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Bry's Bountiful Book Blog

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The Thousandfold Thought - R. Scott Bakker

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Bakker's style has a number of strengths which I felt were brought to the fore with this, the last book in the first of three planned trilogies in the world of Earwa. Firstly, the Homeric large-scale battles were depicted quite well, as in The Warrior-Prophet (although toward the end, I was a little tired of the phrase "death came swirling down"). Secondly, Bakker's non-Kellhus characters kept developing in real and believable ways, even though I was a trifle surprised by the relative non-lethality of his approach toward his main characters (in this gritty style of fantasy I always sort of half-expect one of the main characters to bite it, and I thought for sure that Cnaiur would be the one, mostly 'cause he's bat-shit crazy). Lastly, Bakker's encyclopedic historical approach to world-building finally gets its chance to shine. The appendix was intensely large, and pretty interesting (it's rare that I'll actually spend the time to read an appendix in a fantasy novel, but I did with this one, and enjoyed it too!).

I also really enjoyed the depth he gave his magic system which, although not fully explained, was given enough detail to help the reader understand the differences between the various styles of magic. I think the magic needs some more fleshing-out, but maybe he does that in succeeding novels.

Achamian's dreams of Seswatha's life were once again a high point for me. I just find everything about the No-God and the First Apocalypse and Golgotterath so cool and foreboding that the dream sequences were some of my favourite parts of this book. I also liked Achamian's transition from sorceror to wizard.

I've read some reviews which complained about how badass Kellhus is...and he is badass. In fact, he's the MOST badass motherfucker there is (in these books, anyways). I just don't fully understand why this is a problem for so many people. Fiction is full of completely unbeatable dudes, from Conan to Tarzan, Kvothe to Rand al'Thor, Achilles to Beowulf. I think what Bakker is doing differently here is asking "What if the superhero...isn't truly a hero?" This take on the so-called "Marty-Stu" archetype is fresh and interesting to me, and I have the suspicion that what some people may not like about this is that it eliminates a certain measure of wish-fulfillment for them, in that they don't want to imagine themselves to be someone who is so selfish and completely devoid of conscience. Unfortunately though, a conscienceless character is quite a bit more realistic than a pure-hearted, noble paladin. I can imagine that this doesn't sit well with some people.