Friday, May 16, 2008

The Deed of Paksenarrion

This was a huge book, over a thousand pages, so "Deed" singular seems a bit of an understatement. I got it at the library book sale, so 1000 pages for 50 cents is a pretty good deal.
The beginning went very well. You follow this girl as she joins a mercenary band and learns that being a mercenary is just as hard work as being on a farm, with the added advantage it is easier to get killed. There is a nice plot involved with following a renegade prince who has it out for the leader of her band and learning her craft and all sorts of things like that.
Then the second book of the three starts. This was an omnibus edition, with three separate novels in one volume. This seemed to be holding a place and just going through the mechanics of getting the main character to the place she needed to be for book three. I also kept having bizarre Lord of the Rings and Dungeons and Dragons flashbacks. Some scenes felt like they had been taken directly from LOTR with the dialogue adjusted but the characters moving exactly the same. And at other times I could almost hear the unseen Dungeon master saying, "Okay, you find yourself in a hallway, there are two doors ahead of you, which one do you choose?", "Oh no, you have activated a hidden trap, role the dice to see how much damage you sustained, but since you are a cleric you can add two because it is a demonic attack."
At first I thought it was just me, but David picked out the same scenes I did as being annoyingly familiar so I felt better. But I stuck it out, becoming more amused with the almost plagiarisms. Then just when things were getting better and the plot getting interesting again, the was an extremely long and graphic torture scene. AARGH! I had already invested a number of hours in this book, and knew the scene was in there for a reason, but I didn't need to read that. I warned David and he quit before he got halfway.
Since I had started, I finished, and she did the ending quite well, never stringing the reader along with semi-hidden plot devices that the characters couldn't figure out. Once you could get it, they did too. But I think it will go into the back to the DI pile, not on my bookshelf.

The Deed of Paksenarrion. Elizabeth Moon. Baen Fantasy. 1992

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