Jun 08, 12
Read from May 23 to June 08, 2012
Still moving along pretty well, although this one felt a bit more uneven than the first. Ferras, Briony, and Chert remain appealing and sympathetic, and Sulepis (whose name gets stuck in my head, thanks, Tad) is genuinely the most terrifying piece of the book. However, with this many characters and plot threads to deal with, there had to be weaknesses somewhere. The introduction of the gods in book 2 seemed to come out of nowhere, and the formerly-absent King Olin reads as cardboard, with some pretty stupid lines (Chaven, too, suffered from this curse), and the troupe of mostly-gay actors bordered dangerously on stereotyping.
Two characters I have to call out for interest, though, are Matt Tinwright and Barrick Eddon. Matt's evolution seemed too abrupt at first, but upon finishing the book, I realized that he hasn't changed quite as much as he thinks he has, and that was well done. I always enjoy a formerly absurd character who begins to improve, especially if the road to redemption is full of switchbacks and stumbles.
Barrick is also the whiniest brat ever to fulfill the protagonist role in a fantasy novel (at least of the ones I've read, although I'm sure there are characters in George R.R. Martin who could give him a run for his money). I've consistently rooted for someone to smack him upside the head (and sometimes someone has obliged, thanks, Ferras), but I just have to admire the courage involved in making such an unlikable protagonist. Although I'm sure he'll get better; still two books to go.