RogerBW's Blog

The Ancients, Nick Marsh 08 February 2022

2011 fantasy. The civil war is over, and Lord Protector Cranmer is in charge… but seems strangely unwilling to go about the business of ruling. Meanwhile the last of the Royal Guard finds a dead woman by the side of the road…

Disclaimer: Nick is a friend; we game together and co-host a film podcast. I did not pay for this book. He knows I'm going to give it an honest review.

Much of the setting is straightforward genre fantasy: there are elves, and orcs, and dwarves, and magic, and such like. (There's a reason for that, which I shan't go into.) But there were also the Ancients, who used to bestride the world like gods, but who suddenly vanished five hundred years ago leaving only a few incomprehensible relics. It seems that what Cranmer (not obviously connected to the character of the same name in Soul Purpose and Past Tense) really wants is connected with them in some way.

This isn't a long book, but it's an odd mixture. The ideas are great: not original, even in 2011, but well-explored, especially the psychological impact of learning that everything about your world is a lie. But the characters, well, there's the Betrayed Hero (and I find it hard to take the name "Dazlar" seriously even in fantasyland), there's the Manic Pixie Dying Girl, there's the Hero's Old Buddy Who Betrayed Him… I found it difficult to care about any of them. (The copy I read also suffered from very poor editing, but I don't know whether that's true of the final published version.) And yet they all turn out to be interesting people too… it just takes a while.

Given that the core ideas have been done before but could reasonably stand a bit more exploration, I think I'd have preferred greater depth of characterisation and less "we need to go here and get the thing" action. But I'm starting from a mental place where the standard fantasy setting is a thing that puts me off, not a familiar embrace.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime crystal cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2021 hugo 2022 hugo 2023 hugo 2024 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1