Ben's Reviews > Shadow & Claw

Shadow & Claw by Gene Wolfe
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's review
Oct 17, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: owned-calibre
Read from October 29 to November 07, 2011

Summary: A character driven sci-fi/fantasy that provides a challenging view of an alternative earth and the peoples that might live in it.

Things I liked:

The setting: Gene Wolfe definitely created a world and a set of characters that seemed alien to my first reading. I found myself stopping often to think about/visualize the ideas and structures his characters are describing. Even when (on closer analysis) he turns out to be talking about something quite familiar; he presents it as his characters see it. As his characters are alien (at least to me) the related concepts are similar. I thought this was very well done.

Words: He uses lots of cool words and although I found myself looking up heaps of them in the dictionary I more often than not found the particular ones he chosen to be singularly appropriate to the sense in which they were used.

Things I thought could be improved:

Narrative jumps around: A few more bridging paragraphs or epistemological excerpts would have helped me to work out whether or not I'd missed half a book between chapters or not.

Standout: The torturers guild was excellently realized (like something out of a Gothic novel) I loved this and all the related trappings.
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Reading Progress

11/02/2011 page 336
82.0% "I like the writing style. At many moments I'm just going 'what tha' (the plot jumps around quite a bit in the second book). I think the author does a good job of describing alien things as the main character/narrator would have seen interpreted things. It's not labored but pleasant to go 'oh I know what he's talking about'"
11/08/2011 page 400
98.0% "The main character seems to have done some wierd things towards the end of this book. In particular actions around a character 'Jolenta' have me a bit worried. The whole thing seems to have veered markedly towards a category known as dick-lit. At the same time I just read an article about 'dick-lit' so that may well be coloring my judgement (or clearing it up) ... sigh."

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