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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Amazing
I am shocked to see how dim witted some people can be when trying to read a book. They fail to look to the time trying to be portrayed and the roles that are evoked, and instead attempt to place a modern day contemporary point of view. Does this not go against fantasy all together?

Anyway, again, I am utterly amazed at this book. The first book was good,...
Published on January 29, 2005 by Brian Hawkinson

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30 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blood, death, starvation, conspiracy and war
This is the second book of what Bakker envisions will be the first of two consecutive trilogies in his fictional world of Earwa; the first was also in the 500-600 page range, so know what you're getting into.

The set-up is a more complex rendition of standard fantasy fiction fare: Two thousand years ago the ultimate evil, Mog-Pharau the No-God, walked the earth...
Published on August 10, 2005 by newyork2dallas


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Amazing, January 29, 2005
I am shocked to see how dim witted some people can be when trying to read a book. They fail to look to the time trying to be portrayed and the roles that are evoked, and instead attempt to place a modern day contemporary point of view. Does this not go against fantasy all together?

Anyway, again, I am utterly amazed at this book. The first book was good, well written and good character interaction, but I didn't think it great. This book, on the other hand, adds to the first book and surpases it. I couldn't put the book down, not wanting to stop. Bakker ties in history (the crusades, obvioulsy, come to mind) with the fantasy aspect of otherworldy things (such as the Schools). This is the making of a great writer, one who can tie in what we know with what we don't and be able to make it one continuous believable story.

Again, I have only a petty complaint (same series, obvioulsy the same complaint), and that is that he attempts to make the names and places sound so foreign in order to bring you into the fantasy. I don't think it is necessary to distract that much from our contemporary lives, and, in fact, sometimes the names and places are distracting.

Again, one petty complaint for a book that is the best I have read in a long time. As Jordan and Goodkind fail to produce books worthy to mention, the gap needed to be filled next to Martin and Williams. Bakker stepped in at a wonderful time and I can't wait for the next book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First-Rate Fantasy, August 25, 2005
This book will force its way into your head and refuse to leave. I finished it a few days ago, and some of the more memorable words/phrases -- "Thousandfold Thought," "Golgotterath," "secret of battle" -- kept coming into my mind, forcing me to think about the events. The characters, though not always likeable, definitely resonate (I'll have trouble forgetting Kellhus, Achamian, Cnaiur, or any of the others.) The fantastic elements are unique, the world-building is on par with anything else I've read, and there's even some humor worked into the text (dark humor, as the subject matter demands, but humor nonetheless.)

One warning: reading these books have killed my taste for lower quality fantasy. This is good stuff!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystifying First Novel Topped by Titanic Sequel, July 5, 2005
By 
Scott Schiefelbein (Portland, Oregon United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
I have to admit that much of R. Scott Bakker's first novel, "The Darkness That Comes Before," left me wondering just what the hell was going on. Bakker created an original new world, Earwe, with a long, tortured history, and dropped you smack-dab in the middle of it without much of an explanation . . . and you were generally left to fend for yourself as you learned about the religious strife plaguing the countries, the political intrigues, the spying of the various sorcerers' Schools, and romantic sub-plots.

In the hands of a lesser writer, "The Darkness That Comes Before" would have been an annoyance rather than a great read, but Bakker brings the goods. A poetic style combines with the patience to only gradually reveal key details to make "The Darkness That Comes Before" a truly enjoyable journey through an original, if completely foreign, land.

In "The Warrior Prophet," Bakker hits a new high mark, as the various plots and agendas of the vast cast of characters are much clearer. The Holy War, which is essentially a medieval Crusade on steroids, is marching south towards its goal of the city of Shimeh. Being an amalgamation of forces and followers from various nations, the Holy War is plagued by in-fighting, and there is almost as much bloodshed within the Holy War as there is directed towards their hated foes.

While the nobles still lead their respective armies, it is undeniable that Anasurimbor Kellhus (the titular "Prince of Nothing") is growing in influence and is gradually becoming the de facto leader of the expedition. Kellhus, who may be even more of a demi-god in this second novel than he was in the first, continues to pursue his own agenda by seemingly coopting the agenda of the Holy War. While his precise motives for tracking down his father aren't always clear, he moves with an undeniable purpose, foiling assassination attempts while winning over the hearts and minds of those around him, even occasionally the hearts of those who hate him, or those who have sworn themselves to another.

