Monday, September 15, 2014

A Second Slump

Tower Lord, Anthony Ryan
I come bearing mixed news.

The good:
  • I am very confident that most die-hard, brotherhood fans of Blood Song will still be pleased with this sequel.  I know for a fact, that someone I shared these books with went out and bought their own copies before they'd even finished reading the second book.  So The Brotherhood is real. 
The not-so-good:
  • I am not numbered among them.
The low-down:
  • Our hero, Vaelin, becomes Tower Lord in this book.  I feel I'm not giving too much away here...ya?  Given the err...title?  Now, this is where the misleading might begin; Vaelin (Tower Lord) is not the only voice in this novel.  He's not even the main voice.  Ryan has elected to fairly evenly split the narrative not twice, nor thrice, not four times, but into FIVE freakin' people's accounts.  I'm not going to speculate about author motives here.  I am going to say: I struggled.  Initially, I was irritated that I was spending so little time with the legend of this heroic fantasy brand.  Then, worse yet (I think), I came to prefer the others' stories, and yawned whenever we returned to the Tower Lord's.  That can't be good.
  • Book 2 is even darker than Book 1 -- which may be a selling point for some -- but for me, this made it even harder to wade through.  I have a fairly low tolerance for disturbing content, and this book was up there on the freaky-deaky scales, both in the present narrative, and flashbacks...both acts upon villains and the innocent...both upon humans and animals. 
  • And there's not enough humour to brighten it, for my taste.
  • However, I can see that the violence is woven into a thoughtful story, and wouldn't call it gratuitous.  But I'd call it disturbing.  Again.
  • The sensual references are also intensified, and include violent references.  Not for me.
  • And, like Book 1, there are so. many. names. of people, places and political thingzzzz that I find it hard work.  
  • Haki -- he loves uber-complex (headache complex) worlds.  He still found the book disappointing, as well.  For him?  He felt the conclusion was over the top.  He also had little patience for so many story-lines, even if they do come together. 
  • Conclusion: I wanted out of this book so bad.  I was too impatient for it.  It took me months to get to really giving it a chance because I kept tapping out, exasperated.  Sorry.  Ryan Brotherhood?  You'll still love it, and more for the upped anti- in respect to gore, darkness, sex and detail.  Good luck to ye'.
Disagree with me.  Go ahead.  Buy it -- it's in bookstores now! (RRP $37.99)

I do like the cover.  Ha.

Blood Song review here.

(Review copy supplied by Hachette)

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