Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Prince of Nothing trilogy is two books too many

Books 21 & 22:  The Warrior Prophet and The Thousandfold Thought by R. Scott Bakker. 

My sons will be disappointed, but I did not much care for R. Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing trilogy.

The trilogy begins with The Darkness That Comes Before, continues in The Warrior Prophet and concludes in The Thousandfold Thought. Although it doesn't really conclude after three books and 1,600 pages.  Bakker has already completed the first book in a second trilogy, and one can only assume a third trilogy will follow that.

Which is part of the reason that I'm not a fan of the current crop of fantasy series. These authors don't know when to stop.  Tolkien gave us The Hobbit and then three books in The Lord of the Rings series, and that was that.  Today's it's a lifetime enterprise.

But that's a minor quibble.  Let me quickly list a few of the reasons I cannot fully embrace Bakker's work:

It's murky, especially in the second and third books.  It feels to me that Bakker loses control of his material. The result is that it's often difficult to understand exactly what's taken place or why.

Bakker's philosophical musings kill the narrative.  What I want most is a story, a rollicking narrative that's totally absorbing. I found that at times in The Darkness That Comes Before where the pace and action were crisp and absorbing.  But in the books that followed, the quasi-religious, mystical components weighed down the narrative.  Hell, there were times that the story came to complete halt.

I am troubled by the Consult.  1) They appear to be an alien race, and, for me, that intrudes upon a story of sword of sorcery. 2) Their sexual deviancy is a disturbing and unnecessary storyline.

Kellhus, the Warrior-Prophet, the Prince of Nothing, etc., etc., is a sociopath. In an epic such as this, Kellhus needs to be a hero, someone larger than life. I understand that Achamian is the true hero of this story, but Kellhus' role when placed against the overall context of the story demands that he be something more than a manipulative "other."

The bottom line is that there is too much that I don't like compared to parts I admire. I will say that Achamian's story line is intriguing and his growth as a character is the best part of the entire series. I'd like to see what Bakker will do with Akka going forward, but I don't believe I care enough to read another book, certainly not another three books.

No comments:

Post a Comment