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Second sentence of third chapter of Banewreaker:

It was a deeper green than the beeches Tanaros had known as a boy, the leaves broader, fanning to capture and hold the cloud-filtered sunlight. The trunks of the trees were gnarled in a way they weren't elsewhere, twisted around ragged boles as they grew, like spear-gutted warriors straining to stand upright.

Second sentence of third chapter of Godslayer:

All of them had been plagued by strange visions in the night.

I've generally been a huge fan of Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel books, and picked up Godslayer at a convention ages ago; and then on advice got Banewreaker to read first. They are really a very different kettle of fish. Written between the first and second Kushiel trilogies, these two books take the standard fantasy quest narrative and try to tell it from the point of view of the evil side not really being all that bad. It's a worthy attempt, and I kept reading, spotting different bits and pieces taken from Tolkien and other writers and slightly reinvented, but it didn't really grab me.

In particular, the names of some of the characters are so wrong that it's very distracting. One key figure is called Malthus, and I kept expecting him to start preaching on the problems of overpopulation; another is called Carfax, and unfortunately that name makes me think of traffic jams in Oxford before anything else. It's a real shame; Carey's ear for names in the Kushiel books seems to have been rather good, but here that talent deserted her.

When I got Banewreaker, it bumped Selected Stories by Alice Munro off the top spot in my list of unread books by women, so the latter now returns to the head of that list. Godslayer was at the top of my list of unread books bought in 2010, and is followed by Galileo's Dream, by Kim Stanley Robinson.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
lydy
May. 17th, 2016 04:55 pm (UTC)
I really liked the Kushiel books. _Banewreaker_ made me want to smash my head against the wall until I achieved unconsciousness. The prose is _awful_. Full-on, genuinely terrible. And I swear to god, the third or fifth or maybe ninety-fifth time we got the whole huge sad saga of the reasons whassname became evil I wanted to slit my wrists. Once, twice, three times? Each time with more unnecessary detail, each time with another fillip of awful, each time each time each time, MY GOD I GOT THE POINT!!!!!!!

Um, I hated _Banewreaker_ a lot, and never did move on to _Godslayer_. The attempt to write Sauron as someone who made rational choices and did evil for reasons that made sense was interesting, but neither her prose nor her plotting could support the idea, and her structure was a godawful mess on wheels.

I reread the first Kushiel trilogy with pleasure, though.

Edited at 2016-05-17 04:55 pm (UTC)
mountainkiss
May. 17th, 2016 05:06 pm (UTC)
I didn't like these at all and was crushingly disappointed. I found them so melodramatic and over-the-top that, in Wilde's famous words, I felt one needed a heart of stone to keep from laughing.
anna_wing
May. 18th, 2016 03:30 am (UTC)
I liked these very much, though more for the concept than for the execution. I agree the names were generally terrible. I didn't see it so much as Tolkien re-written from the villains' point of view, so much as Tolkien re-written in a non-dualistic universe. Basically something very like a Hindu one, with a universal godhead separating into autonomous entities and then re-uniting over vast spans of time. So the ending, with one of the intrinsic bits of the godhead now permanently missing. implies that that whole universe is now doomed, or at least that there will be catastrophic consequences when the time comes for reunion.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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