In the midst of the Holy War, an alien race strides in the guise of men, known only by Kellhus and the mighty sorcerer Drusas Achamian . . . which of course marks both Kellhus and Drusas for death. This is inconvenient for both, as there is already a long line of people who want both Kellhus and Drusas to depart this world, as painfully as possible.

The good news is that now that the Holy War is marching, there are numerous opportunities for Bakker to demonstrate that he can play with the "big boys" when it comes to depicting the horrors of the battlefield (Bernard Cornwell and Cormac McCarthy come to mind as you read Bakker's works, as does Manda Scott). From the clash of armies to Kellhus' inhuman battle gifts to Drusas unleashing his sorcerer's rage, "The Warrior Prophet" is rife with blood and triumph.

"The Warrior Prophet" can be a difficult book at times, as literally hundreds of thousands of people are killed during the Holy War. And while many of these deaths occur on the battlefield, Bakker also shows the price of folly that comes from a flawed strategy, as he shows the horrifying cost to the Holy War as they fight to cross a blast-furnace of a desert without water. During these passages, "The Warrior Prophet" passes from the realm of mere fantasy fiction into something larger, more epic, that brings to mind the Exodus from the Bible or the more daunting passages from "The Iliad" or "The Aeniad."

While definitely a large work, "The Warrior Prophet" powers itself along quite nicely with many subplots and rich characters. You should not be daunted by the length of these books -- for one thing, the layout of the book is such that words are not "crammed" onto the page. I haven't done an official comparison, but as an example I think that John Marco's "The Jackal of Nar" is a book that may have fewer pages than "The Warrior Prophet," but thanks to its printing has many more words printed on each page . . . Lord knows "Jackal" felt like a longer book than "Prophet."

A tantalizing coda in the final chapter hints that the next novel in the series will open up a new front for Bakker's heroes. The Sranc are an evil, inhuman race that have only received passing mention in the first two novels, but it appears that they will be arriving in a big way in Book 3, promising yet another epic novel.

For those looking for lean, mean thrillers, don't look to "The Prince of Nothing" series. For those looking to dive in and roll around in a completely realized and richly detailed alternate universe that has armies and hatreds to spare, "The Prince of Nothing" is the series for you. Check it out.
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30 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blood, death, starvation, conspiracy and war, August 10, 2005
By 
newyork2dallas (Dallas, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
This is the second book of what Bakker envisions will be the first of two consecutive trilogies in his fictional world of Earwa; the first was also in the 500-600 page range, so know what you're getting into.

The set-up is a more complex rendition of standard fantasy fiction fare: Two thousand years ago the ultimate evil, Mog-Pharau the No-God, walked the earth and created an Apocalypse that halted only because of the power of Seswatha the sorcerer and Anasurimbor Celmonas, wielder of a great talisman, the Heron Spear.

Presently, the Apocalypse is a distant memory and the secret cabal of magi (The Consult) who plot the return of the No-God and use the demonically lustful skin-spies as soldiers, is a child's ghost story to all people except the Mandate Schoolmen -- a sorcerous group who are the heirs to Seswatha. The "schools" of sorcery are divided such that the Mandate possesses sorcerous knowledge that the other schools seek, but which only the Mandate can be trusted to use.

The lands themselves are divided into two main religious groups, the polytheistic Inrithri and the monotheistic Fanim, whose names derive from their prophets. The Inrithri beliefs are a polyglot of Muslim, Catholic, Hindu and even some Judaic lore. The Fanim are essentially unexplained, but most closely resemble Crusades-era Muslims. The Inrithri "pope" calls for a holy war against the Fanim, and that war is the near-exclusive backdrop of this book.

Bakker is a philosophy doctoral candidate, and it shows. He also ruminates about religion. The semi-subversive theological question Bakker asks in this series is: what would have happened if an impure Jesus (put aside the potential contradiction of that characterization) hijacked the Crusades?

Bakker peoples the story with innumerable names, the vast majority of which mean nothing. Only about four primary characters are ultimately important: Achamian the Mandate Schoolman who worries that the Consult has returned and the Second Apocalypse is nigh; Esmenet, the whore who is the Mary Magdaleine figure of the series; Cnaiur the savage, who is filled with self-hatred and seeks to destroy the man who destroyed him; and Anasurimbor Kellhus, the titular Prince of Nothing -- a Jesus figure (33 years old, bearded, prophet, origins mysterious, from a faraway land, searching for his father, with the power of persuasion through his voice and sermons), who is as much anti-Jesus as Messiah, whose destiny and desires remain somewhat mysterious throughout and whom Achamian believes is both the Harbinger of the Second Apocalypse and humanity's potential savior.

