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Scabbard's Song: The Red Pavilions, Book Three Mass Market Paperback – June 17, 2014
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
A fresh and welcome departure from the stale, high fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons-based fake medievalism that chokes so much of the genre―INFINITY PLUS
Sets itself apart right from the outset ... with an opening paragraph littered with colours vivid enough to bring the city of Zamerkand to instant life―STARBURST
One of last year's unexpected delights ... rollicking fantasy adventure―DREAMWATCH
About the Author
The final novel in the Red Pavilions series by new fantasy writer Kim Hunter.
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The story concerns the amnesiac knight, Soldier, who awakes on his grassy hill dressed and acting like he has just survived a great battle but he appears to have been transported in both time and place to a fantasy land where Hunter is able to redraw multiple European myths, fables and legends in a new context. From the fantastical to the grotesque our monosyllabic knight lurches through the book adhering to some kind of Arthurian chivalric code whilst turning his hand to all kinds of quests and feuds in an attempt to learn more about his own character. Unfortunately, it comes across as though the author is using the trilogy opener to settle on a character.
So, Soldier joins up with the Carthagan army, befriends the spartan Velion, has a couple of battles, searches for an eagle egg and mothers a dragon, gets a part-time job as a relic sellers assistant, makes an enemy of the Queen's captain, inexplicably marries the Queen's sister, Layana, who is doubly cursed, firstly with the purple madness (which also afflicts Queen Vanda) secondly with one side of her face ruined by the beastman Vau and then sets of on a quest to save his wife which results in several adventures borrowing heavily from myth and fable. Throughout he is assisted by the boy-turned-raven, though `assisted' is perhaps wrong as his magical scabbard actually helps him more than anyone. By the end his wife rejects him (not really...though we're not given any hints why) thus setting up the next novel for his continuing adventures. In the background we have the atypical evil chancellor, Humbold, and the hunted witch-boy who's living with his mother in the sewers and jails of whom, no doubt, great things will appear.
This fantasy novel just never delivered. However, just before I'd put it down in exasperation, Hunter would moves into a plotline that was good, flowed and was well drawn. Then it would end and Soldier would inexplicably flounder before taking up on another passionate cause at which point it'd grip this reader again. So, episodic which meant no sense of continuity as the supporting characters dipped in and out at will, almost as though they were needed for Soldier to achieve certain items rather than joining him naturally. I will read the second as no purchase should go unwasted. I just hope it's a vast improvement on this first effort.
I will enumerate what I have to say otherwise I will just keep on ranting:
1. Was this book even planned in any way? A magic quest is et up ex machina to just drive the plot with coincidence being always on the side of Soldier.
2. The enemy from the same dimension of Soldier is painted as a completely dehuminized, disgusting brute of a man! Hey, both of them have committed atrocities, but at least Soldier does not comb dung into his beard!
3. The dialogues are stilted. Does Soldier's wife have to start her every sentence with "Husband, ..."
4. The big apocalyptic battle is a joke where in the last ten pages a completely new species is introduced that has the answers to every strategic problem that the good guys have...
I can go on forever, but I won't. The first two books are full of magic, fun, and humor. I would easily give both of them at least four stars. But, this one being the conclusion of an ongoing series just serves to sally the accomplishments achieved in the previous two volumes.