This is a reread for me, preparatory to reading the new series and The Heart of What Was Lost. I was pretty excited to plunge back in, because I remember being spellbound by it, and I gave it a solid four stars. I thought I remembered it pretty well, and remembered that I’d found it fairly typical in terms of the plot, but now some things did somehow surprise me, and I’d glossed over great chunks of the plot in mind. Which is fine, because rediscovery is great.
It is very much an epic in the mode of Tolkien, including elderly white men fighting against the darkness with the power of knowledge, a lot of random songs, an ageless and somewhat embittered race who are not human, etc, etc. It feels different, though — less mythic, I suppose, less of an old, old story. Simon is the main character, and he’s very immediate…
…He’s also a self-pitying pain in the ass. Oddly enough, I remembered him as being fairly reasonable and Miriamele, the princess, as being a spoilt brat. I feel rather the other way round now. Simon has no idea how lucky he’s been or how good he’s had it, and sometimes I wanted to reach into the book and clonk him over the head with something heavy.
However, I still love other characters — Binabik, Josua, Isgrimnur… Though Simon’s irritating, I’m definitely planning to continue rereading these books. They feel like more of a grind than I remember, but I had more time when I was a teen to just read all day, so that might have something to do with it. It was still an enjoyable grind, but I must admit it could have lost a few hundred pages and felt a lot more gripping.