How Kellhus manipulates the holy war, and how others are in turn manipulated by events they have no knowledge of, is the main plotline as the holy war moves closer to its destination, the holy city of Shimeh.

Bakker recounts a lot of the story as a history (battles and other events), leaves Achamian for about 100 pages at a critical point, and concentrates entirely too much on the viewpoint of Esmenet. The story is full of death, blood, famine, thirst, plague, torture and the interwoven themes of sex-as-love, lust for power with sexual manifestations, sex-as control, sex-as-torture, sex-as-physical or emotional dominance, sex-as-identity. Get the picture?

Overall, the book is interesting, disturbing, occasionally challenging, and ultimately nowhere near as good as either the first entry (The Darkness That Comes Before) or the much better Malazan Book of the Fallen series by another Canadian, Steven Erikson.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Bit of a Letdown; Still Worth Your Time, October 31, 2010
By 
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The Warrior Prophet, book two of R. Scott Bakker's the Prince of Nothing trilogy, is something of a disappointment after its outstanding predecessor, the Darkness That Comes Before. The Prince of Nothing trilogy follows the events of a fantasy re-imagining of the Crusades. In particular, it follows Kellhus, a once unknown monk who, through hook or crook, has managed to gain a place of prominence in the holy war and has begun to dominate the war.

The first novel, the Darkness That Comes Before, is one of the finest fantasy novels I have ever read. And the strengths of that novel return here in the Warrior Prophet. The problem is that the weaknesses of the Darkness That Comes Before also return here, but in greater force. First, the positives: Bakker has created a fascinating, unbelievably deep world. His world is incredible - it's one that I dove into and never wanted to leave. It is a cruel, harsh world that, even with the fantastical elements built into is including magic, demons, shape shifting, etc., manages to be remarkably realistic.

With a few limited (but notable) exceptions, the characters seem like real people who act according to realistic emotions, such as fear, greed, love, hatred, bitterness, and so on. Some of them, such as Cnaiur, Achamian and Esmenet, are extremely sympathetic and likable. Although the story is an analog of the Crusades, the plot is neither derivative nor, generally, predictable. And, finally, Bakker's writing is excellent. He writes snappy, believable dialog and flowing, occasionally beautiful, narrative that usually adds to the reading experience, but more importantly, never detracts from it.

My biggest complaint with the first novel of the series is the seeming infallibility of Kellhus. Although there are some guarded, cryptic explanations for Kellhus's abilities, it's simply annoying. He's great at, well, everything. He masters a subject like mathematics (and there is almost a whole chapter devoted to this) in a matter of hours. He masters the subject of warfare about halfway through his first real battle. He is a great warrior, a tremendous, speaker, etc. As I said, there are some workable, if vague, explanations for his talent, but I still find it darned irritating. It detracts from the suspense of the novel when you know that Kellhus is going to accomplish pretty much everything he sets out to and that things will pretty much always go his way. The only saving grace is that Kellhus is a somewhat mysterious character, so his goals and motivations are not always clear. But not only is Kellhus ridiculously good at everything, Bakker reminds us of it constantly. Indeed, about 100 of the first 250 pages are devoted to characters either fawning over how great Kellhus is or admiring how brilliant he is at everything. We get it, Mr. Bakker. Kellhus is awesome. He's better than everyone else at everything. You don't need to keep telling us.

Speaking of which, Bakker must think that his readers have a terrible memory. He feels the need to remind us of different character traits or experiences constantly. For example, one character, Esmenent, is a prostitute. So naturally, Bakker reminds us, over and over again, that she has had sex with many, many men. He has page after page devoted to explaining to us that she has, indeed, had sex with many men. We get it, Mr. Bakker. We really do. Along similar lines, female readers may be put off by the Warrior Prophet, and the Prince of Nothing trilogy overall. There really are no strong female characters here. Every single one seems to serve no purpose other than to have sex with the male characters (or your random demon). Granted, it probably makes for a more realistic story given the time period that Bakker is trying to portray, but surely Bakker can find some role for a female character other than a sexual one.

The Darkness That Comes Before held my attention like few novels I've ever read. I was enraptured with the novel, could barely put it down. The Warrior Prophet did not have that affect on me at all. Indeed, I found myself skimming parts of the book that became repetitious (such as the constant reminders of Kellhus's greatness or the repeated reminders of what a prostitute does). The novel could have, I think, have been about 100 pages shorter and would have made for a much tighter, much more engrossing read.

