Starless Night: Prepackaged and pointless

Starless Night by R.A. Salvatore

While reading THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT series, I’ve developed the grim suspicion that every time R.A. Salvatore looks at his characters and thinks “time for some development, lads and lasses,” he immediately starts trying to shoehorn in an adventure to go along with it. Apparently one simply cannot have development through conversation or work or leisure or for that matter anything else that does not involve leaping off the hunched shoulders of your barbarian friend to stab an ogre in the face. Granted, maybe it’s just that I’ve read a lot of these novels in quick succession by now and my patience is starting to fizzle a bit, but I do feel on occasion that whenever Salvatore decides to do some character work, there ends up being this substandard, breezy little quest that doesn’t really go anywhere or do anything except give the characters the opportunity to think about Important Issues. This is of cours... Read More

Someplace to be Flying: Memorable, quixotic, original characters

Someplace to be Flying by Charles de Lint

Someplace to be Flying is the story of a gypsy cab driver and a freelance photographer who meet each other during a chance encounter with the “Animal People” in a dark alley in the familiar setting of Newford. This glimpse into a magical other world leaves them reeling, and as they seek out an explanation for the impossible, they are drawn deeper into the world of the Animal People, and the ongoing war between Raven and Coyote.

Someplace to be Flying starts out with a bang, but then slows down to introduce a large and varied cast of supporting characters and some mythology and backstory. Once the action starts up, though, it is almost impossible to put the book down. It draws you along as you get absorbed into Charles de Lint's vivid, detailed descriptions of his world.

While Charles de Lint normally focuses on the smal... Read More

The Path of Daggers: At least it’s shorter

The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan

The best thing I can say about The Path of Daggers is that it is significantly shorter than the last few novels have been — only 700 pages (mass market paperback) compared to the 900-1100 page novels that have preceded it. There is much less of the repetitive backstory. I guess Mr. Jordan finally realized that new readers aren't jumping in at this point.

However, that's not to say that there are 700 pages of plot here, either. For again, most of the pages are devoted to minutia such as nearly every word spoken during one of Elayne's 3 hour long rides, every thought that Perrin has while walking around his camp, etc. Most of the significant action is squeezed into the last couple of chapters. The story is still interesting, but The Path of Daggers doesn't advance it far enough.

But what's annoying me most is that the female WOT... Read More