The OF Blog: So I pick up this ARC copy I recently received...

Thursday, February 03, 2011

So I pick up this ARC copy I recently received...

...and I open it randomly to a page, just to see what I might behold, and I read this:

Venjanj pointed to the land around them.  "Into this place they came, sodalist.  It was here they met the Quiet, here that the War of the First Promise was decided.  Baellor's army was outnumbered four to one.  Wave upon wave of the Quiet descended into the plain.  Baellor knew he could not fight a war on many fronts, so he commanded his line to form a great circle, leaving no flank.

"At first, only flesh and steel clashed on the plain.  But soon, Velle lifted their hands to the sky and called terrible fire and wind and lightning to smite Baellor's army.  They drew the great power of life from the world they sought to own, from the earth upon which their enemies stood.  Their drain upon the land was massive, stripping it of life and vitality, color and scent, the very marrow of the world, leaving the land an utter waste."

Let's see... constructed profession title?  Check.  Capitalized adjective serving in lieu of a regular noun?  Check.  Besieged, likely noble ruler whose name might be a near carbon copy from another epic fantasy?  Check again.  Dastardly enemy using some sort of magic to devastate the land?  Of course.  Does this have the feel like the author squatted over his narrative and took a massive (info)dump?  Certainly.

Sure, such impressions might be misleading, but I found myself having little interest in reading the story based on how much it appears to resemble those narratives that I've come to despise.  But one's tastes, as well as mileage, will vary, I suppose.

6 comments:

Ian Sales said...

Dialogue that reads like purple prose... check.

Larry said...

Minus, of course, the redeeming qualities of elevated speech. Bulwer-Lytton might be proud of this new writer.

Ben Godby said...

Huh... I actually kind of liked that passage. But... I would probably hate it if I saw it in context. I'm kind of approaching a point where I can read about 1% of fantasy fiction without sighing, and then not even all the time.

The worst thing for me is wandering bookshelves and seeing too many pictures of dragons and space marines. At my request, a friend of mine, David Barron, just wrote the ultimate genre bestseller, "DRAGON MARINES." Appeals to Fers and SFers with equal retardation.

WordTipping said...

I never tire of some tropes which is probably why I never tire of Conan or Warhammer.

That aside, I have a hard time putting much stock into "elevated speech" as it just as repetitive. In skilled hands it is a two edged thing with as much satire and gravitas. So even when the authors themselves don't take it seriously, I have a hard time as well.

Tom said...

Oh, but it's missing the terrible portmanteau words that pepper fantasy books today, words like "Mistborn", "Warbreaker", "Shadowmoor", "Worldwake", "Bloodfang", "Spellsinger", "Shadowtouched", etc. I'm sure the book has them, and in spades, but that particular passage is missing a key component in fantasy "dreckwriting".

Ben Godby said...

Tom, it's not truefantasy if it doesn't have any newwords.

 
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