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I don't know why I keep reading them, but I do...
on 12 October 2012
I can't quite get my head around this book, or with this series in general. I didn't really enjoy the first two novels, and I didn't really enjoy this one either. Which I guess makes me an idiot, but I can't deny that despite the myriad of problems I have with it, I have been engaged at some level, and I want to know how the storyline progresses. This novel is better than the preceding two, with at least SOME time spent on explanation, the problem is the first two books have introduced so much that requires explanation, it comes nowhere close to allowing you to get a grip on anything.
This is the third novel and I still have virtually no understanding of the magic system, one that is mentioned or used on nearly every page. What's a warren? I've got no idea. They're a source of unlimited power, whilst at the same time being physical dimensions with earth and sky and castles, they are also somehow the `veins' of a god, who is also a separate entity, and they run through the earth, which is the body of another god. There are a multitude of them, some are gateways to other warrens, one is inside a sword, or in the mouth of a dragon, some are dead and unusable, oh, and they can be used to travel in space and time. Whaaat?! Deck of Dragons? No idea either... metaphorical/physical representations of both gods and warrens, can be played as a game, used to summon gods. It is all so convoluted and ill-conceived it is impossible to get any kind of grip on what it can do. SO much magic is used in this book/series it really deserves more time dedicated to explanation, it seems as if anyone can just ascend to godhead if they die, some become `souls' that can be drawn in and contained by others... Maybe some people like the unknowable nature of the magic, but it drives me nuts, and ultimately makes me bored and frustrated.
I remember reading one of the later chapters, (slight spoiler) where Paran is inside the warren inside a sword, talking to someone who explains (from what I could barely gather) that the souls within are dragging a wagon of darkness(??), that is close to being consumed by a storm of chaos(??), that will upset the universal balance of power(??), and that the sword needs more souls to help pull the wagon... I remember sitting back and just thinking `What am I reading? This is just absolute drivel... I almost feel embarrassed to be reading it; badly written nonsense that completely confuses me'. Maybe I'm being thick, and lots of people get it, but I've read a lot of books, a lot of fantasy, and I'm sorry but I think that it is simply poor storytelling.
Some of the characters are interesting, there's no denying it, but these are the ones that the author gives you a bit of background on, but there are still too many wandering around, all deadly serious, who are of no interest at all. I will probably read more, I will probably finish the series, and I will probably look back on it as a massive waste of time and money... As I say, maybe I'm an idiot.