But all that being said, the Warrior Prophet is still a really good book. It's a letdown after the near-brilliance of its predecessor, but I still enjoyed it and can't wait to read the third and final volume of the trilogy, the Thousandfold Thought. The series isn't for the prudish or weak of heart. If you haven't read the Darkness That Comes Before, pick it up and read it. You won't regret it. If you have, and are trying to decide whether to read this one, well, it's more of the same: the same qualities and the same faults. It is very much worth your time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What if Jesus was a butt kicking master manipulator?, April 9, 2008
Well then friends, you'd have Kellhus, aka the Warrior Prophet. In the second installment of the Prince of Nothing series R. Scott Bakker takes an interesting and somewhat obvious approach to his theme. The central character Kellhus is drawn up as a Christ-like figure that excels in martial arts, possibly even to the point of being supernatural. But he is also a master manipulator and you have to wonder if Bakker is alluding that he thinks Christ could have been somewhat of a fraud himself (not that we even know Kellhus is yet).

Why do I think he's referring to Jesus? Well Kellhus preaches in the desert, has disciples, is sent by his father, has an extreme knack for guiding and teaching, performs miracles (finding water in a desert), says something to the effect of "they know not what they do", takes in the diseased and immoral, and well I won't ruin the ending but there's another clear parallel drawn.

At any rate, this to me was an extremely interesting read whether I buy into that philosophy or not. Bakker does a great job of creating dynamic relationships between his characters. Motivations are not always obvious, and intentionally vague in Kellhus' case, which I liked because it kept (and still keeps) me guessing.

I do have to say there was a little too much pondering in the book and sometimes we were subject to page after page of Esmenet's uninspiring deep thought, but I just skimmed those parts. Also, I'm not overly sensitive to graphic violence or sexual detail but even I found the epilogue a little over the top.

If you liked the first book it is hard to say you won't like this one. It is satisfying my anticipation for Steven Erikson's Toll the Hounds so for that I am thankful.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A viscerally dark epic fantasy, September 13, 2008
The first two books in this series create an intricate but gory story set in a detailed and rich world. I found the Warrior-Prophet and its predecessor interesting with plenty of food for thought, but I also found it overbearing in many ways. Still its unpredictability, in a genre full of cookie-cutter characters and plots, makes the books worthwhile owning and the trilogy worth finishing.

The writing style is unique to fantasy, in a way such that most of the action-related information, be it sex or war, both of which are very common, is delivered in short, abrupt sentences using the imagery related to each term to convey meaning rather than the general context. This feature of the writing tends to make most actions or characters appear overstated. Other events, primarily ancient history or descriptions of places are carefully laid out, but since there is no strict linear pattern to the plot, which is riddled with flashbacks and interludes, it is difficult to predict which writing style you will find at any given point of this book. Given this unusual writing style, first impressions are very important in these books. After reading a chapter or two your expectations of what fantasy should be may lead to stop reading altogether, but if you are at all intrigued, then you will be rewarded with a novel and vivid description of fantasy which will prove to be gratifying.

As others have mentioned the backdrop of this trilogy is a Holy War to reclaim a Holy City held by a faction highly reminiscent of Abbasid Islamic civilization. For those who have read some historical fiction or accounts of the Crusades, the premise of this book should be enough. Despite the fantasy intrusion and use of unusual names for people and places, the author's obsession with details in describing the action of the battles and the Inrithi/Christian warriors makes it easy to pick out the crusading nations (Galeoth: England, Tydonni: HRE/Germans, Conriya: France and even the Byzantines are there as the Nansur). Along with the excellent battle scenes, there is suffering and horrors galore, as one would expect in such a setting as a crusade. I find the overall occurrences depicted from a narrative eye as the Holy War rumbles or stumbles across the lands the best part of the Warrior-Prophet. A word of warning: do not expect any righteous religiously motivated events to be supported in these books, on the contrary any people with strong beliefs will find themselves disgusted by the events and especially by some of the titular protagonists. Despite the single track that the trilogy follows, the world Bakker has created is much larger than the events depicted in the first two books, and enough material exists that I can see more sagas spinning out of this first one.

