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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb August 03 Book: Faerie Tale

    Slow pokes.

    Great book imo. Feist shows with this book he can write more than just Midkemia based books. Tis a pity he hasn't done it more often.

    now the peeps with brains can add more thoughtful stuff

  2. #2
    The Doctor... Sammie's Avatar
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    Whoops - bit slow off the mark this time - sorry!

    Umm....haven't read it yet - but i have it and i shall. Honest!!

  3. #3
    Saturn Comes Back Around Evil Agent's Avatar
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    I thought it was pretty good. Before we go too indepth, I just wanted to say that.

    Otherwise, I guess there were parts that were a BIT weak (i.e. some of the characters were a bit flat, and that whole love thing with Gabbie and Jack....never really went anywhere).

    What I liked what the fact that, as Caldazar said, it was totally different from his Midkemia books (I've read the Riftwar series).

    I liked the horror feeling of it, I loved the Celtic tie-ins (he obviously did a lot of research for this book), and I also liked the sexual aspect.

    I had to take a break in the middle of re-reading Game of Thrones, so that I could finish this one in time, but I'm glad I finally read it!

    How bout the rest of y'all?

  4. #4
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    The book is quite old now - first published in the UK 1989 (and I think had been around a little before that).

    Putting this in perspective - Feist had only published 4 books previous to this. Magician (first version) was 1983, Silverthorn 1985, Darkness at Sethanon 1986, and the first book of the Janny Wurts collaboration was 87. So this was early Feist, and perhaps to be expected for a 14 year old book, a little dated?

    This might explain the parts that are a little clumsy, IMO.

    Having said that, I read it in the early 90's and was surprised by the more adult tone of the writing (compared with Midkemia!).

    Some good parts - others not so good. On balance, an enjoyable (and different for Feist!) read, if I remember right. Certainly remember the pages turning!

    Hobbit
    Mark

  5. #5
    Saturn Comes Back Around Evil Agent's Avatar
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    It definitely felt a bit 80's at times, but that was kind of part of its charm. Old school horror novel was what it felt like to me. Like an early King novel, or something.

  6. #6
    Registered User rune's Avatar
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    I enjoyed this story . I liked the dark element of the fairy world and this book was the first time I came across this approach.

    It made a nice change to have an evil face to the little fairy folk and I found the sexual aspects an interesting twist too.

    As for the plot, it had me hooked until when one of the twins was replaced. Then I found the plot suddenly went into overdrive and I all of a sudden found myself at the end. The information could have been filtered in a bit better, so that it was all thrown at you all at once.

    But apart from that I really enjoyed this story, it was fun to read, the character (especially the nasty little fairy boy) was great and I am not looking around for other plots of a similar line

    PS - It's great to be finally able to add my comments to the book club too

    rune

  7. #7
    It took me a while to really get into the book after the intro, I thought the beginning was rather slow & didn't captivate me at all - the prologue (if you can call it that) started off getting me to want to read more (why would ol' what'shisface *for the life of me I cannot remember his name* start drinking again after so long, what would be the motivation for that? But then the first couple of chapters rolled by & were rather bland IMO. And I felt quite alienated from the characters at first, largely due to references to sport teams, places and people totally foreign to me (I do realise the info is used most likely to add validity to the story). It did change though and I felt myself drawn to the family more & more.

    Once I did get going however, things started getting much better. I enjoyed certain elements of it (I'm not sure if I should go into much detail before the 'real' dicussion starts?), especially the evil twists on something we generally regard as good / pure / sweet or nice.

    The love affair (or, perhaps I should say the WANNABE love affair) between Jack & Gabbie annoyed me no end - I kept wanting to just skip the parts wherever it got mentioned. I just felt that it could have been handled much better - then again it's not a lovestory, so perhaps the romance should take a backseat.

    I also have to add that I had an instant dislike for Jack when he first appeared when the twins went exploring & found the bridge - there was something just 'too' good about him & I got a bit of a premonition about him, which in turn made me question the motives for all of his actions.

    Overall I enjoyed the book (haven't read much of Feist yet, but I'll give more of his work a read) and would most likely recommend it to friends.

  8. #8
    Saturn Comes Back Around Evil Agent's Avatar
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    I agree about Jack... I didn't really see the point of his character.

    At first, when the boys met him, I thought he was a sinister character acting friendly... But then, as you said Kaz, he was just "too good".

    Besides the main characters, and their flaws, what did everyone think of the actual story itself...? I thought the climax, with Sean's trip into the land of Faerie, to be pretty nicely done.

  9. #9
    Anitaverse Refugee FicusFan's Avatar
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    I have read some wretched books in my time, and this one is right up there with them.

    I found it to be very much like a media tie-in book, very superficial. No depth of characters. The setting was picture perfect, and the plot was seemingly simple, but he threw the kitchen sink in eventualy. It was like a bad TV movie of the week, where you knew it would all be wrapped up in 2 hours and everything would come out ok.

