The Shadow of Tyr

Book #2 in the Mirage Makers series is the usual good stuff from Glenda Larke, but it is in some ways a very different book to its predecessor. I’ve probably made this point before, but it is worth making again. There’s a lot of cross-over between science fiction and fantasy readers, but not everyone reads for the same thing. When science fiction readers read fantasy what they are often looking for is an experience of something new and different, just like they get from SF. Fantasy often gives them that. But I have seen a number of cases of trilogies (and this seems to be one) where the author does all of the revealing of the world in book #1, and the subsequent books are just more plot set in the same world. If you don’t see the problem with that, consider a mystery trilogy in which the murder is solved in book #1 and books #2 and #3 tell what happened to the characters afterwards. For some people that will be fine, for others, not so much.

12 thoughts on “The Shadow of Tyr

  1. Oh dear, I haven’t read the second and third books in this trilogy yet (just got the third shipped over from the Book Depository).

    I don’t know if you read/reviewed/commented upon her first trilogy, Isles of Glory (The Aware, Gilfeather, and The Tainted). I didn’t get that impression in that trilogy (i.e. that all was revealed in book 1), and felt her use of a different viewpoint character in book 2 was particularly well done.

    Oh well, maybe there’ll be something unexpected in book 3 (I think it’s Song of the Shiver Barrens). We can hope!

  2. Book 3, Song of the Shiver Barrens, returns to Kardiastan and reveals some more interesting stuff about that world, never fear.

    I can see what you mean about Book 2, of course, but I would dispute that all was revealed in Book 1. Read on…*g*

  3. Amy – I reviewed the Isles of Glory series here, here and here. And yes, they were great, particularly book #2.

    And you know there are plenty of people who will love The Shadow of Tyr just the way it is, particularly people who prefer their books to be about characters than about imagined worlds. The more I read, the more convinced I become that reviewing ought to be about connecting the right people with the right books.

  4. I enjoyed your reviews — thanks for pointing me to them.

    I also think your philosophy of reviewing, as stated above, is interesting, unusual, and healthy (if that makes sense).

    I believe Ms. Larke is attending Worldcon in Denver this year. The Isles of Glory books will probably be the only ones I cart with me on the plane.

  5. Amy – I’m glad you like my philosophy of reviewing, though I suspect you could have added “unpopular” to your list of adjectives.

    Meeting Glenda at last is going to be one of the highlights of my Worldcon.

  6. It’s a good point, and one that I think has a broader application than you give it here (not complaining, since you do relate it to a specific book). I suspect that the divide is not so much SF readers / fantasy readers, as people who want to know more about the same characters / people whose heart sinks when they read that the author of a book they (OK, then: we) have enjoyed is working on a sequel…

  7. Well Jean, I think there are a few other things going on there.

    Firstly it is entirely possible to construct a trilogy in such a way as to reveal things about the world all the way through. Indeed, as Glenda notes, there are still revelations to come in book #3 of her series.

    Another point is that there’s a big difference between a planned trilogy and writing a sequel to a book that was originally planned as a one-off.

    And finally there’s the point I made a while back about the difference between readers who prefer a self-contained story and those who prefer an open-ended tale with “fan space” into which they can imagine their own fiction.

    But of course all these things interact. No single combination of book and reader is the same.

  8. The more I read, the more convinced I become that reviewing ought to be about connecting the right people with the right books.

    Yes … and no. Or vice versa. 🙂

    I agree that the point of reviewing is to get people to read books they will enjoy. But — phrased this way — your position sounds like it’s about getting people to read books that are like the type of books they already know they like. That’s a bit tortuous, but hopefully you see what I mean — surely there’s a place in reviewing for advocacy, for saying “here’s something you should try“, rather than “here’s something you’ll like”?

    Of course, in a sense it comes down to the same thing anyway — providing a clear, specific reading of a book that gives the person reading the review enough information to decide whether it’s something that interests them. Because there could be two people who like Glenda Larke books for completely different reasons.

  9. Niall – agreed. I have no problem with advocating books to people who I think will like them. Indeed, I might even say something like, “you may think you don’t like X’s books because everyone goes on about the Y in them, but actually there’s quite a lot of Z too which might be more to your taste.”

    So, yeah, what you say at the end. These days, if I do write something, I try to write reviews to do just what you say in your final paragraph. I do not try to say whether the book is “good” or “bad” by some supposed absolute standard of literary quality, though I may well say whether I liked it (and why).

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