Saturday, September 4, 2010

Friday Review 9/3/10, belated

So, let's see. This week I finished John Keegan's World War One, but I reviewed that on Tuesday, as I suggested I would last Friday.

I also read David Coe's The Horseman's Gambit

What can I say about this? This is the second book in the "Blood of the Southlands" series, of which the third has very recently been published. I read the first some months ago, and I recalled that I liked several of the characters, so when I saw Book 3, I decided to pick up Book 2. There was a lot about the book that I liked. I liked many of Coe's primary characters - they felt real, they interacted realistically, and they handled their problems realistically. (which, given that about half of them wield immense magical power, is saying something...) I liked the politics of about half of the continent - Coe has a continent, a sub-continent, actually, divided between some sovereign city states and a bunch of less established nomadic tribes. I liked the city state politics. The wandering tribes seemed unrealistically inflexible in their politics - they were very much "kill the intruders on grounds of associated guilt", and that felt a little over the top. The fact that the cause of the guilt was a magically created plague of genocidal proportions mitigates the reaction a little, but I think that Coe's "good" characters were too inclined to see both sides of the situation while his "bad" characters were too inclined to see things in black and white. I have no problem with these views being characterized, but they should be better spread out.

As I finished the book, I recalled what I didn't like about the first book - it ended abruptly, with no conclusion - because, of course, Coe is writing a trilogy (possibly longer), and wants readers to continue into the next book, but it's possible to have satisfying conclusions within the trilogy while allowing the trilogy to transcend the conclusions. That was my major problem with this book.

A minor problem - the names were too apostrophe infected. A minor quibble, perhaps.