Aardy R. DeVarque (aardy) wrote,
Aardy R. DeVarque

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Books that I read in January

I don't know how long I'll remember to do this and have time to keep this up, but I figured I'd give it a shot. If I make it to 50 books and/or 15,000 pages in a year, great, but I'm not going to actually try to reach either goal.

1. Modesitt, L.E. The death of chaos (629 p.)

2. Goodkind, Terry. Chainfire (756 p.)

3. ibid. Phantom (673 p.)

4. ibid. Confessor (603 p.)

Yes, that's 2661 pages in one month, but I read fast when I have the time to read, and I read books 2 & 3 in a day to day and a half each while I was basically bedridden two weeks ago, recuperating from a really bad case of gastroenteritis. Book 1 was my "car book" this month, which I read at red lights and when waiting for trains at railroad crossings--when I don't take the tollway, I can read about 100-125 pages a week that way, which tells you something about the number of stoplights and train crossings on my commute.

The first was an interesting read, a direct sequel to the first of Modesitt's Recluse novels, The magic of Recluse. It's an interesting take on Order vs. Chaos, where all magic is directly rooted in one or the other. Also, like the other books in the series I've read, all chapters that are told from the main character's point of view are told in third person past, whereas all chapters that are told from some other character's point of view are told in third person present, a stylistic choice that took a little getting used to. The first half is better than the second half, IMHO, because of the greater number of everyday life scenes featuring the main character, which I think are Modesitt's strong point. The huge set pieces, high fantasy tropes, large-scale battles, and so forth are entertaining and all, but I found the "down-time" character bits and details of the trade of woodworking and building relationships with the rest of the household and people around town much more enthralling.

Of those last three, only the last was actually worth reading; the other two were just like the previous three or four of Goodkind's Sword of Truth novels--lots of angsting, continual contrived separation-reuniting-separation, the author's own social-political rants dumped in as character speeches, and recaps every three chapters of what's happened in the series so far--including recaps of what happened just a few pages ago! Very, very annoying, and because of those stylistic tics, I'd pretty much given up on Goodkind after the book before Chainfire; I only finally slogged through these because I had the time while sick to read a lot of them all at once. The last book--which is also the last Sword of Truth novel (finally!)--had all of that as well, including nearly complete (and often-repeated) summaries of the previous two books and brief (and often-repeated) summaries of every other book in the series, but at least also had action and -gasp- actual plot resolution.

Confessor also thoroughly (and unsatisfyingly, IMHO) retcons the ending of Wizard's First Rule, rendering the whole climax of the book utterly pointless, and replacing it with something that is more complex but just doesn't work as well. (Something a lot of authors seem to forget when they hit the "big time" is that sometimes short & simple really is better! And it's a good idea to have an editor not only for finding typographical and grammatical errors--of which there are several in Confessor--but also to tell you which bits to cut out, tighten up, expand on, etc., because as the author, you are likely too close to the work to be able to rationally and impartially make those judgements.)

Feudalism: Serf & Turf
Tags: books

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