Bruce's Reviews > The Spiral Labyrinth: A Tale Of Henghis Hapthorn

The Spiral Labyrinth by Matthew Hughes
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May 20, 12

bookshelves: sf-fantasy
Read in May, 2012

First and foremost, I gave the previous book in this series 3 stars, so why did I bother reading this? Only mortal, after all I'm afraid. If you really dug Magestrum, then you will possibly really dig this. But if you thought Magestrum was mediocre, as I did, DO NOT give Mr. Hughes another chance. Such was my error.

The beginning of this book moves slowly. Many paragraphs are consumed advancing the plot not at all, and delivering only information that the protagonist is a conceited dick, in what other reviewers laud as Wodehousian dialogue. Go read some Wodehouse. You will be happier.

Likewise too comparisons with Jack Vance. All of the inner liner blurbs compare Hughes to Jack Vance. Read your fill of Vance, I urge, and stop there. The Lyonesse series, the last 2 books of the Demon Princes, the Dying Earth books from which Hughes barely extrapolates his setting-- much better. And if you like Dying Earth also before reading Hughes read Michael Shea.

By the end of the book, things happen with extreme rapidity, which highlights grievous weaknesses in Hughes world building. Inner liner notes attributed to Nick Gevers at Locus claim that Hughes has "... a flair for reified metaphysics surpassing anything conceived by Vance." Umm, no, sorry.

Rather, the quick action at the end of the book reveal the inconsistent and sloppy thinking employed by Hughes-- it's all about a quick and dirty answer to the latest conundrum designed to get the protagonist to the next screen without any regard to the rules of the world previously set down in the book. In fact consideration of the element in this work which made its way to status of the title will reveal woeful inconsistencies in the logic of this setting.

Don't read this, it sucks. My two star rating indicates-- finished it, wish I hadn't. Which I wouldn't have had I not been marooned at the inlaws with no other suitable fiction on hand.
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