One Bright Star to Guide Them
"Nothing happened and nothing continued to happen."
And that sums up this review. Most of the action takes place off-stage and is so inconsequential that it's tedious to read. The info-dumps are not at all informative, and they pummel the reader like streams of projectile vomit (except in fact possessing the stench of diarrhea... verbal diarrhea).
If there were any subtlety to the moral of the story, then the novella might have at least one ...more
"Oh my gosh, does that suck!" - Frank Cross "Scrooged"
Editors note: I'm going back and giving another star to the first two books in the S.M. Stirling "Emberverse" series which I recently gave only two stars, because this story allowed me to re calibrate what a bad story is.
First the good: it's an interesting premise, the formerly young adventurers called back to re-battle the evil, but with one twist - they're now middle-aged!
What else...what...else.... Nope. Sorry, that's the end of the...more
Well, the idea is not wholly original. Stephen King did it in It. Lev Grossman did it in The Magicians. But those were both R-rated deconstructions of a children's portal fantasy, while One Bright Star to Guide Them is a loving tribute. ...more
It contained an interesting premise where a group of children had previously gone on an adventure together and survived the quest in some instance of fairyland. Now they are adults who have put such ideas behind them. A new challenge threatens their own lands. I liked the playfulness is part of ...more
To begin with the minor issues, the writing style is largely unobjectionable and unimaginative. It's biggest problem occurs because it's a story in which backstory matters a lot but gets introduced in an unsubtle manner. Ugly info dumps, that sort of thing. Also, the story is set in a culture other than the author's which happens to be mine. Lots of Americans write stories set in Britain. You can pretty much always tell they're not ...more
Years ago when they were children, Tommy and his three friends went on an adventure to a magical land and helped defeat evil and restore the true king, to the benefit of Earth as well as the magical realm. Now, with a boring job in the City, he's just gotten a promotion that he doesn't want, and a momentary encounter reminds him of his forgotten adventure. Suddenly, the magical cat ...more
"Tommy stared down at the cat. If you're really Tybalt, the Prince of Cats, the son of Carbonel, please say something, he whispered. Say anything. Please! The cat began to wash his paws fastidiously. Tommy said, It must be you! I know it's you! I remember you from when I was a schoolboy. There was the well behind the ruined wing of Professor Penkirk's mansion. ...more
I was looking forward to this, based on the book description and reader reviews, but it disappointed in the reading.
I liked (and still like) the idea of catching up with middle-aged characters who, like the Pevensies of Lewis's Narnia series, as children visited a mystical land, fought the forces of evil, and then returned to mundane existence. So why didn't I enjoy One Bright Start to Guide Them?
It seemed to me, as I read, that far too much time was spent on the main ...more
Content warning: discussion of sexual assault, abortion, religion
This book is poorly written and weakly plotted. It has a massive number of technical faults. It does have one clever thing it tries to do: telling a Narnia-style story entirely through the reminiscences of the characters as adults. Sadly, this just doesn't come off; there isn't enough depth and emotion in their descriptions of past stories to sell the reader.
This is a very deep story with much to ponder and it promises rich enjoyment upon ...more
As with his take on the Night Land of Wm. Hodgson's dying Earth or his own City Beyond Time, Wright excels in the art of atmospheric shadows. Whether the explicit and incomprehensible darkness of the Night Land's monsters, the Nietzschean nihilism of ...more
I recently read the The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman. I kept wanting to see how things would turn out, but the story relied on The Chronicles of Narnia without standing enough on its own.
One Bright Star to Guide Them left me feeling mostly the same. Grossman and Wright are coming from different places when they look back to Narnia, but they both owe it much. Wright might be the stronger writer, but he fails a little more for me ...more
There is more philosophy than fairy story in this novella; there is much to ...more
I think I see what Wright was trying to do here. Too many stories end with the kids that are the heroes coming home and then nothing happens. This is about what happens when they grow up. It's too bad that Wright doesn't do this very well. Everything about this story feels like a 15 year old read The Chronicles of Narnia and tried to write a sequel, or continuation, or spirtual successor or something. The back story sounds like a weird, overblown, under-thought D&D ...more
The writing, as usual, was superb but the story seemed too rushed and extremely similar to a C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia book. This book is missing the originality that I have come to expect from a work of John C. Wright.
With that being said, I would still give it a read and I look forward to more of this author's work.
5 stars = ...more
I actually gave it 0.5 of 5 (no half-stars here!) A Narnia homage, this one is overfilled with references to past events in unknown places in a fantasy world and nods to various CS Lewis writings. Bold choice to make all the best action offscreen... and then blithely describe it in dialogue. It doesn't help that one of the characters inconsistently speaks in a very archaic fashion, and the ending is just ...more
Alan Garner tried to answer this question in Boneland, where a grown-up Colin is still trying to come to terms with the loss of his sister. Boneland is - ...more
This short novel has incredible moments, built as it is on the backs of great literature, and the writing is good, in fact, very good. with that said, the reader is left wanting, the promise of the narrative goes unfilled. And it is unfortunate the author himself has been tainted by association with the kennels of intolerance.
Wright's prose is sophisticated, challenging, yet also engrossing and deeply engaging. This story of adults who are forced to once again confront the evil they faced as ...more