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Cover Illustration by: Kerem Beyit
The Fell Sword by Miles Cameron
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Series: The Traitor Son Cycle (Book #2 of 5)
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
Pages: 717 pages (UK paperback)
Published: 30th January 2014 by Gollancz (UK) & 11th March 2014 by Orbit (US)
Now that I’ve finished Fell Sword, it is with heartache that I’m going to admit that this series isn’t for me.
I honestly don’t have much to add to my review here. I mean, I could seriously copy-paste my review of the first book, and it would still work on why this book/series just won’t click for me. However, to summarize, the sheer number of useless POV’s are back, and they just seem to get worse for me. Allow me to repeat this, it’s not the sheer number alone that’s the problem; it’s just how much of an obstruction they are in the way of the interesting parts because none of these side characters (more than ten of them) were memorable characters to me. None of the characters were intriguing enough. There have been more than one hundred character names by the second book now, and only four characters—the Red Knight, Bad Tom, Jean de Vraily, and Mortirmir—were compelling to me. However, their appearance was so burdened by tons of other boring character’s POV. Sometimes, we get the POV of one interesting character, we have to wait 50, or in some cases, 150 pages long before we get to their POV again. It’s just ridiculous. My experience can be equalized as constantly trudging before arriving at some good parts, and then I have to repeat the process again.
“The tiny imaginary audience inside his head did not exist; no one watches our life movies.”
I seriously don’t like the world-building of this series as almost everything in it serves as a huge distraction to my immersion. The firm definition of high fantasy is that the setting of a specific series takes place—at least mostly—in a secondary world. The world in The Traitor Son Cycle doesn’t feel like that at all. As I’ve mentioned before, Christianity is the religion here, and every time the characters say “Sweet Jesus” or “blessed Mary,” my immersion immediately broke. In the first book, the second half of the novel revolved around the siege of Lissen Carrak where the main characters have to battle against the creatures of The Wild. In The Fell Sword, it’s mostly politics and human against human. The story plus the religion and Medieval setting just made it seem as if I’m reading a messy hybrid of historical fiction/fantasy or high fantasy; I don’t even know what to categorize this series, actually.
It is hugely unfortunate, but The Fell Sword has established that this series isn’t for me, and this is where I will say goodbye to the series. Believe me, I’m super sad about this; I really wanted to love this series, I have bought the entire series already, and they looked incredibly stunning. However, I just don’t think I can push through reading another tome just to see whether it gets better or not. The first book (750 pages) took me eight days to finish; this is a glacial reading pace for me, I was able to finish Oathbringer (1200 pages long with a much bigger word count) in a week. You could argue that Sanderson’s books are much easier to read; well, none of the book in Malazan Book of the Fallen (one of the most complex and dense fantasy series out there, with each book ranging between 700-1200 pages long) took me longer than a week to finish. In the end, it’s not always the word count that matters to how fast we read, but how much of the stories, writing, and characters actually worked. And well, I can easily say that The Traitor Son Cycle isn’t working for me.
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