Sunday, December 28, 2014

Review: Lake of the Long Sun

Lake of the Long Sun
Lake of the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If, by some strange chance, you are reading this having read nothing else about this book - not even the Goodreads summary - then don't read anything else before you read the book, if you're going to. The true setting of these books is... well not really a spoiler in the "sudden reveal at the end of the book" sense, but worth not knowing. And because it's not really a spoiler in the classical sense, everyone seems to feel free to spell it out everywhere in their summaries and reviews. Basically, Wolfe does a lovely long, slow reveal over the beginning of the first book - it's not hidden information, it's just not discussed outright - and he does so artfully enough that it's a shame not to watch it unfold.

The story itself is fascinating, but somewhat slow-paced and marred by some jerky discontinuities, where the narrative skips over large sections of activity with no explanation. Some of the skipped details are even referred to later as if we'd read about them, to the point where I started to wonder if my copy was missing chapters. I liked some of the characters quite a lot, but mostly they don't actually _do_ anything; they just tromp back-and-forth across the city having long drawn-out conversations with one another, while things happen to them. Wolfe builds a wonderfully-detailed world, but the passivity of the characters and the jarring starts and stops meant it was only 3 stars for me.

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