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Lord Valentine's Castle (Majipoor Cycle) Mass Market Paperback – May 24, 1995
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Top Customer Reviews
LVC takes place thousands of years in the future on the distant world of Majipoor, a gigantic world with a population of 20 billion people of many different species: humans; the three-eyed Liimans; the four-armed, "Bigfoot"-like Skandars; the planet's shapeshifting aboriginal folk; and more. Silverberg brilliantly evokes the history, geography, zoology, botany, politics, and architecture of Majipoor, a world of great strangeness and great beauty. The plot takes Silverberg's hero on an epic quest across this richly imagined world.
Along the way are some amazing sensations: a view of the crystalline Ghayrog city of Dulorn, a taste of sea-dragon milk, and more. Silverberg addresses many relevant issues: memory, bigotry, responsibility, leadership, and the terrible burdens of history. The art of juggling is a fascinating motif that distinguishes the book. And the whole story is enlivened by Silverberg's superb writing style: accessible and contemporary, yet with a timeless, classic feel. "Lord Valentine's Castle" is a triumph by a master of the fantastic.
Review: I find Silverberg to be erratic in terms of whether what he writes appeals to me. Some of it is interesting but, in my opinion, flawed (Up the Line) while others just don't grab me (several of the later Majipoor books). But Lord Valentine's Castle ranks up at the very top of the SF/Fantasy heap, one of the books I would call a true classic.
"And then, after walking all day through a golden haze of humid warmth that gathered about him like fine wet fleece, Valentine came to a great ridge of outcropping white stone overlooking the city of Pidruid." This is one of my favorite opening sentences of all time -- "And then..."?? Why do we start out this way? Is this the way our viewpoint character sees it? Is this lush description going to continue, and should it?
The "Why" we have to wait for -- a large part of the book, in fact, will pass before we understand "why". But the other questions can all be answered "yes". This is a book with the Sense Of Wonder in full gear, one that will take us into the world that Silverberg has created and immerse us in it. A world where everyone takes Dreams seriously, and where there are two rulers, not one, yet only one who acts. A world of dozens of different races and a depth of description that lends conviction to the believe that not only does Majipoor, that impossibly huge world, exist, but that we have visited there and seen its incredible cities, ascended the unbelieveable Castle Mount, and touched the essence of the Divine.Read more ›
The story is simple, a quest in fact: Valentine "wakes up" as a thirty-year-old man whose past is misty and pratically lost. In Majipoor, a giant planet, metal-poor, and home to more than 20 billion people of diverse races (humans and aliens), Valentine travels hundreds of thousands of miles, gathering interesting characters around him, trying to disclose who he was, and what has been stolen from him.
Many other reviewers state that Valentine's quest has little and simple difficulties, and that's right. His group has many problems along the way, but every time they resolve it quickly and thoroughly. I think the main feature Silverberg accomplished in this work is to present Majipoor and its people. The governing system, the grandness of scale, the unusual situations and most of the characters are really interesting, and the reader can't help but like them, in one way or another. But sometimes, due to the number of characters existing on the story, some of them disappear for many pages, only to come back again, in minor passages, as if the author suddenly remembered about them.
The only thing that doesn't fit is the lenght of the book. Suddenly, it's all over. Silverberg could have developed the last two chapters of the book in a more complete fashion, adding another couple of hundred pages, and the book wouldn't be too long.
Anyway, this is one of the best ideas I've come along regarding fantasy/sci-fi. Great reading.
Valentine, a gentle man with no memory, who takes up juggling, is actually Lord Valentine whom the Shapeshifters- the despised original natives of Majipoor - have misplaced within a different body, while inhabiting his real body in order to rule their world again. Valentine's eventual realization of this truth- and his quest to regain his own body, and throne, takes us through a marvelous journey over vast portions of Majipoor - and what a world! Ten times the size of Earth, with an incredible assortment of creatures and plant life.
I found Silverberg's descriptions and details of the planet and the flora fascinating and a lot of fun. The characters who accompany Valentine on his journey are herioc, likable, and easy to root for. The political structure of the planet, with the Coronal high on Castle Mount, the Pontifex miles deep beneath the planet, and the Lady Of Dreams, was laid out in a visually beautiful manner, easy to understand and visualize.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Sometimes maybe you should judge a book by it's cover - in this case it's He-Man in tights riding some sort of Dr. Suess looking horse-animal from the early 80s. Read morePublished 15 months ago by BellaGrace
Though I first read this book long ago, it is one of the FEW that I have ventured to read again. Science fiction and fantasy have seldom been so superbly blended. Read morePublished 20 months ago by L. A. Veronie II
In a novel that transcends the sci-fi genre, Robert Silverberg tells what may be among the finest novels of self-discovery through adventure and adversity. Read morePublished on December 3, 2013 by Ben Phenicie
This may have been the first Silverberg story I read. Almost certainly the first novel, and I think it's the best work of his that I've read (and a clear step above others in the... Read morePublished on July 23, 2013 by Evil Overlord
One of those books I couldn't put down as a kid, and also the reason I learned to toss oranges around, but unfortunately I could never progress beyond three. Read morePublished on March 17, 2013 by Ron Place