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A confluence of books

Assassin's Apprentice, by Robin Hobb
I bought this one day in Guildford while I was living in Great Bookham, and becoming increasingly bored of being on vacation. I read it in a day, and compulsively needed to know what happened next. I bought the next two books the next day, and by the end of the day after, I was physically exhausted, uncomfortable from all those hours of reading, unsure whether I'd actually liked the books, but in no doubt that the author could construct a powerfully compelling tale.

Alien Earth, by Megan Lindholm
This book came to me as part of an MST3K-like sequence of commentators. I need to finish writing irreverent commentary in the margins and pass it on to someone else. Unfortunately, it's dull, uninteresting, and unengaging. I don't care about the characters. I gave up months ago out of boredom. It's a book I need to get over with at some point, just so its travels may continue.

Atlanta Nights, by Travis Tea
Mr. Tea represents a large group of authors each of whom tried very hard indeed to write horrendously bad prose, and then edit it down to be even worse. It's hilariously bad, worth reading for all of the wrong reasons.

What do these three books have in common?

Robin Hobb wrote all or part of all three. Robin Hobb IS Megan Lindholm (and both are pseudonyms). I suddenly made the connection with Alien Earth this afternoon, seeing it lying on the bookshelf. I'd forgotten who'd written it, but the name was suddenly ever so familiar from reading through the list of known authors of parts of Atlanta Nights. My head's spinning. The author of one of the most compelling books I've ever read also wrote one of the dullest pieces of drivel I've ever set eyes on.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 21st, 2005 09:48 pm (UTC)
Robin Hobb is Megan Lindholm
I remember being quite surprised to discover this. I read Lindholm's novel Wizard of the Pigeons about fifteen years ago and quite enjoyed it. (It's about a homeless guy, Wizard, who wanders the streets of Seattle, feeding the pigeons, listening to people's stories and telling them what they need to know. Then a nameless grey presence, somehow connected with who he used to be, starts to threaten his world.) A couple of years ago, I discovered by chance that this Robin Hobb whose books seemed to pervade every railway station and airport bookshop I happened to wander through was the same person.

I read the three Assassin books last year and found them compelling - although I don't think any of the characters were particularly likeable (with the possible exception of Verity and the Fool). I intend to read the other six books she's written set in the same world (the Liveships trilogy and the Fool trilogy) when I've accumulated copies of them.
Feb. 21st, 2005 10:21 pm (UTC)
Compelling as the Assassin books were, I'm not sure I want to read any of the following series. I can't trust her not to kill all the main characters, everyone I care about, and that makes it very difficult for me to put my faith, my willingness to care about a characters' story, in an author's hands.

Your description of Wizard of the Pigeons does sound intriguing though.
Feb. 21st, 2005 11:08 pm (UTC)
Your reaction was mine exactly. After finding much of the trilogy compelling, I have written her off as Protagonist Torture Porn, and won't be reading the other books.

I'd ask her to just throw me a frikkin bone here, but the bone would likely be poisoned, spiked, cursed and fired out of some nasty projectile weapon.
Feb. 22nd, 2005 12:02 am (UTC)
That describes the books pretty well, alas.
Feb. 21st, 2005 11:33 pm (UTC)
[thinks back through the other 6 books].

I think you'd be OK with the Liveships trilogy in terms of characters. However, its been a while since I read them.

The Tawny Man trilogy is definately more upsetting but I thought it was worth it in the end.
Feb. 22nd, 2005 12:04 am (UTC)
I was most curious about the Liveship books anyways, so that's a partial relief. (It would be a bigger relief if you were more certain, of course.) I have no desire to revisit Fitz after all he's already gone through. He doesn't need the torture of another series inflicted on him, but I'm glad you found them satisfying nevertheless.
Feb. 21st, 2005 10:08 pm (UTC)
Besides Wizard of the Pigeons, mentioned above, Lindholm also wrote a pretty good quartet of novels (The Ky and Vandien series): The Windsingers, Luck of the Wheels, Harpy's Flight,
The Limbreth Gate
(not sure if this is the correct order) . But Alien Earth was really heavy going, I couldn't quite see the point of Cloven Hooves - or anyway it didn't quite work for me - and she also did a couple of prehistoric-setting things, which is something that I can seldom if ever get into.
Feb. 21st, 2005 10:26 pm (UTC)
If you can tell me that any of the Lindholm books don't utterly ruin and/or kill every character worth caring about, then I'll willingly read them. Reading the Assassin trilogy killed my trust for the author as a creator of characters I am willing to care about. Her world-building was vivid, but I didn't enjoy the harshness, the spiritual desolation, of those books.
Feb. 22nd, 2005 01:16 pm (UTC)
I recall the Ky and Vandien series as protags get out alive and relatively undamaged. I made my way all through the Assassin trilogy, bogged down in the Liveships trilogy - wasn't intrigued enough to buy, so was borrowing volumes from Library with extended gaps between, during which I mislaid essential bits of backstory, and am having similar problem with the new trilogy.
Feb. 21st, 2005 11:04 pm (UTC)
A confession
I was the first to comment in the margins of Alien Earth, and I didn't actually read it. I think the only pages I looked at were the ones I actually scribbled upon.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 22nd, 2005 04:44 am (UTC)
Re: A confession
Cheat! I read that whole thing!

Oh, well. At least it enabled me to draw my own rendition of the horrifying furry-slug-beast spaceship.
Feb. 22nd, 2005 12:01 am (UTC)
Re: A confession

I don't feel as if I can finish commenting on it without reading it, after all this. At least I have a bit more of a reason to, now that I know what else she's written.
Feb. 22nd, 2005 12:02 am (UTC)
Re: A confession
Especially since I don't care about the characters at all, so it won't bother me if they all die horribly before the end of the book.
Feb. 22nd, 2005 09:49 am (UTC)
Without reading any of the comments, I'd guess that they were all by the same author -- however, given that I already knew Robin Hobb and Megan Lindholm were the same author, that's hardly a large jump to make...
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )