It's been a while since I've posted here!
I just finished Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun series, and loved it. I consider it a masterpiece, one of the best series in fantasy or sci-fi I've ever read.
I hadn't known much about it prior to reading it. I'd seen it on a few list of great fantasy/scifi, but not many. Though the ones that listed it all said it was one of the greatest ever.
I had read that is was very difficult to get into or understand, and maybe that explains why it's not more universally read or known. It definitely is somewhat difficult, it does NOT hold your hand, doesn't always explain or describe in great detail what is happening, what certain places/creatures/weapons etc are, just how they are seen and/or used by the protagonist (usually these things are fleshed out in later references to them). In fact, there are lexicons and chapter guides written specifically for this series, and particularly for new readers.
Personally, I've gained a taste for writing that like over the years. Jack Vance is one of my fav authors, and he is like that to a degree. Steven Erickson (specifically his Malazan series) and Glen Cook are like that as well, I'd say Iain Banks also. I actually really enjoy not knowing or understanding completely what is going on in a particular scene, and then being enlightened about it later in, whether in the same or subsequent books in the series. I enjoy the discovery and "light bulb" moments that gives me.
Prose-wise he is actually very similar to Vance. He has a command of the language that I find very beautiful to read. It may be an acquired taste but I enjoy it. For comparison, two other authors that I really enjoy, Brandon Sanderson and James SA Corey, write in a more conventional and polished prose. They are very clear about what is going on, they tell you the story and don't hide it from you.
I'm not saying that in a negative way at all, it's just a different style, and frankly it's just more digestible. Their greatness comes in the creativity, characters, action, humor. Wolfe's greatness, I would say, is in his prose, concepts, and mysteries. The action is more sudden and less detailed, but not necessarily less impactful.
So if that style of novel appeals to you, do NOT miss this series. I consider it a work of art.
Anyones else here read it? I'd be curious to hear more thoughts about it.