Thursday, December 30, 2010

I Read Some Raymond Feist

A number of people whose opinions I respect think he is a fine author and worthy of my reading time.  Looking for a little recreational reading, I endeavored to read some Raymond Feist.

Years ago I played the computer game Betrayal at Krondor.  I thought the game was mostly fun but was unsatisfied by the plot line.  At the time I chalked it up to the challenge of applying literature thinking to game design.  This summer I borrowed a copy of Krondor: The Betrayal.  I read roughly about a third of the way through the book and put it down.  Permanently.  I have probably only done that a half dozen times in my life.  At this point in my life I am less tolerant of books which do not reach an enjoyment threshold than I was in earlier times in my life.  This can easily be attributed to the various pressures on my time and the scarcity of reading time.

Why did I not enjoy Krondor: The Betrayal?  Quite simply, neither characters nor plot engaged me.  I found the prose did not create pictures in my head.

First week of December we did an island visit; it was a vacation escape from the cold.  Looking for reading material, I am advised Krondor: The Betrayal is not one of Feist's better books and am recommended to try the Conclave of the Shadows series.  Further advised that the first two books go together and the third is optional, I pack borrowed copies of Talon of the Silverhawk and King of Foxes.

They were better but still I find them wanting.  I never felt the characters progressed beyond two dimensional caricatures.  They never felt like real people to me, I was unable to relate to them.  The plot wandered like a pick your own adventure book.  Powerful background characters acted like omnipotent plot fixers, much like deus ex machina.  The plot fixers had knowledge the characters in the book and the readers never get to know.  They are just smarter than all of us.  I will try not to spoil the series but at one point the central character suffers a debilitating and supposedly permanent injury, which later is 'cured' by the omnipotent plot fixers.

I did read complete the two books while on vacation.  The good news is I did not put them down.  I do not think I will be reading any more Feist though.  As the old saying goes, his books are apparently not my cup of tea.

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