05 PM »
The Tawny Man series was great. Probably better then the AA series. I'd recommend them, but like a lot of other people have said, after reading them I think kind of got burnt out on her work too. I never finished the Ships series.

If anything I think there's TOO MUCH characterization in her books, it makes them slow reads.

She's who comes to mind when I think of characterization in fantasy. She's probably not the person I like the best, but I'd never say she sucked at it.

So who in Fantasy would you guys say does characterization better than Hobb? Who does it best?
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Recovering_Cynic

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Re: Robin Hobb
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2010, 09:53:19 PM »
Joe Abercrombie.  The Characters in The First Law Trilogy are some of the best I've ever seen.  The series may not be for everyone (it is dark, almost too dark for me), but if you want to learn how to write solid, interesting characters who will stick with your reader, read Abercrombie.
this is the way the world ends,
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Nessa

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Re: Robin Hobb
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2010, 10:37:30 PM »
I absolutely agree that Joe Abercrombie has some of the most complex, involved characters I've read. But I was iffy on the story, because it is rather gruesome and dark.

Other authors who I think are great at characterization are Lois McMaster Bujold, Jim Butcher (Tavi from the Codex of Alera series is one of my favorite characters, but he doesn't even get really interesting until book 3), Niel Gaiman (not so much for depth as for how interesting/quirky they are), and Robin McKinley--can't think of any others off the top of my head. Of course, I'm more of a 'story reader', I read more for plot than characterization or even setting, so take that for what it's worth.
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Bookstore Guy

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Re: Robin Hobb
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2010, 10:46:08 PM »
Hobb's latest stuff (Dragon Keeper) has crap characters.  It feels like 2 totally different authors when you compare her early stuff to her newest.

Who does characterization better?  Mind you, this is my opinion:

Martin, Abercrombie, Erikson (by FAR), Bakker (the early stuff), Miéville, Sanderson, Barclay, Lynch, Lloyd, Gaiman, Dan Wells, Chadbourn, Peters, Jones...you get my point, I could go on.  They each have specific strengths, but I personally feel they all are better than Hobb.  Also, most of these authors are of the Dark Fantasy group (which may not appeal to the masses), which for Dark Fantasy to really work, the characters have to be amazing--otherwise you get stuck with shock value crap.
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Moggle

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Re: Robin Hobb
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2010, 11:33:57 PM »
Robin Hobb's Assasin's Apprentice stories take place across 6 books (the last 3 are the 'Tawny Man" series). Like any good series, the build up of characterization, setting, and the magic system is not instantaneous.  The pacing and plot of this series moves a lot slower because Hobb is focused on the characterization of Fitz--whose issues of bastardy, a magic he's not really allowed to use, and how he fits into the world he was born into, all shape who he is. He's really a fascinating character.

How many books does Hobb need in order to finish her characterization of one character?  Do you need to read all 6 books in order to "get" Fitz or even 3?   I don't know about anyone else but I consider that bad writing.  I don't think see how Fitz is any different than say a Harry Potter or Qvothe or Vin.   Those were already great characters after their first books. 



Bookstore Guy

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Re: Robin Hobb
« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2010, 12:07:27 AM »
It depends on the author.  And once again, just because you didn't like the characterization in the one book you read doen't mean that it is bad.  It is, once again, a matter of opinion.  I think authors, like Goodkind, Dan Brown, and Ruckley suck at pretty much everything.  But that is my opinion.  To each his own.

Some authors are good at making a character likable from page one (those once again, this is all subjective).  Some authors need more time.  It's a matter of how patient you are willing to be.  It also matters when you read the novel.  Reading AA now for the first time vs reading it when it first came out has huge impact on perception.  The genre is completely different now.  Once again, this is opinion, others will disagree.

