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 Post subject: June 2008
PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:13 pm 
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Location: Hiding behind the book turrets
The meeting will be June 19th at 6.30pm.

The books will be Gregory Maguire's Wicked
http://www.infinitas.com.au/Product.php?bar=9780061350962

and

Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself
http://www.infinitas.com.au/Product.php?bar=9780575079793

Cya
Dan


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:36 pm 
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I have just started The Blade Itself and am enjoying it.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 10:37 pm 
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I have finished the trilogy starting with The Blade Itself. Yes, I enjoyed them all.


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 Post subject: Garry's notes
PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:51 pm 
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Garry emailed notes from the meeting, which I have belatedly posted up here:

Quote:
ISBN 0-575-07786-7, The Blade itself, by Joe Abercrombie (UK) © 2006, 560 pages
and Wicked, by Gregory McGuire (US) © 1996, 406 pages


The Blade itself,
Rather a lot more was said / time spent on this book than on ‘Wicked’ and is probably an accurate measure of the merit of the respective books.
The Story in ‘The Blade itself’ is slow to get started or to make sense as a coherent piece as the three main characters are presented. Partly this is because unlike in a JRR Tolkien book, where you pick up the important background details on the way, in this book the background is front loaded and continuous revelations about the characters / setting cause you to re-think about on whose ‘side’ your sympathies lay. You even develop an emotional attachment to these characters, before you realize what appalling people they are!
From someone who read ahead (this is book one of a series) the Torturer comes into his own in the second book.
There are quite a few Women characters in this story, they are all strong characters, but they are also all ‘Bad’ Women. Possibly this book is grittily ‘Fantasy Noir’ or an accurate account of what surviving women would have to be like in a realistic Quest Fantasy?
Comment on the Fight Scenes was that they were well thought out and that the writer really does know about hand to hand combat. While fighting there is even an inner dialogue that makes sense!
A negative point raised was of the repetition of comment on the pain of torture, and that scenes are frequently re-stated to give the differing views of the major characters. Logan the Berserker, two characters in one, emerges as a favourite.
Does the world of the story as described engage the reader, is it self consistent?
‘The Blade itself’ features a good narrative momentum, as three out of the four readers of the first book have gone on to read the subsequent books in the series – Praise enough? This book however is not really a complete story, it really does conclude in book two (that’s a commitment to an 1100 page read!). The third book in the series is quite a different story though, although to get that far, three 500 plus page books is about twice the reading of The Lord of the Rings (six books)?

Message of the book – NEVER disturb a Mage’s bath time routine – Never!
The point of the book is that ‘real’ War is far from being a glorious adventure! Afterwards, comments were made to the effect that the readers had deep misgivings about the idea of children in combat, as depicted in the soon to be released ‘Prince Caspian’ movie, as instalment of CS Lewis’ ‘the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe’ story.


All three books were published almost simultaneously, leading to suggestions of a ‘Sultans of Swing’ type eruption out of no where of this writer as a new talent, however, as the writer of these books is also a Movie editor and is presumably used to chopping and changing other people’s stories for maximum impact, the tight flow of the story is therefore quite explicable. The readers of ‘The Blade itself’ could easily see the book re-interpreted as a series of movies (three?).



Wicked,

About the book – L Frank Baum is famous for the two ‘Oz’ books that most people are aware of, but this there were about Forty ‘Oz’ books in the end, a franchise that was worked to death? Wicked is a Story set in the World of the Oz books but it takes a very different view of the characters and institutions to L Frank Baum. Also, this was the very first book to be recorded as reviewed by the Lambda Bookshop’s book review meeting – passing strange? If you are interested in critical reading of SF and Fantasy books I would recommend that you have a look at the list of books reviewed by this group. The ‘Reviews’ posted to their website read like a study guide / points to notice when reading and are quite helpful and informative irrespective of GLTG viewpoint in some of the books selected. The Author has also revisited two other folklore / Fantasy, stories, i.e. Cinderella (with his Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister) and Snow White (his Mirror Mirror). The sequel to ‘Wicked’ is called ‘Son of a Witch’, and it was published 2006.



Like The Wizard of Oz this story has gone from being a book to a Musical!, and consequently the comments on the two different treatments of the story were mixed up and intermingled in the Review that I read, Surrender Dorothy by Tony Buchsbaum – http://januarymagazine.com/SSF/wicked.html



Reader’s report - The book is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz and it explains how the events depicted in that book _Really_ came to happen, i.e. it gives The story of the ‘Wicked Witches’ from their point of view. The main character in Wicked’; is the green Witch in this book is named as ‘Elphaba’ (from L Frank Baum, geddit?), a minor and off stage character in L Frank Baum’s ‘The Wizard of Oz’ story. It covers her College life, as a ‘Green Activist’. A rather different school experience to that of Harry Potter et al at Hogwarts? She is apparently a dissident from the rule of ‘The Wizard’. One complaint against this book is that there is too much odd Sex described. Beyond prudery a ‘Yuk!’ factor disturbed several reader’s enjoyment of the rest of the book. Was this an attempt to invert the ‘cutesy-ness’ of Frank Baum’s OZ’? Otherwise the book was enjoyed by those who read it. Dunno.



The ‘message’ of this book - is that ‘Wickedness’ really is in the eye of the beholder. The Facts are the same as in ‘Oz’ but if you read ‘Wicked’ you might find yourself discovering that there is a different point of view as to who is ‘Good’ and who is ‘Bad’, so perhaps this is not a book for ‘Friends of Dorothy’?



© Garry P Dalrymple, June 2008



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