Mark Lawrence's Reviews > The Medusa's Daughter

The Medusa's Daughter by T.O. Munro
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Pacing is clearly, as with all things writing, objective.

I have come to understand some of the key elements upon which that objectivity stands though. Primarily, if the reader's expectation of a story is at odds with the author's intent then it will translate into a complaint about the pacing.

If a book is about character and the reader wants plot, they will call it slow.

If a book is about training and the reader wants to see the student qualified and in action ... they will call it slow.

And so on.

The focus in this book is, in large part, on the dynamics of the relationships between traveling companions, proxy family, and later between fellow students. Once you realize that this is the story, rather than something that needs to be established so that you can get on with the story, then you and the book will get on well.

It took me two months to read this book. Admittedly it is a long one one and I'm a slow reader with little time. Also I had to read a Wild Cards book in the middle of it all to get up to speed for my own contribution to that series.

T.O. Munro writes very well. On a line by line basis he stands shoulder to shoulder with many famous authors. His fantasy writing is imaginative (albeit drawing on the orc, dwarf, elf tropes as a background - which thankfully got little exposure), his description skilled, dialogue solid (though I'm not a fan of accents).

The weakest areas of the book were, for me, pacing and a lack of tension, which are two sides of the same coin. The book is low on action - which is by no means a problem, a book can be gripping without constant sword fights, murders, flights from peril etc - but for long sections it felt as though nothing of consequence was at stake. Even in the framing story where one character is under interrogation in an oft-returned to flash forward scene, he appears to be fairly comfortable and in charge, with his interrogators on the back foot.

That said, there is much to recommend here, particularly for the swift reader who will be able to concertina the thrills and spills into a much shorter span and thereby up their density!

The novel stands alone despite building on a history of events and characters from previous related books. I didn't feel I was missing vital subtext although I'm sure that reading the earlier volumes would enrich the experience.

With its lack of violence, and focus on character and problem solving the book reminds me of Courtney Schafer's excellent The Whitefire Crossing. Recommended for those seeking some relief from grimmer and darker fantasy, and an adventure with some time to breathe in it.


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Reading Progress

February 1, 2017 – Started Reading
February 1, 2017 – Shelved
March 28, 2017 – Finished Reading

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message 1: by Mark (new) - added it

Mark Lawrence Early days, p50, but I like the writing.

My only niggle is the one I had with Fire Girl where the protagonist also carried an animal on her shoulder and it also seemed that we got many more reminders about this than we need.

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