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A Time Of Courage Audio CD
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Ok...maybe if the good guys actually, you know, LEARNED anything about the enemy's tactics, that wouldn't happen? But no. EVERY SINGLE TIME, they form into the "invincible" shield wall...only to see it break in, like, 5 minutes.
Needless to say, the battle scenes, far from being exciting, are tedious, and turn into a repetition of 'oh look everything's falling apart thank goodness for the unstoppable killing prowess of one or more of the POV characters being able to salvage something'.
And...there's some pretty bad writing here. 'The enemy was above the shield wall swirling above them.' Stuff like that. Yeah, using "upon" and "amongst" incessantly doesn't magically elevate the quality of the writing. Sorry.
I bought this entire series because it's one of the few I've seen that was consistently rated over 4 stars. That was a mistake. It's been a horrible slog, and I needed to take multiple breaks because, well, it's just not very well written, the "suspense" is contrived, and some of the stuff just doesn't make sense. For example...regular sized guy stabs a giant in the stomach, then is able to lean back as the giant swings back with his giant sized weapon so that it just misses his face. How the heck does that happen? Is he gumby?
And the author is all about teeth, brains, and bone exploding all over everything. Happens over, and over, and over, and over, and over again.
I'll try to finish it, for no other reason that I spent money on it. By me goodness, this just is NOT GOOD. But...I've read worse, thus two stars instead of one.
Lastly John Gwynne I look forward to your next series which is Norse Based. I AM SOLD!
Fritha still didn't grow on me, but that doesn't mean her role in the book was boring. Riv on the other hand did solidify more and became more consistent to me in this book than I felt she was in book 2. I think her scenes with Bleda helped her character quite a bit. I don't want to give any spoilers, so I'll just simply say I wasn't happy with how the Cheren and Sirak rivalry ended after having 3 books to lead up to its exciting conclusion. While the event itself was exciting between the two horse clans, the final treatment of this story arc could have had a more deserving conclusion for the amount of time invested with them. In my mind, I felt the story didn't fulfill its potential in the way it could have, if some of the final acts were different. What happened served the greater story, but didn't give these two proud horse clans their due, which their story greatly deserved. Others may feel differently here, but these are just my thoughts and I thought this story line deserved a better end.
Now, I feel the rest of the story arcs had appropriate payoffs in relation to the time invested into them. Gwynne does a masterful job with bringing all the disparate parts together, one battle at a time, as they all race to what we know will be the killing fields at the end. In all the the battles, and there were many instances where John still found quiet moments to insert and touching conversations on the eve of fights. The final conflict is fulfilling, but still leaves the door open for trouble down the road. To me, that is why its so fulfilling. Evil can never be completely and utterly vanquished and John makes sure to remind us of that.
I will miss the Banished Lands and am sooo happy that John Gwynne gave us one more adventure. Of course, I do hope at some point we go back. And I do mean back literally. I would still love some post-Wrath stories. Establishing Dun Seren and hunting Kadoshim sounds pretty exciting to me and like everyone else, I really miss Corban.
Truth and Courage!
Top reviews from other countries
Ok, ok: it's a fantasy. I just think it would be a better fantasy if it was a bit more grounded, a bit less one dimensional. Gwynne's previous books had a bit more to them, though he has always liked fights a lot. I don't usually write negative reviews, and the only reason I'm writing this one is because I know the author can do better, and I want to encourage him to do so.
of his characters. Throughout the seven books of the banished lands John has given us vivid descriptions of many a battle, non more so than in this final book. The writing is such that you can almost smell, taste and feel the horror of the battlefield, but never lose sight of the fear and courage of the individuals involved. Throughout two of the major character s in this final trilogy of books, Drem and Riv you see the struggle to make sense of their lives, the cards that are dealt them, their fears doubts love and courage. This is superb story telling, but I would say that as I have been a fan of the banished lands from the beginning. Fantasy fans will love it. Fans of good story telling will to.
To summarise this seems like one of this increasingly common series where a fantasy author drags out a story to the point where it becomes painful. Mark Lawrence had it right with the Broken Empire trilogy, 3 books that's it and goodbye one and all. Brandon Sanderson used to have it right, not so much now as the The Stormlight Archive wanders into senilty. Its just so obvious at times. Not every idea can or should be stretched out to the point where readers are begging for mercy, the Wheel of Time series should be a warning to all.
Its not only the tortuous flogging of the expiring horse that's the issue, this series just seems to be badly written. "Drem went to the shops", "Drem looked at the cheese", "Drem juggled mice as Riv flapped a bit". And there's the battles, the last of which takes up most of A Time of Courage (or feels like it).. if you don't end up skimming this bit you're a better person than I am. I ended wondering just who was left at the end of it, the total world population must have been barely in double numbers... not that you get much background on the world, or anything else for that matter.
But while I could forgive all of the above I really can't forgive what John Gwynne did at the end. Here's the thing about final battles, they have the word final there for a reason. When a whole series of books marches grandiously towards the Armageddon chapter you expect there to be just that. What we have here instead is that miserable little scene at the end of a horror movie when the dead vampire/zombie/monster/politician's eye clicks open, or the hand moves, or a egg is shown hidden behind the sofa. The bit where you groan audibly at the crushing inevitability of it all.
That happens here.
I have no idea if this all going to be marched miserably into yet another series but if it is then it'll be without my participation. I even had to debate with myself whether to buy the last round, I mean book. In the end I gave in for I am weak, but that's it. Goodnight and I won't be back barman.
I understand what others have written about there being many battles in this book, but the fact is that this did have its moments where other things were happening too. They may have been fleeting but that is the way it would be in an all-out war against any enemy.
In my opinion, this was heavy on fighting but it was so well done that I found it better to read than some of the other authors who are renown for their skill at retelling conflicts. There were some touching moments that I recall very strongly.
A couple of lines I liked from the book:
"You blaze bright as the sun. The world is a better place with you in it."
"Stop raging about the things you cannot change. Just be true to yourself and do what you must do. Love those worth loving, and to the Otherworld with the rest of it. That is all any of us can do."
I found this infinitely more readable than some of the darker novels. This did at least have an underlying sense of honour and respectability that the Grimdark genre novels I have read lack.
So, should you read this trilogy? Hell, YES! Truth and Courage!
Next series please ! A dark offspring and a gate to guard !! Ohhhh yessss !
Love these banished lands !!!