In the darkness the trees are full of starlight (henwy) wrote,
In the darkness the trees are full of starlight

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Book Review Mashup

I did a good chunk of reading during my sabbatical away from writing entries and I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to tally up and review it all here while they're still fresh in my mind. I've always tended to read in spurts. Mostly, this is because of how fast I finish books and my dedication to get to the end once I start. It usually dosen't take me more than a day or two to consume a novel, and it's hard to keep unread books stocked. So what usually happens is I'll order a batch of books from amazon every 3-4 months and then tear through them all in a week or so. This time around, the order contained:

"Armageddon's Children (The Genesis of Shannara, Book 1)"
Terry Brooks

"Crown of Stars (Crown of Stars, Vol. 7)"
Kate Elliott

"Sons of the Oak (Runelords)"
David Farland

"Promise of the Witch-King (Forgotten Realms: The Sellswords, Book 2)"
R.A. Salvatore

"Road of the Patriarch (Forgotten Realms: The Sellswords, Book 3)"
R.A. Salvatore

"Dragons Of The Dwarven Depths: The Lost Chronicles, Volume One (Dragonlance)"
Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

The only one I haven't finished is Sons of the Oak. I got through the first chapter or so and decided to put it aside. It's always iffy when I've got the first book of a multi-book series. I _hate_ cliffhangers. I often end up leaving them lying around until all the following books in the series are published so I don't end up suffering what I like to call WoT syndrome.

As for the others, the worst of the lot by a longshot was Crown of Stars. I can't believe I waded through 7 books and god only knows how many years for a story that ended this shitty. The entire ending made me want to puke my guts out. To give you an idea, Kate Elliot has been sketching a plot where multiple kingdoms and factions are at war. It's almost like George R R Martin light in that fashion. Just as all the groups gather together for the final catastrophic battle, we're expected to believe that they all decide to have tea and crumpets and everyone decides that war is bad and they should all just make up and go home. WTF?! The book effectively ends with 150 pages left. The remaining wordage being left to this weirdass cleanup of various character threads left hangning now that the war's been called off due to idiocy. Net review? I want my fucking money back for this piece of crap. Grade: F

I think Tracy Hickman kicks ass, but I can't help but get the feeling that I've left the Dragonlance books behind. They're always entertaining, but they just don't see all that gripping anymore. I get this feeling that they're written for someone younger than I am and I just don't relate as well anymore. Maybe it's because of some of the other epics I've been reading, but dragonlance just seems too....simple, now. That aside, it was nice to see old characters again and the writing style and plot melded very well with the previous dragonlance chronicles. Grade: B

I'm one of those who has come to believe that Salvatore is overrated. Not that I don't enjoy his novels, but some people seem to believe he should be deified. What you can't deny is that his characters are incredibly memorable and well-fleshed out. I, along with others I'm sure, would argue that this holds truer for a lot of the reoccuring 'bad guys' than with cast of goody goodies. In the two books I picked up, the story focused on Artemis Entreri and Jarlaxel, with nary a Drizzt at all except in those obnoxious narrator voiceovers with which Salvatore loves to begin chapters. This entire series has the feel of a tack on, something scrawled quickly to capitalize on the surge in fan demand for more Entreri/Jarlaxal stories. Promise of the Witch King actually holds up pretty well as an adventure tale in a new chunk of Faerun, but things fall apart by Road of the Patriarch. The later is disjointed and I would bet is actually cobbled together from a couple of seperate short stories that Salvatore wrote. There's almost nothing to link together the various plots and one is dropped and another picked up too rapidly to believe that it was planned as one work. Still, if nothing else, Jarlaxel is always entertaining as a character and it's fun to see what he can pull out of his hat, literally. Grade: A- / B

Armageddon's Children is another first book of a series that I might normally put aside until at least book 2 came out in paperback. I read the first chapter though and it hooked me immediately. I've always thought that Brooks' Word and the Void series was better than any of his Shannara work. It was far more inventive IMO and required far more skill in mixing fantasy and reality than simply popping up a copy of Middle Earth. In this series, we'll see the transition of our world into that of Shannara, and it makes me wonder if that necessitates that the series will begin to suck more as it goes. So far though, book one has been fantastic. It has plenty of tie-ins from the Word and the Void series, though it's a whole new cast of characters with the exception of a couple of long-lived individuals. Out of everything I've read this time around, this is the one book that really has me chomping at the bit to see more. Considering that I passed completely on Brooks' last shannara series, that's saying something. Grade: A
Tags: book club, book club: kate elliot, book club: r a salvatore, book club: terry brooks, tracy hickman

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