Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

Killing My Darlings

Hey, squiders. You’ve probably heard the term “kill your darlings” before. Some people take it to mean that you have to get rid of anything you truly love about a story to make it better, but what it really means is that you have to look at everything and, no matter how much you love something, if it’s not helping tell the story, it’s got to go.

My brain gets in this weird rut every time I start a revision. A “this is the way the story has to go and I can’t possibly figure out a different way it can go, even though this way has problems” rut.

It is ridiculous. I have gutted so many stories. I have added characters, removed characters, smooshed multiple characters into a single character, changed people’s personalities, motivations, arcs. I have taken out what at one point felt like essential plot points, and I have rerouted entire subplots. Or taken out subplots. Or added new ones in.

And, especially looking at Book 1, which I have written three entire drafts of (the first one being 93K, the most recent 116K)–nothing should be sacred at this point. I have removed characters and renamed other ones. I have changed people’s roles in the stories and done personality triage. I have added in a ton of subplots over the years, and the only real thing that is the same from the initial draft to the current draft is where the book ends.

Yet my brain still goes into the “HOW CAN I POSSIBLY CHANGE THE WAY THE STORY GOES; THE STORY GOES LIKE THIS” mode every time.

It may be because each draft the story gets ever closer to actually working. The first draft…had so, so many issues. It was a first draft, to be sure, but it was also my first draft. The first complete novel draft I’d ever finished. It was never going to work as it was. If I recall correctly, I wrote half of Book 2 and had to stop, because I’d written Book 1 in such a way that the story was irreparably broken, and there was no way to get from where I was to where I wanted to be.

I had a number of partial drafts before I decided to rewrite the whole thing. The second draft was infinitely better! I wrote drafts of Book 2 and Book 3 (still, arguably, both fairly solid despite the changes I made on the third draft) with no issues. And the third draft fixed many more problems.

It is somewhat infuriating to still have problems.

Because Draft 3 included a number of major changes, and because the book is fairly solid, I think that may be why I’m getting such strong “NO THE STORY CANNOT CHANGE” vibes at the moment. Or it may just be that I get them every major revision and I don’t remember because it’s been a hot minute. Hallowed Hill didn’t need any major changes, just some clarification and a couple of subplots that needed to be evened out, so I didn’t go through this then. And I’ve been working on and off on revising this version of Book 1 since, oh, 2017 or something. So this may also be the longest I’ve been on a particular draft of Book 1 as well.

I did find my notes from earlier in the year when I started ramping up the revision (before Hallowed Hill got moved up in the publication schedule and I needed to switch projects). Which is good, because I totally forgot I was going to move the plot point from Chapter 6 to before the story starts. Ha. Haha.

Back then, I also made a list of problems and potential fixes, which includes such gems as “Problem: First part of book feels disjointed; Fix: Giving Lana internal conflict will help, as will, hopefully, war already being declared” but also things like “Problem: Chapter 8 sucks; Fix: ???”

Good job, past!me. I’m very proud.

I think the next step forward is to look at my subplots and the main plot, and look at what ABSOLUTELY must happen and what is changeable, and move things around in an outline form until it looks right. And then I can rewrite as necessary and, fingers crossed, the book can finally, FINALLY be ready to move to the next step, which will be submission to agents and publishers.

Wish me luck! And cross your fingers that I shall be able to quiet the “OH NO DON’T CHANGE THE STORY” voice enough to get all my ducks in order.

I’ve got a promo for you on Thursday, squiders, and I’ll see you back here on next Tuesday (hopefully with a completed, updated outline).


The Plan for November (and the Revision)

Happy November, squiders! Or IS IT. (I don’t know. Just being dramatic.)

I went to the Nano kick-off party, as I said I might, and I got three years worth of stickers, talked to some lovely people, was a unicorn, and made myself sick by drinking coffee after 10 pm. I had thought I’d leave right at midnight, since I’m not actually writing, but no one else did and then I felt weird, so I hung out for an hour reading back over Book 1, and then I came home and couldn’t sleep (probably because of said coffee. I’d say I’d learned a lesson, but I so rarely try to drink coffee after 10 pm that I doubt it’ll stick).

It took me a few days to get all the way through the current draft (which sits at 116K words), but I am done now and ready to move forward.

My general plan goes something like this:

  • Read through story (done!)
  • Go through beta comments
  • Make revision plan
  • Do revision

I got through the chapter one beta comments and part of chapter two before I had to switch to Hallowed Hill, but I’m going to go back through them.

