Luinedhel

Did anyone else find TWoA slow in pace?

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I'm currently halfway through The Well of Ascension, first read. And i'm finding it a little bit slower than i would like. In fact, a hundred pages or so into the book, I stopped reading it and switched to Warbreaker, which I had just bought. Only after finishing it I went back to TWoA, and now I remember why I left it in the first place. I get that Brandon is building up tension, with Luthadel being besieged and all, but still think it could go way faster. Did anyone else feel similarly?

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Posted (edited)

18 minutes ago, Luinedhel said:

I'm currently halfway through The Well of Ascension, first read. And i'm finding it a little bit slower than i would like. In fact, a hundred pages or so into the book, I stopped reading it and switched to Warbreaker, which I had just bought. Only after finishing it I went back to TWoA, and now I remember why I left it in the first place. I get that Brandon is building up tension, with Luthadel being besieged and all, but still think it could go way faster. Did anyone else feel similarly?

i had the same problem.

i didnt start to really get into it till the last third or so of the book.

i didnt start Hero of Ages for like 6 months afterwards because i convinced myself it would just drag on like in WoA

Edited by Eternal Khol
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WoA is generally considered the weakest of Mistborn Era 1. It definitely suffers from middle book syndrome, though personally, I never had trouble getting through it. I get why people struggle with finishing it, but for me, the pacing never felt too slow. Of course, I've suffered through some terribly boring books, so my perception of slow pacing is skewed. Ever read George Washington's diaries? It's the kind of literature that really makes you appreciate the quick pacing of the Silmarillion. 

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Posted (edited)

I found it slow for brandon books but I never got as bored as I had with other books I have read. (Such as a series of unfortunate events)

Edit: 100 posts! WOO!

Edited by Shard of Reading
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4 hours ago, ILuvHats said:

Ever read George Washington's diaries? It's the kind of literature that really makes you appreciate the quick pacing of the Silmarillion. 

Nice, now I want to read them. I wasn't aware of its existence, but then again, I'm not from the USA. Hell, not even an english native speaker. BTW, The Silmarillion is my favourite book ever. 

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It was just the number of things the book was dealing with, subplots branching into more subplots. The other two books were more linear. I, personally, liked this book but it does start slow but it does deliver at the end, just keep at it!

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I didn't feel it was overly slow, but I also don't know how on earth Brandon is going to keep up the breakneck pacing of SA for seven more books so take my thoughts how you will.

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Yes, I definitely thought WoA was slow. It’s my least favourite book in the cosmere, if I’m being honest. I think part of the reason is that the ending of TFE is so intense, and you’re ready to jump into the sequel and are expecting the pace to resume from where it left off, but... it doesn’t.

Instead, there are lots of meetings, and people talking, and talking, and that definitely wore me down. I’m not the type of reader who likes that sort of thing, at least, not in an action-fantasy book.

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12 hours ago, Luinedhel said:

BTW, The Silmarillion is my favourite book ever. 

Really? I won’t say I loved it, but it wasn’t nearly as monotonous as people hyped it up to be. Mostly it was just difficult keeping track of names. Reminded me of War and Peace in that regard.

Also, do not read George Washington’s diaries. They sound like they could be interesting, but let me assure you, they don’t have a narrative. He barely mentions the revolutionary war, never mentions his feelings, and refers to other people only in passing. Apparently, back then, most people used diaries as a log of activities/purchases instead of personal memoirs. So mostly what he talks about is the number and types of trees he’s planted in his orchard, the crop yield of his estate, the logistics of his slaves (ugh), the people he visits (but not any conversations they have; more like “Tonight I stayed at this persons house. The next day, I stayed at this person’s house). I have no clue what Washington’s diaries were doing in my curriculum, because they added nothing to my life except an appreciation for the existence of any other type of literature.

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1 hour ago, ILuvHats said:

Apparently, back then, most people used diaries as a log of activities/purchases instead of personal memoirs.

Oh, what a disappointment. I thought maybe there was  a mention to some wierd packman accompanying Washington, or how he doubted himself, while everyone else saw him as a liberator. Don't tell me it was only Alendi's journal that spoke of such things, ha.

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Just in case you haven't finished reading it yet, I'll avoid mentioning any spoiler stuff from the second half of the book.

Be aware that there are some GREAT twist reveals by the end of WoA and of course, it all leads into the third book of the Era 1 trilogy which has one of the great reveals of all time. So push through it.

However, I agree, there are lulls. Not exactly pacing problems, because as a "planner writer" it's not like Brandon gets bogged down in overly verbose descriptions, or retelling the same scene from multiple POVs, or other reasons I can give for works by other writers I felt "bogged down".

