I recently decided that my reading was a bit haphazard. After completing a list of must-read of books I was left to my own devices trying to discover profitable reading material from the vast storehouse of literature. That was frustrating, to say the least. Too much to read, no context to appreciate what I was reading. After a few attempts I decided to limit myself to a particular era and supplement my reading with history, philosophy and poetry from the same era. After contemplating this for all of two minutes I settled on the French Revolution. History has always been a murky subject for me, but this was the fog among the murkiness; I couldn't make heads or tails of this event. Couple that with its enormous influence on the rest of European history, my ignorance of this era left me feeling historically inadequate; a feeling, I'm sure you agree, that is quite despicable and disheartening.
Sadly, there is no standard list of "books you must read to understand the French Revolution." Consequently, for now, I have limited myself to books written between 1770 and 1820. Happily, I have found this era full of great works that are not too ancient to be difficult to read or understand. On the side, I began reading a book on European history to give me a context for this literature. Most of this historical material I have read before for my coursework, but it is much more engaging when I don't have to read 100 pages a day for an assignment.
To the book at hand: Clearly The Darksword Trilogy is not from the 18th century. For some time now I have considered writing a fantasy novel. I have a robust pre-history that is ever expanding, a wonderful set of characters (in my opinion) and a basic plot for at least one book. One problem. I almost never read fantasy. I love Lewis and Tolkien more info
but I have yet to enjoy other fantasy authors, not that I have tried all that hard. Discerning this weakness my friend Steve Fitz. has taken it upon himself to recommend fantasy novels for me to read for my education in the subject. He has gone through great travail, at my behest, procuring a wide range of authors and styles for me to read to give me an understanding of the genre and its readers. As I did not want to be overcome by this pursuit, I have committed to read 1 fantasy book for every 3 literary novels I consume. (Steve, for his part, has allowed me to recommend 1 piece of literature for every 3 of his books he reads. Lord of the Flies is the first for him.) Forging the Darksword was my first in this pact.
As I doubt many of my readers will be interested in this particular work I will make my comments brief. The writing was mediocre. The author's use of metaphors reminded me of Max Payne. Remember those great one-liners? "The night was cold, cold like a gun." In this book every breeze, bush, and bucket of water was personified, which became very grating over time. All the dialogue was broken up with enumerable details of body position, facial contortions, lip licking, breathing style and sweat rate. Come on! Just let the people talk for once! That being said, the story was decent, and the characters, while not believable in the least, were fun. I did learn a lot about conduits, life magic, and the differences between warlocks, mages, druids, and sorcerers. All important information.
The true frusteration of this book was that the author resolved almost nothing in the end. The climax was the death of a relatively minor villan with no change in situation for any of the major characters. If I enjoyed the book this would entice me to read on, but as it stands I doubt I will pick up any more of this author's books anytime soon, if ever.