Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Misenchanted Sword - Lawrence Watt-Evans

buy - author site

The Deal: At this point in time, due to an RSI, I can only type for 10 minutes at a time. What you see below is what is hammered out before the timer goes off- and nothing more.

This book was lent to me by one of the guys working on the same floor when I was on my secondment earlier in the year. Generally, I'm against the borrowing of books, from either end of the bargain. I like to own the books I read, and don't like being responsible for other people's books even though I'm well aware most people aren't so ridiculously anal retentive. But I couldn't really say no, so I read it fast.

It's old high fantasy, sword and sorcery. It has wizardry against sorcery, oooold school fantasy kingdoms fighting oooooold school wars. Dragons. The sort of thing I scrunch my nose at a bit now days.

Found myself enjoying it though, perhaps because, after the last few books, it asked absolutely nothing of me. The main character (whose name I don't remember and I don't have the book here so I can't look up) is a great big void. People complain of Bella Swan being a hole, this guy is even more so. He has no personal history, no personality quirks, no future goals, he's just a vessel moving the story around. Not a stupid vessel, nor an annoying one, but entirely devoid of depth.

He gets himself in a bit of a bind behind enemy lines, encounters a wizard who gives him the sword of the title, and from there, his life gets complicated.

I was never quite sure exactly where the story was heading. I thought it would follow standard sword and sorcery plot structure, but it started edging off sideways with the end of the war and economic turmoil that followed. In fact, it's a surprising book. Never quite gains depth, but doesn't do what you'd expect it to.

It has a twist ending. Normally such a thing would make me scrunch up my noise, but it was so simply pulled off that I laughed out loud.

Verdict: not a great work of art, but it was fun, easy light reading, and gave me a hankering to go back and find my old fat fantasy books, 'cause there are some styles of story you just can't get away with these days. Which occasionally is a pity.

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