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The Star King (Demon Princes, #1)


I had not read Jack Vance in a while, and it's my first time read­ing it in eng­lish. It's the first time I pre­fer the trans­lat­ed work.

The need­less­ly old-­fash­ioned vo­cab­u­lary (why scold when you can ob­jur­gate!) makes for a dif­fi­cult read, and the plot is thin enough al­ready. The one-di­men­sion­al­i­ty of the char­ac­ter­s, spe­cial­ly the main one, is ex­plained away on a thin mo­ti­va­tion­al ba­sis.

Of course it al­so has the clas­sic Vance world-build­ing, a feel­ing that it all makes sense and is part of a much larg­er "ev­ery­thing", which is the main re­deem­ing fac­tor.



First of al­l: while I don't love this book, I do love the au­thor's lat­er work. So, con­sid­er this more like a "look how much bet­ter he's now", not a "he used to not be so good" re­view.

The sto­ry is good, the set­ting is in­ter­est­ing, the lead­ing char­ac­ter is well de­vel­ope­d, but... the end­ing. The book just ... stop­s.

The Magician's Land (The Magicians, #3)


So, I fin­ished this tril­o­gy, "The Ma­gi­cian­s", by Lev Gross­man.

This is an ac­tu­al tril­o­gy. Three sto­ries that fol­low each oth­er, but each one could be a stan­dalone, al­though the whole is rich­er than the part­s. It fol­lows our "hero" Quentin Cold­wa­ter in and out of school, out and in of one world or an­oth­er, through the sec­ond fif­teen years of his life.

One in­ter­est­ing thing (for me) is that the char­ac­ter starts ful­ly ado­les­cent (e­mo Har­ry Pot­ter!) and ends up, I feel, ful­ly grownup, act­ing like a re­spon­si­ble, if un­usu­al, adult.

The books are criss­crossed by Fil­lo­ry, a bare­ly con­cealed Nar­ni­a, as Nar­nia should have been, ac­tu­al­ly deep and in­ter­est­ing books about mag­ic and chil­dren in­stead of fake and shal­low chris­tian tracts fea­tur­ing card­board cutouts of chil­dren. Mind you, the ac­tu­al Fil­lo­ry books de­scribed with­in sound like an even dopi­er Nar­ni­a, but the mag­ic in these books (the re­al ones, The Ma­gi­cian­s, The Ma­gi­cian King, and The Ma­gi­cian's Land) is to cre­ate a "re­al" Fil­lo­ry that's oh, so much bet­ter.

If copy­right did­n't ex­ist, I can imag­ine Peven­sies in­stead of Chatwin­s, and a deep­er, in­ter­est­ing recre­ation of Nar­nia in­side these book­s, but maybe it's bet­ter to have a re­write of books that are not writ­ten in­stead, sort of like Borges writ­ing about un­ex­ist­ing book­s, movies, en­cy­clo­pe­dias and au­thors, and we just saved time, by avoid­ing even the ex­is­tence of "re­al" Fil­lo­ry book­s, and hav­ing the fic­tion of a "re­al" Fil­lo­ry in­stead, as a short­cut.

In short, I re­al­ly liked it, and am game for any­thing the au­thor pub­lish­es (s­tart­ed now on Codex, an ear­li­er work), just like I was for any­thing his iden­ti­cal twin broth­er Austin writes.

The Magicians (The Magicians, #1)


Very in­ter­est­ing mod­ern take on clas­sic Nar­nia style fan­ta­sy. I'll know more once I fin­ish the tril­o­gy I guess :-)

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