wilderthan: ((Books) Stack)
[personal profile] wilderthan
Nobody seems to have read this book. There doesn't seem to be any discussion of it online, even on sites like goodreads, and the copy I have seems to be very very rare. Which is a shame, because the trilogy as a whole was one of my favourites when I was younger. The collected edition I have of it doesn't help, I think, with a shoddy clich├ęd blurb that's overfond of the phrasing "for he had [whatever]". It isn't wonderfully proofread, either. I winced at missing punctuation and shoddy capitalisation.

The story, however, is still one I loved and got easily absorbed into. Reading it now, I wonder how easy some people found it to get into the book. The main character, Paedur, is actually a frightening sort of character, grim and cold and driven and, increasingly, not entirely human. I actually like reading about his journey, his growing power and strangeness, but I suspect some people would find him very hard to relate to.

There's also a lot of world-building. Many, many gods and legends, many different lands, peoples, etc. It doesn't seem overdone, to me: I know I managed to hold the details in my head when I was rather younger, and some of it stuck with me for a long, long time. One of the names in this book is a screenname of mine.

The book plays with a familiar concept, the idea that "faith lends substance". When I was reading Neil Gaiman's American Gods, I was constantly reminded of this book, although the tone of the two is entirely different. Both of them concern the take-over of new, different, perhaps usurping gods, and the fight that ensues. American Gods takes it in a different direction, but it's a similar concept in the end. I like the way it begins in this book, with the gods choosing a champion and him travelling around and spreading the stories. Kind of realistic, really: propaganda first, open fighting later. And the stories both provide more background to the story and are relevant later for explaining things.

There are some lovely ideas in this story -- the fields of knowledge particularly, although I also like the idea of the Cords.

There are not many main characters in this book, really. It's necessary to see it as a part of a trilogy to understand why some characters -- Kutor, Owen and Tien, for example -- were introduced. It's actually pretty good that they were introduced and explained now, setting up for later, but if you didn't know, you might think it was pointless. The other main characters for this book, Cliona and Tuan, have a bit of a non-developed love affair that irritated me somewhat, and weren't nearly as fascinating to me as the real main character. And they served a purpose in the plot, so it wasn't too bad.

Not as all-consumingly good as I remembered, but not bad, either. I'm sad there's no one else I know who's read them, apart from my mum.


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October 2013

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