**spoiler alert** As always, I am quite confused, but after being harrowed by the Chain of Dogs in Deadhouse Gates, I do not mind trying to work out t**spoiler alert** As always, I am quite confused, but after being harrowed by the Chain of Dogs in Deadhouse Gates, I do not mind trying to work out the complexities instead of being enraged and appalled. d;-) I have just started.
Okay; I am rather less confused. Erikson's canvas is so vast that I don't expect to comprehend everything quickly - neither do I want to.
One of the things I like is that without effort, Erikson writes women into important positions and situations. There is no striving, cliched 'kick-ass' mentality here. Rather it seems natural that (if they wish) women can be soldiers, mages, mercenaries and rulers. They don't try, they just *are* and it's accepted. I like that. I'd like the world to be like that, and Erikson's world is. Also same/sex relationships are accepted too. We need more of this in fantasy.
After practically crawling out of the second book (as noted above) I discovered this one to be even more horrific, and the siege is one of those things that returns to my ravaged mind just as I am about to go to sleep. Then, however, I find myself snorting with laughter provided by the almost comic relief of certain characters. ...more
This is *the* epic work of fantasy. It is grand, glorious, tragic, beautiful and has influenced what I want to read for almost thirty years. I mark itThis is *the* epic work of fantasy. It is grand, glorious, tragic, beautiful and has influenced what I want to read for almost thirty years. I mark it as 'currently reading' because I am forever dipping into it. P.S. I admire Fëanor 8¬) ...more
Spiced_wine I read the Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment when I was in my teens, and have read them many times since.
Mary StewaSpiced_wine I read the Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment when I was in my teens, and have read them many times since.
Mary Stewart's writing is so rich, so evocative and so beautiful that I often return to her Merlin trilogy to remind myself how powerful words can be.
In these stories, Stewart takes us back to a little-known time, and we are *there.* We feel that Britain has slipped from the order of Roman rule into a dark period where echoes remain. The land is wild, perilous, the forests deep, the mists curl about the standing stones and (to quote) 'things seen in the water and heard in the wind'.
When this book takes us over the sea to Brittany, there is same sense of a world falling into fragments, of petty kings, of violence.
Stewart excels in evoking the essence of the distant past; the reader knows how one would have felt in those days without aircraft or internet, when the world seemed far larger, full of superstition, danger and uncertainty.
It's always the feel of the misty, beautiful, mysterious north that enthralls me when I pick these books up. Tolkien wove the same spell in The Lord of the Rings.
There is a realism in her writing, too. This has a different 'tone' entirely to any book set in Medieval times, neither is it Roman; it's Romano-Celtic, a brave, struggling hybrid that looks to the past and faces a future that we know from history will change the face of Britain, and the world.
As for Stewart's characters, they are invariably wonderful; every one of them comes vividly alive on the page.
I'm not a great fan of first person perspective, find it lacking in many cases, but there are a few people who are masters, and Mary Stewart is one of them. If some-one offered to write me a story in the style of any author, I would choose Mary Stewart for the elegance, richness and power of her prose. Having read her at a young age, she influenced me greatly, and this is still the kind of quality I seek out in novels. As I've grown older, and read more books than I can possibly remember, I am more and more humbled by Stewart's skill. ...more
**spoiler alert** I first read these books in about 1993. I still re-read them. I have a deep love of incredibly long fantasy series,and do not mind i**spoiler alert** I first read these books in about 1993. I still re-read them. I have a deep love of incredibly long fantasy series,and do not mind in the least when an author takes time at the beginning to draw the world. I need to be able to connect with it, to build it in my own mind. I also prefer it if the world is not too dissimilar to our own, since there are already connections that I can make. (Middle-earth is another example).
Mr Williams obviously knows mythology,(Prester John, the mythical king of Medieval times, the Sithi, the Norns, the Well) history and politics, which deepens the realism of Osten Ard. He excels in vast plots and a huge cast of characters, and those characters are invariably well-drawn. I am intrigued even if I do not like them or actively loathe them. This is also important to me as a reader, as I have no interest in plots that race along dragging poorly developed characters with them. Why would I care what happens to people if I don't know them? Characters should carry the plot, not vice versa, (In my opinion, anyhow)and in Memory, Sorrow and Thorn they do.
There are certain events that, when I re-read them, have the same impact each time. The sheer ancientness of the Hayholt, Simon's desperate journey beneath it and his visions, (beautifully described) the terrifying happenings at the Anger Stones, Oldheart Forest, Simon's first meeting (if that is the right word) with the Sitha, Jiriki, the Knock, the Bukken — those creatures terrified me, and still do — the spirit-journey of Geloë, Simon, and Binabik to Stormspike.
Mr Williams knows how to unravel a story from small beginnings to a vast canvas, and each time he does this the story-scape grows, becomes darker and grander until we are caught in his world-web. One of the key points to this novel is, I think at Naglimund, when Jarnauga's relates the history of Ineluki and the creation of the sword, Sorrow. I was completely absorbed, as I am ever fascinated by the history that lies beneath events.
There is a very Silmarillion-esque feel to the Sithi and Ineluki, in Jarnauga's tale, and Ineluki reminds me of Fëanor, even to his death (the greatest accolade I could give). History now plunges deep, and melds with ancient grief and hatred. That is the pathos of Ineluki. (I can't help actually liking this character, and being incredibly sympathetic toward him. The only reason I give this series four stars rather than five, is that I wanted to see him return. I am pretty sure that is not supposed to be my reaction, but the more tragic a character, the more I love them). This is another example of Mr Williams skill, and one I appreciate as I want the antagonists, the villains to be more than a blank wall of evil. I think the whole history of the Sithi is a gold-mine.
As the story progresses to the search for the sword Thorn, the 'winds from the North' increase.
The imagery in this story is always wonderful; I can see, feel, smell and sense the places that Mr Williams describes, and feeling them is extremely important to me; it heightens the sense of beauty, or danger or peril and in this series the immense weight of history that was always there but is now threatening the the present. Osten Ard rests on the bones of thousands of years of conflict, and now those bones stir in an icy wind. ...more