Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Too Dark - Thoughts on evil in fantasy

I just finished reading a book that, in my opinion, had way too much of the bad guys in it. I read some glowing reviews on Goodreads that basically said the madness of the evil god was expressed so well. OK. I get that you want a full understanding of the depth of your villain, but I'm growing weary of these insurmountable societies of depravity. I don't want to read pages of torture, dead babies and dissected pets. Or even worse, the pages of battles where everyone is killed or maimed in excruciating detail. I guess there is a market for it. Just look at the Saw franchise. But it isn't for me.

My complaint with this book in particular was that the bad guys got boring. I wanted to stay with the hero and various sidekicks. It was more interesting to follow them on their journey than to churn through the blood and guts of the bad guys torturing yet another innocent. There was a truncated inner journey of the protagonist that could have been extended. It had great possibilities, but barely advanced a step. Maybe that was some of the disappointment. I think readers expect a stronger inner journey these days. Or maybe it's just me. I wanted to skim the torture/evil bits, but I was afraid I'd miss some important plot point. Toward the end, I did skim those parts.

I'm going to assume that there will be another book because there were too many loose ends left hanging. That left me a bit flat, too. It seemed like a stand alone. It is the author's second book, written in the same world, with only two characters overlapping from the first book.  I read the first book and I think I enjoyed it more.

I will probably read more from this author. I like the protagonist and parts of the world. Hopefully the next one won't have so many icky bits.

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