The most memorable aspect of this book is the characters. The Darkness That Comes Before was divided in parts, each of which dealt primarily with a character, allowing for clear portrayal of their motivations and personalities. By the time the Warrior-Prophet starts almost all of the characters are together marching with the Holy War so that at first it becomes difficult to keep track of the shifting loyalties and dark machinations of the "owners of the Holy War". At times, the author almost seems to tease the reader, by describing important events through the eyes of simple or inconsequential characters, such as Serwe or Saubon, thus keeping you guessing at what the motivations of the big players. Speaking of big players, Kellhus is the most powerful force in the book he is also the vessel of the authors driving philosophy, but I do not find him to be a particularly strong character. He excels at everything and proves to be impossible to thwart regardless of circumstance. He is the ubermensch, the product of thousands of years of eugenics, and he alone cannot be manipulated by such pathetic things as history, tradition or religion. Throw him in the middle of a crusade and just watch the carnage unfold. If only he wasn't so annoying, he could be a character for the ages. Still you got to give it to Bakker it is a novel idea, however given that most people reading this book tend to be "world-born" the idea of a person like Kellhus, who uses common folk at his discretion, is almost as horrific as the Consult. I found this to be the only significant problem with the book, the main characters are exaggerated caricatures of what they represent: Kellhus is too perfect, Proyas is too pious, Serwe is too innocent, Cnaiur is too violent, Achamian is too indecisive and Conphas is too vain, but also too intelligent. In fact, I find myself rooting for someone like Conphas simply because he is the only character with a level of immunity to Kellhus, but that is not enough to make him a likable character. Truth be told, there are very few likable characters in this book, and that is not necessarily a bad thing, since tedious predictability usually adheres to clear-cut protagonists as if they were superglued together.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent writing but sort of iredeemably immoral, March 23, 2006
By 
The Prince of Nothing is gaining a great deal of notoriety. It is compelling enough, exciting enough, and written well enough that we think it will sell a great many novels and create quite a stir in the genre. It is world-building beyond what even Martin has been able to achieve in A Song of Ice and Fire. It has enough language and puzzles to engage a lot of the higher minds who enjoy attempting to penetrate authorial mysteries. It certainly has enough bloodshed and action to satisfy the baser lusts in the speculative fiction audience. What will be very interesting is to see how future editions of these books sell. Will people grasp on to it? Pass it to their friends? Recommend it to their children? Hold on to it through decades and come back to it lovingly like they do Tolkien and how we suppose they will for Gene Wolfe and Neal Stephenson and Ted Chiang? We could be wrong... but as for this book, we think that they will not. The depredations are a bit too much, the evil a bit too irredeemable. We're ready to be wrong on this. Yet here we are: either in character, setting, or concept, we need some kind of hero. That lack will shorten its lifespan.

WHO SHOULD READ:

Obviously, enthusiasts of The Darkness that Comes Before will and should read this book. For readers ready to graduate from the more mundane and juvenile works of Jordan, Goodkind, Feist, and Brooks, this series and this book will make a tremendous impact. It shares a heritage, as we pointed out above, with more realistic Arthurian romances and historical fictions regarding great warrior and wars. With the philosophy to back it up, this book makes a very nice read for military enthusiasts and liberal arts majors alike. Bakker goes to great pains to fill the would-be new reader in on what happened in the first volume in a foreword (in fact, that foreword clears up quite few confusing elements and should probably be read by people who have read the A Darkness that Comes Before as well). Because of that support, this book can easily be read on its own though we note that the first book is well worth the effort.

WHO SHOULD PASS:

This is a slippery concept. As before, deeply religious readers will be even more irked by this book than its predecessor. These should go to Stephen Lawhead if they want this kind of work done well but more charitably to notions of god and faith. It would also be very hard on feminists. There is a bit of Xena-like battle that can occasionally be off-putting given the backdrop of stark realism and adult themes. R-rated in the extreme, this book is not for kids under 17. Really, for all our damning and complaining regarding the lack of ethics, are we unhappy we read it? Should we warn against it? Thus the conflict in our review for the answer is no. We're not at all unhappy that we read it. We're just not sure we'll read it again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Complex story., August 13, 2006
By 
A Customer (Minnetonka, mn United States) - See all my reviews
This is the second book in the Prince of Nothing series. It is a complex book where just about everyone has a competing agenda for the Holy War.

I think THE WARRIOR PROPHET is one of those books that either works for you or falls flat on its face. It isn't the kind of fantasy where you can blast through a bunch of pages with half your brain engaged. This book requires that you pay attention or you will be completely lost.

