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Books from monthly reading list > January 2017: Twelve Kings in Sharakhai

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message 1: by Kurt (new)

Kurt Springs | 181 comments Mod
Twelve Kings in Sharakhai is certainly different. It is a fantasy novel set in a desert world. At least that is the only part of the world they talk about. The desert is treated like an ocean in that they use sand ships to travers it. In the midst of this desert is the city of Sharakhai. It is ruled by twelve kings who are over 400 years old. Çeda is the heroine of the story. She was orphaned around age 10 and takes up her mother's quest to unseat the kings of Sharakhai. Seeing how they had her killed, it is understandable. However killing the kings is no easy feat. They have an army known as the Silver Spears, an elite corps of Blade Maidens, and the dreaded asirim. However, Çeda is far from helpless. She's a skilled fighter and her mother left her clues to help bring about the king's downfall.

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai was a relatively fast paced story even with the intrigue. There are several groups in addition to the Kings and Çeda that are at odds. Various kingdoms, tribes, and principalities would not cry to see the last of the Kings. However, Bradley P. Beaulieu does delve into Çeda's back story. These chapters and interspersed with the current action. This has a tendency to slow the story down. However, the back story is critical to understanding what drives Çeda, and trying to put it in chronologically might have made for a choppy beginning.

What does everyone else think?

message 2: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten Schuder (goodreadscomkirstenschuder) | 233 comments Mod
That's a really interesting observation Kurt made about backstory. Backstory can add interest to the character development, but when it's offered in large chunks, it brings the action of the plot to a complete halt. I've beta read novels like this, and it really breaks up the story too much.

What I've always been told was that the backstory needs to be subservient to the progression of the story. It must have purpose to the present plot.

I'm usually against having whole chapters of backstory, and I agree that the backstory chapters slows down the action a bit. But, it is interesting the way the author handles it. We have had discussions in the past about our different tastes. I do tolerate slower stories pretty well, as long as what I'm reading is interesting in some other regard. I enjoy character development, but I do agree that there are better ways of handling this than providing large blocks of backstory.

Some people think backstory shouldn't be used at all. What are your feelings on this, everyone?

message 3: by Kurt (new)

Kurt Springs | 181 comments Mod
I think the author came up with a complicated plot and wrote himself into a corner where large chunks of back story were the only way out. The interesting part is, that he pretty much kept the story interesting.

message 4: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten Schuder (goodreadscomkirstenschuder) | 233 comments Mod
Yah, backstory can be interesting. I was always told that if you balance it artfully with the plot and have it be relevant to the plot, that it was just fine, as long as its inclusion doesn't stop the action of the story dead.

message 5: by Kurt (new)

Kurt Springs | 181 comments Mod
Phillip Frances Nowlan wrote the original Buck Rogers stories: Armageddon 2419 AD and Airlords of the Han in 1928. He was notorious for this. I thought they were great when I was 13, but when I tried to read them a few years ago, it was trial. He is in the middle of an arial battle with Han airships and stops to give a history of a particular type of warfare.

message 6: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten Schuder (goodreadscomkirstenschuder) | 233 comments Mod
It makes you wonder if these book would make it in today's environment.

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