Can you see how the pieces fit together? Not just the visible ones, like the towers of the sunset, but those unseen, like the heart of a man or the soul of a wizard.
What’s awesome about it
- The langauge is beautiful (as you can see above)
- The worldbuilding and the use of the word ‘masculine’.
- There’s no blurb! At least on my copy. This makes it very hard to place the book in context to the first, The Magic of Recluce
- The last half of the book is kinda boring
- Magera is a twit.
Although one or two sentances may require a second read, the book is beautifully written, lyrical even, and a marked improvement on the first. I espcially like how Modesitt uses sounds, such as splot, splash and whuff, almost like environmental dialogue.
The worldbuilding is awesome and subtle, so subtle that it took me a few chapters to realise what Modesitt was doing.
The book is set, in part, within a matriarchal society, which is obvious from the get-go. What isn’t obvious, and what really twists your brain (for those of us who grew up in a patriarichal society) is that men are viewed in much the same way women used to be viewed – flighty, delicate and not terribly bright.
This was driven home for me, when I realised that Modesitt was using the word ‘masculine’ in much the same way Barbara Cartland used ‘feminine’. Of course, it took me a third of the book to realise that that was what he was doing, until then I couldn’t quite figure out why the female characters (usually solider types) were saying ‘masculine’ like it was a thing of weakness.
No blurb. None. Nada. Zip. I didn’t even find a description on Goodreads. My only conclusion is that you’re meant to know what the book is about through some kind of literary osmosis.
The lack of a blurb wouldn’t be so bad if the story had followed on from The Magic of Recluce, or had given some indication of when it took place (an apendix with a timeline would have been helpful). Instead, I had to google it. I was glad I did, because it turns out that L.E. Modesitt didn’t write the Recluce saga in any sort of chronological order, instead the series jumps around its own timeline like the Easter Bunny on crack.
Slight spoiler alert.
Maybe I’ve been raised on too many action movies, but the only way to descibe the second half of the book is bucolicly boring. I cannot tell you how not-so-fascinating I find the re-establishment of an island settlement. Sure, there’s some action part of the way through, a little danger and excitement, but mostly there’s no conflict or it’s conflict I don’t care about. Why didn’t I care about it? Because of Magera, the World’s Most Unsympathic Heroine.
Magera. Is. A. Twit. A stupid little twit who expects the hero to understand her needs and emotions while being a complete and utter cow. Seriouslly woman, do unto others and all that. Perhaps if you hadn’t rejected his every attempt to make amends, even if they were a little clumsy, he wouldn’t avoid you. Or, here’s a thought, maybe you could extend to him the same courtesy you’re demanding
The first few rejections you can take, but Magera never changes her tune. Perhaps, if Modesitt had solved the first dilema between the hero and Magera and then come up with a second, I would have been more sympathic and found the end of the book more interesting. As it was, I had to restrain myself from throwing it at a wall.
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