For those of you who like that sort of thing (I'm one of them) this is a very rich world and the twists and turns keep happening. The author is not afraid of killing off characters (albeit some people keep coming back), and I think that is due to the author's belief in reality. He lets the story play out and if someone ends up as toast that's the way it is.

Finally, this is a series that takes chances. You and I may not always agree with how the story evolves, but there are no short cuts being taken. The book proceeds logically based on the world created.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars strong three, improves on first though a few flaws, August 15, 2005
The Warrior Prophet picks up from The Prince of Nothing (which must be read first) and mostly improves on that first book, which in itself was a solid read. Where Prince of Nothing suffered from lengthy exposition, now that the basic storyline and world have been set, Baakker can focus on moving things along more quickly, if that can be said about a 600 plus page book. Though the book could be cut by a hundred plus pages, that's a critique that can be made about almost any recent fantasy (heavy sigh) and so can be relegated to the minor "I've grown resigned to this" sort of thing. Despite some padding, the book moves along fluidly and at a good pace for the most part, with only a few lagging areas. Part of the reason for the better pace is that while in book one the Holy War (with clear connections to the Crusades) has to be laboriously prepared, here the War is literally on the march, so while there are still scenes dealing with politics, religion, philosophy, and other non-battle elements, because the army can't just camp out for months on end to deal with these things, Bakker has to settle them quickly or on the run. This self-limiting facet of the plot therefore helps quite a bit. The battles themselves are well-done, though I confess I tend to glaze over such things a bit the second or third time around.

The book also improves on Prince of Nothing in that there is left shifting among multiple characters and setting. This was less a problem of complexity than of emotional impact in book one--the constant shifting among so many characters diluted any single character's impact--so while Prophet may be equally complex in plot, the reader cares more about how that plot affects the characters thanks to the welcome sharpening of focus. Characters from book one aren't simply dropped; we just don't spend as much time with some of them.

The ones we do spend time with vary in their degree of interest and depth. As in book one, the most compelling character remains the sorcerer Achamian as we see him wrestle with a variety of issues, among them: his nightly dreams of the first apocalypse, his fear that Kellhus is the harbinger of the second one conflicting with his hope that perhaps Kellhus is more, his love for the whore Esmenet, his tattered relationships with former pupils who consider him a blasphemer. These don't even include his time being tortured or his attempts to track down the "skin-spies" of the Consult. The story is always strongest when it focuses on Achamian, and luckily it does so for most of it.

Unfortunately, however, that means that it does move away from him and it is in these moments that the book tend to lag a bit. None of the other characters are of as much interest. Kellhus, who is the second point of major focus, lacks the depth and conflict of Achamian. He is portrayed as just too good at everything. We're constantly told that when Achamian teaches him math, Kellhus stuns him with how he goes beyond the historical math geniuses. Then we're told the same with regard to philosophy. And then . . . And then . . . I kept waiting for someone to comment on how he cooked the best goat and mended breeches best and so on. Not only was this sort of thing repetitive, but it robbed Kellhus of a sense of humanity (needed even if characters aren't necessarily human) as well as robbing the book of some suspense as one never doubts that Kellhus will achieve what he sets out to. There are a few moments of internal conflict but they are grossly outweighed.

The women characters don't particularly stand out, nor do the other noble characters. Cnaur is mostly a one-note character who doesn't grow all that much. Other characters flash some potential, such as the leader of the Spires (a rival school of magic to Achamian's) but are usually cut away from too quickly.

Finally, Bakker needed to reset some of his character inter-relations and develop them a bit more here as some major plot movement of the latter half of the book revolves around those relationships--ones we haven't seen for about 500 or so pages back to the previous book.

Despite these flaws, Prophet is an enjoyable read. As mentioned, the plot moves quickly and at a good pace despite its 600 pages and the philosophical discussions, rather than slow the pace, complement the more militaristic "action" scenes nicely. In fact, I'd go so far as to say they were my favorite parts, making Prophet not simply enjoyable but thoughtful as well, something that can be said all too rarely about much recent fantasy. While I still wouldn't rank it at the top or in line with Erikson's Malazan series of Martin's soon to be completed trilogy, it is different enough and intelligent enough to recommend strongly if not wildly enthusiastically. Though if book three improves as much on Prophet as Prophet did on book two, that may change.
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The Warrior Prophet: The Prince of Nothing, Book Two
The Warrior Prophet: The Prince of Nothing, Book Two by R. Scott Bakker (Paperback - September 2, 2008)
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