Off topic on McCafferey with a segue to DWJ

Philip.Belben at Philip.Belben at
Tue Aug 3 08:28:33 EDT 1999

> I felt the same way about Menolly in the Mccafferey books - she should have
> just stopped with the first one.  And I also felt that way about Nita et al in

I think I read - and enjoyed - the first two McCaffery Dragon trilogies a couple
of times.  Things began to pall with Moreta and Nerilka.  By the time I got to
Dragonsdawn, I gave up.

I agree that the first one or two books about Menolly were far better than the
subsequent ones.

> That's one thing I really like about the Dalemark quartet. Each book has a
> specific focus different from the others and completely riveting.  I really

Yes, that is one of DWJ's strengths.  The Chrestomanci books are similar - each
one stands alone, but they come together really well too.

> liked Crown of Dalemark and felt like it was a good culmination of the whole
> thing (though I know several others feel differently, and I can see why in

I found Crown of Dalemark much weaker than the earlier ones.  The "Guide to
Dalemark" at the back of Crown is not at all good (I have some quite specific
views that I may come back to in another post).  However, on re-reading it is
beginning to make more sense.

BTW, my copy of Cart and Cwidder is the Mandarin edition published uniformly
with Crown.  There are at least three editorial changes to the text, compared
with earlier editions (my parents have the Puffin edition).  Specifically, two
references to the Kingstone have been deleted.  (I always thought that Crown
should have been based more around the Kingstone and less around the crown)

> places). It's the first series I've read where the books are ALL worth my
> time.  Most series' are just bleah yich awful after about the first two books.
> (Or, in the case of Star Wars, after the first 3 movies.)

I'd not thought of it that way before.  As I said, the Chrestomanci series is
also uniformly good.  I would also suggest the Riddle Master series (McKillip)
as one that holds up well to the end.  I seldom find series awful after only two
books, but I often find myself reading later books in series simply through
inertia.  Piers Anthony's Xanth series is a good example.  I would say that
after five books is where it starts getting bad - I did better than that through
reading them in the wrong order, which helped enormously!  (I have the first 14
and a few later ones.  Now relegated to the back layer of my bookcase...)

To tie in an earlier thread - that of books Tom gave Polly - CS Lewis's series
that contains Perelandra is another example of a series that doesn't work.  Out
of the Silent Planet is good.  Perelandra is less good, but still readable (Why
did Tom give the second book in the series, anyway?).  That Hideous Strength I
tried several times and didn't finish, and I don't think the unfinished novel
The Dark Tower would have worked either.

I think Lewis was trying to do for adult fantasy what he did for children's
fantasy with the Narnia books - a fantasy series with a specifically Christian
message embedded in it - but it didn't.

> PS also hated Ayn Rand, though I read several books because they were assigned
> in a philosophy class. I liked to ridicule her over lunch with a group of
> people who shared my low opinion.

Who on earth is Ayn Rand?  Just an author to put on my list of "don't read"?  Or
something more sinister?  I'd never heard the name before the criticism appeared
on this list.


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