(As a side note, it amuses me that HH went from premise in late August 2021 to published in Oct 2022, where as I originally said I was going to write this trilogy in 1998, wrote the first draft of Book 1 in 2004/2005, and continue to still be having to poke at it, all these years later. Arguably it could be said that this is because I have improved as a writer over the past twenty years, though also arguably, a 50K Gothic horror novella is not as complex as a currently 300K+ high fantasy trilogy with many many characters.)

I did see issues, though, on my readthrough. That’s to be expected, or else I would not be revising it yet again.

There’s a fairly major plot point that the first step of is missing (probably got lost in the last revision). Weird vestiges of things I took out. A surprising amount of typos, even for me. And, of course, the disjointedness of the first part of the book and so forth.

When I ran the beginning of the book through the critique marathon, I did ask if people had suggestions on how to fix the disjointedness, and one of the suggestions they made was that one of the two viewpoint characters doesn’t have much internal conflict, so her chapters feel lacking, while that wasn’t the issue with the other viewpoint character.

One of the weird things about working on a story for so long is that things get lost. Things change. And some things get worse when you try and fix other things.

I was 14 when I created these characters. (Said characters were also 14 at that point, though they are not any longer.) I decided I was going to write the Trilogy because I spent a HUGE amount of time making up backstory for a character I was going to play in a Star Trek roleplaying sim. And then the ship only ran for a year and a half, and I was like, well, I put all this work in, and this is a really good story, so instead of, you know, moving the character to a different ship and continuing to play her, I was like, “The only solution here is to write an Epic Fantasy Trilogy and move everything out of the Star Trek universe since I can’t publish original stories there.”

As you do.

There are two viewpoint characters, Lana and Dan. Dan started off as an antagonist–I think he may have been supposed to be the main antagonist at one point–so it’s kind of weird that I included his viewpoint at the beginning anyway, in retrospect. As the story has evolved over the decades, he’s become an equal protagonist to Lana, so I’ve spent a ton of time working on him. Giving him an internal arc, making sure his actions–even the questionable ones–have forgivable motivation behind them, making him a complex character with flaws and strengths and goals.

And Lana, I just…didn’t.

To be fair, Lana has changed since the beginning draft too. (One beta, after the first draft, stated that she wanted to punch Lana in the face.) She’s less stuck-up, less braggy. As you can imagine comes from a character that a 14-year-old made to play herself, she had some Mary Sue-ish qualities. But I haven’t done very much character work on her because, once the Mary Sue issues were resolved (fairly easy, done by draft 1.5, if I recall), she was fine. Benign. Maybe even a bit bland.

But a bit bland isn’t going to cut it, not anymore. And worse, compared to Dan, she comes off as boring.

It was a slog to fix Dan, I’m not going to lie. But I’m really happy with him, in this most recent draft. He’s memorable, he’s sympathetic. No one who has read the most recent draft has suggested killing him off to put him out of everybody else’s misery.

(There’s still some work I’ve got to do, to still make him sympathetic for Book 2, but that is a problem for future!Kit.)

Lana should–knock on wood–be an easier fix. It’s really just a problem in the beginning, before she understands what’s happening in the plot. And she’s not moving from being an antagonist to a protagonist/love interest, because she’s always been that.

I’m hoping, as I go through the beta comments, an easy and appropriate fix will present itself. Otherwise, I have some vague ideas that I could poke out (though perhaps the most logical has its own issues, because it’s similar to some of Dan’s issues and I don’t want the repetition).

Wish me luck, squiders.

(Oh, and if anyone knows if there’s a way to change goals on the Nano site from word count to literally anything else, let me know. I put in a revision goal and wanted to do time, but couldn’t figure out how, so now apparently my goal for the month is 1500 words instead of minutes. Whee.)

(Also, they email me like every day to be like “Start Your Nano Project!” which is not going to happen, because if you select Nano it won’t let you change off the 50000 word goal.)

Cozy Fantasy

Happy Thursday, squiders. I had a lovely birthday yesterday, but today’s been a mess.

One of the things I did yesterday, though, was sit and finish The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches, which was a lovely book that I enjoyed very much.

(The copy I read had a blurb on the front cover, which says “A warm and witchy hug of a book” – Tasha Suri, which is an accurate description of the story.)

