The Seventh Sword Trilogy – Dave Duncan

Another trilogy lent to me during recuperation, this one is one I’d read before. This trilogy brilliantly subverts genre tropes, with a modern chemist catapulted into another world during the Age of Legends. Wallie Smith has to understand both how this world works and what is happening to fulfil a mysterious quest set to him by a god.

We have the trials, the faith and the work to drive the world to a better place. But we also have “magic” and strategy and leadership. Of course there is a culture clash, as Wallie has to get used to social norms in the World.  How it ends is inspired, and I love that the big picture the gods view includes the purpose for souls, and the need for that soul to be the right age at the right time.

The characters are both strong and flawed, just how I like them! And the world-building is brilliant as we understand the geography and what the Age of Legends means in this world.

Looking for other work by Dave Duncan I am torn to discover that he has added a fourth book to this series. Unlike the existing books, which happen in swift succession, this one is set 15 years into the future. Such a distant epilogue feels like cashing in on a successful trilogy rather than having anything interesting to say

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A Song of Ice and Fire – George R. R. Martin (up to end A Dance with Dragons)

ASoIaF is brilliant, fantastical, intricate, epic. But can someone give the man an editor! Every book is getting more long-winded, and I’m struggling to imagine how he’s ever going to pull it all back together again. Every time I think I can see how he might manage it, someone key dies. This does make me slightly loose faith in the grand master plan, I’ve had a couple of epic series that have ended in an unfinished “lost my way” manner and it makes me look back on the entire series in a disappointed light.A Dance with Dragons

But the journey is good. And of course life doesn’t have the first person you meet always winning through, so I’m willing to trust that there is a plan that means the chaos will ease off and peace returns to the Seven Kingdoms (together or separately).

I’m glad they were lent to me, and will read the rest when they eventually appear. My to read pile now includes George R R Martin’s earlier works, which I’ll get around to reading sometime this decade!

A Game Of Thrones – George R R Martin

Winter is coming.A Game Of Thrones

A Game Of Thrones feels like the classic opening book of a great fantasy series. It does have a plot of its own, but primarily its moving the players into place for the books to come and worldbuilding.

The different views of the story were fascinating, watching people make decisions on “facts” that other characters already know to be false, whilst ensuring that the reader isn’t given too much information to be able to judge a situation too clearly.

The prologue did throw me a little, but it was helpful to have in the back of my mind as much of the setting is a fairly standard pseudo-medieval historical setting. I was also glad as the book unfolded to see wisdom, experience and knowledge as respected as being good at hitting people with sticks.

Having read the ending I need to read the rest of the books.