Valor (The Faithful and the Fallen #2) ★☆☆☆☆ DNF@10%

valor (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Valor
Series: The Faithful and the Fallen #2
Author: John Gwynne
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 680 /DNF@10%
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

DNF’s don’t get a synopsis. They are crap and have forfeited the right to any effort on my part that might in any way convince someone else to try them. In fact, I consider it my Civic Duty to NOT do any sort of synopsis for a DNF book and view it as akin to shooting a Communist.

TRUTH, JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN WAY!!!

 

My Thoughts:

Ok, I got it out of my system. I’m ok now, honest.

However, 94 characters, 120 chapters and 120 point of view changes majorly contributed to my continued blaseness about this book, this series and this author.

I simply didn’t care. This, and Malice too, had all the earmarks of an Epic Fantasy that I would eat up with a spoon. But I didn’t. It wasn’t even hate this time but just a complete and utter appalling cloud of apathy.

I won’t be reading any more by this author. He just pushes my buttons wrong for some reason.

★☆☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

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.

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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)

 

ps,

I found the perfect term. Dirty Louse.

Malice (The Faithful and the Fallen #1) ★★☆☆½

malice (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Malice
Series: The Faithful and the Fallen #1
Author: John Gwynne
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 641
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A thousand years ago there was a god-war between the Creator and his highest created being, Asroth. Asroth and his allies came to the physical world to destroy what they could. In the god-war Asroth and his minions were banished to the realm of the spirit. Not content to exist, Asroth sent a star from heaven to the earth from which both giants and men fashioned items. Being from Asroth, such items corrupted their bearers. Eventually, giant warred against giant and man against man and each against the other. The Creator finally had enough and sent a cataclysm that destroyed much of the world.

The remnant of humanity that survived washed up on the shores of the Banished Lands and started the 7 kingdoms. Now, 1000 years later, a prophecy is found that foretells of another god-war in which the Creator will have his champion of Light and Asroth his Dark Champion. It also reveals that Asroth will try to return to the physical realm to completely destroy it to simply spite the Creator.

One of the Princes’ of the land is convinced he is the Champion of Light and determines to unite the various kingdoms into an Empire, the better to fight Asroth. We also follow a young village boy who is growing up and his challenges as he works toward becoming a warrior.

Eventually the Prince murders his father, attacks the giants and takes one of the objects of power and the readers realize, even while the Prince does not, that he is the Dark Champion. The young boy saves a small company from treachery by the Prince and it is obvious that he is the Champion of Light.

 

My Thoughts:

This book went all over the place in terms of rating from me. I enjoyed parts tremendously and would think “Oh, 4 stars easily” then I’d consider dnf’ing and at other points I thought “Not even Robert Jordan and Sanderson were this arrogant in their books”. So this might turn into something a bit longer than I intended.

I deliberately cut the synopsis down to it’s absolute minimum because Gwynne doesn’t. Gwynne makes things as complicated as possible in several ways. First off, he introduces over 35 named characters within the first 10% of the book. I counted and listed them on Librarything because it was NEVER obvious who was a main character and who was just somebody that Gwynne gave a name and backstory to. The second part of the complication was Gwynne’s shifting of Point of View every chapter. Sometimes a chapter would be 2 pages and at others 20. But it was always from somebody else than the previous POV. Finally, Gwynne had no problem with world building. He’d give as much character time to some one who we’d never see again as to some of the more central characters.

I found all of these authorial choices frustrating and incredibly anger inducing. The thread of the story was obscured by all the loose ends and dead ends, etc. I WILL NOT pay attention to 45 characters (that was my rough count by the end of the book) just because the author wants to be clever. It was overwhelming and even now, writing this, I’m getting steamed all over again. Even the Malazan books were easier to keep track of than this and that is not any sort of praise if you’ve read my Malazan Re-read reviews. I felt like I was juggling 45 balls never knowing which one had the live grenade inside that I needed to pay attention to. Juggling 45 live grenades is very stress inducing, let me tell you! I also felt like Gwynne was wasting my time as this book was almost 700 pages. Why did I need to know about Jack the boy farmer and his whole family when he dies 3 chapters later? It just came across as the author telling me that every idea he had was more important than the time I was spending on reading about them.

On the positive side, I absolutely loved the story. Two Chosen Ones is awesome. It is obvious to the reader that the Prince is the dark champion but to those around the Prince it seems like he truly is the Champion of Light. He is trying to unite the humans, comes up with new fighting tactics, achieves goals no one thought possible and wants to protect the land from Asroth. Knowing that Asroth is the arch-deceiver, it is no surprise that no one thinks they’re the bad guy. I like Epic Fantasy and this is definitely Epic Fantasy. The politics going on between the kingdoms is great and adds a real depth to the story too.

A few final negative thoughts though. I’d been warned that Gwynne takes his time and that reviewer wasn’t kidding. This meanders, but once again that is a product of Gwynne placing world building above all else. Secondly, this book doesn’t have a beginning, middle and end plot point. There is no goal. Even Robert Jordan and his first Wheel of Time book, The Eye of the World, told a complete story. This was just 1/4th of a story artificially cut into a separate book.

I do plan on reading the next book. I am desperately hoping that there is not another list of 40 new characters to juggle. If there is, then I’ll be parting ways from Gwynne after that. All of the before mentioned issues might not bother you, but they bother me immensely.

★★☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)