Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Great Hunt

Reactions to The Great Hunt
I found this book more absorbing than The Eye of the World; I finished reading it around Feb. 15 and had to force myself not to start The Dragon Reborn until March. Picked up Bernard Cornwell's The Winter King in the meantime, but more about that in another post (TK).

Leigh Butler's smartly written synopses at Tor are very handy references and refreshers.

I think these books need to be understood as "Lord of the Rings fan fiction". I read that quote somewhere. Wheel of Time could never have been written without LoTR. These books have similar strengths and weaknesses of LoTR: shallow characters, black-and-white vision of good/evil, a chaste and non-gritty way of describing and experiencing, richly envisioned landscape, culture, and long journeys, epic "save the world" plot, and of course the usual cast of warriors, magicians, orcs, elves and other such myth-like beings. For those of us who were entranced by LoTR, the WoT promises a much longer immersion in a magical world where one's actions have epic meaning and value.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Starting The Great Hunt

Reactions so far to The Great Hunt:

I'm enjoying Rand's resistance to his calling. Almost every genuine spiritual calling is met by horror and resistance. Oh, you need examples to prove the point? Moses, St. Augustine, Jesus (if you like Kazantsakis' deeply-felt interpretation) ... um, I'll think of some more. A "spiritual transformation" is a destruction of the ego. It's a "lose yourself to find yourself" thing. It's the meaning of death. Yeah, I don't think most of us are ready to die, we're way too full of self-love.

No, I think Siddhartha is a different story, Buddhism isn't about "spiritual calling", a Buddhist should laugh or snort about "spirituality", they wouldn't have patience with it. Most of what goes by the name of "spirituality" these days is new-age wishful thinking, quest for warm-fuzzies, yearning to feel connected or important.

I do like the Aes Sedai envisioned as spiritual practitioners.

The Eye of the World

OK, signed up for the Wheel of Time big read-in on Book Love Affair blog.

Just happenstance that I started reading WoT. I really liked George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire (so far) and wanted to indulge my LoTR-inclination, did some research, and picked up The Eye of the World.

What I enjoyed in this book:
  • Large, detailed world with (typical fantasy-lit) medieval-style political/economic/technology/cultural setting
  • Plot-driven, suspenseful writing
  • Sense of an epic, unfolding narrative
  • evocative villages/towns/cities, buildings, clothing, and landscape descriptions
  • Likable characters
  • Tolkienesque equivalents are enjoyable homage: Aragorn/Strider, hobbits, wizards, Sauron.

What I didn't enjoy in this book:
  • simplistic, unexplained good vs. evil scenario
  • uncomplicated (dare I say shallow, one-dimensional) characters
  • some continuity/context errors