|Submitted by Brys |
(Aug 17, 2005)
This novel is flawed in many ways, and has continued the unfortunate trend of the series weakening as it has progressed. The basic plot is relatively simple, and it requires you to have read the two earlier in the series. This follows primarily the adventures of the girl Elena in trying to find the blood diary. The mage Greshym and his master are the main antagonists. The novel is not particularly badly written, from a language viewpoint. Certainly, it is not remarkable for being well-written, but it is slightly better than Eddings average - which is not saying much, admittedly. The characterisation is the weakest I have ever read, as Clemens changes his ridiculously unambiguous characters to fit his plot, he will not allow any major "good" character to die and they lack all believability - for example, Er'ril, a hardened warrior who has lived for 500 years, who has seen his country invaded, destroyed, ruined by a "dark lord", acts as an entirely compassionate, reasonable individual with no flaws, is horrified when he finds out that one of the characters gave some people poison for a merciful, painless death.
The plot also leaves much to be desired, as it is largely very predictable, and I can think of no occasions in which it was surprising. It is largely cliched, and the use of magic, once initially used, is repeatedly explained. He manages to drag out a few simplistic, cliched themes for seven hundred pages, when four hundred would have been more than enough.
He also has a particularly annoying habit of putting apostrophes in the names of many of his characters and most of his races, all of which you will have encountered before, and does no more to disguise their obvious copying from other authors (ie rock'goblin, el'vin etc). The series started well, if a little cliched, but now it has degenerated into this, which is a shame. He demonstrated potential, and his darker scenes show promise, yet he ruins this by the weakness of the novel as a whole. This is a poor attempt at writing commercial fantasy, when he would be better suited to writing a more original ambiguous novel.
If you're going to read epic fantasy, avoid this, and stick with the likes of Steven Erikson, George RR Martin, R Scott Bakker, JV Jones, Glen Cook, Greg Keyes, Robin Hobb and JRR Tolkien.