Wednesday, 13 February 2008

'The Wanderer's Tale' (David Bilsborough), didn't make the grade I'm afraid...


I think I mentioned somewhere else that one of my aims, this year, is to work my way through some of the 'thicker looking' books that I never got round to in 2007. One of these books is David Bilsborough's 2007 debut 'The Wanderer's Tale', I'm about sixty(ish) pages in and I've reached that familiar point where I find myself wondering what kind of a dent the book would make if I threw it out of the window and it hit a parked car... I've reached that point where I got the feeling that life is too short to persevere with reading something where I just know that my opinion will not change!

When the very first page describes clouds as 'pyro-clastic' then I know there's trouble ahead. When the priest tells the crowd that he 'must vaticinate' I just know that this is a book where the author is showing off his vocabulary when he should be telling the story instead. I'm not saying that books should be dumbed down but there is a line where (if it's crossed)readers can be jarred out of the book and struggle to get back into the story. This is exactly what happened to me. It's a real shame as I was growing to like what Bilsborough was doing with regards to wordbuilding, a little less verbosity (excessive descriptions as well as vocabulary) could have helped things to flow a lot more.

Now, I'm not saying that I've read loads of fantasy fiction but I think I've read enough to have a fair idea about what works in a book. Using the phrase 'fifteen years later' is never going to work (unless you're at primary school), at least not as far I'm concerned... Put dates at the beginning of the chapters and that works fine, 'fast fowarding' the prose just looks like there's a great big gap that the author doesn't know how to handle so he's brushed it under the carpet. It just felt really 'slapdash' and completely at odds with the 'epic quest' feel of the book.

It feels like a real shame to put this one down so early as I'd heard great things about 'The Wanderer's Tale' when it was first published. Reading it though was like trudging through mud in pursuit of a glittering prize that was forever out of reach. I may pick this one up again in the future but, right now, I doubt very much that will happen...

8 comments:

Robert said...

Yeah, this one was pretty bad. So you're not missing much if you don't finish it ;) I actually just got the sequel not too long ago, but I probably won't be reading it...

gav(NextRead) said...

You read more pages than I did! It didn't work for me.

I always feel slightly uncomfortable being negative when the book has had to go through so many hurdles to get into my hands.

It might work for some people but I couldn't get past the language.

I think the more I read the higher my expectations are.

J.G. Thomas said...

I'm not at all surprised by your feelings towards this one. I've heard similarly bad things about this novel. I also read an interview where the author came across as an arrogant tosser, to put it mildly. I certainly will be steering clear.

Anonymous said...

Just made it to page one hundred and will seriously need to consider if the book is worthy of my time. It has been a letdown so far.

Jaden said...

How big is the book?
Is it good?
I need a book to read for this project, and I was searching the "Google Book Search" so i found this.
Looking for a fantasy kind of book....
Any suggestions?
have suggestions, please email to horse.runner8@gmail.com

Jaden said...

How big is the book?
Is it good?
I need a book to read for this project, and I was searching the "Google Book Search" so i found this.
Looking for a fantasy kind of book....
Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

What kind of critic writes a review after only reading sixty pages? The story gains a lot more momentum, not to mention Bilsborough's fictional world of Lindormyn has a considerable amount of depth. If you're complaining about the vocabulary used throughout the series, reading probably isn't your niche; stick with video games.

Graeme Flory said...

Hi 'Anon',

This wasn't a review so much as a brief note on why I put it down so early. I probably should have made that clearer for the people reading (although no-one else has complained...)

I never actually reviewed the whole book either - just commented on the sixty odd pages that I did read. It would be pretty stupid to judge the whole of a book if I hadn't actually read it all, wouldn't it? Again, sorry that point wasn't made clear to you. Maybe things pick up later but if things don't get going right at the start...? Well, who's going to be around for the rest of the book?

As far as Bilsborough's use of vocabulary goes, he can use whatever words he likes and that was never my complaint. Words that blatantly stand out and detract from the setting though? That's something entirely different and should be noted.

I think the real issue here is that you enjoyed 'The Wanderer's Tale' and cannot understand why I didn't. That's just the way it goes unfortunately. Not everyone is going to enjoy the same stuff as everyone else are they? It's that simple and that's where good discussion happens.

Classless comments though? Well, they only ever reflect badly on the person making them and don't make for good discussion. If you come back to reply, you might want to remember that :o)