Book Review: The Mongrel Mage (Saga of the Recluse #19) by L. E. Modisett, Jr (Three Stars)
“Trying to be something you’re not always makes one weaker.”
The latest installment of Modisett’s long-running Recluse series. Where other multi-part series tend to go sideways, with little character or plot motion, Modisett pushes forward in time and cast. Lots of pithy aphorisms. Too easy plot resolution, but that’s the bane of these never-ending tales.
“Beltur carefully replaced the letter in the envelope and slipped it inside his tunic.”
A quasi-medieval culture would not waste paper on envelopes. Lower rating because recurring illogic knocks the reader out of the story to mull what Modisett means. A good story, but ….
“He glanced around the small room, no more than four yards across and perhaps slightly more than three deep.” Small?
Quibbles: despite (or maybe because of) the depth of world building, Modisett avoids common American units of measure, like miles and feet. But the result is ambiguity. He measures moderate lengths in yards, which can’t be nearly as long as ours. Why? And his “k” distance measure, while apparently a kilometer, could be a thousand anything. His horses never wear out or throw a horse show despite traveling on cobblestones when softer surfaces are available.
“Unhappily, the knowledge to see things in advance comes with experience, and experience is a costly tutor.”
It is REALLY hard to keep a series interesting.
Even Dune – after the original trilogy, and especially after it was no longer Frank Herbert’s exclusive work, the books were interesting – but not as compelling as the raw power of the first book. I don’t bother unless something special – the story isn’t finished between the main characters, as in Dorothy L. Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey novels – keeps my interest.
I suspect I won’t finish Game of Thrones even if GRRM does.
I happen to think a nice juicy doorstop of a trilogy is just the right length.