The Runelords by David Farland
I’ve really been trying to step up my reading. And hey, two books in a month, next I know it’ll be three! Also, I’ve been busy lately with a new project, which I’ll talk about another time, so this is going to be a fairly simple review.
Premise:(From the back of the book)
The very Earth is in pain. Its wounds must be healed. There must arise a new king: the Earth King must be reborn. Only then will humanity have a chance to survive.
The Runelords takes you for a fun. ride It offers a few things that most fantasies don’t–as far as I’ve read anyway. It has a very medival culture feel to it, but is not set in the landscape of Europe as we know it. So Farland definitely did his research for this one, and some creative work to boot. Tossed into this culture is a new concept, that of the Runelords themselves. These kings use a magical process using runes and branding (I love Scandinavian mythology so it’s almost automatic for me to like this idea) to take the best qualities donated from their loving or purchased from broke subjects theoretically to rule better but we know better than that, someone will twist this benign practice and we will get a story.
In the runelords, old traditions have changed over time and when a war unlike anything these people have ever seen marches into Rofehaven the only answer is to go back to the old ways, to follow the Earth King for this war is much more than it seems.
3 Things I liked:
• An existing prophecy doesn’t happen the way it is supposed to–now the men don’t have their guide, their script to play out. Kind of refreshing. It makes you feel like the characters don’t know what they are doing they are shooting in the dark just like real people.
• Characters fail, and fail hard and then they feel the guilt for it and have to find other answers. They see that they could have done a million things differently but they didn’t and have to cope with that and go on with life.
• They beautiful princess loses all her physical beauty, the common peasant girl becomes beautiful. It’s interesting to see how this affects them.
3 Things I didn’t like:
• The endowments sound too much like stats in role playing games. Quantifying one’s strength, speed and brains as concretely as Farland does here seems so unnatural to me.
• If I could give David Farland one piece of advice about improving the writing of this book it would be R.U.E. Resist the Urge to Explain. Some explanations are necessary for world building and catching up on previous events, but he does a great job of showing many actions and conclusions but then clutters the pages with loads of telling.
• Sloppy proofreading–I could nitpick little things extensively. This bothers me the most, for two reasons. For the last ten years or so I’ve trained myself to pick up on continuity errors in my own writing and in workshops, and I know that as an unpublished writer, one mistake like that could get my entire manuscript rejected but it’s fine for him (or his editor?) to mar his work with imperfections because he’s a big name author. Second, letting those little things through feels like taking a sharpie and squiggling lines on, say a da Vinci painting or some other masterwork. Does he have no pride in his work?
anyway, I’ll get to reading the three remaining volumes of this series but I think I’ll let this review stand for them all. Like I said, I’m a bit busy working on a new project. More coming on that soon.
Fantasy: Spellwright – Blake Charlton
Scholarly: Wizardry & Wild Romance, A Study of Epic Fantasy – Michael Moorcock
Writing:(I’m slacking here)