|Submitted by Matthew Jenks |
(Aug 17, 2001)
McKiernan is definitely a great fan of J.R.R. Tolkien's deep and mystical world of Middle Earth. So much of a fan, it seems, that the stories he creates take place in a world of enormous breadth and complexity with characters that have definite histories, roles in life and emotional interactions with one another. However, McKiernan borrows heavily from the world of Tolkien--and of the King Arthur legends--so much so that his "Warrows" seem little more than cheap Hobbit knock-offs, with similar descriptions, language, names and speech. Once the reader becomes involved in the story and sees how similar McKiernan's characters are to those of Tolkien's that it detracts from the story. Another critical flaw that I found in his works, especially in "Eye of the Hunter" is that once he finds a certain way to put to words one of his ideas, the words suddenly become so prevalent in the story that it dilutes the meanings and the story itself begins to suffer. Mostly, the stories he writes take an enormous amount of time to develop as the reader plods through the pile of words set to the page in order to describe the action of the characters. The characters themselves are rather limited in their scope and are minimally developed. In fact, in the end of "Eye of the Hunter", I was relieved when one of the main protagonistic characters died during the rather predictable final sequence of events. If you are desperate for a fantasy story, pick up McKiernan's work. If you are hungry for a good fantasy novel, turn somewhere else, someone with an original idea who knows how to turn it into a good, intriguing tale.