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Posted August 6, 2012
At times Siregar's Black God's War feels like a great Homeric-st
At times Siregar's Black God's War feels like a great Homeric-style epic, yet it maintains fast pace and action of a good ol' fantasy novel. It reminded me of Dan Simmon's Olympos in many ways, which in my book really saying something. I look forward to reading more this author.
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Posted September 7, 2012
Chaotic Story that is Poorly-Written
Written in a very simplistic style, this book was easy to put down. The story line is very confused. Adjectives often appear inappropriate and incongruous. One could imagine that the author laid down the story line using very simple sentences with nouns and verbs. Then, realizing that additional words were needed, a computer program was used to select from lists of adjectives and adverbs to "flesh out" the story. The result is that the book appears to have been written by a very inexperienced writer.
On page #376 of the book, the author asserts that "The sun sank too quickly toward the northern horizon." Then, on page #891 the books states that "The sun rise in the north created long shadows behind the little hills and shrubs ..." It seems that, in this strange world created by the author, the sun both rises, and sets, in the north. How does that comport with our understanding of Physics?
Weird similes abound, such as this one on page #574: "His mind had been like a monkey stung by bees since the tragedy two nights ago." Or this one on page #280: "The branches were razor-sharp, curling around in wild circles like an assassin spinning with curved swords." On page #651, the author asserts that "Rao felt a wholesome and cool sensation in his mind, like minty, sweet milk."
Not content with inappropriate adjectives and similes, the author also offers comic book-like sound effects. On page #294 he presents a magical explosion with the word "BOOM!"
This incomprehensible sentence can be found on page #323: "Steaming air pressed against Rao's cheeks, adding palpable sensation to the weight of leading men to face the storm."
On page #340, the sentences: "Their prince is here with us. I feel his presence. It's evil. It's him." are duplicated on the page in two different places. This appears to have been intentional, but it is confusing.
On page #505, one of the characters thinks: "Rao's out of that neurotic hellbox, away from Narayani ..." leaving us to wonder how a character in such an ancient setting could possibly know about neuroses, and what it might mean for a "hellbox" to be "neurotic."
On page #513, the author has one of the characters tell his associate that he must keep a secret "because you know I'd have to kill you." This 20th Century American idiom seemed completely out of place in the setting of the story.
On page #514, the author tells us that "A warm round of contagious laughter bubbled up from Aayu's chest." I'm still struggling with that image.
On page #520 "The goddess halted and watched the three speed along the desert trail." On the very next page, however, "... the horses made it through the sparse forest ..." It appears that the desert magically transformed into a forest.
On page #638, the chapter title appears as "Chapter 58: Silent Misunder-" Misunder- what? Clearly, the editing was deficient for this book. There were more editing errors than one should expect from a full-length novel.
This author needs to master the English language before undertaking another book. He also needs to spend more time on preparation, using solidly-structured sentences to present his story. Parsimony is not, necessarily, a vice when writing good fiction. Unless, of course, this is a simplistic and direc
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Posted November 23, 2012
Excellent read and very thought provoking. Moses Siregar has a
Excellent read and very thought provoking. Moses Siregar has a great deal to offer fans of epic novels.
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Posted February 5, 2012
Good writing, but ultimately unsatisfying
I was fortunate to receive an early review copy of The Black God’s War, a very interesting fantasy debut from Moses Siregar III.
The Black God’s War is an interesting take on fantasy tropes in that there is not really a clear cut “evil” to overcome or a clearcut “good” to overcome it. Both sides in the battle have their own viewpoint and it’s never clear what would constitute a victory for either side.
The writing is consistently good and the characters feel real and interesting. The system of magic is certainly different, but ultimately not very well explained. One side in the conflict, the Rezzians, calls upon the powers of the gods, who are present if not often seen, or at least seen by many, yet whether or not they choose to manifest their powers as called upon is somewhat arbitrary. The other side in the conflict, the Pawelons, rely on powerful sages. These sages use a form of concentration and mantras to manifest their powers. Several things about this system of magic are never made clear, however. Some sages study for years, but can apparently teach their powers to others with no apparent training in a matter of days or hours. It is also never explained what makes some sages more powerful than others or how those powers compare to the powers wielded by the Rezzian gods.
The plot moves steadily forward and maintains interest, but the results of the battles and the strategies employed are unreliable. The feelings and motivations of some, but not all, of the main characters seem to change almost randomly. It is hard to become invested in the outcome of the battles when there seems to be no permanence or consequence to them.
Maybe the point is that motivations for starting and continuing a war are murky and clouded by personal feelings of those in charge. Or that the outcome of battles and maybe even entire wars is irrelevant and inconsequential. As a story, though, it is ultimately unsatisfying.
The level of the writing and some of the concepts involved make this an interesting read. The holes in the plot and the arbitrariness of some of the outcomes make it less satisfying. 3 stars.
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