Thursday, July 09, 2015

The White Luck Warrior (Aspect Emperor book 2), by R. Scott Bakker

There are several stories happening at the same time in The White Luck Warrior, with almost no direct connection between them. There is the Great Ordeal, advancing slowly towards Golgoterath while being besieged by hordes of Sranc, also containing the story of this kid prince forced to march with it; then there is the palace life, with Esmenet left to rule the empire while Kellhus is away, while various factions are ready to take advantage of the lack of man power of the leadership and her half Dunyain children prove to be either insane or really insane; there is the trek of Achamian in search of the origin place of Kellhus. Among these there is a vague and a few paragraphs long subplot of The White Luck Warrior, a mysterious figure that seems to know all of its future, making him an automaton, I guess and some bits about the Fanim.

Why the smallest and insignificant portion of the book gave its title I do not know, but remember that the first book in the Aspect-Emperor series was called The Judging Eye, which is most prominently used or described in this volume. By far the most interesting and captivating storyline is that of Achamian, although I have to say that the logistics of long duration travel within enemy territory and the psychological factors involved seemed to me poorly described by Bakker.

What I knew will happen happened. I finished the book before the third volume in the series was released and now I am in withdrawal pains. That proves that the book captivated me. At very few moments I felt the need to "fast forward" and, considering the amount of distraction and that I had resolved to draw this book out a little bit in the hope that the third volume would be released, I finished it rather quickly.

Even if enjoyable, to me it felt more like a filler. I couldn't empathize with Esmenet or any of her demented children, nor could I care less what happened to Maithanet, who is one of the less fleshed out characters in the book. Similarly, the Sorweel story arch described a confused and frustrated teen, which was relatable, but uninteresting as a character. Unlike in the first four books, Kellhus sounds less godly and dominating and is mostly relegated to a minor role in the overall story. No, the most interesting characters and storyline revolve around Achamian, Mimara, The Captain and the mysterious Cleric, plus any of other members of the crazy bunch of mercenaries known as The Skin Eaters. And they just walk and walk and walk, only to end the book in a cliffhanger. While I await eagerly the sixth book, I have my misgivings and fears that it will not be as good as this one, just as this one felt a little bit short of the first.


Cursed Armada said...

And now you join the wait for The Unholy Consult... The true slog of slogs!

Siderite said...

Arrghhh... yeah. Annoying when I have to wait so much that I forget what the previous books were all about.