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Author Topic: Any one read Ian Irvine?  (Read 229 times)

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Offline Moonlake

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Any one read Ian Irvine?
« on: February 09, 2015, 01:47:15 AM »
Came across a trilogy of his in my local library but each of his books is a lot longer than most fantasy novels. Just wondering if he's worth it? Hopefully, other Strolenatis would be able to enlighten me.

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Offline Pariah

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Re: Any one read Ian Irvine?
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2015, 02:27:43 PM »
I procured a copy of Vengeance by said writer, first chapter didn't really grab me, but I'll have something like 8 hours to read it at work wednesday night, will give you a yah/nah after I'm done...  The things I do to stay awake at work...
For the love of meat, shut up! No one wants to hear your emo character background! My hands are literally melting away, and I'm complaining less than you!
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Offline Moonlake

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Re: Any one read Ian Irvine?
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2015, 04:39:17 PM »
Thanks so much, Pariah.  :thumbup: Actually, the trilogy at my local library is the one starting with Vengeance. I read the excerpt and it seemed okay as an epic goes.

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Crysilis Embroider -  Apprentice Weaver
Moonlake Ku - Apprentice Strolenati
STR: 4 | END: 4 | CON: 4 | DEX: 4| CHA: 2 | INT: 3
"Crazy woman devoted to 2 Worlds, 2 Guilds and randomness"
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Offline Pariah

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Re: Any one read Ian Irvine?
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2015, 07:48:53 AM »
I apologize profusely for betraying my honor as a Strolenite, but I got sidetracked by an entirely different series.  (Rivers of London by Aaronovitch, good reads if a bit formulaic, has an interesting mix and match lego style magic system that I might try to flesh out.)  Just started reading Vengeance about 30 minutes ago, so I should be able to provide a review in about 24 hours.
For the love of meat, shut up! No one wants to hear your emo character background! My hands are literally melting away, and I'm complaining less than you!
—K'seliss, Goblins

Offline Moonlake

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Re: Any one read Ian Irvine?
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2015, 06:28:47 PM »
No worries, Pariah. I think we Strelenatis always keep to our honours in the end but the time at which we honour our pledges is... well flexible. I'm in fact glad that I was able to get any feedback.
Also, I think it doesn't help that Ian Irvine is substantially longer than what I (and probably most other readers)'m used to. I flipped through Vengeance and it's like 100+ Chaps. So if like you said, the start doesn't really grab, then it's easy to get diverted.  :)

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Moonlake Ku - Apprentice Strolenati
STR: 4 | END: 4 | CON: 4 | DEX: 4| CHA: 2 | INT: 3
"Crazy woman devoted to 2 Worlds, 2 Guilds and randomness"
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Offline Pariah

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Re: Any one read Ian Irvine?
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2015, 09:45:07 AM »
Finished first half of book, and I've finally figured out what is going on for the plot.  Based on where I'm at so far I wouldn't really recommend it, but for all I know the second half is pure gold so I'll finish before I make an actual review...  I will leave you with one thing from the book, a were-tiger who just happens to be packing a soft twelve, because one of the character getting a mushroom tattoo totally got worked into the story.
For the love of meat, shut up! No one wants to hear your emo character background! My hands are literally melting away, and I'm complaining less than you!
—K'seliss, Goblins

Offline Moonlake

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Re: Any one read Ian Irvine?
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2015, 06:05:43 PM »
wow, that certainly wasn't what I was expecting but then the backcover blurb didn't really say much. All I got out of it was that the main character is in a slave camp and I guess I was imagining some kind of epic ala Conan style (I hadn't actually read the Conan books but watched the movie).

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"Crazy woman devoted to 2 Worlds, 2 Guilds and randomness"
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Offline Pariah

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Re: Any one read Ian Irvine?
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2015, 06:54:37 AM »
It is said that there are eight words you don't want to hear in regards to a work of prose, and there are eight words I wish to say about this work, "I don't care what happens to these people."   The entire book has been a slog, the first chapter failed to grab me, and by the time I was an eighth of the way through the book I was already in full blow darkness induced audience apathy.

Starting with the overarching conflict, one the one side we have the Cythonians.  Drow expies, forced to live underground after they lost a war against an invading force nearly two millennia ago.  They're a theocratic society of grey-skinned underground slaveholders, bent upon the complete and total destruction of the surface peoples.  The surfacers aren't any better, the ones we're shown are conniving, whiny, stupid, self-destructive gits, and apparently their ancestors pulled the whole "befriend the natives and then betray them and attempt to wipe them out man, woman, and child" shtick.  They also get bonus points, because apparently a thousand plus years ago they gave 144 hostages to the Drow and then never ransomed them back, and by the time of the story the official explanation for that is the Pale (slaves) have bonded with the evil Cythonians and love their masters, and are the cause of all the evils on the surface, failed crops, eruptions, plagues.

