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Worst HF you've ever read

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Wed December 17th, 2008, 6:06 pm

[quote=""Kasthu""]
Another not so favorite is Mistress of the Art of the Death; I gave up on it about 100 pages through because of all the anachronisms. It was disappointing, considering that's the type of HF I generally like.[/quote]

The Anachronisms are massive in that aren't they? The author's website makes a point of claiming historical accuracy for the series but I think it's rather wishful thinking. I enjoyed the novel once I'd managed to stuff my disbelief in a trunk with three padlocks and cast it overboard!
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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nona
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Post by nona » Fri December 26th, 2008, 6:42 pm

so I read from the first post to the last. All I can say is some of my questionable must haves are confirmed with a 'no' and others I'm going to give it a go to decide it's fate on my own opinions. Sadly but true, there are a few on this list that I have to read so I don't know where this list leaves them. Only time will tell I guess.

gyrehead
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Post by gyrehead » Fri December 26th, 2008, 7:30 pm

I'm not sure if I can come up with the absolute worst book. But this year I know the worst book was proably Traci Slatton's Immortal. I did not care for it at all. And yes it had tomatoes!

I also was really disappointed with Jeri Westerson's Veil of Lies. This is one of those books where I was left feeling that all she did was take a story and insert it into a medieval setting. Way too trite and derivative and it really felt completely unoriginal. And silly. It was like watching a bad television P.I. show and all they did was dress everyone up in tights. And while it was not the worst example of what I loathe, it was a prime example. Not anachronisms, but that stretching ot credibility beyond the breaking point. Follett is probably the worst. But it is when an author uses the extremely rare exception and then applies it as if it is the rule. Westerson, again not the worst offender this year, still employs reading and writing as if it was not as rare and utilizes in a way that totally ignores even the rarity of writing materials, let alone how many across the social spectrum could read.

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nona
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Post by nona » Fri December 26th, 2008, 7:32 pm

Pillars of the Earth, what is it about and why is it so horrific? I remember it was a big thing when it first came out but I never checked into as my nose was buried in another book.

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Fri December 26th, 2008, 9:43 pm

[quote=""nona""]Pillars of the Earth, what is it about and why is it so horrific? I remember it was a big thing when it first came out but I never checked into as my nose was buried in another book.[/quote]

Oh where do I start? The violence? The rapes? The historical inaccuracies? The 20C characters transplanted into medieval times? All together for me it was simply awful. Ash and EC can pick it up from here. :o

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Post by Ash » Fri December 26th, 2008, 10:47 pm

Its about a man who builds a cathedral. That alone should be the driving factor to chosing this book. Many people loved it. But some people could not get passed the poor writing, the cardboard characters, the dull descriptions of building, or the over the top details of rape and torture, several times, or the inaccruacies and anachronisms that Misfit mentions. You may love it, so try it and see. I'll be interested in your take.

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Fri December 26th, 2008, 11:16 pm

[quote=""Misfit""]Oh where do I start? The violence? The rapes? The historical inaccuracies? The 20C characters transplanted into medieval times? All together for me it was simply awful. Ash and EC can pick it up from here. :o [/quote]

My experience of POTE has been mixed and ongoing.
I first read it in about 1989/1990 from the library. I thought it was a pacy page turner if in need of an edit here and there. There were some sloppy bits of history and the sex scenes seemed to owe a lot to modern male breast-obsessed fantasy
A few years ago an online reading group I'm part of, chose it as their book of the month, so I took it out of the library again to refresh my memory. I'd moved on a great deal in the approx 15 years since I'd last read the book and this time the historical errors shrieked at me, especially of mindset. Most of the novel could not have happened in the 12thC. The sex was more disturbing this time around. The book still had pace and page turning quality, but at the same time it was a severe wall banger.
I would say that if you can read it on the surface and not go deep, then, depending on your tastes, you might enjoy it. If you know the Middle Ages beyond a passing glance and pause for thought, it will be intensely irritating.
Your tolerance to sex and violence will also have to be taken into consideration. There are worse books about. In my case, I think it was the way the latter was written that really made me feel uneasy.
A couple of e.g.'s of historical errors that you might not notice unless you pause for thought are:
When a character dies in the woods, her husband, who is involved in building a cathedral, buries and leaves her there. This is totally alien to 12thC mindset. He'd want her buried in hallowed ground and to be shriven. He'd be worried about the state of her soul - especially if he's working in a cathedral with reminders of God's will all around him.
A castle is taken by the opposition in the Stephen/Matilda war, but instead of occupying it, they just leave the heroine and her brother to knock about it in it alone for ages when the reality is that it would be grabbed and garrisoned quick and fast.
The whole Brother Philip back story would never have happened - too long to go into, but it wouldn't!
However, if you can go with the flow - like watching an Errol Flynn Robin Hood film on a Sunday afternoon, then these numerous flaws might not bother you.
POTE demands a suspension of disbelief and a certain mindset to enjoy, and not everyone is the same in their tastes. The above is why I didn't go for it.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Post by gyrehead » Sat December 27th, 2008, 7:10 pm

