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Eric Freborg

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The Silmarillion (Illustrated Edition)
The Silmarillion (Illustrated Edition)

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Not for all tastes. But I loved it., 14. September 1998
As the reviews on this page show, this book is not from everyone. Indeed, it's not even for all Tolkien fans. If, however, you were hypnotized by the tantalizing references to the lost past that are scattered throughout The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, you will probably enjoy this. (By the way, people who stopped after twenty pages quit just before the story got exponentially better. Oh well, their loss.)
I was completely amazed when I read The Silmarillion. I was completely captivated by the story of the Noldor and their deeds in Beleriand. The story is written in truly masterful style, and even (primarily) without dialogue, the richness of the story grips the reader and immerses him in the Elder Days and the great War of the Jewels. The images of the story are powerful and will stay with the dedicated reader forever. I can still vividly picture Fingolfin doing battle with Morgoth, Yavanna crying over the ruin of the Trees, Beren in Thingol's hall, as well as Mablung sorowfully wandering the shores of the sea; and most of all I can see Feanor and his sons swearing their oath by torchlight in the court of Tirion.
Just a word on the content: this is not happy stuff. The world of LotR contained an aura of lost greatness and the certain knowledge that the world was in slow but irreversible decline. This story has that aura in spades, in addition to the fact that the reader gets to see the fall from greatness firsthand. The terrible sadness of the whole story and the tragedy of Tolkien's irreparably marred world is enough to make even the most dry-eyed (and I count myself as one of these) break down. (I cried at least four times during my last reading of The Silmarillion, which is perhaps the highest praise that I can possibly give it.)

Dragon Prince
Dragon Prince
von Melanie Rawn
Preis: EUR 6,70

1.0 von 5 Sternen Dreadful characters drag down a couple of good ideas, 1. September 1998
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Dragon Prince (Taschenbuch)
Like many others, I was attracted to this book by MIchael Whelan's beautifully drawn covers. Having heard some good things about Melanie Rawn from friends, I decided to give the books a try. Starting with the bad things I found in the book, here is my opinion:
I was immensely disappointed to discover that the book's characters were poorly written, with no personalities to speak of. I would call them one-dimensional if it were not far higher praise than they deserve. in drawing her characters, Ms. Rawn seems to have mistaken inconsistancy for depth. The characters were, almost without exception, even flatter than the paper on which their tiresome adventures were described. Rohan was not only uninspiring but offputting as the goody-goody hero. (He's even a conservationist!) When he finally does do something that is not stereotypically good and selfless, it is so forced and out of line with what the reader had previously been shown of his personality (such as it is) that it only detracts. Rawn obviously tries to make Rohan's character complex; she succeeds only in making it mostly random. The other characters are even more shallow. Rawn hardly even bothers to give the people on Rohan's side distinguishing details to help the reader tell them apart. And such detail (or a program) is sorely needed. They are all cast of the same mold as Rohan: clean-cut, honest, self-sacrificing, brave, and good friends with one another. Any nation with such a uniformly excellent class of leaders would have almost no cause to fear anything. Alas, such leaders do not exist. Have you EVER heard of a nation led by by a perfect man, uniformly good in all respects? (The actions that, to him, prove his "barbarity" are so random and uncharacteristic that they cannot be included in any intelligent discussion of Rohan's personality.) I have not. The book, quite frankly, was BORING. The good guys were all noble and virtuous. The bad guys were all lazy, selfish, or greedy. The plot was more like a parking lot than a roller coaster. At no time (no, not even once) was I surprised by the direction that the plot took. Rohan defeated his enemies so easily, with so little failing to go according to his decidedly uninspired plan that there might as well have been no resistance whatsoever. Rohan's enemies are so easily fooled by even the most childish schemes that I was amazed that anyone could genuinely fear them. The bad guys make mistakes by the cartful, while the good guys, with (of course) no margin for error, pull everything off perfectly every single time. I could continue with a detailed critique of almost every single character, decrying them all as flat and stereotypical, but I have taken up as much space with my criticism as I care to.
Now to get to the good things that I found. I liked the idea of the Sunrunners, though it was so poorly realized that, although entirely original, it seemed as stereotypical as the rest of the book. Oh, and I liked the dragons too.
Anyone who wishes to e-mail me an opinion of my opinion is perfectly welcome.

The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time)
The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time)
von Robert Jordan
Preis: EUR 5,80

4.0 von 5 Sternen Highly Overrated., 23. Januar 1998
I should start by saying that I have read all seven books (each of the first six twice) and intend to continue reading them until the series ends. The books are passably written and are certainly a cut above the standard fantasy drivel of David Eddings and Terry Brooks. This, of course , has all been said before, and rightly so. I write this, however, to say that many of the reviews on this page seem to me to be far too extreme. I personally found the depth and quality of J.R.R. Tolkien's works far superior to those of Robert Jordan. The Lord Of the Rings captivates the reader entirely, granting him a glimpse of a world as rich and enthralling as any ever created in fantasy. The sense of loss contained in LotR was so great that I cried when I finished it, which is something that I do not expect to ever say about The Wheel of Time. Tastes differ, however, and I am entirely able to accept that there may be those who prefer the many facets and characters (as well as important female characters, what a concept in a fantasy novel) of The Wheel of Time to the tearstained beauty of Tolkien's world. A few reviewers on this page, however, have said that Jordan exceeds Shakespeare for literary merit. I question the sanity and taste of these people. I find it hard to believe, in fact, that these reviewers have read Shakespeare or, better yet, seen his plays in performance. Shakespeare's works, although written entirely in dialogue and (with the exceptions of those plays in which he uses a chorus) without the benefit of narration (let's see Mr. Jordan do that!), still captivate readers with their exceptionally realistic characters, marvelously scripted comic scenes, and heartrending tragedies. Even four hundred years after they were written, Shakespeare's plays are as enjoyable and vivid as when they were first performed in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. His tales transcend the ages and will (hopefully) be remembered and loved far into the future. Next to the towering monuments of Shakespeare's plays, Robert Jordan's series is like rich candy: pleasant to experience, swift to digest, and forgotten just as quickly. Where Shakespeare's works are the stuff of the ages, Mr. Jordan's assays into the field of fantasy are mere pulp. Enjoyable pulp that I will buy in hardcover because I will not want to wait for the paperback edition, but pulp just the same. I think (and fervently hope) that Mr. Jordan would be highly embarassed at being favorably compared to Shakespeare. Altough this review is quite long, I think that what I have put forth needed to be said. (By the way, I have no complaints about Mr. Jordan's long-windedness, since it keeps alive the enjoyable experience of reading his books. I also, as is obvious from this review, suffer from the same malady.)

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