Welcome to my blog!

I'm a divorced mom with a teenage daughter and two pre-teen sons. Writing is my first love. When I'm not writing or working or playing taxi to the kids, I also toy with photography and baking.

So, basically, my camera rarely sees the light of day and my mixer stands in the corner in permanent time-out.

To see some samples of my writing, you can check out my website: www.csrickard.com

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Warded Man

I just finished reading the Warded Man over the weekend. Before I summarize my thoughts, a random question. Why do publishers feel the need to change an author's title when a foreign book gets published in the US? Foriegn languages aside, I'm talking specifically about British books. Both the Warded Man and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone were written by a Brit and published over there. Yet in both books the pulblishers changed a word in the title just for the US. Shipment to other countries, from what I understand, used or translated the original word used in the UK. The Warded Man is called the Painted Man everywhere else. And most know that the Sorcerer's Stone is called the Philosopher's Stone in Europe.

I don't get it. What is so different about Americans that we are perceived as unable to read and understand the same words as the rest of the English speaking population? Personally, I think it's a waste of time and effort and should be left as originally published. I mean Philosopher versus Sorcerer? Either one works for me. However, it did take me a few paragraphs from HP before I understood what "snogging" was. Couldn't the Brit's come up with something a bit less...distasteful sounding than snogging? Yuck!

Back to my post...

The Warded Man, by Peter V. Brett: This is a debut author, which is why I read it.

Warning: a few spoilers

Overall, a very good read. I liked the plot and the characters. The novel is broken into vignettes, each focusing on one of three characters: Arlen, a young boy from a rural village; Leesha, a youg girl from what I think is a slightly larger village; and Rojer, youngest of the three and orphaned as a small child.

In this world, various types of demons rise from the ground each night attacking humans. The only protection from the attacks are wards or sigils. These are drawn on walls, buildings, posts, anything that can create a small area of sanctuary for those within.

The book follows the three over a period of about 15 years or so. Chunks of time have elapsed in each one, but the writing makes sure the reader is aware of anything noteworthy during the lapses. The end of the book finds the three finally meeting one another and agreeing to journey together.

Arlen and Leesha seemed quite believable to me both in character and ability. Rojer, however, I hesitate on. The book doesn't make it clear if his ability is a gift of magic or something he's able to teach others. If he can teach others, I wonder why no one ever figured it out before. It also brings up what I think is an inconsistency in the book. Demons attack the inn when Rojer is an infant, yet music and fiddling were filling the room at the time...inconsistent.

The world was interesting, but not overwhelming. Many fantasy novels spend quite a bit of time describing places and cultures. There was some of that here, but not enough that I clearly could see this world before my eyes. I would have liked a map, at least, to lay out all of the cities described.

One thing that did bug me about the story were the cultures of the cities. I didn't really get much sense of diversity or depth, except in Krasia. And the problem I had with that city/culture was it too closely mimicked the middle east. To the point where you could almost switch out the word Krasia for most any Arab country. I had expected more originality than that.

Otherwise I thought this was an excellent first novel and fully intend to purchase the next in the series, which I believe comes out next spring.

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