Mainly, don't insult others for not agreeing with you.  I would argue that Harry Potter has terrible characterization.  Books 1-3, to me, were boring.  Harry wasn't remotely interesting until book 4.  And then he whined for books 5 and 6, followed by a completely inconsistent book 7 that  destroyed what little good she had created.  But other people love it, and that's cool.  Just because I hated the series other than book 4, doesn't mean that I'm right.  To each his own.
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guessingo

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Re: Robin Hobb
« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2010, 12:34:40 AM »
 It seems to be in vogue to rip Dan Brown on here. Let me defend him. I read his first book and will not be reading the rest. It was "ok" to me. His books are designed to appeal to the following:

1. people who think puzzle solving is cool and fun.
2. people who really like art
3. people who think it is totally cool to mix the two together and get a really fast read.

it is not written for depth of character or even with interesting characters. it is about puzzle solving and then throwing in some mysticism and lots of art, statues, etc...

not my thing, but I can understand the people who like it. I generally take books for what they are. I don't think there is anything wrong with people who luck all the puzzle solving that Dan Brown presents.

ryos

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Re: Robin Hobb
« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2010, 05:24:30 AM »
Dan Brown's got a great formula that makes for a pretty enjoyable thriller. His main problem is that he only has that one formula, so you can only really enjoy one of his books before you start wanting your money back.
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Re: Robin Hobb
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2010, 11:54:52 AM »
Joe Abercrombie.  The Characters in The First Law Trilogy are some of the best I've ever seen.

I read a review just this last week that talked specifically about the characters in Best Served Cold (his most recent book).  Thought I'd post a link to it because I thought it was quite good.

http://aidanmoher.com/blog/2010/02/reviews/review-best-served-cold-by-joe-abercrombie/
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guessingo

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Re: Robin Hobb
« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2010, 02:48:22 PM »
@ryos: That is not a problem. He is a multi-millionaire and one of the most successful authors out there. His fans read his books because that is what they want. If he writes something else, it probably won't sell as well and you will see 100s of 1 star reviews going "where is the old Dan Brown.

When you sell millions of copies of each book, you have an incentive to keep giving people what they want.

The Gathering Storm knocked the latest book from #1 on the bestseller list, but it is still in the top 10 and The Gathering Storm has dropped off of the New York Times best seller list. When you have sales like that... why change? Especially since changing will lead to angry fans.

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Re: Robin Hobb
« Reply #26 on: February 26, 2010, 05:13:17 PM »
guess--
actually, fans are asking Dan Brown to change because his books are so formulaic.  he is the mystery equivalent of a monthly romance serial, but writing at a George RR Martin pace.  everyone has recognized this now that his 5th book has been released.  there is a reason his latest novel is barely averaging 3 stars: people have caught on to his poor writing, his predictable plotting, and his false sense of good pacing.

go read the review that Nick and I wrote over at our blog of The Lost Symbol.  we break down exactly why Brown is a terrible author.

Robin Hobb's recent, poor series of novels are like the best novels ever written when compared to Brown.
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guessingo

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Re: Robin Hobb
« Reply #27 on: February 26, 2010, 06:05:56 PM »
His latest book has been a best seller for months... so people may be catching on they are still buying the books in massive numbers. If people are still buying them, he can keep punching out these formulaic books and make more money than most of the authors with creative concepts.

he has to have sold over a million copies by now just for this book which no one likes. he has sold so many books he probably doesn't even need to write another book.

I bet he can write another one and it gets the same bad reviews or even worse and still sell 250,000 copies easily.

I see where you are going, but when you still make the same kind of money he makes... suck it dry.

Recovering_Cynic

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Re: Robin Hobb
« Reply #28 on: February 26, 2010, 06:07:12 PM »
Joe Abercrombie.  The Characters in The First Law Trilogy are some of the best I've ever seen.

I read a review just this last week that talked specifically about the characters in Best Served Cold (his most recent book).  Thought I'd post a link to it because I thought it was quite good.

http://aidanmoher.com/blog/2010/02/reviews/review-best-served-cold-by-joe-abercrombie/

Yeah, that review pretty much sums up why I haven't read it yet.  I love Abercrombie's work and his style, but it's kinda like reading Tess of the Durbervilles, there just isn't much in the way of sunshine.  I appreciate gray characters, but you have to give them a moment or two in the sun.

Still think he's the best I've read at characterization.  I liked the description of his style.  In fact, I plan on incorporating it into my own writing where appropriate.
this is the way the world ends,
not with a bang, but a whimper
~T.S. Eliot

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Re: Robin Hobb
« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2010, 08:41:54 PM »
he can keep punching out these formulaic books

He doesn't punch out books.  He takes his time writing poorly.  Hey people can read his books, all they want.  All it will do is make real novels seem that much better when those readers finally get there.

Cynic--Yeah, there isn't much sunshine in Abercrombie's novels.  They have a moment in the sun...usually while being killed.  I love Abercrombie, but I tend to read something "happy" after one of his books to balance the scales.
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