Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

Mar 9, 2006

Mystic Warrior

I enjoyed almost everything I read by Tracy Hickman when he was working with Margaret Weis (The Death Gate Cycle, The Rose of the Prophet, Starshield), so I decided to pick up the first two books in this new trilogy that he is writing with Laura Hickman to see if the quality continued.

I've only finished Mystic Warrior thus far, and I have to say that it's about on par with other work I've seen from Hickman. It's not up to the level of their masterpiece,
The Death Gate Cycle, but it's easily equivalent to The Rose of the Prophet, which was still a good read. Hickman excells at putting together a story that engages the curiosity and makes you want to know how things are going to turn out in the end. In other words, he writes good suspense.

He's also very good at creating settings with some unusual quirks and tying the setting into the book. Mystic Warrior, for instance, is not one story, it's three parallel stories taking place on three worlds that are somehow related, connected via a mystic realm that grants magic to selected individuals. The idea is that these worlds are, very soon, going to merge into one world, and during this merging process there is increasing leakage between them. The events of the three stories are pulled into alignment by the visions of individuals that enter the mystic realm and interact with mystics from other worlds.

The symbolism is a lot of fun; it is often meaningless to the characters in the book, but it gives the reader the smug satisfaction of being able to guess at what's coming. Guess, that is, without ever actually knowing anything.

The characters also lack a trait that I never liked and I think originated with Margaret Weis' writing style: complete lack of any coping skills whatsoever. Even though I loved the Death Gate Cycle, for instance, occasionally I still wanted to shake some of the characters and yell "GET OVER IT ALREADY!!!" I can't stand anything she's written on her own.

So, I advise giving this series a try.


The General said...

Thanks for the recommendation Jennifer.

I too loved the Death Gate Cycle, so someday when I have free time I'll be sure to check into this. I also never read The Rose of the Prophet series - where they any good?

By Starshield, did you mean Star of the Guardians? I also really loved that series.

Jennifer Snow said...

No, I mean the series that contains Starshield: Sentinels (which was later renamed as "The Mantle of Kendis-Dai" for reasons that escape me, I think a lawsuit was involved) Nightsword, and a final book that isn't out yet.

The Rose of the Prophet trilogy is very good, just )( this short of Death Gate quality.