Vote For My Next Let’s Read


I’ve got the Let’s Read itch and will be looking to scratch it come December, but unfortunately Rothfuss hasn’t obliged me by ensuring Doors Of Stone will be available to be subjected to our thorough scholarship and thoughtful all-caps analysis.

So instead I want you, the readers, to vote on what my next post series will be because I can’t decide and keep flip-flopping on the options. Here are the four choices (note that choices that don’t get picked now will probably get their chance later. I reserve the right to switch to something else if the winning option turns out to not be as interesting as I had anticipated)


Option #1: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Ah, Stephen King. I know some people dismiss him entirely, but I’m of the opinion that he’s perfectly capable of producing a fun page-turner, particularly in his shorter fiction. The problem is that when he fails he fails hard, and while I haven’t read it Doctor Sleep seems like it might go in that direction.

It’s a sequel to The Shining, because apparently someone thought that would be a good idea, and also involves a totally batshit plot about psychic vampires torturing children to death, or something. The thing that really made me believe this could be a hilarious train wreck is that one of the synopses includes the phrase “a very special 12-year old girl”. There is a place where all of King’s worst habits collide, and that place is a Very Special psychic pre-teen. Also, apparently she’s “spunky”.

cannot fucking wait to see how Stephen King handles a spunky psychic girl. It will be the worst thing, by which I mean the best thing.


Option #2: Green by Jay Lake

Jay Lake is kind of notorious for being a shit-head, and I feel like it’s generally known that Green isn’t very good and also kind of racist and sexist (but of course). However, as far as I’m aware it hasn’t been subjected to the sort of rigorous in-depth scholarship we here at Doing In The Wizard specialize in. Clearly, this must be fixed.


Option #3: Brandon Sanderson roulette

If this option wins I will use a random number generator to pick a Branderson book to go through, with the obvious condition that it not be the middle or end of a trilogy or anything.

What makes me simultaneously interested in and wary of this option is that Branderson shares many of Rothfuss’s flaws (except that shit actually happens in his books). That puts us on familiar ground, but it also means a Branderson Let’s Read could end up being kind of samey.


Options #4: Wizard’s First Day At School Rule by Terry Goodkind

This is one of those books I’m familiar with solely through hearing horror stories about it, recounted in tones of pained awe. I know almost nothing about the plot of this or any other book in the series apart from vague descriptions of all the crazy shit that apparently happens- he punches en eight year old girl? The villain is named “Darken Rahl”, seriously? Evil pacifists? And of course the LIFE statue thing.

The risk here is that the actual first book itself could just turn out to be unremarkable, as I’ve most of the really off the wall stuff happens later in the series.

The poll will continue for however long it takes a clear front-runner to emerge, at which point I’ll declare a winner. Get voting!


36 thoughts on “Vote For My Next Let’s Read

  1. Pingback: A short rant on the mantasy genre | Doing In The Wizard

  2. R.S. Hunter (@rshunter88)

    I’d be fine with any of the choices. I tend to enjoy Sanderson’s books, except Way of Kings was entirely too long.

    I had to give up about halfway through Wizard’s First Rule. It was awful. I think that one might be the best choice for a LR series. But let’s behonest, no matter what gets chosen I’m going to read every entry.

  3. Fibinachinachi

    Actually, @Signatus, has the utter right of it. Terry Goodkind is bad reading and a bad book, not solely because of the prose or the plot or the people in it, but because you have all that wrapped up in the screed of an ardent believer. His books are not only fantasy, his books are the moral justification for his fantasies, the fantasy and fantasizing in general.

    It’s a goldmine of… conviction.

    (Bonus points: half remembered interview answer from one of my long-ago google “What the hell was all that, Goodkind?” moments:

    “Q: There are some people who say your books are bad, what do I do to tell my friends I quite like reading them?”
    A: “Stop being friends with those people. They are trying to bring you down. They are morally inferior to you, and will worsen your life if you let them”

    1. Signatus

      I was actually speaking about SOIAF. 😛
      I haven’t read any Goodkind, to be honest, but if it gets chosen, I’ll just get a copy an try to read along.

  4. Fibinachinachi

    Speaking as an expert, who has spent many years trying to block from the mind the memories of Terry Goodkind, wandering down that path is the greatest problem of all.

    Stephen King is just kind of… Stephen Kingish. Robotically weird with some odd, odd personafication and all that (Duma Key, anyone?). Jay Lake I don’t know about, but seems like it might just be “A Bad Book”. Sanderson issssssszzzzzz…z.zz…

    … where was I? Goodkind! Goodkind. Goodkind. Wizard’s First Rule is actually not all that bad. Just ignore the evil villain banning fire. Disregard the leather clad sado-masochist group of beautiful women. Look away from the stuff about the love blooming. Assume Richard, the main character, is an evil monster. These things make the book readable, and even kind of fun in its quirky adorability. There’s actually some cool details that I still remember, but if I allow myself to really see the memory, I will also remember the other stuff. Do things thing, Ronan. Read Wizard’s First Rule. And then, oh? Ohoooh. Then read Naked Empire.

