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Topic: Should I proceed with Jennifer Roberson's Sword-Dancer series?

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Subject: Should I proceed with Jennifer Roberson's Sword-Dancer series?
Date Posted: 8/18/2009 9:07 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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I read the first novel of Jennifer Roberson's Sword-Dancer series and was pretty underwhelmed -- and I came into it expecting only lightweight sword-and-sorcery summer reading. I didn't find either character particularly interesting or memorable (mainly because I kept finding them acting inconsistently), the world building was sketchy at best (and too obviously drawn from cultures that don't exist at all close to each other in our world -- I saw Arabic, Nordic, and Japanese influences sitting side by side for no good reason), and the author just didn't seem to have good control over what she wanted to accomplish.

 

BUT I know this was an early novel for Roberson (I think her third?) and it's a series that quite a few people absolutely love. I also already own book two: Sword-Singer. I want something lightweight and fun to read right now before I pick up an Iain Banks novel I promised my father I'd read, and these two books were supposed to fill that gap. Now that I've read the first, I'm really conflicted about whether or not to read the second, especially as the person who recommended them to me (and is one of those people who loves the series) says that the second is by far the weakest book in the whole series.

 

So what do you all think? Is Sword-Singer any better than Sword-Dancer was in terms of the consistency of characterization and world-building, or is it just more of the same? Does Roberson improve with age? Or should I give up on this series now and send it along to someone else who wants to give it a try?

 

If you don't think I should continue, which of the other books on my TBR stack do you think I should pick up next?

 

 

The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson

Across the Nightengale Floor by Liain Hearn

The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson

The Dragon King Trilogy by Stephen R. Lawhead

The Stormcaller by Tom Lloyd

Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet

 

Date Posted: 8/18/2009 9:33 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 6,633
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I don't know anything about the Sword-Dancer books, but I loved Across the Nightingale Floor.  I just read the prequel, Heaven's Net Is Wide, and I have an intense desire to read the rest of the series now.

Date Posted: 8/19/2009 1:10 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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I didn't realize Heaven's Net is Wide was a prequel. Do you think it's best to read the books in publication order, or in internal chronology order?

Date Posted: 8/19/2009 4:57 AM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
Posts: 14,777
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i read the Sword-Dancer series a while ago.  i think this is probably one where if you didn't like the characters in the first book you're not going to like them any better as time goes on.  and i *definitely* don't remember them as being light, especially the later ones.  this series i read once, and eventually posted the books.  her Cheysuli books i'm still holding on to for later re-reading.

i haven't read any of the ones you mentioned from TBR though, so i'm no help there.

Date Posted: 8/19/2009 6:35 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 6,633
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Publication order, definitely.  The prequel could be read first, but it really only serves to go further into one of the character's motivations, and sometimes it's boring.  I think Across the Nightingale Floor is more exciting. :)

Date Posted: 8/27/2009 6:50 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2008
Posts: 53
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I'm one that liked the Sword Dancer series and I still have them on my keeper shelf. However, I haven't read them for many years. LOL - honestly, I can't think of why I liked them right now but it seems like they improved as the series went on. 

Across the Nightingale Floor is a good book. I read three of them in the series and then kind of lost interest but I really enjoyed the first one.

Date Posted: 9/2/2009 9:47 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 4,449
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I threw the first one across the room. Your mileage may vary.