These come from four things, in my assessment:

  1. Too much discussion of in-world politics and political structures
  2. Too much emotional wiffle-waffling (to use a very technical term) from the lead protagonists (Vin, Elend, Sazed)
  3. "Cardboard villainy" from the main antagonist of Book 2, Straff Venture
  4. Several of the Big Reveals in WoA are "blindsiders" - very different from those in Book 1 and Book 3.

The first is kind of necessary - describing the next phase after an enormous power vacuum is created when the God of the Final Empire is suddenly dispatched has to happen, after all. But let's just say that while Brandon Sanderson was successfully tapped to ghostwrite the end books of The Wheel of Time, I would never go to him to finish A Song of Ice and Fire...

Plus, Elend being who he is, the idealistic book-learned political theorist who was settled on as King, that has consequences, too. He's not going to be an absolutist King, right? That's not who he is. So he's going to set up a constitutional monarchy representative parliament with two chambers. These chambers are comprised of elected leaders representing the nobility and the skaa, and of course there also needs to be representation of the merchant guilds who form a sort of a "third estate", and... you see, your eyes are glazing a bit already, right?

The second thing is that we are getting POVs from Vin and Sazed where they're terribly unsure of themselves, what they're doing, and even emotionally confused or frustrated in their relationships. This is also part of the story arc, and necessary character growth, but as a reader it can be frustrating to see Vin, the bad-chull Mistborn who killed Shan Elariel and ultimately TLR in Book 1, turn into, as Tindwyl puts it, "a moody teenage girl" (while still being a uniquely talented Mistborn who kills teams of Allomancers by herself). Or the wise and calm Sazed agonizing over being a eunuch with a girlfriend, maybe, like, is that even a thing, can this work, do  I deserve this?

I think these are good things to write for the characters, after having finished the entire trilogy - but at the time you're reading it, it's very much a change in tone.

Third, I found Straff Venture actually too unlikeable a character. Again, part of the story arc, but he was already set up to be a domineering and ruthless bad guy from Elend's POVs in book 1 - and when I read his POVs he feels exactly the same. So my reaction is,"Straff Venture, bad guy, I get it, can I flip to the end to see how he gets killed already 'cause it seems like that's all he is, The Bad Guy Everybody Hates Who Gets Killed At The End?" Rule #1 of POV writing is generally "every character is the lead character in their own mind", yet reading Straff's POV is basically like seeing him through Elend's eyes instead of his own.

Finally, two of twist reveals of WoA are not particularly set up by the earlier stuff in the books, not the way TLR's true identity and power set mechanics were in TFE. Whereas the questions of "How is TLR so powerful?", "What is the Eleventh Metal?", "How can we ever defeat TLR?" were always present on the minds of the main characters in Book 1.

Without spoiling what they are, two of the Big Reveals of WoA are things that completely blindside the main characters: they weren't wondering about or investigating things of that nature in the slightest. It's a reveal of a background "What Was Going On All This Time That You Had No Clue About" versus a reveal of "So This Is How What You Were Wondering About All This Time Really Went".

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Posted (edited)

Ok, yes, I agree that the political intrigue is a must-be, considering the immense power vacuum created after a thousand years of the same ruler, and the type of leader Elend is. I'm just saying that, after having finished the book, I've been left with the impression that 2 thirds of the book are unnecesary long. The action is condensed in the 10 or so final chapters, and I'm even a little annoyed at how all of the stalling was worth nothing, as the battle for Luthadel was won with a formidable Deus Ex-Machina, incarnated in Vin being able to control the Koloss. She didn't find out how to do so through a process all over the book, she just acted instinctively after just one test on her Kandra, which means she could have just been equally succsessful if the Koloss attacked the first day, without besieging the city. Many things happen in those 10 last chapters, without the pace feeling rushed, that's why I maintain that all of the political sub-pltos could have been easily narrowed down. I must add that I agree on Straff being too unlikable a character, and not very compelling as a villain, but, at the end of the day, he was just a minor antagonist, only to give plot to the second book, and his death was worth having him. I'm looking forward to seeing that scene on the screen, if they ever make the movie/series.

Edited by Luinedhel
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Just finished the TFE and currently anxiously waiting for my copy of TWoA to arrive (should get here tomorrow). I'm curious and eager to decide for myself if it really reads as slow as  some people have suggested here. I agree that the latter parts of the first book are building up quite the suspense but it's obvious that it will be slower in the beginning of the second part, they have to take control of the city and such. I've also read reviews of Stormlight Archive where people have been saying that WoK is slow and takes a long time to build and with as many pages as that book has I honestly never felt like that at all; I've actually kinda devoured all three books in the SA even though they are so huge. So I guess I will find out in the next few days...

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