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Whilst the world-building was good and I was curious as to where the story ...
on 15 September 2015
Whilst the world-building was good and I was curious as to where the story was going, sadly I found too much else that I didn't like.
In the opening chapter the protagonist is busy fighting/escaping from some savages so doesn't say much. The only actual words (apart from various non-verbal noises due to exertion or injury) he says in the first half a dozen pages are:
'S***,' said Logen.
'S***,' muttered Logen.
'S***,' he muttered.
The first two of these were on pages 1 and 2, which gave me a really bad impression of the writing quality from the very outset. Was it intentional? If so, I don't know to what point. Didn't an editor look at that and question it? Use some different vocab and sentence structure? Anyway, I gave the book the benefit of the doubt and carried on.
Despite me hearing that this is genre/stereotype busting fiction, I actually found it pretty stereotypical and predictable.
Logen, the battle-hardened soldier who used to love war but has seen to much death and in his middle years now hates fighting.
A king who is fat and simple-minded so is seldom seen and has his kingdom ruled by his council who all have their own selfish motives.
The eldest prince cares nothing about ruling, only money and luxuries.
The younger prince would be a great ruler, but he's the youngest son so can't succeed the king.
A rich, spoiled younger son of a lord who is desperate to prove himself a capable warrior and a player at court.
And so on...
Noticeably, at a quarter of the way through the book the only characters with a viewpoint were male. Which brings us on to the female characters.
Major West's sister:
'So?' Jezal had little enthusiasm for hearing about the Major's sister. West might have pulled himself up, but the rest of his family were distinctly beneath Jezal's notice. He was interested in meeting poor, common girls he could take advantage of, and rich, noble ones he might think about marrying. Anything in between was of no importance.
Don't let her be too ugly, Jezal was thinking as he slowly approached the door to Major West's quarters an raised his unwilling fist to knock. Just don't let her be too ugly. And not too stupid either.
[He hears conversation through the door...]
Jezal's heart sank. A deep voice, she sounded like a fat one. Jezal couldn't afford to be seen walking about with a fat girl on his arm. It could ruin his reputation.
She didn't sound an idiot, which was something, but fat now and peevish too.
[She argues with her brother, he hears her swear...]
Fat peevish and coarse, damn it. This might be even worse than he'd feared.
And of course when the door opens she's gorgeous and he's dumbstruck. I'm bored of looking up and typing out passages now, but he's even more vile when making excuses for things he still doesn't like about her because she's so good-looking. So much ugh.
A rich and vacuous heiress, too predictably characterised and talked about by the Men to bother quoting.
And lastly, a sorceress. Who tosses her head. I mean come on, who actually tosses their head in real life? Other than to get their hair out of their eyes when their hands are occupied?
So that gives us a grand total of three female characters of any prominence: A once stupid sister who has surprised her brother by growing up to be intelligent and surprised a spoiled rich boy by being intelligent and coarse even though she's good looking, a rich clothes-horse heiress and an evil sorceress. Give me a break.