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Collection of Clichés [Into the Forge by Dennis L. McKiernan]

July 18, 2016

DSC00712Most of these book-review-ish things start with remarks I make to my colleague after reading during my lunch break.

For this one, it was something like, “This is the most cliché collection of clichés that was ever collected.”

I mean – humans, elves, dwarves, and a race that’s approximately half the size of humans? I wonder where I have read that before? Blah blah get mysterious artifact from a dying messenger blah blah go on a quest blah blah lots of evil creatures blah blah battles blah blah random made-up words thrown in blah blah some more evil creatures because we need fifteen dozen different ones of those blah blah evil gods…

And this is only half of the book, because German publishers sometimes do this thing where they split translations in two – sometimes justified, because German translations tend to be longer than the English originals  (we do need somewhere to put all our ridiculously long words). But totally not justified in this case, because this thing is barely 300 pages now.

(Don’t get me started on the translation. What does the title – Magician’s Power – even have to do with the book? Who is that bearded dude on the cover? Why the hell doesn’t it say anywhere on the four books in which order they are meant to be read? Why do they not realise “nay” is a word that can be translated? Why haven’t I thrown this at the wall yet?)

Yeah. This is not a book I bought. Our neighbour at work was cleaning out her bookcases, and gave them to me, since they were the only fantasy books she had.

There was one sort of interesting thought in there, that immortal beings doing something that could get them killed are braver than mortals doing the same, because they are going to lose more than the mortals who would die in a couple of decades anyway.

But that one thought was seriously not worth the paper wasted on printing this book, and I just skimmed after that.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 19, 2016 00:11

    The author, Dennis McKiernan, was specifically copying Tolkien when he wrote the Mithgar series; I’ve heard that he intended the first novel to be an authorized sequel to LOTR, but he couldn’t get permission from the Tolkien Estate. As a result, a few things had to be changed, but the series remains a Tolkien clone. Read here for details:

    There were so many of these Tolkien clones in the 1970s to the 1990s; every bookstore was full of them (this is when we still had brick and mortar bookstores). The earlier books in the Shannara series by Terry Brooks are also Tolkien clones (the later books are much better).

    I believe that once a reader has read Tad Williams, most less well-written fantasy novels get ruined, because you begin seeing the tropes and cliches; you begin seeing the lack of depth of the characters and plot and world-building in generic fantasy novels. It’s hard for me to find good fantasy novels after reading the novels that I consider the Gold Standard.

    But I can recommend the following: Robin Hobb, Elizabeth Moon, GRRM, Mervyn Peake, a few others.

    • July 19, 2016 05:53

      Well, that explains it.
      But it’s kind of funny how someone can set out specifically to imitate Tolkien, and completely miss the point of what makes Tolkien good. (And it’s not having humans, elves, dwarves and hobbits.)


  1. More Blah Blah [Into the Forge, part 2, by Dennis L. McKiernan] | Letters & Leaves

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