|Number of Pages||:||160 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Sword and Sorcery is one of my favorite genres to read. When it's done right it pairs brawn, suspense, weirdness, and outright horror into something more. Duncan McGeary's “Snowcastles” is technically part of this genre (swords and magic do figure predominantly), but it's almost in too big a hurry to really attend to the essential ingredients. Why is “Snowcastles” in such a big hurry? Well, you see, this is not merely some diverting entertainment in this hallowed volume, no... you see, this is anything but a mundane entertainment: it is the first volume in an epic saga! I guess there isn't anything wrong in wanting to launch a series, or even a “saga” (and yes, the sequel, “Icetowers”, was actually written), as long as you have a solid book to build from. So, our hero, Greylock, is an exiled prince running rapidly away from the frozen Godshome because his evil old uncle, the king (the book calls him Tyrant and Capitalizes it, just like That!) has sent some guys to kill him. His people live way up on a mountain and believe that everybody who live at lower elevations are “demons” and that the unlivable wastes higher up the mountain are the home of the gods. It's an idea somebody like Edgar Rice Burroughs could have done a lot with, but Duncan McGeary is in too big a hurry to be Edgar Rice Burroughs. The plot comes right off the shelf, with the muscly Greylock immediately paired with an old wizard and his granddaughter who set out right away to help him regain his kingdom. Imagine the 1939 version of “The Wizard of Oz”, but a rushed one that skips the songs, it really happens that fast. Some minor peril occurs thanks to a race called The Wyrrs and then we're off to human villains and transparent political upset. Some minor character points are attempted and a sense of scope is sorta there (there are some maps and diagrams at the start of the book, not that you need them), but the real Sword and Sorcery stuff is lacking. Greylock does have a sword and he gets it thanks to some sorcery, but it might as well be a paperweight for how much we see him use it. The fact is that he doesn't really have to fight his way through much of anything, since action would only slow down our journey to the next plot point. The characters seem just as sure as their creator that things will work out since the prospect of failure is only hinted at. In fact, it never seems to occur to Greylock that there is an option open to him other than returning to his homeland in force and he is really far too self-assured for a guy entering a world alien to his own. In many ways, this book does put in more of a token effort at its genre than some other 70s fantasies I've read and it lacks some of the vulgarity those others wallowed in as well. The problem is that in the bargain we get a book with no guts. There is no violence to speak of and the sorcery never feels weird or eerie, merely convenient. It went quick enough and the setting has some imagination to it (call it 2.5 stars, based on this) but I will not be reading the sequel.
It was all right. Not the best I've read in heroic fantasy. Not the worst either.