Currently Reading: Valor (and it’s not looking good)

valor (Custom)Even after my abysmal start with John Gwynne and his arrogant debut with Malice, I was the bigger man and decided to give the rat a second chance. The book hadn’t even started and the (what can I use as a pejorative that isn’t a profanity? I need a word that adequately describes my dislike of the man, the author, the style and in fact, every single thing about him) son of a ghuhn was already rubbing my face in his sickening, overwheening pride. The Cast of Characters was right at the beginning of the book and if you remember (and if you don’t I’m going to remind you), my first big complaint was that Gwynne debuted a first book in a series with over 45 named characters. Well, that rat ghuhn listed 94 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) (I know, because I counted them) characters in his cast of characters. I stuck my tongue into the corner of my mouth, calmly closed my kindle Oasis and didn’t read another word for over 24hrs.

I had to think. So I turned to the series of books that I consider to be the most dense, the most depressing, the best written and the most awesome of storylines, the Malazan Books of the Fallen. In Reaper’s Gale the Cast of Characters is 153. However, that was Book 7 of a series of 10, where each book was actually a double novel. So I checked out the second book, Deadhouse Gates and it clocks in at around 84 characters.

Honestly, I can’t figure out why I have such problems with Gwynne doing this when I’ve seen it done already. Maybe because I now associate Malazan and Erikson with 1000 page nihilistic existentialism soap box preaching and complete and utter authorial disregard for actually telling a story? And I’m concerned Gwynne is going to go down that road? I already know this is grim stuff, so that strikes against it but I can’t figure it out. That bugs the living daylights out of me. 

Right now, the following is ME and what you can’t see is John Gwynne prostrate at my feet as I decide if I’ll swing the axe or not.



I started reading again last night and I’m still on the fence. If you don’t see a review of this next week you’ll know I stuck to it.


bookstooge (Custom)



I found the perfect term. Dirty Louse.

45 thoughts on “Currently Reading: Valor (and it’s not looking good)

  1. Manuel Antao says:

    A long time ago I asked what were your thoughts on Gwynne’s work because I had never read him (I still haven’t). I remember you were quite vocal about it…bottom-line of what you told me: “crap”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s been years since I read the first book but I do remember there being a ton of characters, to the point I had a hard time keeping up with who was who. I also remember it being incredibly slow until the end. Despite both things, I remember enjoying it and have the second book on my TBR list. Doesn’t mean that I won’t throw a fit too when I finally pick it up knowing this. Lol.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Norrie says:

    Never read anything by this author but i don’t think i could handle his style… and all those characters… 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I tried listening to the audio book of Malice and gave up as I really struggled to get into it. Glad I’m not the only one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      I saw so many glowing reviews of Gwynne that I knew that I HAD to at least try him.
      But Malice made me react badly and Valor is making me react almost as much. What really bugs me is that I can’t exactly nail down what it IS that is causing the reaction.

      You are definitely not alone in this!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. savageddt says:

    That is quite a long list of names

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Matt Ries says:

    Man, GRRM waited until the end AGOT (and every subsequent book) to do an appendix of Houses and thus all the characters seen and unseen in the novels. If he had done it at the beginning, ASOIAF might have died a quick death.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      I usually skip over those kind of things when at the beginning, but when I have to keep on hitting the next page button on my kindle, and it keeps going and going and going, well, then I start to notice 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. angie chui says:

    I have way lesa patience in books than in movies. If books don’t engage me by chapter 4, they mostly get stuck on my TBR pile. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ola G says:

    LOL, I do feel that it every time you read a bad book and review it my day gets better 😀 Should I wish only crappy books for you? That aside, I still haven’t checked out Malice. Maybe your troubles come from the very fact that you’ve already read and re-read Erikson? You know, too much of a not-so-good thing and you’re getting allergic 😉 I still won’t eat Digestive chocolate cookies after I ate a few before a 10B storm on a lousy sailing boat and they were the first thing to come up…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      It could very well be that I’m allergic now. Ironic thing is, when I delete this series off of my kindle, I’ll be replacing it with the Wheel of Time books for my first time re-read of the whole thing.

      I guess that will be the real telling point if I’ve become allergic to Epic Fantasy, or just to Gwynne.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m no stranger to large casts in epic fantasy, but yikes that number is a lot. It’s not that I mind following a lot of characters, but they have to be written well and memorable or else I don’t see much of a point. Sorry this series isn’t working out for you, I’ve never read it but I enjoyed the first book of his new trilogy and am looking forward to continuing with the second book soon. At least that one has a manageable number of characters, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      Honestly, I thought I was inured to this after my Malazan re-read. Which is why I was wondering if there was something else in play. I just can’t nail it down though.

      Glad you’re enjoying his second trilogy. I guess I’ll be consigning him to the stack of authors Not for Me.


  10. HCNewton says:

    I’m with Ola – was really hoping for a full review from you. But, it’s better for you to move on (rats….)

    Dirty louse is a good term, I agree

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Not every book/author is for everyone – otherwise we would all be the reading equivalent of Borg drones 😀 😀 . Still, I guess it’s a matter of point of view AND personal inclinations: I saw the list of characters as a friendly reminder (and I *do* need them now more than ever, since encroaching old age makes my sieve-like memory even more unreliable) and accepted from the start the fact that I could not commit them all to memory, so I let myself go with the current and just enjoy the story.
    I hope this second book turns out better for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Nicole says:

    My biggest problem with casts of characters that large isn’t when they exist, it’s when the author feels the need to put the list of them at the FRONT of the book. (To be fair, this could also be a publisher decision. I’m not sure in this particular case.) Unless the guide is a short one (like a quick pronunciation guide when using non-English languages) I prefer all of my guides to be at the end of the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      That is a good point. Is it the author making those choices or the publisher? My gut reaction is that it is an authorial choice, but I do know there is a LOT of the book that is out of the author’s hands if they go with a big publisher.

      I like all the stuff to be at the end too.


  13. I haven’t gotten around to reading book 2 but I doubt I’ll remember the first 45 characters from book 1 if I ever get around to book 2 now hahaha Good luck, good sir!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. […] only did TWO non-review posts this month. One was a Currently Reading (which I liked doing and I might try to do those a bit more often) and the other was the Fall from […]


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