  5. shardbaenre

    I mean, I have read the others and I am familiar with them…but I also read all of Terry Goodkind’s and…I just really felt, in real time as I was reading, how bad it was. I honestly think that GRRM tries but that his execution is bad and his general inability to converge as opposed to scattering his plot is bad and loses whatever he thinks may have happened. But Terry Goodkind is pretty well on point with what he wants. He has deviations. But I think that focus pretty well crystallizes just how terrible his concepts are on a level that I don’t think GRRM approaches to be honest. But it has been a while since I read all those books and threw them away in disgust. I kinda felt bad about the library charges I incurred, but I spared someone else. 😉 j/k…I didn’t do that to library books. I was a respectful youngster.

    1. Signatus

      I find that to be the mayor flaw in Martin’s books. It is pretty obvious he started with an idea in his head, and has been improvising as he has been writing. He might have had some main concepts, but everything in between has been written on the spot. That might work for short stories, however, in large sagas it shows way too much and it is mainly my biggest problem with him.
      Dialogues and characterization is fine, and I do like the sense of doom of not knowing which character will live or die. I do amit I didn’t read them until the HBO serie started, mainly because the concept didn’t interest me much. Once I picked the first book, I was initially intrigued, and devoured the second and third (the third is, by far, the best), then I eagerly picked the fourth and I clearly saw the author had gotten bored from his story, or simply didn’t know what to do with it any more, and the fifth was a trainwreck even worse than the Wise Man’s Fear. I’m not sure I’ll give Wind of Winter a try or save myself the effort and simply check the sypnosis on Wikipedia.

      I think the man can write, he has a good prose, but he can’t weave a story, which is a pity because I think everything else is all right, the characters are solid and believable, and the dialogue is pretty realistic and doesn’t sound forced. That’s something Rothfuss can’t do.
      If he just stopped opening sidequests and get on with the story, it would actually be a pretty good one. Pity he has Bigger Makes Better Syndrome, and now tosses at us thousand pages bricks without any plot or anything happening for that matter.

      1. shardbaenre

        The best part of the HBO series is that they severely cut a lot of the chaff and gave Robb a POV. The books just made me mad because I’m interested in what X character is doing and it’s advancing the plot (somehow) and then we don’t see that character for 20 more chapters and by that time you don’t even want to give to monkey flings of crap. It’s a bizarre way to bore your readers.

      2. Signatus

        I know what you mean. The POV thing worked when there were like five of them. When you have 27 POVs, many of them a chapter or two long, and maing characters never ever manage to converge at any point, and seem to keep crossing in the most ridiculous anime fashion, that’s a downer. In the last books this gets very bad, showing POVs from characters that have no relevance in the book, or people you don’t even remember who they were.
        I get pretty annoyed when I have to google up who this dude was, and why he is important to the story, because the author totally failed at it.
        Rowling has as many characters as Martin, some don’t even make an appearance and are solely mentioned, and I don’t have a problem knowing who they are and what their place in the story is. Martin can’t do that, and I believe it is because he tosses so much irrelevant information that never appears again that our brains simply shut it out. I remember, I think it was A Feast for Crows, where it started with some characters that had never been introduced before. The book ends with those same characters. I had to go back to the beggining because I didn’t remember who they were.
        They never appear again that I’m aware of, so I’m not sure why that stuff wasn’t simply edited out. Gess Martin gets payed by the weight of the book.

  6. shardbaenre

    I read Wizard’s First Rule when I was a much, much younger person with that person’s taste and I thought the book was good. Then I realized just how much FAIL it had and then I was mad my younger self, but it was instructive in the ways I’ve grown and not grown. So basically, I want you to do that book, but on a certain level all the things wrong with it are exponentially worse than anything GRRM has put to paper is what I’m saying. I would grade the prose above Rothfuss, but less than GRRM because GRRM can basically get it done. He’s not hilaribad but he isn’t terribad either. He’s just workman-like that descends detours into bad with some fail-y concepts.

    GRRM at his worst still really hasn’t come up with something like the Mord-Sith or the Confessors, but there is always something happening in a Goodkind book, iirc. If Tolkien is the grandfather of epic fantasy, then I feel confident in saying that Goodking is the same for grim dark. At any rate, my brain says to vote Stephen King, but my heart says Goodkind.

