Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Claw of the Conciliator - Gene Wolfe

Soooo.... the final verdict? Well, there's more action in this one, and there are attempts at fleshing-out some of the key plot points that were skated over in the first book, but I still didn't like it that much. It did, however, help me to figure out exactly what was missing from the series: a structure.


For a linear story to work, you need to have at least a basic idea of where it's going, what the characters are aiming for and essentially what the point of it all is. Wolfe does drop hints of this, but they are entirely swamped by all the other detail; the plot just seems to meander through a string of unconnected events, all of which seem as inconsequential as each other. Yes, the writing is beautiful, but it maintains exactly the same pitch throughout the book - there is nothing to contrast with the long, wordy descriptions and in the end it all comes to seem like background noise. None of the events stand out, none of the characters stand out; there are just not enough pegs to hang the story on, which is a damn shame as I really wanted to enjoy these books. Think Mozart making lift music, or Rembrandt designing wallpaper - the details are pretty, but the overall effect is just bland.


5/10

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, not so sure about this one Alice. I would say The Book of the New Sun ranks amongst the very best of the genre, maybe even the best...it can be hard to get into mind, but i would recommend that anyone reading this should give it a try.

7:41 pm  
Blogger Andrew said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would probably find your review more credible if you had read The Book of the New Sun in it's entirety. The Claw of the Conciliator is only the second part of the book, so unfortunately for you the book seemed like a series of unconnected plot points because you didn't finish it.

My advice to you is to reread the book as if it's one volume and you might like it more.

7:19 pm  

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