Saturday, April 3, 2010

Girl on Book Action: Godslayer by Jacqueline Carey

Godslayer by Jacqueline Carey
ISBN: 0-765-35098-X


Supreme Commander Lord Tanaros fled the realm of Men and chose darkness when he killed his adulterous wife and his liege king who cuckolded him. A thousand years have passed in service to his master, the dark god Satoris. The world views Satoris as Evil Prime and the name Tanaros is the byword for treachery.

The races have united in their quest to rid the world of the Dark God. The key to the prophecy is the beautiful Elvish princess Cerelinde – and Satoris has captured her.

Yet not all tales told are true. Satoris refuses to act like the monster that he is made out to be for he recognizes in Cerelinde a spark of the love that he once bore for his fellow gods. But this spark of light might prove to be a danger to Satoris…and a greater danger for Tanaros and all that he holds dear. For Cerelinde might remind him that the heart that he willed to iron an eon ago is still very much mortal.


My Thoughts:

Last week I reviewed the first part of this duology and here I shall review the conclusion.

Just as a general warning, since this is part two there might be some slight spoilers for Banewreaker scattered throughout this review, but I’ll try to be vague as much as possible so I don’t ruin for anyone who wants to read these books without knowing the outcome ahead of time.

Let me begin by saying that the phrase “it smelled like blood only sweeter” was basically absent from this book, which was a great relief for me. I don’t think I could have stomached it otherwise.

I’m also glad that while Carey’s characters weren’t particularly flat, they also weren’t the kind of characters that you have a lot of emotional attachments to – since if you did you’d spend most of this book lamenting that they have died. I suppose in a book that leads up to a big battle you have to expect some casualties, but considering the build-up of the first book, the deaths were not what I was expecting. And some characters' deaths were almost glossed-over, which I suppose could be read as a product of large scale battles where the loss of life is so great that focusing on the individuals, even if they are powerful, seems senseless.

I guess overall I just wasn’t impressed with the way the story turned out in the end. I was hoping for more than what I got. I’m not sure what that more really could have been; I just know that the resolution left me feeling unhappy.

I probably enjoyed the last 100-150 pages of the book the most, because things were finally happening. As with most quest-narratives there is a lot of repetition of themes, like the heroes are nearly caught, or things don’t go as expected for the villains, that type of stuff. So when the plot finally advanced to the showdown I was relieved and interested enough that I stayed up way too late in order to get to the end. Now that I’ve gotten there I’m not sure it was worth losing a couple of hours of sleep over.

Ultimately, my issues with the way the book turned out probably go back to this being mid-grade fantasy. I’ve come to expect more from Carey as a writer based on her Kushiel books, and more from fantasy due to writers I’ve mentioned in this blog before. I know that Carey can write characters that a reader cares about deeply, I also know that she can make you cringe and laugh and cry, but somehow that magic that she’s shown in other novels wasn’t present for this duology. There were hints of it throughout, but it never came out fully. And I’m starting to feel as though I’m repeating myself, so perhaps it’s time to wrap this up.

My overall opinion remains that these books are worth reading and are enjoyable, although you could read better in both the genre and also by the author. As I said in last week’s post, this duology might be a good alternative to Carey’s more sensual books if those aren’t quite your cup of tea as this story is rather chaste. I also think that there is quite a bit of value in these as a response to Lord of the Rings as the outcome, while disappointing in some respects, does still complicate the straightforward nature of the quest-narrative.

Post Script: I know you’ve all been wondering about when I’ll be doing another Reader’s Choice Poll, and the answer is that I’ll be starting a new one next week. So there you go!

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