The book reminded me very much of The House by the Cerulean Sea, in that it involved the main character finding their place, love, and a family where they least expected it (in both cases, involving orphaned magical children in a house by the sea). That’s not a bad thing; I very much enjoyed The House by the Cerulean Sea as well.

I’ve taken to calling these types of stories Cozy Fantasy–and I’m not alone. (I checked Goodreads, and 32 people had shelved The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches as cozy fantasy, and another 32 had just shelved it under “cozy.”) These stories are typically contemporary, with some fantasy elements, and the focus is on healing–finding yourself, finding a place to belong, finding people to call your own.

They’re comforting. And I like them.

Back in the depths of lockdown I found a list somewhere on line, and I think it was something like “The Top 10 Non-stressful Manga” or something like that. From that, I found one called Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu. I’d consider this cozy fantasy too. In manga/anime, this is a Isekai story, which roughly translates to “portal fantasy” (a staple of fantasy in general, and a subgenre I’m rather fond of myself).

The basic premise of Otherworldly Izakaya (izakaya is like an inn, or a pub) Nobu is that someone found a portal between Tokyo and a fantasy realm, and decided to open an izakaya right next to the portal in the fantasy realm. So basically it’s just fantasy people wandering into the izakaya and having their problems solved by food.

It’s more interesting than it sounds.

With the world as unstable as it feels–impending wars, climate change, diseases, crime, and the list goes on–sometimes it’s good to read something that isn’t going to cause more anxiety.

Have you read anything in this genre, squiders? What were your favorite? (I’d love to read more of this, so please share!)

Shannara Readthrough: Running with the Demon

In late 2020, I started watching the first season of the Shannara Chronicles, and at the time I talked here on the blog about how The Wishsong of Shannara was my gateway book into adult fantasy and how that, now that Terry Brooks is done writing Shannara books, I could, in theory, go back and read them all in chronological (not publication) order.

(We only watched the first season of the Shannara Chronicles. It’s my understanding that the events of season two don’t have anything to do with the books, really.)

According to the Wikipedia page for Shannara, there’s 42 works in the series. I hunted down the first one, a short story called “Imaginary Friends,” originally published in 1991, in an anthology in early 2021.

Next up is Running with the Demon, the first of the Word and the Void trilogy, published in 1997.

I was actively reading the Shannara books in ’97 (which ages me, but shhhhh) but at the time it wasn’t clear that these books were related. After all, Brooks has multiple fantasy series, and it seemed like this was just another one. (Magic Kingdom for Sale: Sold! is a good one. There’s a talking dog person.)

The original Shannara Trilogy (Sword, Elfstones, Wishsong) are pretty much straight fantasy. I think there may have been vague hints that they were post-apocalyptic in there, but if so, they’re very subtle. I don’t know how much of all that Brooks had planned out at the beginning.

Running with the Demon does not feel like a Shannara book to me, though admittedly it’s been a while. It takes place modern-day-ish (no year is mentioned) in Hopewell, Illinois, a midwestern small town. Multiple viewpoints, but mostly following 14-year-old Nest Freemark.

I kind of thought we would ease into the fantasy, but no, we jump right in. Nest has magic, as have at least six generations of women in her family. (The magic is unspecified, but can be used to attack people as long as you make eye contact.) There are Feeders, shadow creatures that only Nest and her grandmother can see, which feed on negative emotions. There are sylvans, which are small, nature protectors that look like stick dolls.

All of this is very confusing to me, because none of this stuff exists in the later (chronological) books.

In addition to all that, there are demons in service of the Void, and, to counteract them, Knights in service to the Word, who are fighting a long-term good vs. evil battle.

To say that this book was not what I was expecting is an understatement. There’s already magic, even before the apocalypse? Where did this magic go, after the world falls apart? What happens to the Word and the Void and all that jazz a thousand years or whatever down the line?

I have a vague understanding of what happened based on the Shannara books I’ve read, where civilization collapsed and people evolved into distinct races–elves and goblins and trolls and so forth. There already being magic before hand was unexpected, for some reason.

I guess that’s part of why we’re doing this. To see the evolution of the world throughout all the books.

The next story in sequence is the second Word and the Void trilogy, A Knight of the Word. I’m going to give it a month or so before I get to it.

Realistic Fantasy Travel

As promised, here are my notes from the MileHiCon panel that ended up just being about horses rather than realistic fantasy travel in general. I have notes on three different areas: horses (ubiquitous in almost all forms of fantasy, since people need a way to get places that’s not walking, and horses are easy), boats (specifically tall ship-style boats), and trains (for your steampunk and related needs).

