January 08, 2005

The Hand of Rawn

I spent a few hours this week putting together new bookshelves that I got for Christmas, so I was finally able to pull all of my books out of storage in one of Sarah's closets. They're all out on the shelves now. With the three six-shelf bookshelves plus one big three-shelfer and the big built-in three-shelfer in the living room, I've got about 60 feet of books collected that I've read and another 10 feet of books that I haven't read (many leftover from a 1994 trip to Powell's in Portland, Oregon, where I spent about 200 bucks). All this digging through my books inspired me to start reviewing some more, so I'll start by finishing up the list of fantasy series the kids might like to read.

Melanie Rawn has written two oversized trilogies that I've read. The first is "Dragon Prince", a romantic fantasy. It's a pretty typical fantasy world, a mix of dragons, magic (two opposing kinds, star and sun, but the sun is actually ... oh nevermind) and various elements of medieval Europe, including a form of feudalism and monarchy. The main male character is Rohan, and he wants to evolve the world into a less barbaric and more civilized place, and he falls in love with Sioned, who is way beneath his station, so there is lots of opposition from other nobles to all aspects of his life. The whole trilogy involves him overcoming those obstacles and Making the World a Better Place. I guess it is pitched more to female readers, but I thought it was fine.

In the second trilogy, "Dragon Star", it all goes to hell as Rohan's son Pol has to deal with an enormous invasion that pretty much overruns the world except for a few isolated strongholds, sort of like in Hambly's "Darwath" series, only without the real-world crossover element. This second series is a bit weaker than the first. Really, the first book of the first trilogy is the best of the six, with the most original ideas and interesting plot (especially if you like romantic novels, which I don't). The rest of the first trilogy is okay only because you want to find out what happens to all of the characters. The second trilogy I could do without, as it was a bit of a slog.

Each of the six books is in the neighborhood of 600 pages, and these are not your oversized-type Harry Potter pages which you can zip through in the half the time. So reading the whole set is an ambitious project (it is about 10 inches worth of books in paperback, equivalent to all 11 books of Glen Cook's "Black Company" series). I imagine the only reason I got through it was because I was a grad student at the time and had a hell of a lot more time to read.

Posted by Observer at January 8, 2005 11:20 AM
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