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Have I been reading a different book to other reviewers?
on 23 August 2014
Other reviewers have described this as a seminal work for the modern fantasy genre and have heaped praise upon Moorcock. I have to say that I simply don't see this work in that light. To my mind rather than ushering in a new era of fantasy I believe that it harks back to a "pulp" style of writing. I don't necessarily use the term "pulp" in a derogatory fashion here but it does feel very episodic and many of the characters are less than two dimensional serving only to impart some small piece of information before dying. The style often feels repetitive; Hawkmoon travels somewhere, meets strange people, the recurring bad guys turn up, (almost) everyone except Hawkmoon dies and thus he moves on...and there is far too much reliance on Deus ex machine to resolve poor plot development. We are regularly beaten about the head with the notion that Hawkmoon is the chosen of the Runestaff and that there is only one way that this story is going. There are few female characters and only one of those is remotely engaging and well written. Personally I found Hawkmoon and his companions deeply uninteresting, I'd have far rather read 600+ pages on the "heroes" of Granbretan and their schemings and machinations. Indeed I felt the scenes set in Granbretan/Londra to be the only well written elements of this work (and these actually remind me of the scenes at the court of Melnebone).
So, in conclusion, I have to say that I was left very disappointed with this book. From other reviews I thought I was going to be reading a masterly written fantasy classic whereas instead it felt like a hack written piece of pulp. Whilst not totally unreadable it is hugely predictable.