    I just didn't care about the characters, or really believe in any of it. I also thought Feist was extremely sexist and in places moving into mysogyny. His women were like Stepford wives, little happy home makers with no brains, no life of their own, and nothing much to do in the plot but hang around, be abused and then rescued.


    Although it was not that long ago that I read it, I don't remember any of the names.


    I found it totally unbelievable that the actress gave up her life to be a wife and mother, with nothing more. People who are creative and enjoy being on exhibition, aren't happy living small. I could have acepted that she did stuff part-time, or even just on the stage and didn't travel, but not that she became another person when she got married, that stuff went out in the 50s.

    Then throughout the story she kept having these thoughts and feelings about things being wrong, or dangerous -- which I know RF was using to make sure that we the readers got that we were supposed to suspect all was not well (you know most writers just let their words do that, you don't make one of your characters into the town crier), but then RF never did anything with her suspicions. There was no conflict over them, which is the only legitimate reason for him to have her commenting after each scene. She just kept them to herself, like she wasn't an important person in her own right (just the wife and mother), like she didn't have the brains to notice and be right about her family being in danger. What normal mother just flits along thinking something is wrong, maybe my family is in danger, and never says anything ?


    Then when all hell breaks loose she ends up being hysterical and medicated. How stereotypical.

    Then we get the teeny-bopper who seems to exist only so that Feist, and the readers get to romp through her drawers, and go on a little mind-rape fantasy. Nasty, nasty stuff.

    Somehow the ex-wife is the one who had abandoned the family, and is just using the kids- why doesn't that surpirse me. The old lady professor is killed in the car accident, the only realistic, decent, strong female character in the book, and she is killed for no real reason.

    In terms of the fairy stuff:

    I found it to be pretty bland, with not much there to be actually horrifying.

    RF seemed confused to me about how he was going to write the book. Was he going for realism, where you have something real that you can pretend is the answer: like the giant racoon that everybody believed was hiding under the bridge, and was responsible for killing all the pets, OR was he going for totally over the top -- with the fairies in the woods, and the apparition of the hunt, and the blacksmith in the woods. He seemed to use both, but neither was really developed. You got a bit here and a different bit there.

    Then the whole global conspiracy from the beginning of time, and the researchers and the ties to Germany, who also kept all the information (about the danger to the family) to themselves were just ridiculous.

    I thought the trip under the mountain was pretty unremarkable, except for a couple of points: When the racoon-thing turned out to be a kid from the past, and they said he started in the man's bed, just like the twin who was sleeping. It was the only real hint of true horror --what happens in the long run to children that end up in bed with adults. The other was the idea of the balance, and that somehow keeping the fairies at bay in the real world ( a good thing) had created the dark, twisted, and lifeless region down below.

    Finally I am not a big reader of fairies, but he used the name the Irish use for them, and every time I have read a story about them previously, the one thing you must never do when underground is eat or drink anything, or you will be trapped forever. Not only didn't the handyman warn the questing twin of that, but the kid drank some water, and then still escaped.

    This was the first Feist book I have ever read, and it will be my last.

  10. #10
    The one thing that peeved me immensely was the religious references.

    Firstly, when Mark & Gary were doing their research & revealed the Kessler references & their interest therein to Phill & Gloria they referred to Wicca / Pagan belief systems followed in the old days in the Ireland and Germany. I got the feeling that the research done for this part of the writing was seriously lacking & it came across that Feist had no clue about Wicca and then tried to disguise it as 'research to be completed' by a character.

    The fact that the research is not completed/findings not revealed on the pretence that it becomes too dangerous to know everything is rather amusing as it not only indicates that Feist was unsure how to incorporate facts about the beliefs into the novel, but also reflects the view that christianity (IMO) has held for a very long time - that any other belief system must be evil & knowledge thereof discouraged.

    In a way Feist also equates Wicca with the faeries (or rather fhey in all their forms) and by virtue of the fact that the Unseely court plays the biggest role here it is equated to evil, with christianity the complete (good) opposite - for instance, when Sean goes into the Faerie world to rescue Patrick he has to go to a catholic church first for some holy water, then he is reminded to say a prayer to the saints & Lady (Mary) upon entering & Patrick needs to be 'freed' from the service of The Fool through a catholic blessing.

    This gives a very wrong impression of what Wicca & Pagan beliefs are. As with every religion there are bad points and good (as represented by the Seely court). However in the case of faerie representation of the good it diminishes it to a 'falsehood' - the beauty & goodness of the seely are tainted as they use glamour & masks to hide their true nature. This to me indicates that Feist was intimating that a non-christian system is made up of various levels of 'bad'.

    What I find rather amusing (in a not funny way) is the fact that Barney - a firm believer in the old ways & Good People would suddenly (after many years) call in the use of a religion, which in many ways are oppressive to the extreme, to defeat the symbols of that which he has held true for most of his adult life.

    Does this indicate an ambiguity within him regarding the truth of what is to be believed in? Or is it a halfbaked attempt to indicate that a chritian belief system would win out over any other - by force if necessary (note the similarities of this quest by Sean to the early crusades - going into a dark, unknown, savage land to liberate someone from evil in the name of God / good)?

