Wing Kee's Reviews > The Erstwhile

The Erstwhile by Brian Catling
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liked it

Much more traditionally structured but because of that loses a lot of it's original charm.

World: The world building is great, it is the best thing in the series and the reason I continue to read the book. The ideas that Catling bring to the world, the characters, the lore, the period, it's all pretty fantastic. Like the first book there is a lot of meta textual narrative that is found here with Germany and UK during that area and the tensions, there is the white colonialism that gets further explored in this further, all these pieces create an interesting world. Then there's the Erstwhile and also the Vorrh which is surreal and weird in the best way. This is a interesting world to visit.

Story: Much more paced and structured like a traditional tale, this is different from the first book. Where as the first book was formless and wide and a forest of stories and readers were wandering through it, this time it's much more focus, there is a guide in the main tread of Ishmael and it is good and a bad thing. A lot of the formless feel of the first book is gone and now we have the weird in a familiar format. You may like it or you may not (I didn't). I won't go into the story here cause that's a main thing people read it for also so I will give you thoughts, it's different but familiar. Where characters find themselves is familiar in terms of some emotions and development, but at the same time there are some weird things that I did not expect so yeah both new and old. In the end I enjoyed the story but a little less than before.

Characters: Same psycho sexual and sexual organ obsession that was found in the first book (what does it say about Catling). It's interesting and odd and the focus really is there whether as a shock or as a narrative device I'm not sure but it's there. Ishmael has more development and so do old returning characters, it was pretty interesting where Catling took the characters, similar but changed into rather odd at the same time. The new pieces were mesmerizing much like the first book so I won't say what it is cause it's an experience.

I liked it, not as much as the first one, but I like it. It lost a lot of the magic and formless style of the first book but I'll still finish this series out.

Onward to the next book!

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Reading Progress

August 8, 2018 – Started Reading
August 8, 2018 – Shelved
August 8, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
August 9, 2018 –
50.0% "More of traditional narrative structure, but not necessarily a good thing."
August 11, 2018 –
99.0% "Wrapping my conflicted head around this"
August 13, 2018 – Finished Reading

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