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You can’t ignore reggie perrin. Not even when he’s a soviet person.

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Coming to the end of House of Chains (Malazan 4) - I have enjoyed it and the structure/writing continues to be better than the first book, but it’s still flabby. It could be a really tight 650 pager, rather than a loose 1000, but I guess a lot of folks like that. I realise things have moved on a bit, but weird top think that Lord of the Rings can be 1250 in total, and have a ton going on (even with plenty space for slower stuff at the start and end).

But my big problem with this book has been the use of FGM as a plot point/character pointer/etc. Not really needed, and some white guy from Canada inserting it into a fantasy novel isn’t a great look.

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Woah, I was thinking of starting that series but now I’m a bit hmm at what you’ve said there.

I guess page count itself isn’t as useful as I seem to recall LOTR is 1000 pages of tight font and also complex writing.

I actually just did some digging and it’s quoted at 455,125 words. I just recently finished Words of Radiance which is 1328 pages but 419,485 and I’m going to say right now that it’s a lot easier to read than Lord of the Rings.

But you’re totally correct that length of books is a bit of an issue. Words of Radiance is overlong, something that is really brought home by the Edgedancer novella he has between it and Oathbringer that shows Sanderson is being over-grandiose with Stormlight. Lord of the Rings never felt to me like it was indulging in narrative words, even in its slower passages.

I would ask you don’t colour the whole series based on this, yes I agree he could have used a plot device less rooted in reality to get across the same point/issue but it is not a huge part of the book and although it is pretty clear what he is referring to it is not explicitly described or detailed. Also it is a series that has very strong female characters throughout, including the one who experiences this. The world they’re set in is a brutal place. I’m not making excuses for him, I just wouldn’t want you to miss out on what has become my favourite series of fantasy novels because of a relatively small section.

They are long and some of the novels could be trimmed without losing any impact but once I’d got into the mythos and terminology I never flagged once and I’m not often a rapacious reader.

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Im not sure I understand what the problem would be with having fgm in a work of imaginative fiction - is it bad that he’s using the idea of sexual violence against women at all, or that he’s a white dude writing about something from outside his experience?

sexual violence is probably the wrong way to phrase that. gendered violence? dunno

I re-read LotR last year, and I was surprised at how readable I found it. Page count isn’t an indicator of quality in general to me - worth a warning to someone who might not read loads if (as in this case) you’re looking at something like 9000 pages for the main series, but some people love getting immersed in a world for a while. Maybe my use of ‘flabby’ was a bit clumsy - ‘luxorious’ perhaps? It’s not that it feels badly or wastefully written, just that for me personally, I think I’d prefer it cut down and focused a bit, into the 600-700 region rather than 900-1100. Horses for courses I guess.

Regarding the female characters, I find he’s right on the edge. Some are well written, some are a pretty cliched, but then his male characters are the same, and it is an epic heroic fantasy saga tbf, and written 20 years ago. I do roll my eyes at certain descriptions though.

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I fully support your pages/word count thing, don’t worry. I would probably find LotR a lot more readable these days too, TBF.

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