|Submitted by Heresy |
(Aug 17, 2007)
(I have not yet finished this book, but I will try to write another review once I am should my opinions change. If not, then the review stands as is.)
However, midway in, I feel I have several points to mention about the style of writing Iím seeing in The Stone and the Maiden. Firstly, I want to point out that while thereís a definite flow of imagery - there are just wonderful paragraphs that work as if weíre looking at pictures - I feel that overall thereís simply not enough spread to the rest of the book. There should be more than just a few token scatterings of these. What these paragraphs show is that he does have the skill to paint these images, but he does so sparingly. I wish he would do more.
The novelís backstory ďtellsĒ more than it ďshowsĒ. A perfect example is the villainís back-story. It would have best been served as a mystery slowly being answered throughout the story instead of being a HUGE info dump right near the front of the book. Youíre given a taste in the very first chapter, and then suddenly itís thrown out at you in Chapter 4 in long agonizing detail. I felt that detracted from the book immensely. I donít like being told things right at the beginning of the story, I like having it shown to me throughout.
As to motivation...
The best way to explain this is to pay attention to how the villain is introduced - a man without a sufficient motive. It would have been more believable if the villain had been his mother because at she has justifiable cause due to what his father did to her. Whatís his motivation? Being bad for the sake of being bad? Why? Thatís kinda of... careless. You go through the trouble to create a story you want to be high fantasy, but you give the villain nothing of which to inspire the reader to hate or like him. Sure, he ďkillsĒ people to empower his chain, however the good guys also kill the enemy too... I didnít really feel anything for the villain except contempt at the writer for not doing better when he has it in his power to do better. The villain just existed for the sake of existing. >_<
As it stands, even the characters in this book simply exist. By this I mean, we get people who are already established place-cards. They are who they are and thatís what we get. While this is NOT necessarily a bad thing, I feel that they needed at least a character flaw - something for the reader population to identify with. For me personally, I like seeing when characters grow and develop, it makes me care for them. Iím not saying that Mandine or Key arenít strong characters or that they lack a good moral fibre, but we arenít given any real reason to like or hate them. They are the pinnacle of goodness (while Erkai is evil) and thatís all there is to it. I guess the problem I have is that while I donít dislike them, I donít feel for them either.
This is just a pet-peeve for me, but personally, I donít like seeing the characters constantly complain about other characters so that the reader has an idea what theyíre like only by hearsay . Telling in the third person is still telling. I know often time we gossip and thatís how things get told about people, but I rather see a scene where this is displayed instead of being told about it and then jarringly pointing out ďSee I told you thatís how they treat me, woe is me.Ē
Would I recommend this book to someone else? Honestly, I donít know. Right now, it feels like a rehash of old ideas from other authors without any real culmination of character design, plot and feeling. What it needs to have a purpose that makes me care for whatís happening. While certainly not boring, it still manages to be dry enough to lack creative twists for plot and motivation. If I donít feel for the main characters in the first 100 pages of the book, something is wrong.