Archive for David Eddings

Den of thieves [book review]

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures with tags , , , on April 20, 2014 by xi'an

Last month, I ordered several books on amazon,  taking advantage of my amazon associate gains, and some of them were suggested by amazon algorithms based on my recent history. As I had recently read books involving thieves (like Giant Thief, or Broken Blade and the subsequent books), a lot of titles involved thieves or thievery related names… I picked Den of Thieves mainly for its cover as I did not know the author and the story sounded rather common. When I started reading the book, the story got more and more common, pertaining more to an extended Dungeons & Dragons scenario than to a genuine book! The theme of a bright young thief emerging from the gritty underworld of a close city has been over and over exploited in the fantasy literature, the best (?) example being The lies of Locke Lamora. (Whose third volume, The Republic of Thieves, is in my bag for Reykjavik!) This time, the thief does not appear particularly bright, except at times when he starts philosophy-sing with extremely dangerous enemies!, and the way he eventually overcomes insanely unbalanced odds is just too much. Most characters in the novel are not particularly engaging and way too much caricaturesque from the terribly evil sorcerer cavorting with she-demons to the rigid knight sticking to an idealistic vision of the world where ‘honour” and the code of chivalry is the solution to all problems. It is not even in the slightest sarcastic or tongue-in-cheek as the many novels by David Eddings and the main characters are mostly humourless. I wonder why the book did not get better edited as the weaknesses are very easy to spot! A good example where amazon software failed to make a worthy recommendation!

Shadow Prowler

Posted in Books with tags , , , , on March 26, 2011 by xi'an

A colleague at the University dropped this book on my desk a week ago as he had read it on his way back from Texas. Shadow Prowler makes for an easy travel [even local travel] read, indeed, and its action-packed plot is sufficiently captivating to miss one’s metro station! Now, this is not either the fantasy discovery of the year. While translated from the Russian, the style of Shadow Prowler is very similar to American writers’, especially David Eddings’, with a lot of wise cracks and witty remarks. (I had to check on biddenhänder, though!) The plot itself resembles very much Eddings’, especially the Elenium trilogy, with its collection of well-defined (kind of caricaturesque) characters, and not much time to introspection nor subtlety. Far from the creativity of Brent Weeks and his Night Angel trilogy for instance. Nonetheless, it makes for a very enjoyable, uncomplicated, quick read and I am looking forward the second tome (coming out next month, more realistically whenever my colleague can get hold of it!).

Before they are hanged

Posted in Books with tags , , , on October 29, 2009 by xi'an

The second tome of Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law trilogy, Before they are hanged, does not leave live up to its expectations. I really enjoyed the first volume, The Blade Itself, overreacting a little bit at the novelty in tone and style by suggesting a ranking in the New Yorker fantasy list, but this second volume definitely falls very short from my expectations! I mentioned the potential connections with David Eddings in my earlier post, and they are much more apparent in the second volume: the characters are lacking depth but not stereotypes, the way the central society behaves is caricatural, the enemies have endless facilities and power… The (obligatory) quest has started but the crossing of the continent to the other sea is very boring and does not bring further perspectives on the six characters, some of which like Qai and Longfoot (!) do not even seem to have a proper role in the trip. They were interesting anti-heros in the first volume, they are no longer that interesting nor that anti-heros. The other main character, Glokta, has also lost some of his cruel appeal by playing the rescuer to all distressed maidens crossing his path. Overall, the witty exchanges found in the first volume have mostly disappeared from the second (or I do not find them so funny!) So I fear this is another example of a good start turned into a tepid follow-up (please let not this happen to The Name of Wind!). Given the mixed reviews on the third volume, I am not sure I will give it a try!

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