Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bakker's The Judging Eye Reviewed and Miscellanea

R. Scott Bakker gets the treatment this week on review Monday/Tuesday. Ever since I first read The Darkness that Comes Before, I’ve been a huge fan of Scott’s writing and I feel he is on a very short list of writers who are taking the fantasy genre in a stark and wonderful direction. For whatever reason, I was a little slow in getting to his latest, The Judging Eye. I finally read it recently and posted the review last night:
There are no absolutes in Bakker’s fictional world, or rather once something is thought of as an absolute, something or someone thrusts that absolute into the fire both illuminating and destroying what could be considered absolute. Take Sorweel again - his hatred for Kellhus is thrown asunder once Kellhus appears. The dichotomy of conflicting absolutes drives much of the fiction and can be seen in the mirrored journeys of Achamanian and the Skin Eaters and the march of the Great Ordeal. Both are striving towards what they see as the greater good, although part of what fuels Achamanian is his hatred of Kellhus. Whereas the Great Ordeal is marching in the name of good against an accepted evil, Akka’s march in the depths of darkness may eventually illuminate the true nature of Kellhus. The Great Ordeal is an army of knights and order, Akka’s march is basically a mish-mash of chaos and those on the fringes of society.
While I’m probably one of the last folks on the genre intarwebs to post it what the hell: the shortlist for The David Gemmell Awards was announced (included below are the links to those I reviewed):

Joe Abercrombie – Last Argument of Kings (Gollancz/Pyr)

Juliet Marillier– Heir to Sevenwaters (Tor UK)

Brandon Sanderson - The Hero of Ages (Tor US)

Andrzej Sapkowski - Blood of Elves (Gollancz)

Brent Weeks - The Way of Shadows (Orbit)

This award is fan voted, similar to the Locus award, although the focus here is mainly on epic fantasy. As the links above point out, I read three of the books, although I have read books by the other two authors. I will likely be voting for Joe Abercrombie’s Last Argument of Kings which was one of my top reads for last year. Much as I loved The Hero of Ages Joe’s book just nudged it out.

Sadly, Harry Kalas, Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster and voice of the NFL since 1975 passed away yesterday. Anybody who has an interest in Baseball or even a passing interest in the NFL knows Kalas’s deep voice. He actually died in the booth just before calling a Phillies game. Is it poetic or sad to die while doing the job you loved in life? Either way, his voice will be missed.

Lastly, to end on an up note, I hadn’t realized it but thanks to Adam, Steven Erikson’s Malazan saga is officially 10 years old. That is, the first book, Gardens of the Moon published in 1999. It’s been almost a year since I read The Bonehunters, so I need to do a little bit of catching up.

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