    At some stages it seemed that Feist was unclear about which belief system was in question & it felt as though he was attempting to incorporate every bit of lore about religious bodies into one group (note the description of the Magi & their supposed origin - according to Mark it is unclear what group they belonged to - a lot of 'mights' enter the dialogue, thus indicating to me that the author was unsure of just what exactly has to be done with all the information he had gathered, almost as if he was trying to say "Hey, see how much research I have done for this - look how many references I can bombard you with" - if only he had chosen one and developped a strong case around it).

    I also found it bothersome that sex would be used as the 'weapon' that should lead to the destruction of Gabbie (even though it was unsuccessful) - an unwilling / unwitting participant. In doing this sex is reduced to being a bad thing and the magic surrounding it is blackened. This is completely against what I believe of Wicca tradition. The Sex Magick in Wicca is extremely powerful and used mostly for good (bringing good fortune to others and healing etc), notably though - both participants must be willing for the magick to work.
    ________________________________________________

    One or two other problems surfaced when I re-read the book. Notably the end. The boys can remember what had happened, yet the adults don't. Feist tries to convince us that it is because of the fact that the boys had been wearing the Faerie Stones. However this explanation does not hold any water, since Patrick did not own a Faerie Stone (which is why The Fool was able to take him) at the time they got back from the Erl King Hill or when the German man was speaking to the adults in the living room , only Sean had one. By the author's own admission Patrick only got one much later, after a lengthy search in the riverbed.

    Would it not have made more sense to say that the boys could remember what had happened because they had gone upstairs when the adults were gathered in the living room, listening to the German (and being indoctrinated by his suggestions of what the explanations would be), thus they couldn't hear what was supposed to have 'replaced' their thoughts?

    And if it was so that the boys could remember because of the Faerie Stones, then why did Barney Doyle forget? After all he also had one.
    Last edited by Kaz; August 8th, 2003 at 03:15 AM.

  11. #11
    Saturn Comes Back Around Evil Agent's Avatar
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    Ficus, you raise very good points about the female characters... I think you're right, his portrayal of them was pretty bad. I also thought that Aggie's death was unecessary.

  12. #12
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    This gives a very wrong impression of what Wicca & Pagan beliefs are.
    Kaz it's fantasy. Are you saying that if Feist is going to use stuff from our world he has to present it accurately? What's wrong with putting his own spin on things to suit the story he is writing? It might annoy people who actually know about these things such as yourself but the majority of people are not going to care and thus it's a bit harsh to pick the book apart for presenting a different view.

  13. #13
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
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    I did a paper on this one for a class a few years back, and can't remember all the details, but the main thing that struck me with it was that he uses all of these mythological sources and ALMOST gets them right, through either creative license or just messing them up. I'm not sure which the case is. It's been too long since I read it to say which, but perhaps some of you who have been through it recently would know better. Erf.


    Are you saying that if Feist is going to use stuff from our world he has to present it accurately?
    And I would say yes. If an author sets something up conceptually as in our world as it is, then to move outside of that is jarring and inconsistant. If it's set up as being different, no problems. It would be like Jordan suddenly altering the way magic works for the next wheel of time book without any explanations--it's just all of a sudden different and disruptive to the believability of the world.

    Again, I haven't read Faerie Tale in a while, so I'm not taking a stance on Feist's use of things, just the general concept I hold. Erf.

  14. #14
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    I did a paper on this one for a class a few years back, and can't remember all the details, but the main thing that struck me with it was that he uses all of these mythological sources and ALMOST gets them right, through either creative license or just messing them up. I'm not sure which the case is. It's been too long since I read it to say which, but perhaps some of you who have been through it recently would know better. Erf.
    Well the only way to find out if he messed them up or used creative license would be to ask him. He is the only one who can give that answer. All we can do is speculate on his intent.

  15. #15
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
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    Well the only way to find out if he messed them up or used creative license would be to ask him. He is the only one who can give that answer. All we can do is speculate on his intent.
    I don't know. It seems to me that if the changes are convincing and serve a purpose in terms of the plot or ideas he's trying to convey, then it's well worth the changes. If they're just wrong for no reason, that seems more like bad research, bad craft, or poor planning. There's probably evidence in one direction or the other within the work.

    If I recall correctly(which I may very well not...don't know which memories are invented and which are accurate), it seems that most of the changes to lore served some purpose to his plot and concept of the faerie realm and the war that he was setting up in the book, thereby making them artistic license.


    My paper was for a mythology class, so my main thrust then was pointing out what he got right and wrong from that aspect, not really exploring whether the right or wrong was intentional or related in a functional way to the story. Evil Agent asked me to dig it up to share with the discussion, and I've been through much of my old stuff with no sign of it, so it may be lost to the recycling somewhere.

    Glad I can participate in even a small way in this one considering I haven't read the book in at least 5 years. I just can't wait for the summer to be over and I get some free time again. Erf.

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