Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Too Much for Me, Trinity

First, I must preface my comments about Trinity Rising by saying Cooper sure can write -- her prose is, in fact, so eloquent, it is bordering on cumbersome (with the screeds of service paid to names for people and places in quick succession, in particular).  For the most part, however, it is rich, oftimes reminiscent of Rothfuss.  Furthermore, Songs of the Earth bears plenty of semblance to The Name of the Wind; it is a heroic fantasy with a young male protagonist with tortuous memories fuelling his exploration and ascent into magic, fame and infamy. 

It is because of these commonalities that I enjoyed Songs of the Earth, despite lacking the same groupie-type affection for Gair (Songs) that I had for Kvothe (Rothfuss' hero), and even though it withheld a very late crescendo.  Songs is also rather raunchy, and sexuality is employed to characterise unsavoury characters explicitly.  This, I tolerated with wincing, in book one.

Now, for Trinity Rising -- a book I was eager to read because of where Songs left off -- I had renewed interest and optimism for the story's arc after the opening novel's close. 

In short, Trinity is not for me.  I suspect die-hard Cooper fans will devour Trinity Rising, but as I established very quickly upon settling into its narrative, I am not a die-hard Cooper fan.  Oh, I nodded in appreciation at many phrases she turned with mastery, but her sequel has amplified many of the things I found distasteful from her first book...

In Songs, there was often a tugging irritation that the supporting characters were more fascinating than the hero.  I shrugged this aside.  In Trinity Rising I found myself thrown in the lap of Songs' villain -- in episodes I'd experienced from Gair's perspective, no less.  I should have been thrilled.  Unfortunately, as was the case with Songs' least likeable brute, both of Trinity Rising's masculine nemeses are characterised by their sexual exploitation of women; graphically and early. 

I hung my head when I realised Cooper's particular brand of heat was not to be a match for me -- because I desperately wanted it to be -- the writing, the writing!  I find my preference for subtley and euphemisms in regards to something I regard as sacred remains unchanged.

And so, the bitter irony: I was often distracted by the power and intrigue of others, and when I was given subjective access to others, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth -- one I couldn't remove well enough to enjoy the rest of the book.

Be warned, die-hard fans (those without my quibbles, in particular), Trinity Rising will make you wait for Gair.  Thankfully (or unthankfully-- depending on your prude levels, ahem.../hanging head again),  those characters are well-developed and vividly painted.  And there are less names to juggle in your mind, praise the goddess.   If you are confident that Cooper's process of evoking your sympathies will not subject you to parallel torture, and erotica causes you thrill over squeamishness, a happy marriage is made for you and number two.

My hard-learned conclusion: I think I'll stick with Young Adult Fiction unless a braver friend has traversed the "adult" landscape ahead to let me know all is clear.  Yup, Neverland is how I roll.
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