The secondary antagonists, as a lot, are not nice people.  This point is hammered home nonstop through petty cruelties at any and every given opportunity.  If they so much as smell a dog they are drawn to it, and proceed to kick said puppy with all the self control of a five year old left unattended in a chocolate factory.  The primary antagonist is just as bad, but for an entirely different reason.  Despite being an all but immortal wraith, who has spent the last 1700 years of his existence plotting his revenge, and also being able to cause glaciers to slowly but inexorably sweep down upon the up-worlder's civilization, thus being only a couple of centuries from wiping them off the face of the planet anyway, has pinned all his hopes on "black pearls," magical constructs of unimaginable might, that must be grown to maturity in the bodies of human hosts.  His plan, 1700 years in the making, is derailed because he never expected his last host to be able to rebel against a lifetime of slavery and her inevitably untimely death.

The protagonists also fail to inspire anything from me, with the possible exception of a slight distaste.  Tali, the host of the fifth and last macguffin, is an escaped Pale slave, who alternated between every protagonist trait I've ever seen, more or less at random.  I truthfully can't tell you what her personality is, despite the fact that the author has told the reader that she's a "strong-willed" person with a "caring heart."  Next up is Rix, carrier of the blade that laid the wraith low during it's life as the one true king, a whiny twit with a heart of gold, who overcame a lifetime of being told that the Pale were sub-human race traitors in lesss than a dozen pages.  Well shucks folks, why does America still have problems like Fergeson if it's that easy to fix...  It wasn't even good racism either, it was like some over the top, what someone whose never been to a Klan rally thinks happens at Klan rally bulls**t.  Our third protagonist, and designated love interest for Tali, is Toge (Or something, I really can't remember, despite reading through the book...) a mage with a dark and troubled past.  He's a cynic who believes in living in the now and chasing after fleshly delights like today is his last, at least until the plot gets rolling, at which point he buckles down and becomes just another whiny twit.  Or last protagonist, though I think a better term for her is team mascot, is Rannilt, a plucky former slave girl with the power of heart.  She's ten, and doesnt really say or do all that much other than provide a couple of deus ex machinas or talk about how she loves all of her friends.

Finally the author has sinned greviously against the English language, creating such foulnesses as "chymie" for chemical, "chymistry" for chemistry or alchemy, and "pothecky" for apothecary.  Though the term "magick" or "magik" were notably absent, praise be to Shub-Niggurath, Mother of a Thousand Young, instead replaced with "magery"  which never failed to bring to mind buggery whenever its presence graced a page.  His sins, unfortunately, didn't stop there.  Whenever one of the Drow, designated bad guys that they are, did something that could be construed as nice or noble, he made sure to have Tali there, so that her internal monologue could beat us upside the head with the fact that apparently not everyone in any particular race is evil, and some can be noble or kind.

I will finish this review with the statement that the story does have redeeming features, and that Mr Irvine doesn't seem to be a bad writer, but I don't think morally grey conflicts are where his particular skills lie.  I feel like an eeditor asked him to make a bog standard fantasy epic darker and edgier, because that's what the kids want these days, and he just couldn't find the right balance to make the story readable.

Final Verdict: Skip
« Last Edit: February 15, 2015, 07:01:11 AM by Pariah »
For the love of meat, shut up! No one wants to hear your emo character background! My hands are literally melting away, and I'm complaining less than you!
—K'seliss, Goblins

Offline Moonlake

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Re: Any one read Ian Irvine?
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2015, 06:38:11 PM »
Okay, thanks, Pariah, for the review. To be honest, I was a bit iffy to start on him given his length anyway. So I would happily skip.

And from what you said, how I wish that editors, publishers and/or market research would stop interfering and telling authors how to write.
I have Tamora Pierce on my comfy writers list- she's not spectacular and she's YA but I'm fond of this one series that she writes b/c of the characters and the world. And her most recent book of this world, I got really disappointed. She managed to dump down all of the elements of a war to all of the pet cats of the one of the 3 protagonists being slaughtered along with a whole village but the emotional impact of all these is totally glossed over. Said protagonist was also captured and tortured but I feel nothing for her, my attention was entirely diverted towards "wow, she managed to not spill the secrets by turning her heart to crystal". So yeah, I had the same feeling towards this book of hers like you had for Ian Irvine, I just think she's totally writing out of her element for that book like the publishers forced her to write it or something (although she did kind of foreshadow the events of this book in her earlier work).

And yes, I don't particularly like changed spelling for no reasons. I mean, I've recently turned my hand towards novel writing and found that I love making up a few odd terms in a foreign language but I never see why magic should be spelling "magik" or "magick".

Funny that you mentioned the monologue, I'm also a monologue person as a writer (a recent self-discovery that just crops up for my novel and as attested by Axle, who is currently the only Strolenati beta-reader for it).

Anyway, thanks for the review.  :thumbup:

Human (Level 2)
Crysilis Embroider -  Apprentice Weaver
Moonlake Ku - Apprentice Strolenati
STR: 4 | END: 4 | CON: 4 | DEX: 4| CHA: 2 | INT: 3
"Crazy woman devoted to 2 Worlds, 2 Guilds and randomness"
Visiting beloved Dragon Empire