Pointless. Aimless. Tedious. More lines are devoted to describing clothes and heraldry than developing the plot. Four-fifths of the characters have noPointless. Aimless. Tedious. More lines are devoted to describing clothes and heraldry than developing the plot. Four-fifths of the characters have no purpose, and none of them are interesting. It's a story of stupid people doing random actions to no end. This is the very thing that unknown writers are rejected for, and rightly so. Martin highly needs a better editor....more
The more I read Le Guin the less I like her writing. She has no sense of pacing or plotting whatsoever, leaving the single "event" of each book or stoThe more I read Le Guin the less I like her writing. She has no sense of pacing or plotting whatsoever, leaving the single "event" of each book or story until the last few pages, reached only after a slow and tedious preamble in which the characters sit around doing nothing (as if that's a plot point or an action of its own), and somehow we're supposed to identify with them in their non-quest for nothing. Some of her characters show promise, but we never see it come to true fruition.
I appreciate her Taoist outlook, but the Tao is not an anti-action philosophy, it is not one of sitting immobile waiting for something to happen to you, but one of movement and motion with the flow of the world around one, of graceful action in concert with the natural order. Reading itself is an action, an event, the turning of each page a change from what has been into a realm of what is possible to become. Le Guin is satisfied with simply leaving what is as it is and describing it. What happens at the end is thrown in almost as an afterthought, as a way of saying that she's finished writing for now.
This collection of five short stories also exemplifies perfectly the reason I so dislike short fiction. There is no time to develop characters (not that she really ever does that in her longer works), or get to know them or their motivations. There is only a hint of promise, left unfulfilled....more
Stunningly lush artwork marred by lack of clarity at times. The semi-abstract style requires a patient eye to take it in, which I found was often helpStunningly lush artwork marred by lack of clarity at times. The semi-abstract style requires a patient eye to take it in, which I found was often helped by turning away and then looking at it anew. Faces appear, shapes form into figures, seemingly random strokes coalesce into strands of hair and streams of blood... "beautifully disturbing" is how another reviewer put it.
As far as the writing is concerned, the previous complaints are valid, particularly given the iconic stature of the source material. While I appreciate the attempt to pay tribute to the masterwork that is the Inferno, a more poetic rendering would have been appropriate.
In re-envisioning Dante's story, the author takes poetic license (I guess that's where the poetry comes in), and overall it works well. Hell is the devil's playground, after all, and Dante himself was re-inventing the underwork to suit his own needs.
Story choices are for the most part justified, and while the characters are somewhat shallow given their plight, it's not entirely out of line with medieval storytelling methods, which were more often than not populated with character types representing social classes or moral values. Deep psychological character development is a relatively modern practice in fiction.
And this is, after all, a graphic novel based on a video game.
Still, I give it four stars for originality in visual conception. It is one of the most uniquely gorgeous collections of comic art I've seen in recent years. A breath of fresh air in a field I feel has grown stagnant of late....more