Fantasy

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Read: Feet of Clay

Feet of Clay must be one the pun-niest Discworld novel in the series so far (that is until book 19). It’s a decent mystery novel and a great installment of the City Watch sub-series.

Discrimination, stereotyping, gender (identity), exploitation of the worker class, politics, governance, and the social contract: All this in a fantasy novel.

Most important (for my personal enjoyment of the novel), however, is that I absolutely loved the stabs at religion.

Read: The Magician King

I have said it before and I say it again: I become increasingly tired of novels with several time lines that in the text are interwoven, even though there would be a perfectly reasonable disjoined sequence of the two plots. There is no need to let the narrative jump from one timeline to the other and back again.

So in the end, The Magician King is two novels in one. Each has its own protagonist. Unfortunately, you have to read both and are constantly forced to switch between the two. Exactly the thing I learned to avoid. I do not want to read several novels in parallel.

Here, I only liked one of the two threads. The becoming of the demi-goddess was much more interesting and suspenseful than the king’s quest. Or in other words, the dark side of magic in Grossman’s novel has a much stronger appeal than the fairy tale.

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Read: The Traitor Queen

The concluding novel of Trudi Canavan’s the Traitor Spy Trilogy, the Traitor Queen, is much better and more enjoyable than the predecessor The Rogue.

As expected, the ‘new girl’ has become one of the main protagonists. Even though she and the novel do not feel as vivid to me as (the protagonist of) Canavan’s first Magicians trilogy, she is well developed and the story plot moves on at a good pace.

The main reason for me liking this book better than the one before is, however, that it is much closer to my original expectations to read about wizardry, battles, maybe diplomatic issues, and covert operations.

While reading the Traitor Queen I had a few deja vu moments. Either the story plot was too transparent and I anticipated too much, or I felt too much reminded of Canavan’s very good The Magician’s Apprentice. Its plot shares much of the same geography and a major war event. Both may hint at a certain lack of or decline in originality.

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Read: The Rogue

Canavan’s fantasy series “Traitor Spy” takes a strange turn with its second book, “The Rogue”.

I thought I was going to read about wizardry, battles, maybe diplomatic issues, and covert operations. What I read instead was a book with not just one but several romance plots with different levels of salaciousness and awkwardness, hit and run appearances of earlier interesting characters that now serve just as a plot device, and very little advancement of the overarching story lines that bind the series together. In the end, there was just the introduction of a new, I guess, protagonist for the third book.

Overall, the novel is rather disappointing bordering on annoying.

Read: A Memory of Light

Maybe I have just out-grown the Wheel of time series (like, I fear, Card’s Ender series) over the last years. Maybe it really just turned worse over time, or maybe it was the unfortunately forced change of authors.

While I think I still mostly enjoyed A Memory of Time, the final volume of the Wheel of Time’s conclusion, it also felt a bit like work. I am more relieved than sad that there will be no further sequel.

Of course, it is no easy task to bring a 14 volume fantasy saga to a satisfying end. It’s even harder if your are not the original authors but just some young fellow who got some notes and was commissioned to finish it. Therefore, it would be nice to know how much of this endless drag, layman philosophy, and moral cudgel has to be attributed to Jordan and how much to Sanderson.

All the protagonists felt a bit out-of-character. Or was this character development, their final maturation? There were certainly a few inconsistencies with their behavior and experiences. There are unnecessary attempts at creating suspense. This is the conclusion, no need to create new mysteries, indeed, it would have been nice to see all former mysteries not just somehow resolved but also explained to the reader.

So in the end, I am happy that is over but I am not quite satisfied with it.

Read: Men at Arms

Being simple does not mean stupid.

That is the lesson taught by Men at Arms. And I believe Pratchett teaches it most excellently. Of course, the novel is instructive for so many more reasons. Yet I think this is the most important one.

It’s good that I read all Discworld novels again (preferably on my train and plane trips). It may have taken me several years to see this important message: I just noticed that I have read the book before, in the German translation, more than a decade ago. And I did not get it back then. Let’s blame it on the translation.

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