Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The discount book bin

Yesterday I passed the discount book bin. There was once a time when I was physically unable to go through the discount book bin without walking away with several books, but seeing as how those days have long since passed, I thought it was safe to linger and look. And, as to be expected, something caught my eye. The title contained both the words "Rune" and "Earth," and a Washington Post quote on the dust jacket compared the author to "Tolkien at his best." That sounded promising. I decided that I needed some simple and fun fantasy reading--especially if the reading came in at $6 for about four pounds of book. That's just under two dollars per pound--a reasonable price for a fantasy book.

So, I bought the book and brought it home, and tonight, after I ate my dinner, I settled down to read. This book is the fourth in a series, so the book begins with a quick review of everything that had happened before.

What follows are my thoughts.

Oh goodie! Maps! All fantasy adventure books need maps! Especially if they have place names like Revelstone and the Verge of Wandering.
...
Okay, so the main character is a novelist (natch) named Covenant (wonder why he's called Covenant? Is there any significance in that name? Naw, probably not). He has leprosy and has had some of his fingers amputated (okay, interesting take on the sick-or-deformed-man-in-this-world-but-hero-in-the-fantasy-world theme. This guy is both sick and deformed).
...
Oh hey! We made it all the way to the third paragraph before we got to any mention of a magical ring!
...
So now we're in a magical land with good, honest people who, based on an ancient prophesy, think that our hero is their savior. The bad guy is called Lord Foul the Despiser. Could we just not come up with a better name than Lord Foul? How about Lord Nasty Cloud of Methane Gas? Or maybe Lord Forgot To Brush His Teeth.
...
Our impotent leper novelist is now looking for the Staff of Law.
...
Now his crazy daughter has the Staff of Law. Never a good thing. Those women, they shouldn't be given Important Staffs in fantasy books. It just never ends well.
...
"Using the Illearth Stone, Lord Foul slaughters the Giants of Seareach. Hile Troy is only able to defeat the Despiser's army by giving his soul to Caerroil [Carol, apparently] Wildwood, the Forestral of Garroting Deep." I have nothing to say.
...
And if that wasn't enough, "accompanied only by his old friend, the Giant Saltheart Foamfollower [apparently a nomadic desert dweller], Covenant finally gains his confrontation with Lord Foul and the Illearth Stone."
...
Not only that, but "pretending to resist the Sunbane, the Clave extracts blood from the people of the Land to feed the Banefire, the true source of the Sunbane."
...
To fight the Sunbane, Covenant teams up with a couple of villagers, Merry and Pippin. Okay, their names are really Sunder and Hollian. Let me guess--Sunder is going to chop something off of something else, and Hollian will make it whole again.
...
Hile Troy, our great warrior, is now called Caer-Caveral. Does this author have no creativity in coming up with names?
...
And what would one call the former servants of Lord Foul except the ur-viles?
...
"Covenant's approach to the One [two] Tree and his power begin to rouse the Worm of the World's End; and the Worm's awakening will accomplish Lord Foul's release from Time." I'm sorry, but the Worm of the World's End? The Worm? Can't they just, I don't know, step on it or something?
...
Try reading this one out loud: "There the Sandgorgon and the Seadreamer's brother, Grimmand Honinscrave, succeed at 'rending' the Raver [...]"
...
Covenant is now looking for Lord Foul on (wait for it) Mount Thunder.
...
Annnnnnd--Covenant has just sacrificed himself to defeat Lord Foul and Save the World (well, he couldn't really afford to lose any more fingers, could he now?).


And here our story begins. I'll let you all know how far I make it into the book before I give up and launch it across the room in disgust.

7 Comments:

At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hehee...
Love it.
Look for "Her Ladyship the Nasty Cloud of Methane Gas" coming to a MySpace near you.

Good luck getting into the book, if it's good. :)

--Anna

 
At 9:53 AM, Blogger Ovonia Red said...

I've apparently stumbled upon the 7th book in what is considered a classic in the fantasy world. The six previous books were all quite well received, so I have been lead to believe. That makes me wonder if the silliness of the prologue is just the natural result of trying to take any fantasy book and summarizing it, or if this is yet another one of those Emperor-has-no-clothes situations. Let's experiment:
Tiny, furry-footed creature that eats a lot must take piece of cursed metal across the world to throw it in a giant volcano.
Hmm...
How about:
Kids with magic, talking pets flit between worlds to fight controlling adults and find out more about magical dust.
(Excellent series, by the way).
Or:
Orphan who goes to boarding school has innate magical powers he uses to find and destroy the trinkets of an evil magician.
And, of course:
A man gets out of jail and goes to work for an ancient Norse god who decides that a whole stack of dead gods will give him oodles of power.
And, my favorite:
Part I: A boy steals a magic book (which was obviously not in the discount book bin) which sort of transports him to a strange land where this super scary stuff threatens everyone and the boy eventually saves the world by naming an already grown princess after his dead mother.
Part II: Boy travels through land and makes a whole bunch of wishes that make him forget who he is and then he tries to stage a coup d'etat against the princess he named after his mother.

Maybe I'm on to something here.

 
At 11:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huh?
You lost me at the man-gets-out-of-jail part.
But then, I don't think I'd bet much if I was on Final Jeopardy and the final category was fantasy fiction...
:)
--Anna

 
At 11:31 AM, Blogger STAG said...

Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever.

Gave up on him after book two. I couldn't take the "oh poor me...everything I do turns to crap" 'tude. I could NOT get into that character. That doesn't make it bad, of course, but it DOES make it a little hard to pick up where you left off.

Only good thing about the book was that the visuals were stunning. I want that guy to do the backstory for the epic I am planning. He should be designing Ren Faire booths.

 
At 4:41 PM, Blogger Ovonia Red said...

Thomas isn't in this one, thank goodness. He sounds like a super annoying hero. Instead, I've got his girlfriend chick.

 
At 6:01 PM, Blogger Hilary said...

oooh, maaaaannnn . . . I read the first book in this series back when I was in high school. Not a word of a lie.
Don't think I read past book 1 though--but that may have been because the rest hadn't been written yet? All I remember about it was that the dude had leprosy (excuse me, Hansen's disease). Not having read the Hobbit etc., it didn't suffer by comparison--but I don't recall being impressed either.

"And what would one call the former servants of Lord Foul except the ur-viles?"

SER-viles, duh

 
At 6:54 PM, Blogger Ovonia Red said...

Ok, Hil. You win.

 

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