- Mass Market Paperback: 604 pages
- Publisher: Dutton / Signet; Reissue edition (26 Nov. 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0886775361
- ISBN-13: 978-0886775360
- Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 4.1 x 17.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,169,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Gatherer of Clouds (Daw science fiction) Mass Market Paperback – 26 Nov 1992
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Top Customer Reviews
Sean Russell continues this unique story that barely qualifies as fantasy and dips deeply into the historic fiction genre. Still, if you're going to pick a fantasy novel out at random, you could scarcely do better than this book, an excellent read.
Although a duology, compared to the Swan's trilogy, this seems much more ambitious. The scale of the story is more epic, the characters broader and more numerous, but whereas the Swan's War is a classic understatement of fantasy this left an opposite effect on me. Overblown and at times convoluted this struck me as one of those cases of "more is less." I was left to wonder whether with some editing this would not have been a fantastic stand alone book.
There is much to like and admire. Russell certainly has a good hold of his "alternate history" and is faithful to the oriental setting - whether the Bothanist Monks are Buddhist or not a more educated man than myself will say - but the parallels are clear enough. That means there is a lot of endless poor mimicry of oriental proverbs, poetry with a touch of Confucius and Sun Tsu thrown in for good measure. The problem is that although memorable it begins to detract from the story. I love the time and care Russell spends on his characters - as another reviewer notes - there is no "little person who comes to power" cliche here as that character - Shuyun - is marked from the very beginning as someone extraordinary. The main characters are all important and impressive people - I like that. But there are so many all trying to do important things that it again detracts from where the interest really lies - Lord Shonto, Nishima, Shuyun and Komawara are genuinely interesting BUT strangely Shuyun and Komawar and Katta are all done a disservice in the second books by being overrun by the other character threads.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The author uses internal thought as exposition. The result is a lightweight version of the first Dune book where the frequent POV shifts tell us more about the character than the overall plotline. These POVs change over time as the characters age, mature, or learn more about events.
The plot "inspiration" comes from a game called "gii" which is clearly similar to Go or chess. There are constant references of feints and misleading moves that are if anything overly obvious statements the author is making about the plot rather than the game. The sequel takes all the characters in a completely different direction than where they started in the first book.
The "Initiate Brother" is intentionally kept abstract until the sequel. He is not a "super monk" - his abilities are simply window dressing to frame his role and not used as a crutch to mimic good plot and character development.
Some reviewers make too much about the setting. It's fantasy. The cultural references say as much about historical China / Japan / Korea as Lord of the Rings say as much about historical Britain / Scandinavia. In short they say nothing at all and serve only as milieu.
I like the books for exactly the reason I liked Herbert's first Dune book. The series is multi-layered, the characters are dimensional and change over time. What seems like a straitjacket character in the first book is anything but in the sequel.
It's not high literature just strong use of well-known storytelling elements to make a good read.