These are mostly stats, kind of as a way to be like “Here’s how these things work, and if you’re having them work differently you’d better have a dang good reason.” The biggest issue, we all agreed in the panel, was that people tend to treat horses like cars, i.e., something that can keep going and going as needed as opposed to living animals that have thresholds and needs. (There was also a large side tangent about whether or not horses needed to be treated as characters, with half the panel saying yes, horses are characters and the other half saying it depended on the story and the horse.)

(I am in the depends on the context camp.)

Anyway! Here are your horse stats. This is your average horse that is not specifically trained for long-distance trips in most cases.


  • Can travel between 25 and 100 miles a day, based on fitness levels/training
  • But if traveling for weeks you want to do 20-30 miles a day so you don’t wear the horse out (walk or trot)
  • A horse that is not used to endurance travel is not going to be able to do it
  • Harder terrain obviously diminishes the distance that can be traveled
  • Can only gallop for about 2 miles (canter for up to 5)
  • Should stop being ridden at age 20-25
  • Many horses cannot carry two people (need big, strong, calm horse)
  • Most horses have a max carrying weight of about 250 lbs (rider(s) + gear)
  • Takes about 2 years to competently learn to ride a horse, assuming one lesson a week
  • Takes an average horse about 5 hours to go 20 miles (horses walk about 4-5 miles an hour)

Now, on to boats. Now, you may be asking, why did I do research on other modes of transportation when the panel was specifically about horses in fantasy? Well, because I thought we were focusing on the “realistic travel” part of the description and not the horse part. So I thought it would be worth it to be prepared to talk about other transportation if they came up, and I picked boats and trains since those seem to be the next most popular modes that come up regularly.

Not to say there are not other modes of fantasy travel, because there absolutely are. I was trying to avoid more fantastic modes, however, since I’m not going to be able to tell you the average airborne velocity of a dragon or anything like that.

My stats for boats are, as I said above, for tall ships. Think 2-4 mast ships that are generally ocean-going.


  • A tall ship travels about 7 miles per hour (6 knots)
  • Older ships may be more like 4 mph
  • Wind direction is important (tail wind vs head wind)
  • A sailing ship is going to average somewhere between 60 and 100 miles a day (also depends on if sailing overnight or not)

I got progressively lazier from this point on.


  • Depending on year, in 1804 they ran about 10 mph, in 1850 they ran up to 75 mph (in England)

Trains, of course, can now run up to a couple hundred mph, but I was focused on steam-powered locomotives, since that seems to be the most applicable.

And, finally:


  • A person can walk 20-30 miles per day (if trained)

(More 10-15 miles if untrained, and then you also need to think about things like footwear and other things that may make things harder.)

Thoughts, squiders? Favorite form of fantasy travel, realistic or not? Thoughts on horses, cuz why not?

A More Complete Plan (and Tournament Follow-up)

Okay, so first things first–I did end up playing in my Among Us tournament final. Two of the original top ten couldn’t play, so I got moved up. And I came in 8th overall, which is, like, a million times better than I thought I was going to do.

Now I can never play in another tournament again to maintain my streak. >_>

In writing land, I’ve finished my readthrough of Book One. And I, uh, also read through Book Two. Meaning I’ve read the whole trilogy over the past few weeks, except I remembered I didn’t start at the beginning of Book Three, so I may go and read the part I skipped, just because.

The beginning is definitely 90% of the problem on Book One. I’ve got it sent out to two betas now as well, with hopes that they’ll get back to me by the end of the week with their thoughts (and hopefully some suggestions).

The other 10% is filtering and crutch words and general clean-up. I’m considering looking at a service like ProWritingAid or other basic editor, where it will yell at me when I do lazy writing. Do you have one you use and like?

(Book Two is a whole ‘nother can of worms, but I finished the most recent draft in 2011, so it’s old writing style-wise and because it’s working off of plot points that no longer exist. But we’ll worry about it more when Book One is done.)

Anyway, I think all three of the options we talked about last time are still on the table, plus my spouse suggested starting with a later scene and then going back to the beginning. Which is a totally viable strategy, so I’ll give it a try. He suggested a scene near the end of Book Two (hence why I re-read Book Two) but I don’t think that will work (he may be remembering an earlier version of the scene), plus I don’t know about using a scene from a different book. That may be too far in the future.

Have you ever seen that? A multi-book series that starts with a scene that doesn’t show up until a later book?