    1. Reveen

      I feel that GRRM is a long slow simmer of terribad, that doesn’t seem that bad at first until far later when it hits you what the fuck you’ve been reading. The frog in the pot scenario. Like, the thing that encapsulates what pisses me off about ASOIAF (involving Tyrion and his main squeeze) starts off in the first book and only reaches the boiling point in the third book.

      So yeah, there’s a lot to pick at in a Game of Thrones but I think you’d have to read the others to get to the core with what’s wrong with the whole series.

  7. Kris

    Branderson’s books are permeated by boring characters doing shit no one cares about.
    Terry Godkind’s books, as you say, doesn’t go balls to the wall crazy until, well, after book 2.
    Jay Lake is completely terrible.

    Have fun!

    1. Kris

      Now that I’m starting to remember “Wizard’s First Rule”, some quite astounding scenes are coming to the forefront of my mind. Might not be a bad choice after all.

    2. Reveen

      I think Goodkind’s books are supposed to have some really, really shitty prose. But then again he’s apparently dyslexic. So that’d be a low blow.

      1. Andrea Harris (@SpinsterAndCat)

        But I don’t think dyslexia causes bad prose, it’s just difficulty sorting letters out so spelling is affected? Though words get jumbled up too, so that could affect prose. But an editor can fix that. What an editor can’t do, though, is make a pedestrian writer more interesting. From what I’ve seen that’s Sanderson’s problem.

  8. ghosthelwig

    While I think Wizard’s First Rule is likely to win this (and deservedly so; I’ve read that book, and it is *awful*), I wish you would do a Let’s Read of a Sanderson novel, if only because he’s got such hype surrounding him. I actually just started reading my first Sanderson book the other day, after hearing people sing his praises, and I was… Underwhelmed.

    It wasn’t as bad as Goodkind, or even as bad as Rothfuss (who could be, really?), but it was a let down. I expected to be blown away, and instead, about halfway through I realized I’m not likely to finish this novel. Yes, stuff happens, but not without endless repetition of stuff the reader already knows and is sick of hearing about. Not to mention how his viewpoint characters can disappear for ages, so that once you start getting really involved in a plot line it abruptly jumps away, and you won’t see anyone from that plot again until you’ve practically forgotten what’s going on. I don’t understand the love for his books.

    … But then, I didn’t care for George R R Martin’s books, either, so maybe I just have extraordinarily weird tastes.

      1. ghosthelwig

        I would love to see a GRRM deconstruction. So I’ll totally second this as a write-in vote. I didn’t enjoy his books any more than Sanderson’s, which was an even bigger disappointment, given how almost universally praised they are.

      2. ronanwills Post author

        I had toyed with the idea of putting A Game of Thrones in here, but I feel like people better than me have already critiqued that book enough.

      3. Signatus

        I’d love to see that as well. There is a lot of material in there.
        Another option I would like to see is Brent Weeks’ The Night Angel trilogy. I actually enjoyed the first book, but I would need a second re-read since I read it over 5 or 6 years ago. The good part comes in the second and third books, the author totally looses it.

      4. Reveen

        A couple minutes looking up Night Angel and the thing that becomes immediately apparent is WHORES WHORES WHORES WHORES.

        That’s always good for a laugh, for about five minutes.

      5. Signatus

        Even better than the whores is the fake name the main character gets, not Gary Stuish at all. Not to mention the introduction of an inssuferable romantic interest, because you can’t have a book about murdering assassins without a virginal pure perfect snowflake. There is much fun in the books.

  9. DXW

    Doesn’t Jay Lake have pretty bad cancer he’s dealing with right now? I’m not saying that excuses bad books or makes him immune to criticism… but it might make this whole exercise a little depressing.

    Besides, “Wizards First Rule” is by far the obvious answer here.

    1. ronanwills Post author

      Does he? I hadn’t actually heard.

      That wouldn’t really change the attitude of a Let’s Read, as I’d be focusing entirely on the book.

      1. chiusse

        I’ve had a post on Mainspring on the backburner for a while (actually a somewhat more general thing on fantasy word-building). However, then I found out Jay Lake had cancer, and, well … I’m sort of deferring it perpetually now, I guess. I’m not the hater I thought I was.

        TL;DR it’s not very good.

        I’d actually like to see you do Terry Goodkind, because if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that I’m never going to read him myself. Do it so we don’t have to!

      2. Aimee Kuzenski

        Yeah. He’s got rapidly metastisizing colon/liver cancer, and is expected to be dead within 6-12 months. I’m not a fan of his writing, but it would be hard to punch up at him as a person at this point.

        However, Goodkind deserves all the truth-saying in the world. That book made me pretty angry.


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