Sunday, July 29, 2007

Halfway through "Riddle-Master"

I found the trilogy in one volume at the Barnes and Noble on Westwood at Pico, and bought one copy. (As a sociological comment -- I don't mourn for the days of the small bookseller, though I do miss Lydia Marano and Arthur Cover's Dangerous Visions store. The sociological function small bookstores served has been replaced by social networking, and their limited ability to carry titles meant books faded away forever ... Riddle Master is in print because there are bookstores with enough shelf-space to accomodate a 30-year old fantasy, and websites like to supply people who can't or won't go into one of the big B&Ms.)

I'm midway through the 2nd book, "Heir of Sea and Fire" -- and I'm wondering if I have read this more recently than when it came out, because though early in the first book I didn't remember much, by the time I got to the end of it, and very strongly in the 2nd volume, I'm remembering scenes as I read them. I still have no idea how it's going to end, though there's a scene where Raederle chases a shapechanger upcoming, and I do remember who the shapechanger is ...

Based on where I am right now, this makes it into the list of great fantasies appropriate for kids. I know my daughters will love it, if they're not too burned out by Harry Potter at the moment.

The list now stands at (more or less in order of ascending order of quality):

Chronicles of Narnia
Harry Potter
The Dark Is Rising - Riddle Master
A Wizard of Earthsea (trilogy)
The Lord of the Rings

If I were taking a kid through them in order, I'd probably stick Potter after Earthsea -- just for length. It's a hard series for younger kids to get through. (If JK Rowling's publishers want to make another billion, an abridged Potter would do it....)


The value of revision -- that whole passage in the post below concerning Hungarian notation? Nearly pointless. It was supposed to show the difference between core and non-core and peripheral elements of a given discipline; instead it's 500 meandering words with a not very funny joke at the end. Almost all of it could be trimmed without taking a thing from the larger post.


Thomas said...

Re: Science Fiction for kids.

It just occurred to me that Silverberg's _Lord Valentine's Castle_ is an excellent book (and the beginning of a mediocre series) that's a decent blend of science fiction and fantasy, and it's also very well suited for kids. I read it around age 11, I seem to recall, and then spent the rest of that year teaching myself how to juggle.

jj sutherland said...

I re-read the Dark is Rising series over the weekend and found it pretty disappointing. The Dark is Rising book itself is brilliant, but I found the other books fairly weak.
I guess I was responding to the whole Dark-Light overseen by the High Magic bit. Whenever there was a crisis the heroes had to figure out how to cleave to some legalistic rule in the High Magic that would overcome the Dark. I kept on asking myself why in the world the Dark agreed to follow those rules anyway. Maybe you need to be a kid, but I found it to be a pretty disappointing re-read.

Can't agree more about Lord Valentine's Castle though, I absolutely loved that book. Though the series is, as Thomas says, kinda mediocre.

Dan Moran said...

The Dark is Rising is definitely the best book of that series (and Over Sea, Under Stone is the worst, by a lot.) I like it better than you do, but I get your point.

Don't remember being impressed or disappointed by LVC ... I know I read it, don't remember a thing about it.

Thomas said...

Oddly coincidental that we should be talking about Dark is Rising right now...look on Quicktime.

Anonymous said...

What about The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander?

Dan Moran said...

Weird the stuff that pops up on posts long, longer afterward ...

Sure, Chronicles of Prydain is a good series. I think I mentioned it elsewhere on this blog in about the timeframe I wrote the rest of this -- use the search function if you like. That said I don't think it's within shouting distance of any of the series mentioned.

I haven't read Philip Pullman's series, but I'm told it's superb. Hope to get to it someday, possibly with my sons. They might be the right age for it, and it appears no sequel is likely for the movie .....