January 2012 Fantasy BotM: The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert VS Redick

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Hobbit, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

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    This book was published in 2008.

    [​IMG]

    I reviewed it for SFFWorld and said the following:

    Discuss!

    Mark
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
  2. Kazz Wylde

    Kazz Wylde Rogue Warrior

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    I remember when this came out, I told myself, that aint for me. But wound up getting this, and I love it, the story, the imagination, even the talking animals is just cool.
    I have the third book ordered from B&N.
     
  3. RedMage

    RedMage There is no tomorrow

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    I picked this up yesterday thinking I might get in with the BOTM group this month. I'm a slow reader and of those books I read in 2011, the greater part were re-reads or quick page turners. I've picked up a dozen books or more, only to put them down after twenty or thirty pages or so. Most were excellent and I feel bad that I just couldn't get into them because, while I did like them, they just weren't holding my interest at the time. Not what I was looking for, you could say.

    But within five pages I was hooked. I'm nearing page 100 and can't put it down! Can't wait to see how it turns out!!
     
  4. Kazz Wylde

    Kazz Wylde Rogue Warrior

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    Thats cool, Redmage, I'm really glad I gave this series a try. Makes me wonder how many books I misjudge.
     
  5. Kazz Wylde

    Kazz Wylde Rogue Warrior

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    C'mon people, Where's the Chathrand Voyage fans?? :cool:
     
  6. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    I think Werthead and suciul are big fans, but they don't often make appearances in our book club discussions.
     
  7. Erfael

    Erfael Lemurs!!! Staff Member

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    I'm behind on my book club reading right now, so working my way through Flynn for the other one. I'll be along here in about a week.

    But since you like it so much, Kazz, how about you get us started by posting something a little meatier than the simple fact that you like it. What did you like? Why did it work for you? Did anything not work? Is the author doing anything new and interesting with the genre or just doing the same old things really well? Is there something thematic going on below the surface?

    Even if more fans show up, it won't be much of a discussion if we all just post whether we liked it or not.
     
  8. Haliax

    Haliax Registered User

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    I enjoyed this book, but I've found it to be the weakest of the series so far. I think mostly it was because I didn't get along with a few of the characters at first, but they grew on me by the end of the first and by the end of the latest book I've really grown fond of them. I've found this particularly with the main characters, Pazel, Thasha, and Neeps. I got along right away with Rose, which is odd given that he is supposed to be one of the stories antagonists. Felthrup is one that I never really grew to like, and for me the ixchel never became interesting. The side characters were ultimately more interesting for me at first, but as I said, I did become more invested in the main characters as the plot developed.

    I think the story is well written and the plot moves along at a good pace with some twists along the way, but I found the ending to be somewhat underwhelming. There was a lot of build up and then everything just kind of happens. It's hard to really phrase without giving away too much- I'm sure someone can explain it better though. It felt like things were really just being set up for something much bigger, which I guess they were, but somehow that very fact took away from the book a bit for me.

    Overall, like I said, the weakest in the series so far, but still enjoyable. I'm really looking forward to the fourth (and final?) book that I think is going to be published next year.
     
  9. Heather Myst

    Heather Myst Chocolate.....Count Me In

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    I've read the first three books of the series and have Night of the Swarm on order. This series reminded me of an adult version of Golden Compass. I would recommend the series and I had heard somewhere that book four might not be the end of the series.

    I think I liked it more than Mark, judging by his review, but I felt his synopsis was accurate.
     
  10. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    Nice choice - I've wanted to read this book for quite some time as it's been on my radar that I bump ino a lot as a cross-sell. Thanks for giving me an excuse to finally pick it up.
     
  11. Kazz Wylde

    Kazz Wylde Rogue Warrior

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    Its been a few months since I finished Ruling Sea, but it seems like I liked all the characters, the plot is done really well, I didnt think I could stay with this the whole time, ...the main story being on a ship, but for me thats just it...the suspension of disbelief just works really well for me on this one.

