Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
on 11 December 2015
After branching off into some other fiction, I felt the itch to come back to fantasy and, after a bit of looking around, stumbled upon this and thought I'd see if it was any good. I have not been disappointed, this is nothing short of amazing.
The plot follows a handful of characters as their threads become entwined in an overall arc. If you were to break this down to its very core you'd find standard fantasy elements - a sorceror, a barbarian, a forgotten prince etc, all joining a war with the ever present (but not really believed by most) threat of an ancient demon-god coming back to threaten the world with darkness. However, as average as that sounds, the writing is of such an incredibly high standard that Bakker could throw in any type of character and you'd still read it. Each character is overwhelmingly deep in substance, and this is an almost constant exploration of the various aspects of humanity; there are phrases and passages in here that you read several times, then shut the book and contemplate for a time.
I won't attempt to summarise the characters or the story, as even a summary would take too long and not do this justice. Sufficed to say that if you love high/epic fantasy, this is for you. It is a little tricky to start with, but nothing too difficult, and my main (and only) slight niggle is that some of the character and place names are very complicated. I often find myself simply recognising the shapes of the words rather than attempting to pronounce them. But that really is the only criticism I can offer, and it's a very subjective one. This is the start of what will surely be one of the best fantasy novels I've read in a long time.