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The Death of Nnanji (The Seventh Sword) Paperback – May 27, 2014
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About the Author
In the fall of 2007, Duncan’s 2006 novel, Children of Chaos, published by Tor Books, was nominated for both the Prix Aurora Award and the Endeavour Award. In May 2013, Duncan, a 1989 founding member of SFCanada, was honored by election as a lifetime member by his fellow writers, editors, and academics. His website is www.daveduncan.com.
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I loved, loved, loved The Seventh Sword trilogy. When I found out there was a sequel, I was delighted, and hoped for more of the same good stuff.
I hesitated because it was expensive, and I wondered if I should wait until the price came down (it usually does with e-books by bestselling authors; when newly published, they're expensive and gradually they get cheaper). But I didn't want to wait.
Summary: Not worth the price.
Much as I enjoyed the Seventh Sword Trilogy and would recommend it to lovers of epic fantasy, this sequel is not up that same standard.
Most of the time, it's just characters explaining things to each other. Nothing much happens. Here and there are moments of interesting action or of interesting human relationships, but most of it is just dull talking heads and info-dumping
(The next sentence contains a spoiler)
The title is a fake, too - Nnanji doesn't die in the story. Maybe the publishers realised what a dull book this was, so they gave it a dramatic title to create artificial interest. But this only made me feel cheated.
Interestingly, in the foreword the author says he doesn't normally write sequels to completed series, from principle, but he made an exception here. I wish he'd stuck to his principle.
My advice: Read the trilogy, but don't bother with this sequel.
The writing was clumsy, sometimes to the point of being completely nonsensical. The plot was contrived and only semi-believable. The action scenes were described so poorly I couldn't even really picture what was happening. The dialogue was contrived and mostly juvenile, even when it wasn't one of the juvenile characters speaking. The descriptions were muddled, and full of random modern American slang that doesn't really fit the setting of the story. Even little things like the names of the characters was very hit and miss. A few of them were okay, but really - a street-fighting female swordsman named 'Helbringr?' "...the name did not mean what it would sound like in English." If you have to state that, then you shouldn't use the name. And someone in charge of a small boat whose name is 'Capn?' Even the character who heard it was confused about whether it was his name or his title. Things like ending a sentence with "..., but." In the middle of a dialogue between a boy and a girl there is this lovely gem of a sentence which doesn't even seem connected to the dialogue or the situation - "Stupid, stupid slut, she was." Or this very imaginative description - "He saw one that looked cleaner and sleeker than the rest, with two men in it, doing whatever it was that sailors did in boats." Or this one as a lead-in to dialogue while eating - "Gnaw, chew, swallow..." Those are some prime examples, but not a single sentence in the book is something I would consider well-crafted, which is quite a change from the original trilogy. Sure it was all light fiction, but the first books had a poetry about them that this one completely lacks.
I gave it two stars because it did wrap up the loose ends of the trilogy fairly well, and it wasn't quite so terrible as to be unreadable. But the terrible writing did make it almost unreadable - I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone.