Most helpful critical review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Shadow of a Dark Queen
on 19 January 2010
Very mixed feelings about this book. When I started, I got very involved with it, the events were very exciting and varied, the plot seemed like it was going somewhere, and the fact that most of the characters are VERY shallow didn't bother me much as I thought they would be developed further later on.
However, later on, things only got worse. The characters are 2D and most hold no presense in the scene. They feel like if you turned them sideways you wouldnt be able to see them anymore, essentially. This is true to such an extent that in some scenes I wasn't even aware that the main character, Erik, was even present in a scene until he was mentioned at the end of it, and I remembered that we are generally following his perspective. On top of this, many many MANY characters (there are many characters) are introduced as "a large man". What does that even mean?! Are they tall? Are they fat or muscley? What?!
On this note, why is Erik, a prisoner and lowly soldier, always present when the princes and leaders are making their big military decisions?
The interesting nature of the events declined once many events are basically repeated. There are many scenes where Erik rescues girls who are being raped, and he gets a bit angry to prove he has emotions, or realises that a random horse has a gammy foot, seemingly just to prove, yet again, in case we could forget, that he is good with horses.
Finally, at the beginning I eagerly awaited a bit of goblin slashing actions, maybe some trolls or dragons etc. If you're going to write a standard fantasy novel, these features should at least be present! Nearly all the characters are, however, human. There are some snake people, who are essentially human, and a dragon, who gets no action whatsoever. There's a sense that Feist is trying to be innovative and 'realistic' in an almost entirely stereotypical fantasy novel. However it feels like he jsut took a standard fantasy and took the interesting bits out.
Speaking of which, his writing style just screams of trying far too hard to read like a fantasy writer. Get it right or don;'t even try!
I'm focussing on the bad here, and it's not all bad, but generally I felt it was quite a poor quality novel and I was disapointed, having heard such great things of Feist. I'd recommend someone like David Eddings or Michael Moorcock for really high quality fantasy.