Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I had to start again

The Stormcaller
The Twilight Reign #1
By Tom Lloyd
BUY IT


Isak is a white-eye, feared and despised in equal measure. Trapped in a life of poverty, hated and abused by his father, Isak dreams of escape, but when his chance comes, it isn't to a place in the army as he'd expected. Instead, the Gods have marked him out as heir-elect to the brooding Lord Bahl, the Lord of the Fahlan.
Lord Bahl is also a white-eye, a genetic rarity that produces men stronger, more savage and more charismatic than their normal counterparts. Their magnetic charm and brute strength both inspires and oppresses others.
Now is the time for revenge, and the forging of empires. With mounting envy and malice the men who would themselves be kings watch Isak, chosen by Gods as flawed as the humans who serve them, as he is shaped and moulded to fulfil the prophecies that are encircling him like scavenger birds. The various factions jostle for the upper hand, and that means violence, but the Gods have been silent too long and that violence is about to spill over and paint the world the colour of spilled blood and guts and pain and anguish . . .


I can't recall if I've made mention of this before or not. And while  a quick flip through my past posts would tell me I can't be bothered right now.

I read The Stormcaller by Tom Lloyd a couple of years ago when it was first published by Gollancz. I liked it well enough - more so than I'd originally expected to. I read book two, fine. No problems, from what I can recall it built well on book one and everything was fine and dandy. But then book three came along and he lost me. Literally.

I had no idea what was going on. And THAT never happens to me when reading a story. Even Erikson and Jordan have not caused me this problem... but I pushed through and got to the end.

Recently, a month or so ago, book four came out and I of course grabbed it because - despite everything - I am enjoying the story. Then I opened the book and began to read through the 'What's gone before'... and I was again, completely lost.

So I have gone back to the very beginning.

I don't want to talk so much about plot as anyone can get an idea of what the book is about from the blurb. What I'd like to talk about with this book is the execution.

Now let me say up front that I do like Lloyd's writing. He writes very well. His world building is great, he is inventive with a wonderful turn of phrase and has strong characters - even if he does on occasion change POV in the middle of a scene (I don't actually find that so much of a problem if it's clear - but so many writers have made it seem to be a 'no no' that I feel I have to frown at it when I notice it [but I don't really care]).

What I have discovered about his writing and this story - and this is what has made it so difficult for me to remember what happened (or what's even going on) is that he is very very light with the pen when it comes to the foreshadowing of events. Now I don't expect any writer to have to hit me over the head put up a neon sign in their story to make sure I pick up the hint, but it is only now that I have read books two and three that I am even seeing the possible hints of foreshadowing in book one. And that can't help but make it hard for any reader - especially one who can't be bothered going back to see what they missed. And I have to wonder if this is in fact the story as Lloyd wrote it or if he had to edit down for size/word count.

To my mind it could have used another one hundred odd pages dedicated to fleshing this out - and in fact if this wasn't an issue it would probably be the sort of book I'd scream about from the roof tops. As it is I find it a little frustrating because it's almost there... but not quite.

Is it worth you time to read? Absolutely, It's a strong book, it has a strong narrative and grreat ideas and regardless of any issues I might be having I haven't given up, I am still reading (and re-reading) this series. And who knows? Maybe you won't have the same issue I had, but if you do ever find yourself scratching your head at the inconsistencies or sudden (seeming) leaps of logic then I think you'll find the author mentioned something about the particular scene/event once and in such a way that it doesn't stick or ring any bells for the reader (well this one anyway).


3 comments:

Sarah said...

I have been trying to decide if I should give his book a shot or not and I still am on the fence about it. Good review!!

Mark Timmony said...

@ Sarah - omg, read it!

Tell me if I am insane! ;D

Temperance said...

I'm the same. I have been thinking about it for a while - Daniel dropped off a few reading copies of The Ragged Man today.

Good review..doesn't make me want to read it though lol

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