Helen Howell's Reviews > The Worm Ouroboros

The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison
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's review
May 04, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy
Read in May, 2012

The "Here is a guy who is having a dream about [insert story here]" device was lame, especially since Eddison seemed to simply forget about it after the first twenty pages or so. The story itself didn't pick up for quite a while, and when it did, a lot of it was (though fun) apparently a waste of time. Plot summary:

Creepy witch king and nice king tick each other off and start fighting.
Nice king's brother goes sailing in a boat. Ship. Whatever.
Creepy witch king makes some creepy witch magic and sends nice king's brother to Ye Evil Black Mountain of Doom.
Nice king and his buddies go on a quest to get the brother back.
Creepy witch king takes over their kingdom while they're off crossing deserts and climbing mountains and riding hippogriffs.
Nice king gets his brother back (WAY too easily after all that buildup), and they all go back and fight some more.
Creepy witch king tries some more creepy witch magic and dies.
Nice king and his buddies now feel lame without anyone sufficiently creepy to fight.
Prophetess lady talks to the gods for them and, in a wildly inappropriate ending-the-book move, gives all their enemies back to them to start the whole thing over. Again.
Nice king and his buddies: YAY!!!!

The best part was the quest for the brother, although I never quite understood why getting him back was so important to the story - once he was back, he just fought like everybody else. He didn't have the Key to Defeating The Creepy Witch King or anything. However, his rescue was a sufficient excuse for his brother and friend to do cool things like sword-fight huge mantichores single-handed while climbing sheer walls of ice thousands of feet above the ground.

Kind of messy. Still kind of fun though.

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