I'll edit this later someday (maybe), but all I have to say now is that the first third of this book is slow and seemingly pointless. I'm sure if I reI'll edit this later someday (maybe), but all I have to say now is that the first third of this book is slow and seemingly pointless. I'm sure if I re-read it, I would enjoy it more, knowing how it fit in, but I prefer journeys where the entire trail is enjoyable, and not just for knowledge of a fair destination. I'm off to chase unicorns now. Wish me luck!...more
If you like reading about shitty people trying to be good, you will love this book. Yes, as the other reviews say, the main character, Roddy, is a selIf you like reading about shitty people trying to be good, you will love this book. Yes, as the other reviews say, the main character, Roddy, is a selfish, insolent, and generally contemptible person. He proves this repeatedly throughout the first half of the book. If you can stop comparing him to that douchebag you dated or the conniving witch you worked with, you’ll see that unlike most terrible people you know, Roddy reaches rock bottom and actually starts to change. Because he is human, he fails quite a bit more along the way. It’s painful to witness, but the author leaves you sprinkles of hope to nibble between redeeming actions. If you enjoy characters with interesting mixes of vice and virtue (like in G.R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series), this has plenty of them.
Roddy does have a lot to deal with at once: he basically grew up without a father, his mother, the Queen, has just died, his power-hungry uncle assumes the regency and leaves him out of everything, he’s locked in the castle, and he’s a teenage boy with raging hormones he can’t do anything about because he has to remain a virgin to someday wield the mysterious power that will help rule the kingdom. None of that is excuse for him to be the ass that he is. Actually, you almost cheer when something bad happens to him early in the book. It's fun, really.
Yes, there’s quite a bit of homo-eroticism. The definition of “virgin” used here excludes same-sex relations, which is never really explained. Maybe it’s to prevent the monarch wielding the power from creating too many heirs--I don’t know. Roddy finds release from his demanding desires in his friend since childhood, Rust. It’s never graphic, and it’s actually tightly integrated with the plot, as Rust is obviously motivated by this new facet of their friendship. Watching them hurt each other in their evolving relationship is probably the most difficult part you’ll encounter in this part of the story. They’re teenagers, the most terrible people on the planet, so they’re pretty awful to each other at times. It’s so relatable though, and seeing how they learn from their mistakes makes it worthwhile.
It’s obvious after a few chapters that there is going to be a dramatic character arc. Roddy is an absolute beast, so I doubted whether the author would be able to believably elevate him. (view spoiler)[Don’t worry—he’s always a jerk, but he becomes the loveable kind you can’t possibly write off. (hide spoiler)]
(view spoiler)[The book ends totally open, and there is a sequel (The King), which I now have to read because I just really want to see this kid screw up some more. If you can just be satisfied with a character arc, you might be fine reading just this book, but I need to know what happens. (hide spoiler)]
This was a surprisingly refreshing fantasy read, recommended by a friend who knows I get bored with the typical conquest/hero's journey carbon copies. The unique coming-of-age elements in The Still made this much more original and enjoyable.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Why did I let myself read this? As if I didn't know how it would end--me, sniffling and vainly wiping away tears to read the last few pages. The halfWhy did I let myself read this? As if I didn't know how it would end--me, sniffling and vainly wiping away tears to read the last few pages. The half bottle of wine doesn't help. The 3,000 years that have passed and my knowledge of the tale since boyhood don't help either. But it had to be done. I had to witness, bleary-eyed, the tragic beauty of a part of the story finally given deserving light. You should do the same, but be warned: the gods are cruel, and will tug viciously at your mortal heartstrings.
UPDATE: Okay, I've had a few weeks to emotionally recover from this book. I still love it, I think it's a story that needed to be told, but I can be a bit more objective now. It does read a bit too much like a love story for much of the book, but Miller was trying to show that it is often love and relationships that drive huge human events like war. I think she could have brought us to the action sooner. Don't get me wrong--I loved spending so much time with Achilles and Patroclus growing up together, but the general reader needs some more conflict, which doesn't happen until you're almost halfway through the book.
I have to agree with some of the other reviewers about Patroclus--he comes off a bit flat, and I don't really have a good sense of him as an individual until the end of the book, but he and Achilles were kind of lost in each other. Maybe they could have showed their individuality earlier on, along with the added conflict the story could have used, but how many self-actualized 16 year-olds are there?
Re-tellings of epic stories are difficult. They get so scrutinized for trying to be a bit more human, more accessible than their ancient sources. Marion Zimmerman Bradley's The Firebrand had the same problem. How do you highlight a love story and personal struggles against the backdrop of one of the greatest tales of war and tragedy? It seems to be either a war tale with a love story subplot or vice versa. Everyone will prefer one over the other, but I don't know if you can effectively have both. You kind of just have to recognize the beauty in either angle....more
Rothfuss is a great storyteller. My only complaint is that his pacing is off. Wise Man's Fear is impossible to put down for 10 chapters or so, and theRothfuss is a great storyteller. My only complaint is that his pacing is off. Wise Man's Fear is impossible to put down for 10 chapters or so, and then it's a bit of a snooze for the next 10 chapters, and this cycle repeats itself. That said, I really hope I don't have to wait more than a year to read the sequel. My memory fades, and it had been a couple years since I had read The Name of the Wind, so I had to go back and look up a few pieces of the story to follow along. ...more
I really enjoyed the retelling of the Fall of Troy from a woman's perspective, and I think Bradley does an excellent job of integrating the charactersI really enjoyed the retelling of the Fall of Troy from a woman's perspective, and I think Bradley does an excellent job of integrating the characters in a modern adaptation. She does get on her soapbox quite a bit though. I love the twist of women ruling, but getting ousted by their consorts who force their way into becoming kings. The problem is that instead of showing this happen and allowing me to establish my own opinion, she sort of force-feeds me what is already obvious. She inserts her words into the characters' mouths too much, and it often comes across as preachy. So much of it didn't even need to be said. It's obvious the gods are unjust when the events of Troy are considered, so I don't need to be reminded of that every chapter.
I did love her interpretation of Aeneas and Helen. Aeneas came across as a truly lovable hero, and the creative freedom Bradley took with him and his love interest was a believable, fun twist. Helen came across as remarkably human, which was an unexpected surprise. I think Bradley could have gotten her point across that the gods are unjust with her story alone.
I won't ruin the ending, but I feel like it was cut short. This is a fairly long book, but it was disappointing to have the rest of Kassandra's life summed up in a couple paragraphs, and I didn't like how there was no connection to the beginning of the book, where she is an old woman listening to a minstrel.
All in all, this was a good introduction for me to Bradley. I appreciate how she boldly incorporates controversial issues like sexuality and gender with no fear of stepping on toes. If a writer is going to be real, they have to go all the way, and she definitely does....more