Wednesday, 16 June 2010

‘The White Road’ – Lynn Flewelling (Spectra)


I usually try and finish whatever book I pick up, just to see how the story ends if nothing else. Every now and then though, a book comes along that I just can’t finish. Sometimes (for whatever reason) it’s a book that I just can’t stomach, life can really be too short for that kind of thing... Other times though, it’s not the book’s fault at all and ‘The White Road’ was one of those books.
Here’s the blurb...

Dissolute nobles, master spies, and the unlikeliest of heroes, Alec and Seregil have survived exile, treachery, and black magic. But the road that lies ahead is the most hazardous they’ve ever traveled. For with enemies on all sides, they must walk a narrow path between good and evil where one misstep might be their last.

Having escaped death and slavery in Plenimar, Alec and Seregil want nothing more than to go back to their nightrunning life in Rhíminee. Instead they find themselves saddled with Sebrahn, a strange, alchemically created creature—the prophesied “child of no woman.” Its moon-white skin and frightening powers make Sebrahn a danger to all whom Alec and Seregil come into contact with, leaving them no choice but to learn more about Sebrahn’s true nature.

With the help of trusted friends and Seregil’s clan, the duo set out to discover the truth about this living homunculus—a journey that can lead only to danger or death. For Seregil’s old nemesis Ulan í Sathil of Virèsse and Alec’s own long-lost kin are after them, intent on possessing both Alec and Sebrahn. On the run and hunted, Alec and his comrades must fight against time to accomplish their most personal mission ever.


I’ll quite happily jump straight into the middle of a series these days, more often that not out of curiosity to see how the book works on it’s own. It’s a strategy that has paid dividends in the past and is always worth a shot; it didn’t work this time...

From what I read, ‘The White Road’ is a book that seeks to build upon and develop relationships that have been in place since the beginning of the series. The problem I had here was that, not having read the other books, I couldn’t really get the feel for these relationships that would have made the read easier to engage with. Imagine being the outsider who is introduced to a group of people that have known each other for years and, although welcoming, aren’t that accessible as a group. That was how I felt reading ‘The White Road’. The story itself takes a back seat to the character development and that made it even more difficult for me to engage fully with the book itself...

That pretty much killed it for me although I read enough to get me half interested in going back to the beginning of the series and starting from there, if I ever get the time...

Any comments from people who have read the other books in this series are more than welcome! Did you like the books, dislike them or were you left feeling cold...?

5 comments:

Liviu said...

I read the first 3 books in the late 90's on publication and I liked the first one which was intriguing, I was ok on the second which already felt repetitive and basically fast-read the third which was boring and dropped out of the series so imagine my surprise to see more books with Alec and Seregil published in 2010

SARAH said...

I read the first two books and really enjoyed them. The third book kind of died on me. I've read it, but it was very...almost bland. It kind of killed any interest I had in continuing the series. I read the reviews that the book "Shadow's Return" was kind of like soft core porn so I haven't continued the series. While I don't mind adult situations, I'm afraid that Flewelling has fallen into the trap of writing the same type of story line over and over again to cater to her already-developed fan base. I think the series would have worked better as a trilogy.

I like Flewelling, don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of her Tamir Trilogy. I just think she might be extending the Nightrunner series past it's glory stage needlessly.

Wow, I'm sorry. I didn't mean for this to turn into a rant. :) And I sincerely hope I don't offend anyone who may read this comment.

Simon said...

Looks like I'm the odd one out here in that I'm looking forward to reading it...

Not sure I'd describe any of the books as soft core porn, there's a gay relationship but the sex is alluded to rather than described in any detail. All quite tasteful I thought. Got to say that it's the wrong place for a new reader to jump in.

Sarah has mentioned the Tamir trilogy and thats the one I recommend for you Graeme, it's a great premise thats done really well.

Phil said...

It just drops you into the middle of a story without any build up or orientation. On top of that, I had no idea that this was a homosexual love story. I was offended!

Graeme Flory said...

Phil - To be fair, 'The White Road' is the latest in an ongoing series so there was bound to be some kind of assumption (on the part of the author) that the earlier books had been read first. I sometimes pick up books, that come in the middle of a series, just to see how well they work as a jump on point. Sometimes it works but this time round it didn't...

As far as the gay relationship goes, I'm with Simon. I'm not a big fan of graphic sex in any book (regardless of who it's between) but this was all tastefully done. Allluded to, not rubbed in your face :o)