Saturday, April 7, 2007

Book: "The World Gates" by Holly Lisle (2 our of 5 stars)

I just read Holly Lisle's "The World Gates", 3 books called "Memory of Fire", "The Wreck of Heaven" and "Gods, Old and Dark" about two woman named Loren and Molly (sounds like Holly, is probably meant to be the author in some shape or form).

Molly and Loren are sisters and each independently discover that there are magical gates leading from earth going to other worlds, upworld, downworld and side worlds etc... In the downworld, humans have magical abilities and are considered gods there. Consequently, beings from our upworld have magical abilities on earth and are considered gods here (Zeus, Thor, Ra etc... were all originally from upworld somewhere).

The premise is good, lots of potential for interesting story lines, cool fantasy and so on. Lisle seems to write about interesting things and most of the books content is interesting to read. Having read many of the author's writing tips, and listened to her podcast "On Writing", I assumed that she'd be a cut above the rest, since she obviously cares about her writing, world building and characters a great deal.

Despite this, what I read was a completely average, pulp, fantasy novel with underdeveloped villains (to the point of ineffectiveness) and annoying, unsympathetic main characters whose troubles are bashed over the reader's head again and again. Writing was passable, but often awkward in places and in need of more editing.

Whenever it comes down to a battle between good and evil, somehow, the bad guys never know how to use magic as well as the good guys do... no reason, just the way that it works. Some of these bad guys are ancient gods, with ten thousand years of experience crushing pissants like the main characters, yet in the end, while it looks hard, it ends up being so damn easy that it's not worth reading. There was one scene in the middle novel where "A group of dark gods..." were "pinned down" by fire from good guys. The dumbness of the phrase completely pulled me from the story and left me shaking my head. There are many scenes like this.

I will only read more work by this author on recommendations from friends. I think I'll stop reading her writing tips and listening to the podcasts too.

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