Justin's Reviews > The Pale Horseman

The Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell
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M 50x66
's review
Jun 10, 2012

really liked it
Read from May 26 to June 10, 2012

My biggest weakness in books is that I cannot let a series remain unread after I've started it. I wish I could. Then, I never would have wasted those nights reading The Hunger Games trilogy. This desire to complete a novel series stems from some belief that everyone and every book deserves a chance to explain their thoughts in their due time. Sometimes that due diligence pays off. Other times, it falls so flat I'm left wondering if the author cried him/herself to sleep so much and for so long they eventually became an accountant to avoid emotion ever again. In the case of The Pale Horseman, I found myself thinking the latter for part of it and the former for the rest.

It's not that I don't enjoy Cornwell's writing, I do very much. But his viewpoints on the culture at the time is sometimes lacking or downright insulting and other times his desire to avoid the point to delve into another one is frustrating. I found myself asking "so what?" a couple of times in the first couple of chapters and didn't really understand where Cornwell was takin me until midway through the book after Wessex was invaded and King Alfred the (soon to be) Great was nothing more than the leader of a swamp island.

In reflection, this book serves as a transition story, much like the first sequel to The Matrix only with better story-telling and less intelligence-destroying. My hope is the next book provides more of a succinct story instead of an array of smaller ones that supposedly fits into a grand tale. I have, however, given up in thinking that Cornwell will treat history more kindly than he has (although the Briton who is now a priest does give me some hope).

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