Top critical review
going downhill fast
on 1 July 2014
It's not bad, per se. I've started reading worse short stories (but generally left them unfinished). But I think the Mongoliad/Foreworld project is suffering terribly in quality as it grows in quantity. These "side quests" are a case in point. The brilliant, nuanced writing of the Mongoliad series has, here, degenerated into hack-work cliche. On a personal note - though some of you may like this - the series is getting far too sword-and-sorcery for my tastes. I far preferred the more subtle otherworldiness of the early Mongoliad, to the outright magic of the side quests.
On a more objective style note, it's all becoming action-writing by numbers of the sort you don't really want to see Neal Stephenson associated with. The writers spell everything out, the classic show-don't-tell error of storytelling leaving no room for the reader's own wit or imagination.
It's the little things. Opening this story at random "Again, Tyr felt his respect for his apprentice growing." Why would we need to be told Tyr's respect is growing? Either we recognise his apprentice has said/done something clever on our own or Tyr's on response should demonstrate it. In this story, we get to hear Tyr's thought process and then his actual words "Even so, Tyr replied"!
Thanks Foreworld team. I needed that extra help. For some reason, I think fond memories of the Mongoliad, I've persisted with this series. But the latest one I downloaded, Blood and Ashes, was so bad i couldn't even finish it.