I just finished Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, the first two books in Dan Simmon's Hyperion Cantos. I absolutely loved Hyperion. I really dig character driven books, and the heart of that book is the stories that bring of the main group of characters together. It had a really intimate feel to it and was really well written. I think it will stay up there among my favorite books.
Fall of Hyperion was a pretty good book, but not, in my mind, an adequate follow up to the first book. Whereas the first was intimate, the second was epic in scope. And the ending was all right, but had a bit of a deus ex machina feel to it. Chunks of the story were also written in present tense ("Kassad stands up to run towards the shelter", etc.), which is always a little jarring to me.
Next up, I might switch gears and tackle The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson. Sure it's 1200 pages, but his books usually read kind of fast. I'll get around to the other pair of books, which I understand takes place a couple hundred years after The Fall of Hyperion. I think if I'm not expecting another Hyperion, I'll be okay.
I wish authors would stop writing crappy follow ups to amazing books. Now that's THREE of my favorite books that are tainted by poor sequels - Ender's Game, Dune, and now Hyperion. And it seems that in each case the books just get progressively worse. Take the Ender's series: Ender's Game - amazing; Speaker for the Dead - interesting; Xenocide - meh; Children of the Mind - really?
Maybe I'll stick to one-offs for a while. . . after starting the first of Sanderson's expected 15 book behemoth.
Just finished The Way of Kings. Overall a good book and a really good start to a BIG series. I think it could have easily been cut down to the 800 page range. I think one reason it seemed to drag a bit at times is that, in contrast to most other epic fantasy that I've read, there's no grand journey here. With rare exception, all the major characters are in the same setting for the whole book. I think this contributes to the slow pace, at times; a lot more words are needed to develop the characters and the tension. No traipsing through the countryside, encountering enemies, with the exposition that usually comes after such encounters. I found myself missing that. I was getting ready to be pretty deeply disappointed, and then I got to the last ~150 pages. Quite an ending and a great setup for the next installment.
Next I'm going to expose myself to Pratchett or Stephenson (see the above discussion). Or I might read a biography about Tesla to see why The Internet is so enamored with him.
I had to stop reading Way of Kings a couple of days ago. The writing and exposition is just too clunky. And it falls afoul of the xkcd rule about fantasy books with too many made up words that have perfectly cromulent mundane analogs. I expected to like it, too, because I really enjoyed the Mistborn series.
So now I'm back to catching up on Charles Stross's Merchant Princes series. I like it, but not as much as his other stuff, like Halting State or the Laundry Files.
Saint Todd, I understand why you stopped reading. I really wanted something in the Way of Kings to set up the world and explain some things. In my opinion, Sanderson showed here that you can take the old adage "show don't tell" too far. He likes to wrap some of the inner workings of his worlds in mystery. It has worked pretty well in the past, Mistborn being an excellent example (still need to read the last book - it's high on the list). In a world as big and complicated (or maybe just poorly written) as the Way of Kings, I could have done with a little less mystery. One small, non-spoilery example, what in the wide world of sports is crem? Is it just clay? If not, why not?
Depending on where you stopped, I think you could probably skip ahead to the middle of part 3, or maybe part 4, if you don't mind missing some Shallan chapters. Part 4 is great and made up for a lot of the drudgery leading up to it, in my opinion.
And as for what I'm reading, I decided to start with the first Discworld novel. I understand it might not be the best Discworld novel, but I found that out too late. A 250 page read will be a nice change of pace.
If I remember correctly - and it was a long time ago - I think the ending of the written version of 2001 made more sense than the movie.
I'm reading Yergin's "The Quest", which is about the oil industry (or "awl bidniz" as we call it.) More interesting than I expected.
Just finished The Color of Magic, the first Discworld novel. That was a FUN read. I look forward to reading more.
For now, though, I've started the violation of the human language, mentioned above. I'm glad I got some exposure to the audiobook before starting the read. But I'm not sure what to think of it, yet. There are an awful lot of made up words. Some useful to the book's setting, but some decidedly not. They serve NO purpose.
Finally finished Anathem. Blazed through the last 150 pages, not so much because I was engrossed, I just really wanted it to be done. It's a fascinating world, with some really, really interesting ideas. But oh boy, it was tedious at times. And that ending? Meh. I would love to go into why the ending didn't work for me, but that would involve spoiling the whole book. In my opinion it wasn't quite an abomination, but it looks like i really should have started with Snow Crash like everybody here said. I should start taking the advice I ask for.
Now I'm reading Brandon Sanderson's new YA book, The Rithmatist, as sort of a quick palate cleanser. I like it a lot, so far. After that??