Wednesday, June 30

A book review. Are you serious?

Yep, afraid so. And it is about three books I actually finished already a few months back. Normally I am not a very busy reader. It can easily take me 4 or 5 months to finish a book. But the three books I want to say something about, I managed to finish all within a week's time.

Quite a while back I was happily surprised in the bookshop when I saw Fatal Revenant by Stephen R. Donaldson. I didn't know it existed! In my enthusiasm I bought two copies. But only about a year after that I finally opened it up. It is the second book in the third trilogy in the world of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever. The first two trilogies are probably the greatest books I ever read. But with great stories comes great complexity. I had to recall personages from decades ago. And the really wonderfully deep characters made it not an easy read. Half a year later I still had not finished it.

Then the wonderful Lani remained true to his word and Kushiel's Mercy by Jacqueline Carey showed up on my doorstep. The first three books is the series are about the life and times of Phedre Delaunay. They impressed me that much it became my virtual role modal. Her adopted son toke over in the fourth book in the Kushiel series. Kushiel's Mercy is the sixth and last book in the series. The character of Imriel was by far not as impessive as Phedre and the fourth book was a bit disappointing. But that improved quite a bit in the next installment, and I got therefore big hopes for a great finale.

I had put the conclusion of Thomas Covenant's "life" on hold to read up on the adventures in Terre D'Ange, which is much better airplane literature. But what a major disappoint it turned out to be. Each and every character was so boring and flat. Especially Phedre's own appearances were abysmal. I struggled to finish the book as quickly as possible since on every page I was wondering why I am bothering with this. A Steven Segal movie would have more depth.

I probably should have stopped there and never read another Jacqueline Carey book, and savior the joy of her earlier stories. But I never really listen to myself, and in stead bought before I finished Kushiel's End Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey. After all the dribble I couldn't go back to Thomas so I started reading Santa Olivia right away. And I was pleasantly surprised. It was a cute story set in a near semi-apocalyptic world. Some interesting characters, since setting, and decent dialogs. The ending left me a bit disappointed, but overall I was glad I read it. It washed away the horrible taste I had.

it also gave me the joy to finish up the Fatal Revenant. It is a great story with such great characters struggling with their own morals and believes. It is one of those book that live on long after you close it. Stephen Donaldson is a literary master.


  1. 101 days till the third book in the third chronicle, apparently. "Against All Things Ending" it is called. But it looks like it is not the end-end. There will be fourth book?!

  2. I have to agree with you on almost everything there. Stephen Donaldson, along with Neal Stephenson and Steven Erikson appear to be unable to disappoint me. I've mentioned the Three Steve's before :-)

    Is Santa Olivia placed in Terre d'Ange again?
    I've begone to theorize that the problem with the latter d'Ange books was that the things that made the first trilogy so good (Phedre's character and the discovery of the world) are missing in the second one. Even though jacqueline tries to add some of both but the not-quite Earth cultures become a one-trick pony after a while. Imriel's coming of age and coming to terms with his Dominant nature aren't all that either.
    By the sound of it Santa Olivia is a bit better?

    I'm eagerly awaiting "Against All Things Ending" as well. I have one advantage over you in that my reading's so prolific I can simply reread those books of a decade ago to remember the characters :-)

  3. On a side note, did you enjoy the Jekyll mini-series that also arrived at your doorstep at one time?

  4. Santa Olivia is modern day story set on the US-Mexican border. It is more sci-fi than fantasy, I guess. It is worth the read. Much better than Kushiel's Mercy.

    The Jekyll series was great. Lovely British drama. You guessed quite correctly on that one.