Hmm, decisions, decisions.

My plan of attack going forward is to go through my beta comments and consolidate them (to see if I’ve missed any options or spots that other people think are problems), then to write a couple of alternative first scenes to see if they work any better. And then hopefully I’ll hear from my betas and we can discuss things.

And then, perhaps, the path forward will be clear.

How are you guys doing? Projects going well?

Well, I’m Going to Do It

We talked a few weeks back about Shannara and the TV show and how it was the series that got me into epic fantasy, and how the series is complete now so I could, if so inclined, go back and read the series in chronological order.

I thought very hard about this.

The first story, chronologically, is a short story called “Imaginary Friends,” originally published in 1991 and re-published in 2013.

So I hunted down the anthology from 2013, and not only is it included, but it’s the first story. Mission accomplished!

(I am, now, however, faced with a decision. This is a very large book. Do I read the whole thing? There’s not really any reason not to, except that I had to go through the library loan program to get it, which means I am limited in the amount of times I can renew it.)

(The other thing is there is another Shannara short story, later in the book, which is 25th in the chronology. Do I read it now and then read it again when I get to it? Do I skip it? I am aware that this is a stupid problem, yet here we are.)

It was a cute little story, more urban fantasy than anything. I don’t quite see how it connects in, and even in the intro Terry Brooks notes that it was written before he’d really solidified the ideas that would become the Word and the Void trilogy, which comes next chronologically. The first book of those is Running with the Demon, which I am 90% sure I own somewhere. Just got to find it now.

Anyway, apparently I’m doing this. I imagine it will not be fast, but I’ll check in with you guys from time to time.

Now, to go find that book.

Back to My Roots

I think I’ve told you guys this before, but the very first adult high fantasy book I ever read was Wishsong of Shannara, by Terry Brooks. I was 12 at the time, and I got the book out of my elementary school library. It seems like kind of a weird choice for an elementary school library–while it’s not Game of Thrones or Wheel of Time-sized fantasy, it’s still sizeable–but, then, I have run into people who think all fantasy is for children, so who knows.

I’ve read a lot of the Shannara books over the years, though not all of them. Terry Brooks has trucked on, through the years, and I have fallen behind. I read all three of the original trilogy (Sword, Elfstones, Wishsong) and the four books that make up the “Heritage” (Scions, Druid, Elf Queen, Talismans). I have and have read the graphic novel Dark Wraith of Shannara, which goes after Wishsong chronologically, and I read First King of Shannara shortly after it came out in 1996. I’ve also read Ilse Witch and Antrax, and someday I hope to read the third book of that particular trilogy.

That all means nothing if you have not read the Shannara books yourself, but basically I’m about 20 years behind on the series.

From what I understand, the last book planned for the world came out in October, so I could, in theory, read all gazillion books now. Perhaps in chronological order instead of publication order, since I’m so far behind.

ANYWAY. Shannara was my gateway into high fantasy, and even while I haven’t read the books over the years, I’ve never forgotten it.

In 2016 MTV started a television series called The Shannara Chronicles, which lasted a sad two seasons. It’s always been on my radar, so when my husband last week said, “We should watch this show I found,” I was totally on board.

We’ve only watched the first two-part episode but, man, everything has rushed back. When people show up on screen, I’m like “I bet that’s X.” I keep up a fairly constant commentary (“Oh, we’re jumping right into the post-apocalyptic setting. It took me a few books to figure that out.”) and talk about plot choices (“I always thought it was weird that they decided to start with Elfstones”). My husband didn’t know what he was getting himself into.

Isn’t that always how it goes, though? I can’t necessarily tell you the plot of a book I read last year, but even though I haven’t read a Shannara book in probably at least ten years, if not fifteen, they definitely left an impression.

Have you ever run into that, squiders? Something you read or watched when you were little (or younger at least) that has lingered even without you revisiting it?

Also, while we’re on the subject, have you watched The Shannara Chronicles? What did you think?

(As kind of a funny story, I went to a book signing by Terry Brooks at some point. Well, I think I’ve seen him a few times, but I think this most recent time had to be in the early 2010s, because the television show had been optioned. And there I learned that I had been pronouncing Shannara wrong for the fifteen-ish years I’d been reading the series. Good times.)

Library Book Sale Finds: The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

Is it just me or does it feel like September is going super fast?

This is another out of last November or December’s library book sale, all of which were hard cover and within a few years of publication. I’ve been having trouble figuring out why the library would withdraw and sell practically new books (this one came out in April and was being sold about six months later) but I have a theory.

