Friday, June 11, 2010
Something Old, Something New
The author this week was Dennis L. McKiernan. I picked up The Dark Tide (Iron Tower Trilogy) (Book 1) at a used book store some time way way way back on a family vacation. Distant memory seems to be that I never finished the first book and I would have to agree that I didn't remember much of it. The book says that this was his first book or foray into published authordom. I have to say that it wasn't that bad coming from one who's main profession was as an engineer. It's written well, and feels like someone well versed in J.R.R. Tolkien. In fact, there are many similarities. Wikipedia says that McKiernan wrote a sequel to Lord of the Rings while hospitalized, but was denied by the Tolkien Miscellany Committee (I made that committee up - the rest is true). For OG fantasy, I will finish up this trilogy, and might pick up another one of his series.
The Dark Tide starts with a dormant evil force waking up in the North. The laws that were placed over the evil forces appear to have weakened over the years and now they prepare to attack the land. You are introduced to a small in stature group called the Warrow's, or Buccen. This might remind you of the Hobbits in LOTR - they share many similarities, but the Buccen can be mighty warriors! The Hobbits were not. Also, please don't confuse these with the Bukken from Tad William's The Dragonbone Chair (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Book 1) series. Those were evil, tricksy things! Anyways, you do have your run of the mill Humans, Elves, and Dwarves(haven't seen one yet, but talked about). The Buccoes - Warrow slang! They're so ghetto! - are at the heart of this traditional Good-v-Evil story. Can the good hearts of Men, Elves, and Warrow alike save the world against the likes of Rhuks, Orgrus, and Modru?
McKiernan does an good job with the start of his career. His reading is a little more along the lines of the Dragonlance series than Robert Jordan or Stephen King. That's not a bad thing for the story he's telling. It's a back to basics type feel that you need every once in a while. The gray area that the authors I've been dealing with lately isn't breached in The Dark Tide. It shows that a good story can take many forms.
Rating: 5 CB's - I think I'm pretty easy on books. This one is right in the middle for me. It's not as engaging as Robert Jordan can be, Stephen King has been(the non-naughty stuff), and Glen Cook will aways be. It's a shorter novel(300pgs) so you can have a little story like this between. I'm excited to see how he evolves as a writer over the rest of the trilogy and another novel of his.