- File Size: 1227 KB
- Print Length: 261 pages
- Publisher: Digital Science Fiction, an imprint of Digital Fiction Publishing Corp.; 2 edition (October 1, 2017)
- Publication Date: October 1, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0763F7XL2
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #594,899 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Hope and the Clever Man: A Novel of the Gryphon Clerks Kindle Edition
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|Length: 261 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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- The Gryphon Clerks (4 Book Series) to Hope and the Clever Man: A Novel of the Gryphon Clerks
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The only downside is the same one in all the novels of the series. All the characters are very flat. They're individual, and they have good detail, but that detail is all surface. No one behaves like an actual human being. No one has subconscious desires, no one acts on them, and no one behaves randomly.
As such, the author's premise- that unified power is great as long as the person holding it is good- goes largely unchallenged and is unrealistically strong. One of the main protagonists of the series is an autocrat who furthers her totalitarian reign, eliminating independence and sovereignty in neighboring countries, and that's depicted as the highest good with absolutely no problems or weaknesses. Despite said ruler secretly using glamour to manipulate people around her 24/7.
It's a fun, light fantasy, but the author eliminates all the emotional messiness of being human. He depicts serious and interesting emotional struggles, but in a way that's completely conscious, simple, and controlled.
This series would be a lot stronger with more humanity in its characters, but it would be a lot more complex, and many of the protagonists would probably turn into anti-heroes or all out villains.
I find that I really enjoy the work of Mike Reeves-McMillan in that it really is a 'different' genre from what I usually read, and it makes me feel good. I am older, and was raised to 'do the right thing, even when it is hard'. I was also taught that a man's honor was up to him...it was not a birthright, nor could it be learned, but it would be earned through your actions and words. The Gryphon Clerks books all follow these ideas, and I find it refreshing in this day and age that a 'younger' author can get it.
Mr. Reeves-McMillan's writing style is steady, with character development that is superb. The story is told both through description and through conversational dialog, which he does very, very well. Only a few times in 3 books have I felt that perhaps that dialog was forced, with the vast majority leading to understanding the characters and believing in them. You move through life with the character, and face the challenges with them, which is a sign of an excellent storyteller!
If you enjoy good storytelling, then this author would be one to try. So far I have enjoyed all three of the books I have read and look forward to the next one. They are not action packed, space battles, Marine assaults or the like, but a more relaxed storyline. Yes, there are obstacles to overcome, but they are overcome the old fashioned way: by hard work, good planning and trusting ones comrades.
However, I should point out there's a brief sub-plot involving an attempted assault on Hope by a stranger in the middle of the night. It goes nowhere and I feel it could have been left out without causing any problems.
Still, this is a quality story that I have no trouble recommending.
Hope is named for the main character, Hope at Merrybourne, a young student of the arcane. We learn of her troubled relations with her mother and her deep self-doubt that obscures her considerable talent, and that she is a very pretty woman who doesn’t know it. The story takes Hope through her school years and her conflicts with other students, which reflect both class conflict and the battle of the sexes, and puts Hope in a bind of her own making that limits her achievements in school. After graduating, she becomes part of the Realmgold’s project to nurture magical technology, and joins the Clever Man Works, where we meet Dignified Printer, the “clever man” and master of the Clever Man works, his gnome assistant Bucket, and other gnomes. We also learn of the enslavement of the gnomes to the dwarves, and this makes up a lot of the conflict and the story line as the tale continues.
The struggle of the gnomes to liberate themselves, along with Hope’s personal struggle to recover from her mistake during her school years, which has left her with an unpleasant curse, and the development of new technologies that feed into the gnome liberation struggle while resulting (as usual for new technologies) in unforeseen consequences, is the story that Hope and the Clever Man tells, but as is often the case with Mike’s work, that story is less important than the unfolding of the characters, particularly Hope herself.
The plotting in Hope and the Clever Man could definitely have been tighter and constructed so as to increase the flow of tension to a climax. On the other hand, the characters are deep, believable, admirable, and sympathetic, with enough leavening of flaws and shortcomings to make them human (or quasi-human in the case of the gnomes). The writing is also very good, as Mike’s style and abilities as a wordsmith continue to evolve and improve. The rather slack plotting prevents me from giving the book five stars, but it definitely deserves four.
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