Ben Galley's Reviews > The Left Hand of God

The Left Hand of God by Paul  Hoffman
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Jun 20, 2011

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Read in July, 2011

** spoiler alert ** Upon finishing this book I found myself undecided. The book starts off strong, conceptually proud, straightforward, and captivating. Cale is an interesting and deep character, and despite his age and his obvious moral shortcomings, I found himself admiring his skill and strength in the first few chapters.

However, after the escape from Shotover and his entrance into the Materazzi empire, the book began to lose pace and begin to confuse me. Moments of vibrant and well-crafted description of Memphis captured me, but sudden and distracting uses of contemporary words, such as dollars, threw me a little, as did the inconsistency between naming conventions and culture.

This is a theme that continues throughout the book, and I found myself trying to figure out whether the book was based in a parallel universe, an entirely new world, or somewhere in between. This odd balance between fiction and reality is further confused by the use of rather contemporary cliches, phrases, and the odd religious reference to things like Jesus, Ark of the Covenant, Jews, Rabbis, etc. All of these things distracted me, and sadly seemed to spoil an otherwise original world.

I never intend to be too critical, but these things stuck out like a sore thumb to me, and I have to say it took a little of the enjoyment away.

Nevertheless the dialogue was impressively slick in most places, previous comments aside. The life lessons and astute observations so eagerly dispensed to Cale under the tutelage of IdrisPukke were insightful and entertaining, and the novel was darkly witty and great fun in many places. The ignominious battle at the end kept me up into the early hours, and the fight scenes were great fun, without being overly gory.

Overall, if you can ignore the small things and just go along with it, which I wish I could have, the Left Hand of God is an entertaining and darkly adventurous tale to be enjoed by the fantasy fan. I'm looking to enjoy the sequel soon.
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07/04/2011 page 240
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