Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Throne of Bones

by Vox Day

Like I said yesterday, I'm no fan of sci-fi, but after having read A Magic Broken I was interested enough to buy and read A Throne of Bones.

I quite liked how the book was arranged, having been written from the perspective of many different characters to move several plot lines along.

My favorite novelist Eric van Lustbader writes his books in the same way, although he uses fewer characters and story-lines that weave through each other a bit more than those in A Throne of Bones, and van Lustbader's books jump around a lot more in time than Vox's linear storyline.

(Read: Jian by Eric van Lustbader)

The final battle in A throne of Bones was the most interesting battle description that I have read in quite a while, becasue of the constant changing perspectives.

The storylines, kinda, moved through different characters in a world of magic, men, elves, dwarves, orcs, and so on.  (One thought that I had was that an army of men in this world would have one  advantage over men fighting in the real world.  Imagine: orc: "Hey man, help me destroy your city and I'll bribe you with a bunch of money and all the orc women you could want...")

Rather than go through the details of the story, I'll describe the story as one about armies, politics, and magic.  The armies and battles that they fight are possible the best fictional ones that I've ever read,  the political issues are interesting in how I'll need to reflect on them a bit more (or gain more knowledge of their world) before I know which side I would've preferred, and the magical scenes were, for the most part, simple understandable and not outrageous.

The book was very good and I'd recommend it.

My criticisms is as follows:

When reading about many characters whose names come from unfamiliar places it becomes much more difficult to remember who is who, especially when many characters seem to be called different things by different characters.  The appendix (?) at the end did help clarify many of the ranks of the various soldiers, but I spent much of the first few chapters trying to figure out if there were several characters or only a few each being described by his family name by one character, then given name by another character, then nickname, then rank, and so on.

The descriptions of the military units left me at a loss too, becasue I am no scholar of Ancient Roman military structure.

It seemed as though there were several points where the book seemed to be a parallel of what happened in real history, and I recognized a few of them.  But some things like the paragraph about Marcus' horse having the same name as Alexander the Great's did in real life, was cool that I recognized it, but seemingly unnecessary. 

One more thing I would criticize is that this book seemed to be more of the beginning and middle of a story.  There was no definite ending to the book.  For example, after reading the last segment of Fjotra's story I was still exepecting more to it until I ended the book and it wasn't there.

I could see the final scene in the book being very cool to end part one of a series of movies, but it was not quite the conclusive ending that I was expecting.  I can understand not wrapping up all of the storylines, but it did not seem as if the main storyline was concluded.

It may well be that this is one of several books about the characters in the book, and it would be nice to know which books I should have read first and when others will come after.  I'm glad that I read A Magic Broken before A Throne of Bones, but I wonder if The Wardog's Coin, which I'm about to read should have been read before too.

Good book, would recommend, not perfect.

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