Wednesday, September 03, 2008

"The Darkness the Comes Before" by R. Scott Bakker

Why I read it: I bought it a couple of years ago because the cover looked interesting. I started it a couple of months ago in the tub, but put it down again 14 pages in, and didn't pick it up again. (In this case, the long prologue seemed like a mistake -- this one seemed nearly unintelligible.)When I was packing to go on vacation, I selected it knowing I was unlikely to get through it when I had to go to work every day.

Tastes like chicken: The Black Rose/Shadows Linger?

What I liked: For fantasy, the characters were non-standard. The wizard, for example, was described as portly.

What I hated: The author didn't seem to have much use for women in his world. There were three of note -- a prostitute with a heart of gold, the 61-year-old dowager empress (I forget her title) who is particularly despicable because she's always dressed as a vampire serpent queen geriatric skank, and a concubine who, though mentioned on the back cover, turns up about 80% through the book seemingly solely to fall in love with the guy everyone else falls in love with (man or woman). I don't need a Xena in every story, but a woman who, I don't know, uses her wiles rather than just being a carry-along victim would be nice.

What I can steal: Well, the psychology of the world was neat -- the religion/magic standoff/war, and there were some interesting characters. I got little sense of place, though.

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