Book Review: Madrenga by Alan Dean Foster (three stars)

Book Review: Madrenga by Alan Dean Foster (three stars)

“Looking after them and attending to their needs can only slow you down.” “Friends never slow one down.”

A quest tale with a twist. Several twists. Foster is an accomplished wordsmith. He can tell a tale and describe a person or setting in just a phrase. Unfortunately, he exhibits a wordiness which belies his ability to do better.

“Nothing that has happened to me since leaving Harup-taw-shet has made any sense. Why should it be any different for you?”

The eponymous hero is dense and naive. The latter is more forgivable than the former. After the introduction, the story drags because Foster seems to not trust the reader to get the stupidity of Madrenga and tells us again. And again.

“The esteem reserved for elder beings as well as elder ways is being abandoned. Where once they sought improvement, now men seek only profit, and darknesses of all manner and kind stalk the land.”

Excellent close. Tied up enough ends to satisfy without telling everything.

“If I’ve learned one thing in life it’s that there are no promises. There is only hope.”

Book Review: Riddle Master of Hed by Patricia A. McKillip (Four Stars)


Book Review: Riddle Master of Hed (The Riddle Master’s Game: Book 1) by Patricia A. McKillip

(Four Stars)

“When you open your minds and hands and heart to the knowing of a thing, there is no room in you for fear.”

Sorry I missed this when first published in 1976. Better than most post-LOTR imitators. McKillip may feel that she’s surpassed this earlier effort, but this is a deeper, more satisfying tale than many more famous competitors, which admittedly is a low bar.

“Truth,” the Master Ohm murmured, “needs no apology.”

It took the entire book to get the protagonist interested in his quest, along the way he discovers that everything he thought he knew—and he was a master riddler—about almost everything, was wrong.

“I have lived a thousand years, and I can recognize the smell of doom.”

Quibbles? Lots, but none that diminish the enjoyment of the text. Go with the admittedly shallow flow.

“I’m also wondering why the High One has never acted.” “Perhaps because his business is the land, not the school of wizards of Lungold. Perhaps he has already begun to act in ways you do not recognize.”