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The Judging Eye: One (Aspect-Emperor) Paperback – Bargain Price, March 30, 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Aspect-Emperor Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Twenty years after the events of 2007's The Thousandfold Thought, nations unite in a holy war to prevent the No-God's apocalyptic resurrection. Aspect-Emperor Kellhus seems a benevolent messiah, but may be only a power-hungry demagogue. Exiled wizard Drusas Achamian's quest to expose Kellhus as a fraud could be a bitter cuckold's folly or the world's best hope. The Empress Esmenet juggles belief in her husband's godhead with grief for his lack of human attachment. Her bitter, abandoned daughter Mimara—an ex-prostitute, like her mother—begs Achamian to teach her sorcery, though the Judging Eye curse sends her visions of damnation. Bakker's lush language sometimes achieves poetry, but his plotting is less original; minor and nonsexualized female characters are conspicuously absent; and new readers will struggle with the intricate politics and history. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Bakker’s new trilogy begins 20 years after the conclusion of the Prince of Nothing in The Thousandfold Thought (2006). All-seeing Aspect-Emperor Kellhus is leading a second war, the Great Ordeal, against the Consult. While his army scythes forward, subjugating once-proud nations, others plot to contest his domination. Nannaferi, of the Cult of Yatwer, awaits the Goddess’ White-Luck Warrior, prophesied to destroy Kellhus. Young King Sorweel of conquered Sarkarpus seeks to defy the invaders while traveling with their army. Exiled schoolman Achamian and Mimara, a witch with the Judging Eye, begin a dangerous trek to discover Kellhus’ true nature. Kellhus’ wife, Esmenet, navigates the brutal politics left in her care, while son Kelmomas manipulates those around him. A challenging read, dizzying in scope, written in rather elevated discourse, and featuring an effective but difficult narrative structure, this is essential for Prince of Nothing fans. Newcomers to Bakker may be overwhelmed by the myriad plot lines, characters, cultures, and nations, and should, perhaps, backtrack to The Darkness That Comes Before (2005), Prince of Nothing, volume one. --Krista Hutley --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Aspect-Emperor (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook TP (March 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590202929
  • ASIN: B0076TRH3Q
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #455,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have my reservations, my criticisms of 'Judging Eye' and its precursors, the 'Prince of Nothing' novels.

I do not feel the need to air them, or give this book anything less than five stars because of them. In a genre filled to the brim, no, overflowing with cardboard supermen and superwomen who can defeat every foe and master every enemy, Bakker finally puts real people into a fantasy world. People who can be broken by the immensity of the events around them, people who were once large that can become small and weak, people who are weak becoming strong. People who allow their foibles to make them into monsters to those around them. People who...well, just have foibles at all, yet remain heroes, and not twisted villains.

There is moral ambiguity here, amongst the heroes and the neutral forces, and even some of the villains. There is a chance for the reader to doubt the indomitable quest of the 'good guys' as being something less than what it is portrayed as, we are allowed to make our own choices about who we root for and who we hate (to a degree at least).

There are so many bestsellers out there full of escapist fantasy, full of characters who never change and can never be beaten, and it is nice to see that at least some writers are out there who are willing to take the chance that their readers might not want everything neatly laid out for them.

Bravo Bakker, keep it up. You're verbose and sometimes over-complex, but I'll take poor, old, beaten down Akka, over some of those other sword-wielding super-men(and women) any day.
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Format: Hardcover
R. Scott Bakker's "Prince of Nothing" trilogy quite simply fascinated me. Bakker, a young philosophy nut and first-class deep thinker, has created a completely original epic series, which is no small feat when one considers the mighty chains forged by Tolkien, George R. R. Martin, Frank Herbert, and all the rest.

Bakker's world is a dark, violent, lusty place that is as ancient as it is fascinating. Too many inferior works of fantasy get bogged down in exposition when relating their unique histories, and to be sure it can be quite daunting to the reader trying to keep the various sects, alliances, armies, and peoples straight. You will find yourself flipping back to the helpful appendices in vain efforts to keep up to speed - just who is the Consult? What are Sranc? How are the Mandate Schools different from . . . you get the picture.

"The Judging Eye" is the first volume in a new trilogy - the Aspect-Emperor trilogy - that kicks off twenty years after Anasurimbor Kellhus took dominion over the world and was publicly rejected by everyone's favorite tubby wizard, Drusas Achamaian. Kellhus is less a character in this book as a figure of awe, reverence and terror, depending on your perspective. Kellhus is marshalling his peoples - united from all corners of the world - for a tremendous march north. Picture Alexander the Great heading out to conquer Persia, but instead of bringing a relatively small contingent of Macedonians along with a handful of allies, imagine if he also brought along armies from every corner of Europe, up to and including Viking raiders from the north. And their families.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is really a 3.5 stars. Good read with excellent pacing and storyline. The part I disliked was the wordiness of it and every person involved in the story had to explain everything they saw with too much detail. If you're trying to make a point, I understand. It seems to me that the author wanted too many people in the book to be special, so instead of Sentry Guard A seeing a "rock" as a rock, it was "A wonderful conglomeration of minerals formed into this amazing, hand sized object with all the colors of wonder jammed packed into it!".
Maybe that's too harsh, but I definitely got tired of reading about every single little thing from everyone's perspective.

Also, if you've read it, there is an incident with the youngest prince where he gets away with something big and nobody has a guess. The unlikeliness of it, plus the clues (a small child can't reach very high up) which would add up to the size of the culprit, plus the highly analytical people there who would figure it out quickly. That part seemed very out of place for Scott's writing. Rushed, even.

The running battle near the end is also goofy compared to earlier writings. Before, the author wrote more realistically with fighting, that one man would have trouble against two or more, except our local superman :)
This particular scene has anyone with any backstory (like a horror movie, you can pick out who lives and dies early on) able to take down 20 opponents with no problem. Too far into hollywood's "I'll wait my turn for you to kick my butt" bad guys.

Anyway, a good story by far, but it feels like the author is diverging from his earlier writing style. The first 3 books seem more subtle with coincidence playing a hand, which makes sense. This book seems to wave the plot in your face repeatedly and everything working out perfect for some and hollywood movie like for others.
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