Re: (Questions) Wandering Inn, A Journey of Black and Red

#1
I'm looking for something to read and i've been eyeing these two titles, but i've got a few things holding me back from getting started with them:


Wandering Inn

Universally praised. But some of the critique it gets can be a huge dealbreaker for me so i'm a bit wary. The sentiment seems to be that WI builds up characters but sometimes doesn't resolve their stories in a satisfying way (i.e. they die or get killed? pointlessly maybe?).
Now i like me some bittersweet in my endings, but i've definitely had times where something like this just left me empty and annoyed instead. I think it will depend on what kind of expectations are raised in the story. 
Of course i can't tell how i'll take to the story myself and if any of this is even valid critique but if you've read WI and have any thoughts about this then please share them, it would definitely help me make a decision.


A Journey of Black and Red

I just finished the first arc (ch12) and i'm not particulary impressed. I don't exactly hate it either. But i felt like there aren't any strong or likeable characters. In fact the cast was full of unlikeable and simple characters (all of the lancasters). Now this might change with the second arc, but i do hope the story will start gaining a stronger supporting cast. I want more complex characters in general.
I'm not sure how i feel about the MC either. She seems rather petty and holds grudges easily, or at least it takes her no effort to write off other characters as hussies and bitches, sometimes as soon as she meets them. All in all i don't have a good grasp on her character. But people do praise the character development in this story so i have some expectations in this area. I'm just not sure this story will be able to meet them, not from what i've seen of the supporting cast so far.
Is this another case of "but here is where the story really starts!" or should i just stop here since i'm feeling lukewarm with the first arc?

Re: (Questions) Wandering Inn, A Journey of Black and Red

#2
Wandering Inn is heavy on character development, but is very slice of life.  There is "plot," but it's very small scale.  As a result, it can feel like things move really slowly.  I think at some point, it was like 4 million words just to get through six months in-story, which is pretty nuts.  That said, the small stories that happen are pretty satisfying I think, and overall, it is very good.  That said, to the extent there is some sort of megaplot, I think pirateaba will need like 10 or 20 million words to finish it.  Also, I will forewarn you that if you end up dropping it, picking it back up again can be hard because the universe is so damn rich you don't remember all that you should.  I would recommend not bingeing it, but maybe reading at like 3-5x pirateaba's release rate, that way when you do catch up to present, you can adjust downward to the regular reading schedule and continue to follow the story.

I felt similarly about A Journey of Black and Red.  I just couldn't find any of the characters in the first few chapters likeable at all; not even in a villainous way. So I hope someone else chimes in here!

Re: (Questions) Wandering Inn, A Journey of Black and Red

#4
I have not read a journey of black and red, but I'm a big TWI fan.
Tragedies definitely do occur in TWI. There is no guarantee that everything will work out in the end. That being said, we definitely do get some absolutely wonderful payoffs and 'Fuck yeah!' moments. I personally feel the uncertainty as to whether things will work out makes the payoffs way more intense and viceral.

The story is definitely slow-paced, but very little of it is boring. There is just so much stuff going on that it takes a while for the overall plot to advance. It's almost like you're reading 5-6 (or more) different books happening in the same universe, and occasionally we get characters moving from one story to another, or perhaps two stories combining, or one story splitting into two.

I know some people have problems with that, especially because it's natural to like one storyline more than another, and it can be annoying when you get stuck on some characters you personally don't care much about for a few chapters, when something really interesting was about to happen in a storyline you really like.

Character growth is a big thing in TWI (more for some characters than others, but it happens a lot). There are many characters that go from insufferable to beloved, and sometimes the opposite. There are many characters and tons of unique personalities, that pirateaba (the writer) manages to keep feeling "real" even when they can be pretty ridiculous. Most characters will have aspects you love and hate, with all kinds of complicated feelings mixed in. Very few people are unambiguously "good" or "bad" in this series. Clearly there are likable and unlikeable characters, but they can and do come into conflict (or unlikely alliance).

Honestly, the characters make the story. The plot is big and grand and slow-moving, but the character interactions as it plugs along are what keep you reading. I swear half the comments are people speculating about what would happen if character X met character y.

I will say pirateaba has improved over time. Volume one is probably the weakest, and focuses mostly on one character, but volume two onward starts to branch out, and things become more and more interesting.

That being said, reading volume one should give you a good sense of whether you will like the story as a whole. I think it gets across the gist of what The Wandering Inn is about. If you finish volume one and don't find it enjoyable, you will probably not like the rest of the story.

Re: (Questions) Wandering Inn, A Journey of Black and Red

#5
TWI - Maaybe 10% of the characters will have unsatisfying ends, if not less. It's just something to keep you on your toes, not too prevalent at all 

Journey of B&R - Yeah, the MC isn't that deep in this one. It does get a bit better, but if currently it's a 3/5 for you, it won't get over 4/5 at any point. But TBH I haven't heard that much praise about this one at all. It's definitely a good tier below "the greats" of RR. It's good, but not amazing