Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lame! Lame! Lame!

So I'm reading this series, "The Runelords", which a friend of mine gave me. I'm halfway through book two. Far enough along that some of the plot points are engaging. However much of it is very frustrating. I'll try and explain my frustration without giving too much of the book away. Just in case someone decides that despite my very mixed review that they still want to read it.

Part of the appeal of the fantasy novel is they way it can tap into those things which are epic. We were watching the "Return of the King" the other night and we got to the scene where Gandalf and Pippin crest the hill and you see Minas Tirith, the seven walled city, off in the distance. And my daughter spontaneously said, "Wow! That's cool." And this novel has exactly those sorts of things soaring castles, ancient towers, and seemingly impregnable walls. When you hear of something like that you expect something along the lines of The Battle of Pelennor Fields.

Instead the main bad guy develops this cheesy way of overcoming strongholds by himself. Actually overcoming is the wrong word he destroys them and everyone inside by himself. And there is no build-up to this, no attempt to create a veneer of verisimilitude. It's as if you were playing a fantasy war game and you had marshalled your armies, built up your castles, armed your soldiers and your opponent says, "I attack your capital city." To which you reply, "What are you talking about you're nowhere near my capital city, what about my armies, my castles?" And he replies, "I nuke it." And then like the author he proceeds to do just that. I'm guessing that you'd walk away in disgust and never play the game again. Which is perhaps what I should do, but my reading, and my rant continues...

One of the things that bothers me about it, and which I mention because it probably doesn't bother anyone else, is why didn't someone come up with this "technology before? The book provides no clue to that, no recent discovery, no serendipitous coincidence, no condition which exists at the time of the narrative that didn't exist for thousands of years before.

But all of that pales in comparison to the biggest problem of all: it's not epic, it's not cool, it's not even believable (even by the stretched standards of fantasy) it's LAME, LAME, LAME, LAME LAME!!!!!!!!

I really need to start writing again


Anonymous Ed said...

So... did you like it?

The reviews at Amazon seem mostly positive, but a few tend to point out what you did, so I guess if you can live with that particular lameness, it'll be ok.

I really haven't read much fantasy recently, mostly because I guess that I tend not to be too enthralled with the new angles too much. I guess that's why I've started reading foreign classics more.

11:35 PM  
Anonymous Geshin said...

Time to read something else?

7:28 AM  
Blogger Ross said...

No I'll continue reading this series. The magic system is very inventive (I think I mentioned it earlier) where people can give attributes to other people. So someone could have 10 "endowments" of brawn which would make him as strong as 11 men.

And while some of the plot points make me tear my hair out, the characters are generally interesting. Plus when you read something bad it inspires you (or at least it inspires me) to write. Which is a good thing.

So Ed, when are you going to respond to my e-mail about your Ordination?

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Ed said...

Send it again, because it either didn't come through, or it got spam filtered somehow.

12:52 PM  

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