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Review: The Paths of the Perambulator

By pcurd

The Paths of the Perambulator
The Paths of the Perambulator by Alan Dean Foster
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my favourite Spellsinger book so far. The story is a little mad but it has a good premise and allows Foster a lot of freedom to try things out. The titular Perambulator is a well conceived “big evil” character and all the way through I was wondering what beast from Jon-Tom’s world it would be. It made it clear to me what the earlier stories were missing – something that I actually care about!

My biggest issue with this book is a bit of blatant sexism about half way through which is handled quite poorly – there is an attempt to deflect it as being “oh, it’s just his way” but that is then undone by another set of comments later. Perhaps this was acceptable at the time, but it’s unpleasant now.

I overall enjoyed the story and whilst it is definitely not worth reading all the books just for this one (as it might be for, say, the later Harry Potter books) it’s a nice joy to have it appear in the middle of the series as a reward for (suffering?) coming this far.

I’m a big fan of the John Wayne-alike that appears too..

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Review: The Moment of the Magician

By pcurd

The Moment of the Magician
The Moment of the Magician by Alan Dean Foster
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This story did drag a bit for me. The travelling became the entire story – the actual plot was resolved within a couple of chapters at the end – and left all sorts of holes open.

You know how in a good story there are loads of tangential bits that don’t make sense on their own but then – boom – everything is revealed? Well The Moment of the Magician does the bits, but forgets the boom. None of the odd little side plots are resolved and it just becomes a walking story. Most of the Spellsinger books fit this description but this is by far the most blatant and most unoriginal yet.

The characters stayed a little more fixed this time without new “leads” appearing all over the place, which was nice, and we got some nice scenes with JonTom and Mudge doing things together which threw me back to the first book and happier times (for me, as the reader).

I am running out of things to say about these books, they are all very similar and writing this a few days later I find it hard to remember what happened and what was in the next book (yes, I’ve dived straight into number 5. 6? I’ve lost count) but I could be anywhere or anywhen in the timeline and be equally confused.

They are fun enough but I don’t feel like I’m learning anything!

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Review: The Day of the Dissonance

By pcurd

The Day of the Dissonance
The Day of the Dissonance by Alan Dean Foster
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

STILL nothing is happening in these books.. why am I so dedicated to finishing them! I don’t know! I just know they go past quickly and I’m happy.

Yet. More. Characters. I’ve already forgotten who was in the first book, the entire menagerie of a troop that counts as the cast of these stories blurs into one. There is the fighty one, and the other fighty one, then the mouthy one, the reluctant one, and the wise one. I wonder if Foster picked out of a hat who would fill each role before writing the books. Still, the world building continues to be good, there were one or two events in this book that actually impressed me – I couldn’t help visualising a few of them as the descriptions, whilst simple, really help get across detail rapidly. It’s a definite skill of Foster’s, and I think it comes from his screenwriting experience. A scene unfolds cleverly and succinctly and before you know it, the action is roaring ahead.

I couldn’t stop myself starting on the 4th one immediately after finishing this one, which, as before, is my entire recommendation. Also less animal sex in this one, that’s nice.

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