Friday, May 31, 2019

Chunk 2: Gordon, Whyte, and Lackey

Noah Gordon:
Shaman.  I enjoy this author's writings, although it's clear he is only comfortable writing about two subjects: medicine and Judaism. 
This book was obviously based on a previous novel, The physician.  Although the passage of time between the two stories (several hundred years) made it nearly irrelevant, many little details went unexplained, things like "The Gift," the family tendency to art as well as medicine, and that all Cole boys learned to juggle.  I have not yet formed a concrete opinion as to how much explaining detail should be included in sequels: where is the line between reminding and rehashing?

The rabbi.  This wasn't his best work, although I've certainly read worse.  It was set in the general time period of The death committee but was set up more like Shaman in that it told the life stories of several characters, to create a more intricate character background.  This worked in Shaman, but not as well here, I think, because there were too many people, too many names mentioned.  It made the work feel confused and cramped.

Jack Whyte:
The skystone.  As to the story line, it was good.  It is an interesting topic (Roman Britain) and one I have not read about before.  It was quite violent and a bit gory, but it seemed not inappropriate for the writing style.  There were several gratuitous sex scenes that took away from the story, unnecessary filler.
What bothered me was the writing style.  The author was very good at his descriptions that really added to the scenes.  It was the voice that threw me.  The story is about people in 300 A.D., but the voice sounded current, even using more recent expressions.  It didn't fit with the time.  I might have to not recommend this book.
I have no idea about the historical accuracy of anything in this book, but it all seems plausible.

The singing sword.  I have read other books in the interim between the first book and this one, which might have influenced my memory, but the writing in this book seemed slightly improved from the first.  If I recall, it was the fragments in the first one that contributed to that feeling.  This book was still graphic, although it contained fewer such scenes and did a better job at creating an emotional connection with the reader, something the first book lacked.  Also, it was in this book that the story began, all at once, to fit in with the well-known legend, and those connections were exciting.  I need a break from historical fictions, but I look forward to the next book.

The Saxon shore.  As far as writing style goes, this book is just like its predecessors.  In the sense that it is an interesting story and engaging, I enjoy it.  However, I have never been so frustrated with a book.  It does not match up with every other Arthur story I have read, and the dissonance is driving me crazy.  If the character names were different, I wouldn't have any problem.  You can't ignore cannon.

The sorcerer: Metamorphosis.  I believe it is this author's life work to frustrate me.  After coming to grips with the disregard for legend and history that is contained within the story, the author goes on to kill off all the best characters.
In addition, after a monumental battle nd then the crowning of Arthur, the ending seemed very anti-climactic.  There was not a lot of closure. 
I've felt that there has always been something lacking in these stories.  Whether it's the legend of the plausibility or the realism, I don't know.  This story just doesnt hold water for me.

Uther.  To date, this is the worst book I've read and I do not expect it to be surpassed soon.  The entire piece was riddled with grammatical errors, things like no periods or "I'll" instead of "ill," crazy crap like that, the kind of stuff that makes you ask, "how did this get published?"  This guy needs an editor, stat.
Secondly (the second reason it is crap) is because it's like the story was written solely for the purpose of tying up loose ends which weren't really that loose in the first place. 
Thirdly, sometimes the author assumed we had read the other books and expected the reader to remember but at other times, wrote like he expected the reader not to have read any previous installments.  He was incredibly inconsistent in that area.
Fourthly, he wrote with such detachment about the main characters.  It was like a completely different author altogether.
I will never read this book again.  In fact, I'm getting rid of my copy.  Never read it.

Mercedes Lackey:
Sacred ground.  This was a good blend of fantasy and reality, although the mystery elements were plain to the reader and only mysterious to some of the characters.  The character development was very good.  Grammatically, the author has a poor concept of the em-dash and overuses fragments (ignorantly, unintentionally, it seemed), which detracted from the experience.

The serpent's shadow.  I really enjoyed this book.  It was interesting in that it is loosely based on Snow White.  I loved the plausibility of both the magic elements and the historical side.  The characters developed well, right along with the plot.
I don't remember the problems with prepositions or fragments being present in the books she co-authored (with Andre Norton), which were distracting.  Overall, though, I liked it.

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