December 02, 2004


Today, I'll talk about another parallel universe trilogy, Barbara Hambly's "Darwath Trilogy". In this story, two people (Rudy and Gil) are drawn into the world of Darwath. Long ago, this world's population was decimated by repeated nighttime attacks by "The Dark", monstrous magical creatures that fly out of their caves at night to feed on the living. Nobody knows why the attacks stopped then, but now, it appears the time has come for them to start again.

The whole population is protected inside a keep that somehow keeps out the Dark. Meanwhile, Rudy starts learning everything he can how magic works because, well, if you found yourself in a world where magic works, wouldn't you want to try your hand at a little wizardry? Gil also joins the battle against the Dark in other ways, and she soon becomes a major factor in a different way. All the while, the Gandalf-stand-in (Ingold) is in the background, helping them both and trying to figure out how to fight off the Dark.

This is a pretty short trilogy and a very quick read. I understand that Hambly has written two subsequent books continuing the storyline, but I haven't read them. I read these books at roughly the same age that I read Feist, and I found the quality comparable. My book snob friends, though, didn't like them. One friend, Chris, was biased against them from the beginning.

He had a rule, he said, that any book since Lord of the Rings that had a title "The (blank) of (blank)" was almost always bad. All three of these fit that description for him ("The Time of the Dark", "The Walls of Air", "The Armies of Daylight"), so I don't think he ever gave it a chance. I will admit, though, that I've read a couple of Hambly's other books (a Star Trek and a Star Wars book) later in life, and it was mixed.

The Trek book was fine as that genre goes, but her Star Wars entry ("Children of the Jedi") was perhaps the worst Star Wars novel I've ever read, and that's saying something.

Posted by Observer at December 2, 2004 11:49 AM

Comments on entries can only be made in pop-up windows while those entries are still on the main index page. Sorry for the inconvenience this causes, but this blocks about 99.99% of the spam the blog receives.

Woo ... "worst Star Wars novel" ... I won't even allow *any* of those in my house I find them so awful, and there's a solid candidate for worst? It boggles the mind.

Maybe once geta good, permanent long-term storage site for high-level toxic radioactive waste, we can move the publisher of the Star Wars books there. Just as deadly, just as hard to contain, and containment is just as desirable.

Posted by: Feff on December 2, 2004 12:02 PM

Feff's response becomes even more amusing when you know the little secret that tomorrow evening at 8 pm 10 of us will descend upon his house to...

Play d20 StarWars set in the New Republic era.

To be fair, I tend to have the same opinion of the StarWars books that your friend Chris had about "The (blank) of (blank)" books. Because of my involvement in the d20 campaign I went out and read Vector Prime for setting (so that I could get a feel for the game universe) and I felt that the writing was mediocre and the universe was iffy. More and more, though, I am blaming that on Lucas and his draconian control of "his baby" and the destruction of that universe in the name of marketting (see prior diatribes on the StarWars movies).

Posted by: Seattle Astronomer on December 2, 2004 12:21 PM

Zahn's "Thrawn Trilogy" was very good, and I've also enjoyed the X-Wing series. Two of the other stand-alones that were published near the beginning were "The Truce at Bakura" and "The Courtship of Princess Leia", and I liked them. Beyond that, I've found nothing worth recommending with any enthusiasm and some awfully bad stuff.

The SW stuff closest in suck to Hambly's book was Vonda McIntyre's "Crystal Star" and anything at all by Kevin J. Anderson. There may well be worse, because I've pretty much given up on the genre except for a few unread things left on the shelf that may collect dust for some time.

Posted by: Observer on December 2, 2004 12:45 PM