Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Universe Appeal?

Behind, behind.  But I was on a trip! For 10 days! Yes, I got back a week ago... Anyway, three books behind, not exactly fresh in my mind, it's time to get going.  First up, Terry Pratchett kind of has a new one out - I saw kind of because it's a collaboration with another author, I assume an SF writer.  Which means we're not exactly going to get vintage Pratchett, whose books are only SF because they don't take place in our universe (you know what I mean, that genre takes itself so seriously).  Not sure how much of this book is Pratchett anyway, you know I just I assume that what with his Alzheimer's and all, this collaboration might have been easier than writing his own stuff... So given that I knew this wasn't going to be Pratchett, why read it? Well, I guess it was mostly why not? That's why I reserved it and once I reserved it, might as well read it.

It was indeed, much more in the usual bent of SF/fantasy.  World building and all that, and taking itself seriously... On its merits as fantasy, I'm not sure how well qualified I am to judge (well not this type of fantasy anyway).  But I didn't think the world was all that creative or revolutionary.   And not amazingly crafted either, the laws of the universe definitely seemed at times haphazard.  I much prefer Jasper Fforde's whimsical Bookworld or even Sharon Shinn's Archangel universe.  But I guess it's not fair to compare this to some of my favorite books.  Elegantly crafted or not, this universe is certainly interesting, and I'm not going to say it doesn't have potential.

This one is only the first in the series, so potential is something it better have.  Being the first, it spent most of the time just setting the scene, and then ended on somewhat of a crisis.  But before reaching the crisis, the menace of this book had already been revealed, and I have to say I did not find it spectacular. Maybe I wasn't meant it and this was all just part of the setup, but I hope the further secrets of this universe prove more momentous.  I say I hope... because you know there's a good chance I'll be reading at least the next one in the series.   Even though it's not my thing, once I start I like to continue.

But if it was that bad, I'm pretty sure I'd abandon ship no matter what.  So I guess it's not that bad.  Actually, don't get me wrong, I didn't think it was anything terrible at all.  The book managed to stay interesting even with not much going on.  And if the characters weren't the most likable, at least they had universal relevance/importance going for them (we meet the central players in this brave new world of course).  There were plenty enough times I found myself annoyed with this or that (hard to remember what at this late juncture) but overall there was never much doubt that I would continue reading.   It was definitely interesting enough for that.  And I'm not sure what else I could ask from the genre.

Verdict: 3/5

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