After reading a non-traditional fantasy in Among Thieves, I was ready for an old-fashioned one. The opening chapters of The Summoner showed some promiAfter reading a non-traditional fantasy in Among Thieves, I was ready for an old-fashioned one. The opening chapters of The Summoner showed some promise. A prince with undeveloped magical abilities was forced to flee from his home because his evil brother killed the rest of his family and seized the throne. I expected to read exciting adventures as the prince journeyed to a neighboring country and learned magic.
Well, he did experience some adventure with a ghost inn, a caravan, slavers, a haunted library, a warrior princess, but none of them was interesting.
He did learn about magic, but the description of how he learned was so vague that it didn't give me anything to get excited about. In fact, everything related to magic in this novel was vague; I don't understand why soldiers dislike and fear mages, why teleporting is limited to short distances, why certain things are forbidden in magic, other than because the author says so.
In addition, the characterization was very two dimensional. Such a pity. I was expecting great things, but now I don't think I'll continue reading the series....more
After reading some fantasy series where the protagonists are thieves or characters other than farmboys or nobility and quite enjoying them, I turned nAfter reading some fantasy series where the protagonists are thieves or characters other than farmboys or nobility and quite enjoying them, I turned next to Among Thieves. This time the main character Drothe is a Nose, which is some kind of an informant for crimelords in a community of thieves called the Kin.
The story starts with a missing artifact, with mysterious clues that include an enigmatic name, a cryptic script that may or may not be a code, and a puzzling rare pilgrim token. As Drothe investigates these clues, even stranger things happen, with a mystifying book, perplexing attempted murders, shadowy Grey Princes, an odd falsified letter, magical items. In between you also get fencing scenes where Drothe has to face life or death situations.
You notice that I use a lot of synonyms for "mysterious". Well, the whole thing is quite baffling. Drothe can't make heads or tails of it, and neither can I. Now I like to be kept guessing when reading a novel, but I don't like to be completely in the dark. So the story that started as interesting unfortunately became annoying and then frustrating for me. It doesn't help either that Drothe isn't easy character to relate to. Sure he's honorable and clever and his loyalty to the Kin is admirable, but I fail to see how the existence of a bunch of criminals is something worth fighting for.
A well-written story, but not my cup of tea. However, if you like mysteries, lots of action scenes, and the world of criminals, you'll get your fill in this novel....more
I started reading this series almost twenty years ago. I fell in love with the characters. I was engrossed in the story. I marveled at the world thatI started reading this series almost twenty years ago. I fell in love with the characters. I was engrossed in the story. I marveled at the world that Robert Jordan built in the first few books. I slogged through the middle books like any loyal fan. I cheered when things started to pick up again. I was sad when Jordan passed away and was excited when to know that Brandon Sanderson was to continue the series. Book 12 and 13 were great so I had high expectations for this last book of the series.
I never thought I would struggle with it, but the first half was hard to get through. There were so many potentially great scenes that fell flat (for example, when Rand tries to rally the nations for the Last Battle).
Luckily the second part of the book made up for the slow first part. The battle between Rand and the Dark One was great. The Last Battle with Mat at the helm also had many entertaining scenes.
I was hoping the book would use the momentum and end on a great note, but unfortunately the denouement scenes were a disappointment and almost ruined the book for me. They felt rushed and tacked-on, not at all the bittersweet goodbyes to beloved characters that I was expecting.
Overall, it's still a good and enjoyable book. A fitting ending to a great series....more
I really wanted to like this book as it has a Japanese/Chinese setting that I rarely find in the fantasy novels I've read. But unfortunately the storyI really wanted to like this book as it has a Japanese/Chinese setting that I rarely find in the fantasy novels I've read. But unfortunately the story just didn’t work for me.
First of all, the story progresses so slowly that I have to wait halfway into the book for something interesting to happen. The first half presents no conflicts and instead talks about conflicts that may or may not arise in the future. For example, Shonto is a great, respected general whom the Emperor considers a threat to the throne and is therefore sent to a dangerous border province to defend it from barbarians. And so Shonto discusses the possible traps there or during the journey there with his advisors, and we only see any action about these traps once he comes across them very much later in the book.
Secondly, I just can’t bring myself to care about any of the characters. For example, we are told that Nishima is very beautiful and talented, but the story doesn’t show me this. The description of her music is unappealing (so different from the moving description of Kvothe’s music from The Name of the Wind, for instance). Shuyun’s character also feels flat to me.
Thirdly, the magic. It is quite interesting the first time it’s mentioned, this ability to slow time until it stops. But the application of this magic doesn’t create much excitement for me. Shuyun’s victory in a kickboxing competition is described only briefly, and there’s his demonstration of destroying a wooden desk with his bare hand.
Such a pity. I really would like to read an interesting fantasy novel with an Asian setting, but this just isn’t it....more