Tuesday, November 5, 2013

[Mini-review] Prince of Thorns

Still chomping at NaNoWriMo. Still ahead of schedule. Not as enthusiastic as I was a few days ago, but refusing to let go. Must.finish.50.000.words.

Almost finished reading Mark Lawrence's Prince of Thorns. I don't know what to think about it anymore. It's entertaining, but also a bit strange. And could need a little more descriptions, maybe. It's sometimes a bit hard to envision the environments. The big deal with this book is the main character, it is the main character who sets Prince of Thorns apart from other contemporary fantasy, but there are still similarities to other recent fantasy novels (by recent I'm thinking the last five years or so). The writing reminds me of novels like Throne of the Crescent Moon and The Painted Man and perhaps particularly The Steel Remains. What these novels have in common, they also have in common with Prince of Thorns - shorter narratives, fewer characters, more direct and less flowery, perhaps. These books also have protagonists that are somewhat different from the norm, but the Prince of Thorns beats them all. Imagine Joffrey Baratheon having wandered into a thin Patrick Rothfuss novel. Or something like that.
The setting of Prince of Thorns is somewhat more unusual too, although it isn't new either - think Jack Vance's Dying Earth. Kind of. Some of the dialogue would fit Abercrombie's work as well.
And yet the book also falls into some clich├ęs I didn't expect from this story; but there's a flow to it, anyway, so I'll just continue to let myself be entertained for what it is - a quick fantasy fix. Not something to obsess over, something with the enduring power of a The Lord of the Rings or A Song of Ice and Fire, but something to enjoy in the moment. Not saying it's bad or anything, I wish I had half the flair Lawrence has. But it's not so much "in the vein of George R.R. Martin" as it wants to be.

Just a few more chapters, and then it's on to the sequel, King of Thorns. And then I have an ambition to pick up The Way of Kings again. I'm sick of seeing it on my nightstand. It's been there for three years. And then then the next title on my list is The Red Knight And then the plan is to follow this up with three Forgotten Realms novels I've had on my shelf for a while, Cormyr: A Novel, Gauntlgrym, and Evermeet: Island of Elves, though I suspect I have to put some other literature in between to be able to deal with these books (if they are of the same level of quality as previous Realms novels I've read).

And there is this urge to finish my re-read of Deadhouse Gates and then follow that up with Memories of Ice, House of Chains, Midnight Tides, The Bonehunters, Reaper's Gale, Toll the Hounds and The Crippled God. Sigh. And I have this urge to re-watch the two first Game of Thrones seasons as well. And there's a bunch of too-watch movies waiting, too. I actually saw a movie from beginning to end last Friday, Prometheus. Yeah, I'm that far behind. And what about computer games? I still have to finish Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2 with all their expansion packs, Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition and Skyrim, to name a few. Say one thing about Slynt, say he has need of more hours in the day.

Still, today I watched Return of the Jedi with my son and that's a great re-watch experience in itself, although I have seen it, say, 500 times before. But watching it with the kid kind of renews the experience, but it finds me wanting to make time for my Star Wars love, as well. Double sigh. And now I will probably mull over Episode VII the rest of the week, wondering what the heck is going on at Disney Studios/Lucasfilm and what the story could be. Jedi is terribly final, as Tyrion Lannister might have argued. Could the clues to the next trilogy therefore lie in the prequel movies? I dare not think about it. 

In conclusion, I want to put forth (again) Steven Erikson's Reddit AMA which shows just how fantastic he is as an author with regards to fan relations. Night y'all.

Do I intentionally set out to frustrate the reader? What an outrageous notion. Of course I do. ~ Steven Erikson

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