Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Breaking new ground, kinda

First of all: Man, vacation fucking rocks.

I started up a new novel yesterday. It was one of about five books that were waiting for me when I dropped by work yesterday to pick up my sunglasses and gloat. Five books! When am I going to read all of them? All library employees have this problem. You hear about a good book and you put it on hold. The next thing you know you have a stack of books on your desk and you know you are going to only read a couple of them.

I only gloated a little bit but enough to be told to shut up. The book I started is called "Elantris" by Brandon Sanderson. It's the first new fantasy book I've gotten more than fifty pages into and not put down in a long time. I think I ruined fantasy novels for the rest of my life when the first fantasy I ever read back in grade school was the Lord of Rings. It's also hard to get past a lot of those made up names.

What appealed to me immediately in this novel was the city Elantris. It was once a magical place full of supposedly immortal people with godlike powers. The city's population was made up of people who were randomly transformed in the surrounding land. One day, ten years before the novel opens, their immortality became a curse. They still couldn't die but they lost their powers and essentially turned into walking dead. People are still transformed and instead of being gods they are thrown into the now decrepit city and suffer until they go mad. Harrowing and original. Every now and then though I'll get to a passage that is cringe inducing and spoils the novel for a second. His dialgoue is good but he throws in too much description instead of just saying "he said." He should read a little Elmore Leonard. I'm pretty sure I can figure out when someone is joking or being shy or aggresive just by the context and the dialogue itself. A minor point and only happens occasionally but it is distracting.

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