    I need to skim over a copy and refresh a little to say more.
     
  12. algernoninc

    algernoninc Now I'm an axolotl

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    I've read this awhile ago, but Hobbit did a good job refreshing my memory.
    The main appeal for me was not in the realism of the story, I agree it felt contrived in some plot twists. I loved it because it has proved that there is still a market for traditional fantasy epics, with a clearer separation between the forces of good and evil and a focus on adventure, going on a quest with a fellowship of sorts, discovering extraordinary landscapes and maybe falling in love with a perky princess along the way. I think Mr. Sullivan with the Riyria Revelations and Durham with Acacia have also explored these realms of classic fantasy with a darker streak without going out of their way to shock the reader with excessive gore, bad language or explicit sexuality.

    I've read the next two books and I'm looking forward to the last, so I would recommend the whole series even if this discussion should focus only on the first volume.
     
  13. Kazz Wylde

    Kazz Wylde Rogue Warrior

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    Whoohoo! My copy of River of Shadows came in, just got the email reminder from B&N.
     
  14. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    Thanks for the mention...I have a hard time finding books in that vein nice to know this is. Gonna pick up Aracia too.
     
  15. Erfael

    Erfael Lemurs!!! Staff Member

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    I'm nearing the end of this one (hope to finish tonight), and I'm of two minds about it. I like the world, the races, the overall idea of the plot. I think all of that is quite imaginative and compelling. On the other side of the coin, I think all of the characters are stock, dull, seen-them-at-least-a-few-times-before cardboard cutouts. There's not a lot of depth to any of them. They're pretty much all one skill, one personality trait kinds of characters.

    There was a stretch about halfway through when it seemed like the book was going to turn into a whodunnit aboard the ship, and it got really interesting. That angle was quickly quashed when Pavel was thrown off the ship. Neeps and Thetla(?) apparently continued to look into all that stuff, but it was recapped for me in about two sentences later. I actually wished I was reading that book instead of Pavel and the Flikkermen.

    All in all, though, it's a quick, easy read. It's maritime, which always gets points with me. The scenario and world are interesting. I'll try to come back with more thoughts when I finish.

    Question for those who have read more books: As the series goes on, does it stay pretty one-dimensional as far as characters, or do things flesh out?
     
  16. Kazz Wylde

    Kazz Wylde Rogue Warrior

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    I dont know, I like all the characters in this. But yeah the imagination is really cool in this.
     
  17. RedMage

    RedMage There is no tomorrow

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    I have to agree and disagree with Erfael. I have just finished the book (actually, I think he and I were at the exact same place on Friday, lol).

    The world, races, plot and storylines were all highly engaging to me. There was little magic, and what there was appeared simple and was not explained or really shown in the way of how it was done--magic words said, effect happens. Not that this is a problem against Reddick, none of the main/POV characters are mages. A point for him would be his concept of animals Awakening to a sentient state. Makes you wonder what the animals in your life would say and do if such a thing happened. Also makes for some interesting circumstances between animals and humans (or ixchel).

    I did not feel the characters to be anything new. As Erfael said, they are stock characters, relatively one dimensional. However, I did find Pazel and Thasha to be fairly intriguing, though if only for their storylines and the romantic tension. All the other characters, they were so very flat! If Thasha and Pazel had been tomb raiders raiding a tomb just the two of them, it would have been much more exciting.

    This brings me to the biggest problem I had with the book, and it may be more of a personal thing. I was thoroughly enjoying the book, loving it really, right up until Chapter 32. Up until then, we had been mostly following along with the children. Pazel, Thasha, and Neeps. At the opening of that chapter we suddenly get adults again, and this time in key roles. After this, the children are just following the adults, those being Chadfallow, Hercol, and Ramachni. Previously, adults in the story were there and, while not sidelined (they held equal place with the children), it was the children who lead themselves. They weren’t followers before Chapter 32. Then they became followers and the story took a deep dive that it did not come out of. Perhaps this is why people say the ending really fell off?

