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

Apr 12, 2006

Mystic Empire

I was a little disappointed with this last installment of the Bronze Canticles Trilogy by Laura and Tracy Hickman. I've already discussed the first and second books, so I thought it would only make sense to cover the last one as well.

Like the second novel, this third one has new characters in new situations and is complete on its own. However, in an attempt to get everything all wrapped up, (if this is truly the last book, a lot of loose ends were left over, in my opinion), the book is a frenzy of activity, and a lot of important factors get dumped by the wayside. There's almost no characterization of the new characters, and most of it is told narratively instead of dramatized, so even the best-drawn characters are flat and uninteresting. They are floating abstractions without any meat to them, in other words.

The characters being marginal, it's really difficult to pay attention to what happens to them or care whether the results are good or bad, and several plot developments depend on literal "devices" that appear to have been manufactured out of thin air. They're examples of what happens when authors engage in "world-building for the sake of world-building" and convey almost no sense of real importance to the reader, because, yet again, these "devices" are narrated, not dramatized. They also use some tired old bromides, like the Mysterious Prophecy (and Prophetess, to boot), that don't improve matters much.

The story is told in a fairly suspensful fashion, however, so if you really enjoyed the first two you might as well read it to finish the series out.

Rating: 2.0


Myrhaf said...

Is your rating of 2.0 two out of five or two out of 10?

Jennifer Snow said...

Five. I actually have a formal rating system, you can see it if you go to the index and look at the book reviews.