Most helpful critical review
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 18 July 2007
R Scott Bakker's "The Darkness That Comes Before" is reasonably well-written. However, it is to my taste at times rather ponderous and unremittingly dour. Fantasy fiction is without doubt my preferred genre and I have read many many thousands of pages. Some of it is light-weight fluff, some of it seems to want to "out-Tolkein" the Master.
Bakker, however, seems to feel that his work is a serious philosophical treatise in which anything that brings a smile to the face or a chuckle to the lips is to be abhored. All of his characters are flawed (fair enough), but not one of them is engaging, not one has any joie de vivre, and if at any time happiness seems to threaten, it is quickly smothered by cynical manipulation or brutal betrayal.
I read the trilogy, but found it hard-going and certainly cannot see myself re-reading it time and again as I have other authors' works. Ultimately, THAT is what I want from my Fantasy fiction; something that will whisper to me "come back and read me again. You have old friends to revisit".