    After Chapter 31 the book was completely different. Might as well have been an entirely different book for all I can see. The tonal change of to seeing/reading everything through the lense of the adults and how they view and treat children (all those who have not yet reached their majority) was not only jarring, but it was a complete story killer. While hinted at throughout the entirety of the book prior this point, it was always a momentary thing. It hung over things, but it was not constantly present in the way the floor beneath you is constantly present. Chapter 32 and after? It was in practically every single line.

    I also have a question for folks: how old are Pazel, Neeps, and Thasha? I think I remember Reddick mentioning that Thasha was 16, and Pazel is the same, or maybe 15 if I did my math right (I’m horrible at math, btw). Neeps is 13, 14 maybe? I have nothing against Reddick calling them children as, perhaps more in their day than our own, they were seen as such by both society and themselves. I know they’re teenagers but there are many times that things happen that could not have happened if they were nearly full grown adults. I’m talking about things like, “The men lifted the children up to the ledge”. Not sure if that was actually said but there were instances like that which made me think they were 9 years old and not teenagers. Did anyone else feel this uncertainty?
     
  18. Danogzilla

    Danogzilla Couch Commander

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    This is a book I definitely want to read at some point, there are just SO many books (60ish at last count) in my TBR pile I don't know when I can get to it.
     
  19. Davis Ashura

    Davis Ashura Would be writer? Sure.

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    Loved Red Wolf. I wouldn't say the characters are wooden or cardboard cutouts. I would say they are familiar, but I do think Reddick has made them unique to his story. I have found that I can't read books where none of the characters are likeable or to whom I can't relate to some degree on a sympathetic/empathetic level. Happily, Red Wolf doesn't suffer from that. I genuinely like Reddick's characters.

    As for the story, it meandered in the beginning and was a bit dull. After the boarding of the ship, it found its bearings. It was odd, but the middle section, off the Chathrand, was out of focus. The writing became somewhat dull and the narrative flow, which hinted at great mysteries when the story was on the ship, slowed and became a chore. Uninteresting might be a harsh description, but not far off the truth.

    Back to the ship, and the story progressed again with the narrative flow matching the action. The ending was...I don't if rushed is the right word, but it happened fast with lots of sudden information happening all at once. It was a bit of a mash and wasn't a thunderous ending because I don't think Reddick built up the mystery of the backstory deeply enough by that point to make it the kind of rousing finale that could really knock you on your butt.

    As for the prose, I found it more than serviceable, other than when the action left the Chathrand. There were some clever turns of phrase, but I'd have to re-read the book to point them out. He really has mined O'Brien because when it comes to storms at sea and the work to keep a ship afloat, he was the right sounds and phrases and descriptions to make it real; all the tedium, hard work, stink, terror, and occasional glimpses of glory. Also, Reddick writes his characters with sympathy but stops short of making them weak and sugary. Even the villains are written well and with depth. They aren't white cat stroking fiends laughing maniacally (ahem Goodkind). That's important because I can't stand when authors write characters written so obviously. Something else that impressed me is Reddick's ability to write passages of dark and somber mood but lighten them with surprisingly deft touches of humor. That takes skill. It would have been easy enough to write a blood-soaked, grim novel based upon the events in Red Wolf, but it's the contrasts between the dark and light that make the dark stick out and, for me at least, invest time and money to want to see those characters I've come to love, do well in their story.
    Other than Chris Wooding's fantastic Tales of the Ketty Jay, the Chathrand Voyage (the other books were even better than Red Wolf) was my favorite read of 2011.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2012
  20. Kazz Wylde

    Kazz Wylde Rogue Warrior

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    I think I'd have to agree with what you said here, Radone. I'm not Mr perfect book reviewer, I guess I dont expound on details like this very good.