The Darkness That Comes Before by R. Scott Bakker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I both had a very hard time with this book and I also really appreciated it. That is to say, I hated aspects of it and found other parts boring and/or way overblown, while other parts were quite delightful and pushing the boundaries.
So... wait... did you like it?
No. Honestly, I didn't like it much at all. The women were all weak and were all portrayed as whores, but to be fair, most WERE. Long stretches of PoV were from a whore. For reals. But that's not everything. We have a prince of a kingdom who is a military genius plotting everything, we have a holy war and many personages working to rule the world. We have a great No-God evil coming back from the deep past and an apocalypse on its way.
And violence for violence's sake? Yes. This is Grimdark. It is what it is and a lot of people love this. It's also a very close cousin to the Malazan series. Complicated worldbuilding, a magic system that's more mystery and sometimes surprising, and generally.... no way to know what the hell is going on.
You know, unless you're using cheat sheets.
But there was one character, a certain sociopathic philosopher-monk who is mostly a dry Machiavelli, who stole the show. I DID like him. His clear thoughts and bloodless personality belie a true gift for bloodying others. He was fun. But he's only a single character in a long list of epic grimdark characters in this novel.
Do I feel up for the challenge of continuing?
Not really. Maybe someday. But not today. Too much work for the payoff at this time.
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