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Customer Review

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He improves more as he goes along, 15 Nov. 2008
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This review is from: Hinterland: The Godslayer Series: Book Two (Paperback)
I have read all of the fantasy works of James Clemens and this book is his best so far. It suffers from some drawbacks, but overall, it is rather enjoyable. Clemens has created a rich world to set his story in and his Gods (and rogue gods) are sincerely intriguing.

The good news (for me) is that 'Hinterland' is an improvement from 'Shadowfall'. My main problem with the first novel of this series, though I enjoyed it immensely, is that it starts well, but the end gets a bit ridiculous - a villain with maniacal laughter et al. I felt Chrism was a clumsy plot device, not set as a development, but to serve as a mere "twist" at the end of the story, which is why it fell flat on its face (and the fact that Clemens is a bit confused as to what insanity is). This novel does not have that problem. It has villains, but not just for villains sake; they actually have a motive, and they seem at least a little sane and make some sense (Lord Ulf, for example).

'Hinterland' starts off very slow indeed, as we read endless chapters of a boy obsessing over wolf cubs, Dart going about her duties in her new position, and Tylar always being unhappy. Fair enough, normality is depicted, and soon after that, the action and plot development is full speed ahead, and it becomes difficult to put the book down. Although there are some predictable and obvious twists scattered throughout (having everyone related to one another loses its shock value after the first revelation), there are still some surprises, and it is a genuine treat to venture outside into different lands to learn of different cultures and such.

There are a few problems with Clemens ability at this point. Characterisation is a bit of an issue. Most characters are stereotypes or are black or white. Rogger suffers greatly from this, who clearly has no use other than silly one-liners for comic relief. Other characters come and go to merely move the plot along, or to sacrifice themselves within minutes of their appearance for a main character or the world, and so on. The main characters themselves do not seem any different from one another. Lorr, Kyt, the giants, Krevan and Tylar are all interchangeable personality wise, but differ only with abilities and their usefulness to any given situation, again, to move the plot along.

Another slight issue about my edition of this book (November 2006 paperback) is that there are typos and preventable grammatical errors throughout the book; there is even an "a5nd" in there! Go for the 2007 edition to perhaps avoid these (I assume a re-release would remove these errors).

Overall, the novel is action packed, and the progress of the story comes across naturally enough. More depth and secrets are revealed about the Cabal, the Sundering, Rivenscyr, and Dart's father. We are given an interesting new character that gave a tiny appearance in 'Shawdowfall' named Brant. Although he is a lot like Dart, only male, he still has a mysterious background that is fun to decipher and watch develop. I, like everyone else, am now waiting for the third novel in the series.

UPDATE ON THE SERIES: There are no immediate plans to release a follow-up to the Wit'ch or Godslayer series for the years 2010 or 2011. Clemens will return to the Wit'ch and Godslayer series as soon as his current writing schedule permits.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Jan 2009 16:39:38 GMT
H says:
Oh really?

Rats. That means impatiently waiting for books 3, 4 and 5 instead of just 3!!

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jan 2009 20:39:24 GMT
I should really update this review. He has new problems now, as his editor left the publishing house, so now he has no editor for them. :/ This doesn't effect his other boooks under his other name 'James Rollins', it only affects this series. God knows if the rest of this series will ever come out. :(

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jan 2009 19:36:27 GMT
Last edited by the author on 25 Jan 2009 19:37:42 GMT
Great review and spot on re the charactorisation problems. Such a shame because he has such original ideas. You kind of wonder whether he should jiont write with someone. An Abercrombie / Clemmens combo would be good as feel 'joe' does charactorisation to grand master level but his books feel a bit plotless.
I find this new fad for 5 series books a bit irksome! If you read as much as me it inevitably means you are trying to keep track of about 10 different stories at the same time! Not easy at my age. But I shall be sorry if he doesn't get to conclude this series.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jan 2009 00:15:19 GMT
I know how you feel. By the time I got round to reading the second of this series I had completely forgotten everything, even the names of the main characters, and who they were. I had to go back and read the first book again before embarking on this. Though, I'm glad I did. :)

Very few writers are perfect, I guess. If you want good characterisation, Trudi Canavan's 'Black Magician Trilogy' is a very good series (and they are already all released!). Her ideas and vision of the world are also very good.

James is actually publishing many books this year, but none of them are this series. :( I am really into this series, so I will be very sorry if he doesn't finish.
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