Hannah's Reviews > Geomancer

Geomancer by Ian Irvine
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's review
Jun 22, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy

Irvine is extremely good at writing epic adventures that are believable and easy to visualize. For a world that's spanning over so many thousand leagues, I could map out the heroine's journey surprisingly clearly in my head, and that's a tribute to Irvine's writing. The concept of Mancers and using controllers and crystals to channel energy (that's what I understood of it, anyway, it was rather confusing) isn't exactly a groundbreaking idea, but Irvine uses it well without requiring the reader to continually suspend belief in order to enjoy the book. He doesn't fill the book with page after page of explanations regarding geomancy, either, which is a refreshing change from tedious descriptions à la Russell Kirkpatrick.

Irvine's characters are realistically flawed; everyone (or most people, anyway) had their good and bad points. In certain cases, like Irisis, her flaws make her all the more likeable - your sympathy and respect for her grows when she reveals her vulnerability. However, this abundance of flaws has the opposite effect for many of the other characters, the most notable being Tiaan herself. Ullii describes her as "nice" and comments that she "likes her", and yet we're continuously shown that she's selfish, self-absorbed and remarkably stupid sometimes, for someone who's supposedly extremely talented and intelligent. How can she possibly fall in love with Minis when she's only spoken/seen him once or twice? And yet she refers to him as her "lover" and is shocked when he barely reacts to her when they meet physically. You neither like nor hate her, and that really throws off the reader when you're left completely apathetic towards the central character.

Joeyn was the only one that was truly likeable, and he kicked the bucket fairly early. Haani's gone within a few chapters. Irvine seems to like killing off the nicest, most loveable characters - does he think the sweet ones won't be able to survive? In this case, perhaps; because life in this Santhenar (as opposed to his previous books) makes life as Frodo on Middle Earth sound like a piece of cake. It's very hard to really, really like a book when you don't care about any of the characters enough to worry about what will happen to them next; even with Irisis, who is the most likeable of all three main characters, you may be faintly curious her fate, but it's not enough to grab you and push you towards the next in the series.

That said, I may check out Tetrarch anyway, in the hopes that the characterization will improve and the plot may move away from the dreary "omg the world is DOOMED!!" fantasy formula.

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