Author: J. SimonGenre: Fantasy
Book Rating: 7
Personal Rating: 7.5
Firstly this book was brilliant. The idea was great. The plot made a good amount of sense, and it was just fun to read. For the most part. A story that quite literealy lives in the world of word weaving, double entendres, and meaning what you say while saying something entirely different. I know it sounds a bit confusing but it was very cleverly done. Still I just couldn't quite get into it entirely.
There are a host of good characters. The theif and seller of information Candle-of-Truth Hameen. Not worth his weight in gold. Sheyk Sindba, otherwise known as grandfather who has an odly incredible neck of talking himself into trouble. One of my favorite characters. Then the Widow Essaffah who spins tales so mighty she could sell you dirt and make you believe it's one of her delightfully yummy cakes, by far my favorite character. Aris the hero of the story, who unfortunately is not my favorite. Sar Efrem who keeps his many daughters locked in his palace. Then the daughter to be reconed with Eyla. Basically this tale was not short of entertaining characters. I just couldn't whole heartedly ride along this premis.
Everything is a tale. A story. You know when you and your friends are having fun weaving entire conversations out of lies because you know what you mean but are just trying to be the most creative at not saying it. It's that for over 100 pages. Sometimes it's funny, sometimes brilliant even, other times... Just downright tedius. Sometimes people have to say exactly what they mean. It was fun, and brilliant but ultimately every page started to do my head in as I was hoping for at least one normal bit of banter, instead of all the fantastical banter. My brain quite literarly stopped trying to figure out what exactly the characters were saying. It was just hard work.
At it's best the clever wit and pure genious of the dialogue was just histerical. Brilliantly so. But when the interesting bits were gone and the characters were still talking in tales, I wondered how can any culture survive without ever once saying what they mean. In theory it's a fun concept to talk in tales beyond the world we live in and make everything into an epic adventure but it just seemed to unreal, even for fantasy, for an entire comunity to live in a world where they never have normal conversations. There is no line between truth, lie, and inbetween, because everything is said in made up tales that really mean something else. Basically it was overkill. Again brilliant, but just too much.
The Sar holding his children up in the palace. Yes the Majeri may want to kidnap them to swindle him over to the side of truth. Away from the story telling, they call it lying. But if you're the rich man in charge of this comunity, just have some guards follow them around and make sure they don't do anything to cause trouble. I dunno it just seemed a little too drastic hence the sneaking out.
Ultoimately I sided with the Majeri and their quest for truth even thought they were the enimy in the book. It just made sense. Yes they were a bit extreme about this truth and law business, but ultimately it was infinatly easier to handle than the continued lack of good old fashioned normal conversation the main characters had. And the point that made it disappointing was at those moments where one should cry and be seriously emotionally invested I just couldn't. The fact these were also handled in tales took away from the poignancy they would've had had the characters simply said exactly what they meant instead of talking in circles.
And my last little peeve is purely personal. It neither hurts or harms the book I believe but it just bothers me. The fact that only men deal with business per say. Sure a woman can own a shop, be a merchant. But talking serious politics and laws and such. Oh that's mans business. I guess i've reached a point as a reader where I'm over the woman trying to prove herself in a mans world. Why not a woman trying to prove herself in 'the' world. It really came to head at a scene where the women had all the plans and needed to talk to the Sar but it was clear he wouldn't entertain their ideas because they were women. I found my self frustrated yet again at this particular device being used to prove that women can indeed do what men can in a man's world. I guess I feel it's been done and I rather the Rowling approach. Man and Women on equal playing field now lets see what happens.
So all in all. The book was very brilliantly written. I will admit I was lost in the first few pages and only kept reading because of the clever dialogue. But once the plot kicked in it flowed well. You knew where it was going. But not quite sure of the end. Both good points. And even a bit of not so typical romance, the refreshing kind. Aris being too stupid to understand what his grandfather was up too did bug me a bit but only mild annoyance, one of many with him, because ultimately he managed to pull through and make me forget he was a little dense at times.
Ultimately, again, the clever dialogue was the best and most intriguing part of this novel, it was also sadly what made me dislike it a bit. Again there was just too much of it and ingenious as it were I left with the impression that this story suffered from its own brilliance. Would I recommend this novel? Oh hell yeahs. Regardless of all the not so nice things I may have said, the dialogue sells this book. It's worth the read for any who love a bit of fun clever and sometimes flirtatious repartee. It may have done my head in a bit but overall it was a delight to read. And so I suggest that you do.