Short Review Roundup – Old School Edition

I don’t pull out my old books for another reread as much as I used to, but I pulled out a couple of my favorite series from when I was a kid recently, spurred by rereads on Tor.com.

 

The Riftwar Saga by Raymond Feist

magician-apprentice-covermagician-master-coversilverthorn-coverdarkness-at-sethanon-cover

I’m cheating a little here.  I reread The Riftwar Saga about five years ago.  It holds up, but tends toward generic, derivative fantasy.  With the exception of the portions of the saga dealing with Kelewan.  So the first two books are much stronger than the second two.

4/5 Stars.

 

The Empire Trilogy by Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts

daughter-of-the-empire-coverservant-of-the-empire-covermistress-of-the-empire-cover

If, like me, you liked the parts of The Riftwar Saga focused on Kelewan the most, do yourself a favor and skip diving further into the main Riftwar books and pick up The Empire Trilogy instead.  I haven’t read any other Wurts yet, but I’ve seen it said that The Empire Trilogy improves on the work of both authors.  It also hugely fleshes out the Tsurani, adding a much deeper Asian influence.  Weirdly, as much as I remember enjoying it as a kid, I apparently never read the third book.

Tor.com did a reread.

5/5 Stars.

 

Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracey Hickman

dragonlance-chronicles

I dusted off my old omnibus copy of the Dragonlance Chronicles (consisting of Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night, Dragons of Spring Dawning) several months ago.  Reading for the first time since at least college, and probably high school, how does it hold up?  Not good!  The story that is, not the titles, which are still phenomenal.  And, to tell you the truth, the story isn’t that bad.  The writing is borderline atrocious at the beginning, but smooths out enough to at least not get in the way pretty quickly.  The other big problem is that it wears its RPG roots on its sleeve a little too openly.  Most frustratingly in the number of side-quests that happen off-screen.  But it’s also easy to see why this launched a huge world of books (several of which were a good bit better than these) marching across meager bookshelf space in the Waldenbooks in my shitty little hometown mall.

Do yourself a favor and read the recently completed fond, tongue-in-cheek reread on Tor.com.

3.5/5 Stars

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About H.P.

Blogs on speculative fiction books at Every Day Should Be Tuesday.
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4 Responses to Short Review Roundup – Old School Edition

  1. pcbushi says:

    I’ve seen a lot of Feist novels in used book stores, but not come across a lot of buzz about him online (David Drake is another one), so I haven’t paid much attention. Perhaps I shall reevaluate, once I get through some more stacks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • H.P. says:

      The most common knock on Feist, which I think is fair, is that the Riftwar books degraded in quality over time. There are 30 of them. I made it to book through the first third or so before giving up while I was still in high school. But if you’re in the mood for straight-up 90s style fantasy, or something with an Asian influence, the first series and the Empire series are a definite cut above the average fare. I felt compelled to pick them back up when I have no real interest in rereading the Belgariad or The Sword of Truth or The Icewind Dale Trilogy.

      Like

      • pcbushi says:

        Hmmm. I shall keep him in mind, then. I used to read Forgotten Realms and that kind of thing, but I think my tastes have changed. Not sure I’d enjoy that stuff so much anymore.

        Liked by 1 person

    • JonM says:

      My re-read of both the Riftwar and the Dragonlance series after a 20 year gap didn’t go well. The nostalgic fun wasn’t enough to overcome the bland writing style. Couldn’t finish the first book of either.

      It’s worth a shot if you can get Book One cheap, though.

      Liked by 2 people

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