Charles's Reviews > Dare

Dare by Philip José Farmer
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's review
Dec 18, 2014

did not like it
bookshelves: 2015-challenge, fantasy, science-fiction, stat_3, reviewed

Stuff I Read - Dare By Phillip José Farmer Review

So this is my first taste of work by Philip José Farmer and…well, for a minute there it had me going. I mean, not entirely, because the book opens up with a hate crime and from there…well, there are probably some things to like about this book but I'm not sure that it won me over. Like, at all. It's obviously trying to make some points about race and about love and about…secret societies? You know what, I don't even know. It tries to do a lot and then towards the midway point decides to just drop all that, thanks, and veer sharply into the WTF territory.

I'm not lying when I say the book kicks off with a hate crime. One that is at least accompliced after-the-fact by the main character, man's man Jack Cage. That's a very, very tricky way to kick off a book, and one that I'd almost applaud except that throughout the novel Cage doesn't really have to deal with that action. In some ways that is just waved away because he learns a big lesson about understanding and humanity and—wait, no, he's forgiven because it's political to do because he's like the coolest human around because the rest of them are that bad and it's kind of crazy the stuff that he gets away with and still gets to be the hero. The horstrel that he falls in love with might be the far more competent and smart and cunning and daring, but it's Cage that is the hero, him who ultimately gets the honors and the book has problem with this.

There are moments in this book where I wanted to like it. Talking dragons and horstrels being much smarter than anyone knows and weird aliens and all of it but the finished project just tries to do too much without really paying anything off. Things just start happening and characters move and lose sight of each other for years before finding each other again, all that after the first half of the book is like three days worth of action and it's just a bit too jarring to work. Too much to swallow when it seems maybe the work was supposed to have been much longer. Instead the metaphors all implode and turn out to be rather offensive and…well, mostly offensive. And some just don't make sense. Characters make entire 180 degree turns and then turn back and then a spaceship shows up and it was all for nothing. Seriously, guys, like for nothing.

I guess the real lesson of this novel is that you should just see people as people and try to learn together instead of killing everyone different from you. Because you might all turn out to be not that different. But seriously that message is really stretched and filtered by some questionable calls in this book and some more questionable behavior from Jack Cage and I cannot in good conscious recommend this book. I'm still willing to try something else by the author, as this might have been a schedule thing or an editor thing but no, give this one a miss, regardless of how weird and interesting the cover looks. Yeah. A 3/10 for me.

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Reading Progress

December 18, 2014 – Shelved
December 18, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
December 18, 2014 – Shelved as: 2015-challenge
December 21, 2015 – Started Reading
December 21, 2015 – Shelved as: fantasy
December 21, 2015 – Shelved as: science-fiction
December 21, 2015 – Shelved as: stat_3
December 21, 2015 –
page 159
100.0% "This Just no. Nope nope nope nope nope nope. What even happened after the midway point?"
December 21, 2015 – Finished Reading
January 7, 2016 – Shelved as: reviewed

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