ness talks books

revenge of the horseclans: absolutely not

It’s my youngest niece’s fault. I laid a selection of books out on the bed and asked her to choose which one that I should take on a trip. She chose this one, because she likes horses. I see her logic.

No. I’ll revise this. It’s my fault, firstly for buying the book, and secondly, for actually reading it. I take full responsibility.

And I regret everything.

places I wish I hadn’t read this book: in a cafe, on a train, at a train station, in castle, in an airbnb …

What’s this book about? you ask. Well. W-eee-eeelll. Thank you for asking. It’s a book about a ‘brutal, raw adventure of warriors caught in a struggle for survival in 27th century, post-cataclysmic America’. So, you know, a typical Thursday. There are, as far as I can tell, some cat-people, lots of telepaths (it’s called ‘mind-speaking’), and men running around badly in need of a bath – and manners.

It would be easy to list everything I loathed about this book. I did, in fact. It’s one of my favourite sort of jokes – the ‘I won’t say how much I can’t stand Alice, but if I did, I’d say she was a rotten, no-good, mass produced troglodyte, but I WON’T’ – but I reread the list, sighed, thought ‘… not today.’ I wouldn’t want to waste the joke.

If I was to be thorough with writing this ‘review’, you know, I should really reread this book. Once. Twice, even. But life is short, each second that passes is another that can never be retrieved. Time is precious. I’d rather waste it in better ways.

This is all my personal opinion of course and if this book is one of your favourites … well, look, I won’t apologise for my opinion, but I will say (in a higher pitched voice with very wide eyes) ‘oh, okay! that’s nice! the weather is good today! gee, the economy! isn’t it terrible nowadays?!’

The book spends a lot of time with a distinguished gentleman by the name of ‘Bili of Morghun’. What a man. What a bloke. What a … what a character. That’s a way to describe him, a character. A hero? No. I refuse. My heroes, you see, don’t typically reflect on the rapine that they’ve recently engaged in as if it is a rite of passage that all males undergo.

My heroes, I like to think, have basic morals. And ethics.

“But to slay women and children … even babes …” Vaskos began.

“Nits make lice, Kinsman!” Bili shrugged.

Bili of Morghun, an all around good guy!

But – I hear you ask – this is 27th century, post-cataclysmic America! You can’t possibly impose your morals on Bili! Not Bili of Morghun!

To which I respond with ‘… watch me.’

You see, I don’t care. I dislike Bili. I don’t hate him, that would require an effort that Bili doesn’t deserve. (He doesn’t need it either. Bili is very strong, you know. Quite capable. I know, because we’re told this a lot.) I’d say that Bili needed therapy but I don’t think it would work.

He isn’t ‘the hero’ of the book. I shouldn’t like to call him the protagonist either. It has a ‘pro’ in it, you see, and in my humble opinion, Bili of Morghun (YES – Bili of Morghun!!!) is all ‘con’. Sorry Bili, even if your mind-speak is simply the best (better than all the rest!) I simply cannot say how marvellous you are. Such a thing would require facts and evidence.

But don’t worry, in a twist that would no doubt offend Bili dreadfully – he isn’t even the REAL contagonist. It’s Milo. Yes! I know! The shock! I didn’t see it coming either!

I think that if a pre-pubescent child had encountered the wonder of Conan the Barbarian and had yet to understand empathy, nuance and what good characters are – and bear with me, this scenario is continuing – and if this child had then been requested to write a short story with a male lead …

… it would have turned out better than this.

I must give the author some kudos, the world building exists. It could be an interesting, if slightly puzzling, world. No, I will not provide any examples. I refuse. To put it bluntly: you cannot make me.

the book opens with some poetry that would surely make Keats and Yeats WEEP in envy

I know, I know … you could say ‘ah, but it’s a product of its time’, but my gosh! so was using asbestos, and smoking for its health benefits, and dosing Victorian children with drugs to soothe them!

In short, in summation, tl;dr … I’d like to say – this book was not my cup of tea and I wouldn’t recommend it.

Thank you.

And goodnight.