Friday, February 13, 2004

I reread some Janny Wurts these past few weeks, specifically the bulk of the third book in the Wars of Light and Shadows series. The third book is peculiar because it's being published in four hardback chunks (otherwise the bindings would break). I read the first three chunks, Fugitive Prince, Grand Conspiracy, and Peril's Gate in rapid succession, which comes to about two thousand pages of incredibly arranged prose. You really have to apply yourself to read this series but the end result is well worth the effort. Many people find the text tedious and overdramatic, but it's really just a completely different style of writing from what most authors (fantasy in particular) churn out. I guess it's to be expected in a genre where two well-known authors (Tolkien and Feist) create shallow characterizations to further the action rather than really exploring things like motivations and thoughts.

The third chunk of this book teeters very close to the edge of melodramatic camp, but sets up the final chunk quite nicely (the final thousand pages is expected to be released at the beginning of next year). If you are a patient reader who enjoys the English language, and wants a book with no easy answers and no black and white heroes and villains, I would recommend this series over all others. Here is a sample of the prose, taken from Peril's Gate:

    Warned by a muffled, metallic ring, Arithon spun. He clamped the boy's wrist in a strangling grip that arrested the sword halfway pulled from the scabbard. "Nine hells of Sithaer, are you insane?"

    "I should kill you here!" Fionn Areth gasped through locked teeth. "There are widows across the five kingdoms who'd thank me."

    "They might," Arithon agreed, his annoyance turned acid. "But a blade in my back won't see you safe. The opposite in fact. My blood in the snow would act as a beacon for Koriani scryers. If you think you can manage to evade their spelled snares, Dakar still has the food and the horses. You aren't going to find him without my guidance. Better to salve your fool's craving for justice after we've scrambled to safety."

    Fionn Areth's murderous resistance failed to slacken under restraint. Darker truth eclipsed reason. He knew this creature who entreated in calm self-defense was unnatural, an unprincipled sorcerer whose guileful strategies had slaughtered three dedicated war hosts. Across the continent, men flocked to Lysaer's sunwheel standard and pledged to the Light to destroy him.

For fun, here is a sample from Feist's bestselling horrible book, Rise of a Merchant Prince:

    "What are you thinking?" asked Erik of Roo, his best friend since childhood.

    Roo said, "Just how funny families can be." He pointed to the group on the dock, listening carefully to Nicholas.

    Erik said, "Notice our Captain."

    Roo nodded. He knew Erik meant Calis. The elflike man stood off to one side, with just enough distance between himself and the others to be apart, yet close enough to answer questions when asked.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    what jello does not have artificial flavoring, tarestesia, colon outburst, how complex or difficult is schoenberg's music

I have a house now. I'm housed.

Why not to lean against a chainsaw when it's cutting your bra off
Women over 40 biggest online gamers
Germans use sexism to promote Linux
Handfield said last month that it was difficult to imagine veteran detectives and prosecutors being fooled by three young girls.

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