Yeah Follett's two books TPOTE and WWE are what I call "waterskiing books".

1.If you can just skim across the surface and not really think about it too much you might just enjoy the ride.

2.If you acheive one, it makes for rather quite simplistic fast paced reading.

3.If you don't, you'll probably stumble and hit the water hard

4.Once you fall and plunge below the surface you might realize just how nasty the water is you have been so blissfully skimming along.

Beyond the historical inaccuracies (Follett's notion of how the nobility works is pretty laughable), it just isn't a well thought complex story. Now soap operic trash has its place. And this is definitely soap operic. Thirty years ago Joan Collins and Linda Evans would have been cast to play the female leads complete with a "chick fight" in the mud.

What I find amazing is that since it is Follett writing it, critics seem to give it much more of a pass. Had it been a female writer, I think it would have been sneered at much more and probably had a shirtless Fabio on the cover with an uncompleted cathedral looming in the background and a couple of medieval wenches with heaving bosoms gazing in adoration at one or the other.

When WWE came out it simply amazed me how many people seemed proud to point out that they were going to read it.

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Kasthu
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Post by Kasthu » Sat December 27th, 2008, 7:48 pm

[QUOTE=gyrehead;15849]I'm not sure if I can come up with the absolute worst book. But this year I know the worst book was proably Traci Slatton's Immortal. I did not care for it at all. And yes it had tomatoes! [QUOTE]

Geez, what is it with authors who put tomatoes in novels set in 15th century Europe? Is there some kind of new research out there that proves for certain that they were known there that early? I too didn't care for Immoratal, though I think it was the subject matter itself that was so disturbing.
Last edited by Kasthu on Sat December 27th, 2008, 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Additions made

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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Sat December 27th, 2008, 8:02 pm

[quote=""gyrehead""]Yeah Follett's two books TPOTE and WWE are what I call "waterskiing books".

1.If you can just skim across the surface and not really think about it too much you might just enjoy the ride.

2.If you acheive one, it makes for rather quite simplistic fast paced reading.

3.If you don't, you'll probably stumble and hit the water hard

4.Once you fall and plunge below the surface you might realize just how nasty the water is you have been so blissfully skimming along.

Beyond the historical inaccuracies (Follett's notion of how the nobility works is pretty laughable), it just isn't a well thought complex story. Now soap operic trash has its place. And this is definitely soap operic. Thirty years ago Joan Collins and Linda Evans would have been cast to play the female leads complete with a "chick fight" in the mud.

What I find amazing is that since it is Follett writing it, critics seem to give it much more of a pass. Had it been a female writer, I think it would have been sneered at much more and probably had a shirtless Fabio on the cover with an uncompleted cathedral looming in the background and a couple of medieval wenches with heaving bosoms gazing in adoration at one or the other.

When WWE came out it simply amazed me how many people seemed proud to point out that they were going to read it.[/quote]

I know this thread is kind of a dog pile on Pillars of the earth, and i read it over 10 years ago so dont remember much. the biggest "what the--?" moment for me was when the noblewoman with a newborn baby walked the camino de santiago from england to galicia! I walked half of the camino as a healthy young lad and it was not easy. I know midevil women were hardy lasses but come on, walking across france and spain with a baby on your back?! ok, maybe im just a wimp.
:-)

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