Where do I even begin? I just don’t get it. I don’t get the praise for this book, I don’t get the four and five star ratings… I just don’t get it.
It’s just so stuffed with awful, it’s overflowing. It’s lucky to be getting any stars at all from me.. If not for a few (very few) redeeming sections that I actually enjoyed, it wouldn’t even pull that. But I mean honestly. Really? Really really?
I don’t even know where to start. I mean Rek.. He was just so inconsistent. He’s described one way when we meet him, but his actions never fit that description, and just get further and further from it as the story progresses. Not in a character development type way.. Just in a what the fuck kind of way. Druss.. Whatever, he was ok I guess, but nothing special. All of the characters in general were just ok. I did like Orrin, but that’s about it.
The dialogue.. Oh my good God the dialogue. It’s so horrible and awkward and unrealistic, it physically hurt me to read it. The relationships and bonds formed between characters felt totally contrived. It was just bad. So so bad.
The romance.. So fucking weird. Anyone who has read this knows the relationship I’m talking about. It was just… Creepy to me. Like tie-a-chick-up-in-a-closet-and-cut-off-all-of-her-fingers-and-feed-them-to-her-one-by-one creepy. And don’t even get me started on how the women in this book are treated! In one scene, a husband straight up punches his wife in the face during a disagreement. She asks him later if he’s going to apologize, and he’s basically like “bitch, please…” and kisses her to make it all better. And that’s ok with her. Later a woman is sternly told to “OBEY YOUR HUSBAND, WOMAN!” and she meekly does. It’s just.. It’s like Gemmell never met an actual woman. And before you say anything.. I get it. It’s fantasy. It’s an alternate world, maybe that’s just the culture, right? But it didn’t feel like that. It just felt.. Wrong.
I had been warned though, about the dialogue issues and the women issues. But I was assured that Gemmell was the master of Sword and Sorcery type fantasy, and that his battles more than made up for it. So I waited.. Battle time came.. It was fine I guess, but nothing spectacular. I guess maybe when it’s written beside that horrible dialogue, you’re just glad they’re done talking, so it becomes better in comparison? I don’t know. I honestly don’t. For me, just fine wasn’t nearly enough to make up for all of the crap.
I could go on.. But it’s pointless. Obviously I just don’t get it. I really wanted to like this, I wanted to love it in fact. But I couldn’t. Even trying my hardest, I couldn’t. I probably will read another book in this series, just to see if maybe it will hook me. I do really want to like it.. And I understand that this was Gemmell’s first book.. Maybe it gets better. Maybe I’ll read another, get hooked, and then my opinion on this will improve. It wouldn’t be the first time! But for now.. A whopping 1.5 stars.. And it’s lucky to get that from me.