May 11, 2012

Review: Seven Princes

Seven Princes
Seven Princes by John R. Fultz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm not exactly sure what happened with this book -- despite some decently engaging magical scenes, overall this was a tedious read. The characters were fine; a bit stereotypical, but well-formed enough for basic fantasy. And the backstory of the fantasy world was adequately drawn. It should have been more fun to read than it was. A big problem was the descriptions. While the language was vivid and often elegant, there was also just too much of it, sometimes without a strong point-of-view, so that I just got bored by the pure narrative evocation of place and history. Mainly, though, I think the problem was in the pacing, especially the construction of the chapters. There were definitely great chapter endings, with cool and interesting scenes coming nicely to an exciting head -- but then the beginning of the next chapter seemed to always start with a chunk of flat narrative description, and I was kept feeling put off from starting it up again. Sometimes it's better to avoid ending a chapter with climax and instead trail off into some denouement while seeding interest in the upcoming scene. Or end with cliffhangers instead of resolved scenes. That's my stab at explaining why reading this book was such a slog. It shouldn't have been. Good stuff was going on . . . but not consistently.

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