Dan 1.0's Reviews > The Demon Princes, Volume One: The Star King, The Killing Machine, The Palace of Love

The Demon Princes, Volume One by Jack Vance
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Jan 24, 11

bookshelves: christmas-2010, 2011
Read from January 16 to 24, 2011

The Star King: Kirth Gersen, last remaining survivor of the Mount Pleasant massacre, begins his quest for vengeance against the five Demon Princes. His first target, a Star King called Malagate the Woe. But which of the three suspects is Malagate?

The Star King is a space opera tale but felt like a western at times and a James Bond story at others. Gersen is a ultra-capable protagonist. I'm hoping the other Demon Princes give him more trouble.

I have two gripes with this book so far. One, this edition is riddled with typos. Two, the pace is really slow. You'd think a 145 page revenge story would move at a much faster speed.

The Killing Machine: Gersen targets the next name on his list, an immortal shapeshifter named Kokor Hekkus. Gersen's vengeance trail sees him aid in constructing a killing machine and get locked up in the Interchange. Can Gersen escape and take Kokor Hekkus down?

I have to admit I wasn't sold on the setting or the characters in the first volume. I'm still not thrilled but I enjoyed The Killing Machine a lot more than The Star King. The concepts of world Vance is building in this series are growing on me. I particularly liked The Interchange, sort of an escrow service for kidnappers and their victims. Gersen dealt death in a much more impressive fashion than in the Star King. It was still a little on the slow side but now I'm ready for the third story in this omnibus.

The Palace of Love: Viole Falushe is the next name on Gersen's list and the proprietor of an planet-wide brothel. But what does Viole Falushe have to do with Vogel Filschner and the girls he kidnapped years ago?

Boy, did this one drag. I thought the Star King moved slowly but this one took the taco. While I like Kirth Gersen's adventure's and the worlds he visits, the pacing is what keeps me from being gung-ho about reading the next two books. Jack Vance makes reading a 150 page revenge tale as exciting as reading the dictionary. Still, it wasn't all bad. Vance's dialogue is as clever as usual.

In conclusion, I thought the first three books of the Demon Princes series to be on the okay side of being good but I'm in no hurry to tackle the second omnibus. It's not bad but it's no Dying Earth. I actually liked the story better when Hayford Peirce wrote it as an homage to Vance and it was called Dinosaur Park
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Reading Progress

01/17/2011 page 1
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01/18/2011 page 27
6.0% "I'm never going to get to sit down and read a chunk of this thing!"
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Robert (new)

Robert You have to admit that the Dictionary's vocabulary is unsurpassed, though!


message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dan 1.0 Good point, Robert. The Dictionary is never at a loss for words and rarely repeats itself.


message 3: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed I have the same omnibus but i rated the books solo. I agree with Star King it wasnt as strong and Palace of Love was too slow paced,uneventful for me. The Killing Machine was great though. I think you might like his other sf series. Planet of Adventure is much more action oriented like Sword and Planet.


message 4: by Dan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dan 1.0 Mohammed wrote: "I have the same omnibus but i rated the books solo. I agree with Star King it wasnt as strong and Palace of Love was too slow paced,uneventful for me. The Killing Machine was great though. I thi..."

Yeah, I'm not giving up on Vance yet. I've got my eyes open for Planet of Adventure.

I think all the crime books I've been reading have spoiled me for revenge stories. Killing Machine was definitely the best of the three in this omnibus.


message 5: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed Dan wrote: "Mohammed wrote: "I have the same omnibus but i rated the books solo. I agree with Star King it wasnt as strong and Palace of Love was too slow paced,uneventful for me. The Killing Machine was gre..."

Also the trouble is since its based on the most classic revenge story in history in Count of Monte Cristo its not as fresh as other Jack Vance novels where he builds the world,story,theme on his own.

Also can i ask what kind of SF you want to read next of him ? His PoA is more adventure,action and the stand alone novels like Blue World,Emphyrio for example are down to earth,social sf about aliens or alien humanity in the far future.


message 6: by Dan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dan 1.0 I'll probably read Planet of Adventure or Big Planet next.


message 7: by Jared (new)

Jared Millet You should stick it out to volume two. The concluding books were written over a decade after the first three, and it shows. Book 4, "The Face," is the best of the bunch, and certainly has the best ending.


message 8: by Dan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dan 1.0 Jared wrote: "You should stick it out to volume two. The concluding books were written over a decade after the first three, and it shows. Book 4, "The Face," is the best of the bunch, and certainly has the bes..."

I already own volume two so I'll be finishing the story sooner or later. I was wondering if Vance's style changed during the gap between 3 and 4.


message 9: by Mohammed (last edited Jan 25, 2011 12:04PM) (new)

Mohammed Dan wrote: "I'll probably read Planet of Adventure or Big Planet next."

Also i think you would like his SF/mystery series. He has Magnus Ridolhp series from late 40s and 50s is an elegant,witty Sherlock Holmes in Jack Vance worlds. He did won Edgar Award for a stand alone novel and he is a natural crime writer for a SFF legend.

Other JV fans dont rate it too high because it was before his more vancian,weird SF style.


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