Sunday, February 7, 2010

TSS - Sunday Shorts

A selection of shorter reviews for your enjoyment -

The Warrior-Prophet by R. Scott Bakker - The Prince of Nothing series, book 2
published 2005
607 pages

Synopsis from publisher:

In The Warrior Prophet, the second volume of the Prince of Nothing trilogy, the thrilling story of the powerful logical-monk Anasûrimbor Kellhus and the apocalyptic Holy War is continued, as readers are invited further into the darkly enchanting, horrifyingly threatening battlescape upon which the war will be decided.

As the crusade plunges violently southward, struggling with both the enemy and internecine turmoil, the enigmatic Kellhus finds himself ever closer to the elusive goal of meeting his father, gaining further mastery of the ancient knowledge he will need for the encounter. And amid the brewing apocalypse, his swift-rising career has aroused more than curiosity from his enemies. With each step south, the challenges and perils mount, as the enigmas surrounding Kellhus and his quest blur in and out of focus.

My thoughts:

Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this book nearly as much as I did the first in the series. I'm not sure this was entirely the author's fault - I knew we would have to get to the battle eventually, and battles are not my thing. I knew that this was dark fantasy - I just feel like the darkness really took over in this second book in the trilogy. It almost seemed like the goal was to see just how much bad stuff each character could do in the space of one book. The things that made me like each character seemed lost in the pages and pages of battles and blood. I am still going to read the third book, because I am still interested in what happens, but I'm hoping things take a different turn.

Finished: 1/3/10
Source: Forest Avenue library
Rating: 6/10

The Thousandfold Thought by R. Scott Bakker - The Prince of Nothing series, book 3

published 2007
589 pages

Synopsis from publisher:

Only Shimeh remains.

The Padirajah has been slain, and the heathen Fanim have fled in disarray. One final march will bring the Holy War to the City of the Latter Prophet. But so very much has changed...

Using godlike insight and ruthless deceit, Anasûrimbor Kellhus has conquered the hearts of all, including the harlot Esmenet, who now shares his bed. Only the barbarian, Cnaiür, and the sorcerer, Achamian, continue to hazard doubts. But where Cnaiür topples ever deeper into madness and wanton violence, Achamian is compelled to yield the secrets of the Gnosis. Not only must he protect the man who stole his wife, he must teach the most powerful sorcery known to the greatest intellect ever to walk the earth. Behind false smiles, the agents of the No-God watch with malice and trepidation.

The final reckoning is at hand. Faceless assassins will strike in the dead of night. Kings and emperors will fall. The sorcerous Schools will be unleashed. And Anasûrimbor Kellhus will at last confront his father. If Kellhus could subvert an entire holy war within a year, what has Moënghus accomplished in thirty? What is the meaning of his Thousandfold Thought?

My thoughts:

Well, it was better than the second book, but didn't, for me, live up to the promise of the first. I probably should have anticipated that a series based on a gigantic holy war would be problematic for me - page after page of descriptions of various battles just had my eyes glazing over. I will say that the character development was better for me in this than the previous novel, although I find myself extremely disappointed in the glaring lack of a strong female character. Esmanet could have been SO powerful, and ultimately she just ended up having things happen TO her. I really find that frustrating. Also, the book ends incredibly abruptly. I happen to know that there is another trilogy planned - I have the first book in that trilogy, which is what prompted me to read this one in the first place. But if I hadn't know that, I would have been very irritated with the way this book just....stops. I will continue to read at least the next book - I already own it thanks to LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program, and I am at least a little bit interested in where the author goes next. However, if this next one doesn't improve a lot for me, I'll be done with the series.

Finished: 1/9/10
Source: Forest Avenue library
Rating: 7/10

When the Soul Mends by Cindy Woodsmall (Sisters of the Quilt, book 3)
published 2008
352 pages

Synopsis from publisher:

After receiving a desperate and confusing call from her sister, Hannah Lapp reluctantly returns to the Old Order Amish community of her Pennsylvania childhood.

Having fled in disgrace more than two years earlier, she finally has settled into a satisfying role in the Englischer world. She also has found love and a new family with the wealthy Martin Palmer and the children she is helping him raise. But almost immediately after her arrival in Owl’s Perch, the disapproval of those who ostracized her, including her headstrong father, reopens old wounds.

As Hannah is thrown together with former fiancé Paul Waddell to work for her sister Sarah’s mental health, hidden truths surface about events during Hannah’s absence, and she faces an agonizing decision. Will she choose the Englischer world and the man who restored her hope, or will she heed the call to return to the Plain Life–and perhaps to her first love?

My thoughts:

Well, the ending that I DID NOT want to see was how the book ended, which was disappointing. The author had a chance to do some very interesting and thoughtful things regarding forgiveness and the nature of love, and it felt like she took the easy way out. I don't think this series sold me on the genre - it felt a bit like watching a Lifetime movie, which can be enjoyable for a couple of hours, but doesn't ultimately feel very satisfying to me.

Finished: 2/5/10
Source: loan from Kayla
Rating: 5/10

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