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Towers of Sunset by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

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Submitted by Dragonclaw 
(Dec 12, 2002)

Modesitt is less a writer than a poet - and that I like. He does not overwhelm the reader with details, like other authors of similar genres (Anne Rice for example) tend to do. His discription is true art; it balances the fine line between the cryptic and the poem. 'Not just the visible ones, like the Towers of Sunset, but those unseen, like the heart of a man or the soul of a wizard.'

With any author of this calibre, the criticisms centre on the inability to really 'see' what is intended. I disagree with these opinions. Modesitt, in my opinion, deserves accolades for letting the intelligent reader see whatever he/she chooses - he brilliantly feeds our senses just enough for us to participate in this wild prose, but doesnt shackle us in details.

But his character development is slightly stunted. He appears unable to properly project emotions and characteristics of his protagonists, depite the forgiving tense he uses (you will notice he is not traditionaly omniscient). It sometimes seems as though he has not fully thought out his characters, and is driven by whim when designing conversations, inner monolouges etc. He sets a wonderful poetic scene. He just cannot fully give life to his actors.

And thats my two cents.

Submitted by John Lane 
(Sep 16, 2002)

I read The Magic of Recluce and loved it -- and loved the long list of sequals in the front cover even more. I was SO looking forward to reading more about the Recluce world.

And now at roughly 3/4 of the way through Towers of Sunset, and I am not going to finish it. So many ideas and concepts in the bok held so much promise, I'd felt that it was heading for one heck of a climax. But as soon as our female protagonist (Magera) became a full character (more than intersting teasers in "the between" chapters) I started hating this book, this story, and most all of the other charcters too. I'd thought some of the female/male romantic intrractions had been a bit juvanile in Magic of Recluce, but disregarded that given that the target audience for fantasy novels is probably younger than I.

I cannot express my disappointment with the last chapter I read enough. The author has gone from the brilliant complexity of the gender role reverse of the Westwinds and what might have been a brilliant exploration of the dynamics involved to "dopey guy just can't get the girl".

Why do so many current sci-fi fantasy authors equate gender equality with male self-abasement? Why is being arbitrarily unpleasant to men promoted as a form of female empowement? This one charcter did one good thing -- she saved Creslin and nursed him back to health. Good for her. Then she is immediately rude and insulting to him (for no apparent reason) while he spends the next several chapters repaying his debt by saving her life 5 or 6 times over. She hates him for being competent? She hates him for finding her attractive, she hates him for not being kind to her when she has NOT EVEN ONCE uttering a kind word to him.

To we befuddled men, women may often seem a mystery. They often seem unorthodox and fickle because of our different enculturations. (And why are these enculturations exactly the same in two charcters from a matriarchal society?) But for all that seeming, women are not stupid. Magaera is stupid -- beyond stupid. I realize she's supposed to be stupid and spoiled, but for ALL of the other characters to react as though she's even remotely reasonable destroys all believability in all of the characters. Yes, I'm criticizing a novel about people who command storms and fire by will alone for being unbelieveable -- but the fantasy aspect I can swallow. What I can't swallow is that not one of these powerful (and alledgedly wise, in the case of Lydya and Klerris) will raise even a small voice of opposition to a randomly hostile bitch.

I really really had been enjoying the series too.


Submitted by Jason Boggs 
(Aug 17, 2001)

This is the greatest love/adventure novel ever written! I did not find this story hard to understand as others have. Here is a young man with tremendous magical powers (who's not too terribly perceptive) who does not want his life dictated too him be a bunch of warlike, sword wielding ladies with PMS. On the other hand you have a spoiled brat of a red head that can shoot fire out of her hands and handles a sword better than most men who believes everybody in the whole world should understand her and think like she does.Come on! With personalities like this you've got the makings for a great story! Modesitt out did himself on this one. This is a story of couple of social cast offs that left everything that they knew and found love with those they least wanted to be with....each other. If you are an adventure lover or a hopeless romantic you will love "Towers of the Sunset".

Submitted by Anonymous
(May 15, 2001)

I loved this book. You could love it also. If you've read the first one, then all you have to do is forget about all of those names and characters and know that you're starting out with a fresh story. The only thing that carries over is the theories on chaos and order. In fact, with a few small exceptions, you'll always be starting with a fresh story with new characters in every Recluce series book. This is what keeps this story going, and it also allows Modesitt to portray the chaos side of the balance in later novels.

Submitted by Christopher Ware
(May 15, 2001)

Okay, I was only confused for the first ten pages or so of this book. Unlike the first book of this series, The Magic of Recluce, where I was confused by stuff throughout the story, I mainly figured out the stuff that was going on after the first ten pages. Unfortunately, he never explains what really happened in the first five pages. Who were those two wizards talking? Why did they send the bard to Westwind? Later on, of course, I couldn't figure out why the Whites were after Creslin in the first place. How did they even know about him? Modesitt has some very good ideas for this series. He just needs to make some of it more understandable for the reader. All this confusing hinting at things that we can never figure out detract from the overall story. Not to mention the fact that he wrote this book in the present tense, which got kind of distracting. This is an enjoyable book, but it does have a few weaknesses. Hopefully, his writing will continue to improve and the stories will become more enjoyable throughout the rest of the series.

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