Said theory is that libraries probably buy a bunch of copies of new books that they predict will be popular. This allows them to get through the release rush. Then, when the stream dies off, they keep a smaller amount for long-term use and sell off the extras.

Best I’ve got. Any librarians out there know?

Title: The Devouring Gray
Author: Christine Lynn Herman
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Year: 2019

Pros: Intriguing plot, great characters
Cons: Middle is a little boggy

I actually really enjoyed this one (though I can hear my spouse mocking me for reading YA fantasy again). It was one of those books where I’d sit down, intending to read for 15 or 20 minutes, and still find myself going an hour later. The plot really pulls you along, but not in a way that I found anxiety-inducing.

I believe this is the first book in a duology. At least Goodreads leads me to believe the second book, The Deck of Omens, is the conclusion. The story takes place in Four Paths, New York, and follows four teenagers, each a member of the town’s four founding families. But Four Paths is not a normal town, and the founding families are not normal, either–each has a special talent, used to protect the town from the Gray and the Beast within.

Each of the four main characters is different and complex, not quite the protagonists you would expect. Only three of them have viewpoints in this book (I guess the fourth has one in the epilogue) but I enjoyed all of them. And I enjoyed learning more about the secrets of Four Paths and the Gray.

My one complaint, minor really, is that the middle is slightly bogged down by characters going over what feels like the same ground a few times. But it’s minor, and the story picks up again with new information pretty quickly after that.

So, hey, if you missed this one and you like YA contemporary fantasy, I’d give it a look.

(But, seriously, where has September gone?)

Library Book Sale Finds: The Sword of the Spirits by John Christopher

Hey, hey, sneaking in under the wire, two months in a row!

This book had a lot of telling right at the beginning, and it took me about halfway through before I realized I was reading the last book of a trilogy.

Title: The Sword of the Spirits
Author: John Christopher
Genre: Science Fantasy
Publication Year: 1972

Pros: Impressive wordsmithing
Cons: A lot of telling, unlikable main character

Wikipedia tells me that this is the last book of a young adult trilogy. I would not have considered it young adult before that, but apparently the main character is considerably younger in the first two books.

The beginning, as I said above, has a lot of telling–recounting what the main character had done at what must have been the end of the second book, explaining how the world works, etc.–but it was very pretty telling. I’m always a little annoyed when I read a book and the telling is pretty and interesting. I think I’m just annoyed that someone had broken the cardinal rule of writing and done it in a way I can’t even be grumpy about.

(Eye of the Dragon by Stephen King is like that too.)

This series takes place in a post-apocalyptic United Kingdom (mostly England) where things have reverted to a medieval level of technology and the people live in individual city states. (I’m not clear what exactly happened…something with some sort of radiation, I suppose, since there are classes of humans called dwarves and polymufs which have various physical differences from “true” men. Also some sort of overall cooling of the planet.)

Do you remember when we read the Finnbranch trilogy? This felt like that, and is of about the same era of fantasy. It’s not true fantasy, of course, because it’s Earth in the future, but most of its tropes and elements come from fantasy rather than science fiction.

Our main character is Luke Perry (which is a thoroughly modern name and for some reason very distracting to me), Prince of the city-state of Winchester. He’s apparently prophecized by the Seers (basically scientists pretending to be holy men since machines are considered to have been the reason everything fell apart in the past) to be the one that will unite all the city-states again.

And he’s a pompous idiot.

There, I said it.

Luke is very headstrong and doesn’t take advice well, and he doesn’t take well to people challenging his decisions. Everything that goes wrong–and things go horribly wrong–is his own fault. I guess that’s kind of the author’s trademark, writing flawed protagonists. But it does make it hard to root for him.

And I won’t spoil the end, but I felt like it was unfulfilling, that everything Luke had worked for throughout the book was worthless in the long run. Also, it was depressing, and not in a way that was satisfying. Almost like the story was bored of itself and wanted to be done.

Now, it’s possible that if I had read the whole trilogy it would have been better, but maybe not. I’ve read enough 70s trilogies followed “chosen ones” of whatever ilk, and I’m kind of bored of the whole thing, since they’re almost always depressing and make you wonder why you bothered.

Would I recommend this? No. But the book does have a 3.8 on Goodreads, which is decent, so your mileage may vary.

Read any less depressing fantasy trilogies from the ’70s? Have any book recommendations in general?