Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pawn of Prophecy

A few years back, I got a hold of all five books in David Eddings' Belgariad. I decided to give the series a try last week. I have read one of his other series in the past, and enjoyed it, so I was hoping that the Belgariad would also be enjoyable.
Unfortunately, I've had a real struggle with the first book, Pawn of Prophecy. Pawn of Prophecy follows Garion, a young boy raised by his Aunt Pol on a farm. Unfortunately, Garion gets caught up in world shattering events when his friend, Mister Wolf, comes to the farm in desperate need of Pol's help. And so Garion is dragged from the farm life he knows into the company of kings as they attempt to find an important object that was stolen.
I didn't like that the book followed Garion. While he was an alright character, everyone treats him as a child throughout the entire book. No matter what he does, he is looked down upon by his Aunt. And even though he is quite obviously in the middle of things, and has a right to know why he was uprooted from his life, no one wants to tell him anything. I also found the beginning of the book threw a lot of information at you that was hard to follow or care about (especially when it then heads to a simple farm for a good quarter of the book), and lots of things were extremely predictable. This last thing, especially concerning certain characters like Aunt Pol was most likely done on purpose, but I thought the book would have been better if things were concealed a bit better for the reader.
As I struggled through it, I kept thinking that I would not attempt any of the other books in the Belgariad. Pawn of Prophecy was one of those mediocre books. Like Tim Lebbon's Fallen, it wasn't a good book and it wasn't a bad book. But unlike Fallen, Pawn of Prophecy didn't really keep me wanting to read it. I made it through by sheer stubbornness (or maybe stupidity) alone. I never really found myself interested in what was going on through the majority of the book. Only at the end did something interesting happen, but I'm not sure it was enough to make me want to read the next book. Knowing me, I probably will; I'm hoping that the Belgariad will get better as it goes.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Raven's Strike

Well, I was a bit slow with reading Patricia Briggs' Raven's Strike, as I finished the Raven's Shadow a week ago. For some reason, it took me a bit to get into it and keep reading. But once I got about halfway through the book (which is about when things felt like they were moving forward, rather than filling in some things that had happened somewhere between the two books, which conveniently happened yesterday) I couldn't put the book down! Raven's Strike was just such an intreguing read, revealing more about the world in which it is set.
Raven's Strike picks up pretty close to where Raven's Shadow left off. Seraph, Tier, Lehr and Jes are returning home to Redern with Hennea, who wants to go and track down the new Shadowed. Seraph convinces Hennea to remain with them; the Shadowed has cause enough to hate the family and will come after them seeking revenge. But right after they return, Tier starts to experience problems with his Order, which is being stolen by the only remaining wizard from those who kidnapped him: the Shadowed. Seraph and her family must then travel to long lost Colossae in the hopes of saving Tier and stopping the Shadowed once and for all!
When I got near the end, I didn't want to put Raven's Strike down, even though I knew I had to work this morning. I saved the last 30 pages for today, which I really enjoyed. The story is over, but I find myself wondering what comes next? I really enjoyed reading about these characters and I hope that Briggs will one day return to their world.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Raven's Shadow

I just finished yet another excellent book by Patricia Briggs (At this rate, I'm going to run out of novels by her to read and it'll be like Terry Brooks - I have to wait each year until the next one comes out!) This time it was Raven's Shadow that I just read. Raven's Shadow is in a completely different world from the Mercy Thompson series and the Sianim books.
Raven's Shadow is the story of Seraph, a Traveller Raven mage. After her clan is killed by plague and her brother killed by townsfolk, she is saved by Tier, a soldier returning home after war. Seraph decides to remain with Tier, becoming his wife and forsaking her Raven duties of protecting the world's people from a long ago evil. But everything changes when Tier fails to return home one winter. With the help of her children, Seraph goes to find her husband and finds that his fate is tied up with the ancient evil that is stirring once again.
There were some aspects of Raven's Shadow that confused me a bit. For example, it took me a long time to figure out what exactly a Raven was. I knew that the Ravens were mages, but it is a bit more than that; to use an example from Dungeons and Dragons, a Raven would be similar to a sorceror, while a non-Traveller mage would be like a wizard. This isn't the perfect analogy, but it works. Ravens are one of six Orders within the Traveller clans, with the other five being Owl (Bard), Lark (Healer), Falcon (Hunter), Cormorant (Weather Witch) and Eagle (Guardian). Not all of the Travellers are Order-bearers, but the Orders are almost always found within the Traveller people. From what I could gather, the Travellers are similar to gypsies, but they have blonde hair.
All in all, I thought Raven's Shadow was an excellent book! It seemed a bit harder to get into at the beginning than Briggs' other works, but I really enjoyed it and can't wait to start Raven's Strike!