Posted by Liz M on December 17, 1997 at 10:24:43:
In response to Well..., written by Stolzi on December 17, 1997 at 10:01:20
] Well, I think I played fair by also flipping and trying to "get into it" also at other places, further on. Didn't work. I found it to have tiny print, indistinguishable characters, a plot that didn't catch my interest, etc. The initial situation, of a man who had lost months out of his life, should have been a grabber, but not the way it was developed here.
] Our group is fairly catholic in its tastes, there'll probably be some who love this book. I, for instance, reveled in Tim Powers' tale of time-trippers to the 19th century, The Anubis Gates, so I don't think genre is the problem.
] You speak of opium dreams; is there any real magic in it at all?
I also read The Anubis Gates not too long ago (that's another one for the recommended reading page) and enjoyed it immensely. Other than the time period, however, it's not at all similar to Freedom and Necessity. AG had gobs more magic and fantasy elements than F&N, and I think AG belongs more firmly in the sci-fi/fantasy realm more than F&N does.
I can understand perfectly why your flipping technique didn't get you any more interested in F&N: the plot developments are simply too tangled to be understood by anything but a solid read-through (and even then, it's still foggy). Seeing bits and pieces on scattered pages would make absolutely no sense. It took me most of the first half of the book just to understand the family relations, even though the family tree was printed inside the front cover!
There is only a hint of real magic in the piece - I would really have liked to see it developed more. The secret society ("Trotter's Club") is supposed to have magic, but we never find out what kind; one can defend oneself from the Club with iron, mistletoe, and a mirror, but we never find out why or how (and in the final confrontation the hero uses none of these things to protect himself); one of the characters may have some nebulous "powers" or second sight, but we never find out if it's real or opium-induced.
I can't do anything about the size of the print, but the characters became much more distinct and interesting later on (and it became easier to tell who was writing each letter), and I thought the plot became quite gripping at the end.
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