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Number Nine

Just Finished?
Awakened Mage by Karen Miller (Fantasy)

Reason for Reading? The ending of Innocent Mage demanded that I read the second book in the series immediately. Goddamned cliffhangers. But it's a duology, so at least it wrapped up.

Was it Good? Once again, yes. It's not going to be one of my favourite books, but it's certainly a good, fun read. As I said in the review of Innocent Mage Miller's writing improves as the book moves along - this remains true in Awakened Mage. I think this might be because these books were written as a single, very long book. [At least, that's how it seems. That this isn't really two books, it's one that's been divided.]

Why? It's good for all the reasons that I gave in the last review, and good again for the fact that the plot is advanced, and there is more of Morg and his highly amusing sections of the text.
It won't be one of my favourite books for a few reasons. First, I'm not especially fond of the fantasy trope where someone is "the chosen one." Fantasy is chock full of it, of course, and it can be done quite well, as it is here, but even when it's done well, I find it... distracting, somehow.
Secondly, it sometimes seemed as though this book was... lacking scenes that should have been there. It's not that I want to sound like a bloodthirsty sex-maniac, but Miller "fades to black" quickly enough that it's slightly jarring, both in terms of sexual situations and scenes of torture. Not in terms of scenes of extreme violence though, which is interesting.
Third, Miller uses made up words a lot more in this book than in the first one - to replace actual words that exist, I mean. "Futtering" instead of "fucking" for example. While I applaud this sort of playing with words on fantasy and sci-fi TV to get around censors, there's no need to do this in books for adults, and so to me it just seems annoying.
And fourth (and fifth) Morg, the villain, is defeated when Asher uses something called a spell of unmaking - which according to the description they gave previously, is something that is supposed to destroy someone as though they had never been. In the end, though, it just... kills him. I must be a lunatic, or something, but to me if you unmade someone whole 600 years ago had caused a shitton of stuff relevant to the plot and the characters to occur you'd end up with an entirely different history. Maybe even a paradox. But no, conveniently it ends with all the nasty things, like demons and whatever horrors exist beyond the Wall being gone and different, but all these other things, like the world generally being the same so the characters could develop as they did, stay as they are. It doesn't make any sense. It's frustrating.
Miller also never touches upon something that she seemed to be building towards - namely that while Asher could use Doranen magic, Gar seemed to be slightly attuned to Olken magic in a way that he had never been to what should have been his own sort of magic [ie; Doranen.] It just seemed like such a buildup for literally nothing. I also think that if Miller had done something more with that, the 'race' issues presented in the book might have been more interesting, as while there seemed to be a buildup to these things as well, the end result seemed to be "Doranen BAD. Except for Gar, and a few other dead people." There's more to it, obviously, but I was waiting for the issues to get deeper, and they just... didn't. They remained quit shallow really, and I found myself disappointed.
I sort of wonder how much of the race issues in this book were a result of the author living in Australia, where it is my [admittedly very limited] understanding that there is still quite a bit of racial tension - in which case how the racial issues were presented makes a bit more sense, but I still would have liked to see more depth.

What's it about? See the review for the last book - it's still about the same things, except that this time it is also about the resolutions to those issues.

Who's your favourite character? Gar remains my favourite character, and in fact, I learn to like him even more. Asher drops a bit in my esteem in this second book, though. (I find him to be a little more unreasonable.)

Favourite secondary character? By the second book it's Morg, for sure. Not cause he's a stellar person or anything, but because the snippets of the book written from his POV were just so amusing.

Would you recommend this book to others? Certainly. I'd also suggest that if you're reading the first book and decide that you like it, to pick up this book before you finish that one so you can just jump into it without a long break.

Anything Else? I still don't like Conroyd as a person, but he turned around and surprised me as a delightful character. I appreciated that. Also, I'd avoid reading the dedication in this book until you're finished. I found it to be a bit of a spoiler.

I love books that stuff in little snippets of the author's other works. Makes me happy. Gives me an idea about their other books. Not sure if I'm interested in the one advertised though - Empress: Book 1 of the Godspeaker Trilogy it seems kind of... um, over the top? Has anyone read this? Does anyone know if it's worth picking up?




Up Next?
Not sure. I think I want to read something that isn't very good. Remind myself of how spoiled I am when I read nothing but good books one after another after another. Maybe Dragon's Blood by Patricia Briggs, I remember not really liking it the first time I tried to get through it. (Mind, I did pick it up right after I read Mélusine, after which, I'm pretty sure that almost everything would seem terrible. What with it being one of my favourite books ever. So the book might actually be good.) Then again, I might not read it. I think it might be a sequel, so maybe not.

Why? I can't really say why I get the urge to read/watch/listen to things that aren't very good, just that I do. Maybe it's that to me good = intelligent and I need something to turn off my brain to and snark at. I don't know. Not good fantasy is my favourite because it has exciting things like dragons ans sword fights, so it's still fun. It's not like not good literature, which is typically trying to be cool and post-modern and though provoking but is generally just failing at it and being as dry as possible.

Hopes? I hope it sucks, but is hilarious!

Want to know who's read this book before you? Yes. Yes, I would like to know if it sucks.

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February 2012

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