Date: 2015-01-05 05:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The main thing that made the Twenty Palaces books less fun for me than they might have been was that, even for someone who knows as little about what's going on as Ray Lilly, he gives the reader very little of the information he has in ways that made keeping track of things more work than it could have been; does this book follow a similar parsimony with information ? "Fantasy with no dull parts" is a bit worrisome on that front, given that my personal preferred take on that would be "action scenes are boring, give me more interesting worldbuilding".

Date: 2015-01-05 05:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I had no trouble following along. Actually, I thought there was a spot where a character listed all Thirteen Gifts but I can't find it now.

Date: 2015-01-05 05:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nathan helfinstine (from
The bolding seems to get a little out of hand near the end of your review.

Date: 2015-01-05 05:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Crap. For some reason I cannot see when things are bolded on this machine.

Date: 2015-01-05 05:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Did I manage to fix it?

Date: 2015-01-05 05:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seth ellis (from

Date: 2015-01-05 05:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's just the bolding that's invisible to me....

Date: 2015-01-05 06:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seth ellis (from
Weird. At this point, The Way Into Magic is bolded, and nothing else is. That's the only title that's bolded, which is a bit inconsistent, but oh well.

Date: 2015-01-05 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you. I think I fixed it now.

Date: 2015-01-05 05:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seth ellis (from
You know, people talk about gift cards as a lazy kind of Christmas present, but I really enjoy them. Weeks of guiltless consumption! In other words, I bought it.

I also really enjoyed the Twenty Palaces books, though I didn't discover them until after the series had been canned. Very tightly written hard-boiled fantasy. They deserved success more than some series that got it.

Date: 2015-01-05 10:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So when will all three books be available to the general public?

Date: 2015-01-05 10:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The second one is out Jan 13. The third is a month later.

Date: 2015-01-06 06:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Okay, I'll wait a month or so.

Date: 2015-01-06 07:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I see that the cover is marked "Book One of the Great Way," which as you observe means it is the first physical packet (of three) that needs to be collected before the story is complete. This seems to be more helpful to the reader than is customary these days.

Do you know if there's an admitted publishing agreement that books will no longer be given informative labels like "Book Six of the [name] Series" as was done in the past?

Date: 2015-01-06 03:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Book two has "Continuing the story from book one" on the back in big letters, so no one picks it up without realizing. Or at least, I can tell they they should have realized...

Sarah Monette has talked about her publisher's unwillingness to put a series number on her books, and considers it part of the reason the books didn't succeed. Then again, her series wasn't released just a few weeks apart.

Date: 2015-01-06 04:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seth ellis (from
What was the issue with putting numbers on? Was it just that seeing "book 1 of an indeterminate number" might alienate new readers? It seems to me like the kind of false advertising that'll alienate readers if you don't.

It also seems like the more logical solution is to publish more books that work as stand-alones, whether they're in series or not, but what do I know.
Edited Date: 2015-01-06 04:53 pm (UTC)

Date: 2015-01-06 05:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
For Monette, her publisher didn't want to have "book four" on the shelf when book one was nowhere to be found. The chains had no intention of reordering old midlist books that readers had already treated like an ordinary midlist book.

My problem is that I can't really get onto bookstore shelves because I'm doing this myself. I'm trying, here and there, but contacting bookstores individually isn't really going to cut it.

As for stand-alones in a series, word has it that this is what publishers are really looking for.

Date: 2015-01-06 05:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seth ellis (from
Interesting, thanks for the explanation. Via Facebook I also see this perspective on self-publishing (

I'm a spectator on this industry, but the issues are related to other fields I follow more closely. Every report I hear is that publishing seems to be figuring out how to do deal with a mammoth, slow-to-adapt mechanism they either caused or inherited. There are a number of things that don't seem like long-term sustainable business practices to me, like huge lead times. And "think of it [ebook pricing] as a price point between hardcover and paperback"? I understand why this makes perfect sense to anyone steeped in the industry, but I'm not sure why one would expect it to make sense to consumers who aren't.

Date: 2015-01-07 02:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Publishers created the demand for multi-volume single stories. It's their child; they need to own up to it.

Date: 2015-01-09 11:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Have you seen Common Misconceptions About Publishing, in which a real author explains the industry and a few readers' sacred cows are gored?

Date: 2015-01-09 05:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seth ellis (from
I haven't seen most of those particular essays, but I've seen the same points raised elsewhere.

I'm generally aware of the issues publishing is facing, and they've got a tough row to hoe. On the other hand, if the solution is to explain to consumers in depth how the sausages are made, that's a solution that probably isn't going to work, for better or worse. That may or may not be bad for the publishing industry in the long term, I don't know.

Date: 2015-01-06 04:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seth ellis (from
Even more helpful would be "Book 3/6," as in Internet slideshows. In fact it occurs to me now to wonder to what extent narrative and/or the publishing industry ever gets addressed as a navigation design issue.

Date: 2015-01-06 07:53 pm (UTC)
ext_90666: (NeCoRo)
From: [identity profile]
Even more helpful would be "Book 3/6," as in Internet slideshows.

So we can point and laugh when the second number increases faster than the first?

Date: 2015-01-09 11:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As in book four of the Hitchhikers' trilogy? Yeah, that. I was in that aisle of the bookstore when I spied the annoyance of at least six different paperbacks all sporting shiny badges announcing "The new Xanth novel!"


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