Anne McCaffrey loved this character and it shows here. Robinton is a bright, musical child born in to a family of Harpers who is destined for greatnesAnne McCaffrey loved this character and it shows here. Robinton is a bright, musical child born in to a family of Harpers who is destined for greatness from the beginning.
As with any good story, Robinton has his share of tragedy, from the estrangement of his father, the death of his young wife and best friend, he feels pain like any other person. He takes his pain and makes music of it.
McCaffrey does her usual solid job of tying various threads from other stories in to the tale. Most notably at the end is the scene of Lessa helping to bring about the fall of Lord Fax, who has attempted to conquer several holds around his own. The scene and some of the things that lead up to it are told in a short story called "Weyr Search" (found in A Dragon-Lovers Treasury of the Fantastic)
The Brilliance Audio version is read by Dick Hill, who does a good job giving the characters distinct voices and vocal mannerisms that make them come alive....more
While it's classified as a science fiction novel in most circles, A Princess of Mars is most assuredly a work of fantasy fiction. It has sf trappingsWhile it's classified as a science fiction novel in most circles, A Princess of Mars is most assuredly a work of fantasy fiction. It has sf trappings (he's on Mars!) but there's less of a rayguns and spaceships feel and more of a knights and dragons feel. Certainly Edgar Rice Burroughs let his imagination run wild and allow the world of Mars and the peoples of Barsoom to become real people with feelings and drives.
It draws on the romantic tradition and shows John Carter not as a modern action hero but as a southern gentleman and veteran of the Civil War who does his best to woo Dejah Thoris, the woman he discovers and falls in love with on Mars.
The story is actually pretty fast paced once it starts to move. John Carter is perhaps an overpowered character in terms of his physical prowess and perhaps Burroughs makes too much of this, but overall it's a good adventure story and John Carter is heroic in the classic ways a hero should be. He's not brutal but he does kill when he needs to.
The end of the story is enigmatic. We're left to wonder exactly how John Carter got to Mars and how he got back. We're made to assume that his adventure may have been a dream. What isn't left nebulous is his love for Dejah Thoris and the heartbreak at losing her. We feel both of those emotions in spades as the novel closes.
Old fashioned speculative fiction sometimes takes a little while to get used to. The language is a little stilted, but this is something the reader gets used to as the story progresses. Burroughs takes some time to introduce the new world but when he grabs ahold of the reader he doesn't let go until the end.
Overall it's a good book. The slow start mars it (and is the reason it took me as long as it did to finish it) but it does finally get there....more
Terry Pratchett has a way with words. He has a way with humor. He has a way of putting the two together in such a way that you find yourself laughingTerry Pratchett has a way with words. He has a way with humor. He has a way of putting the two together in such a way that you find yourself laughing while actually caring about the characters, which is a tough trick with books based in humor.
Witches Abroad is, as the title infers, a story about the witches (Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat) and what happens when the local fairy godmother dies and passes her wand on. Pratchett takes the opportunity to talk about the power of stories while at the same time telling a tale of two sisters who find themselves at odds and the resentment they both feel for each other.
Pratchett, like Patricia Wrede in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, has fun with the various fairytales he weaves in to the story. Unlike Wrede, Pratchett keeps those characters on the side, only allowing them to enter where needed and then walk off stage again.
It's a good story, actually one of the better early Discworld novels. Probably the only place where it falls down is the reading on the audio version. Now, I like Nigel Planer and his reading in general on all of the other Discworld books I've listened to. Somehow, this book felt wrong with him reading. Celia Imrie, who narrated the two other books featuring the Witches (so far as I've listened to them) had much more feeling for the characters and her character voices fit better than the voices Planer does. Still a good read, but his voices just don't seem to fit....more