Archive for vast

THE DESERT SPEAR By Peter V. Brett – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2011 by stanleyriiks

The second book in this epic series is huge, weighting in at seven hundred and fifty pages. Set in a world ravaged by demons every night, where in the North the people hide and cower in their houses behind wards which keep the demons at bay, and in the south where they fight and trap the demons in a huge maze until sunlight returns and destroys them.

This time we follow the story of Jardir, the southern warrior who comes to rule the warring tribes of the south and bring them together as an empire. He then starts his invasion of the north.

We also get to follow the Painted Man of the first book, as he continues to grow his numbers of followers (whilst trying to bring the northern Dukes together to stop the invading hordes of the south) and his past comes back to haunt him, and Lesha as she develops her skills as a warder and gatherer and meets Jardir who falls in love with her.

The world has been waiting for the coming of the Deliver or Shar’Dama Ka for centuries, and not one but two appear. Both willing to kill the other, and a war with the demons  is inevitable. But will the north or the south be destroyed, and will it be before or after the demon war?

On such a vast scale, this book is a bit more polished than the first book. The movement between characters’ points of view is much less jarring, at least after the first two hundred pages of Jardir’s history. Brett has allowed himself the time and space to develop his characters, their history, their beliefs and their world to such an astoundingly accurate level but you can’t help but be swept away. The richness of this book is truly immense.

Awe inspiring in both its detail and its scale, with both its petty bedroom intrigues, vast battles to come, and clever twists, this is a excellent book. I hope it’s not a long wait for the third book in the series. Truly epic. Truly immersive. Truly original.

THE BROKEN SWORD By Poul Anderson – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2010 by stanleyriiks

The story begins when Scafloc, born of Orm  and Aelfrida, is stolen from his human parents by an Elf doing a favour for a witch, and replaced with a troll-child who looks exactly the same.

Only years later is it revealed that the child – Valgard –  Orm and Aelfrida have brought up isn’t there own, but by then it is too late, as Valgard kills his brothers after being tricked into it by that witch who had him swapped all those years ago.

As Valgard comes to realise his true troll nature he joins with the troll forces as they attempt to take over all the Elf lands, enslaving them and torturing Imric, the Elf father to Scafloc.

Fantasy-operas don’t get much more convoluted than this! What starts out as a nice fairy tale swiftly becomes a full-on drama, throwing in family histories, incest and all sorts. Of course, this doesn’t detract from the remarkable pace of the book, as Scafloc attempts to stop the troll invasion and must take the broken sword of the title to the gods to have it fixed.

Anderson creates a world of great depth, and his characters almost breathe, the fine-line between cold, hard elf and human warmth is balanced well in Scafloc, just distant enough to be different, but mortal enough to be relatable.

The depth of the writing, and Anderson’s concise style, make this book feel like an epic, despite it being only a little over two hundred pages, but that’s not to say this book feels long. It feels vast, the description of the story above barely covers half of it, but to describe more would give away secrets that are so worthy of discovery it doesn’t feel right to divulge them.

This book feels like an ancient epic, a story told orally and kept alive through generations by its retelling. Here Anderson puts his own mark on the tale of the war between the trolls and the elves, and such a mark it is.