01 March 2006

Book Banter -- Uther (part, the first)

(Note: Uther really isn't two books. It is, however, so long that it could be, and since Word Nerd is done with the first half, she thought she'd review it before moving on to the second half of the book.)

Title: Uther
Author: Jack Whyte
Length: 347 pages read of 671 total pages

Genre: fantasy/historical fiction
Plot Basics: Uther is the man who eventually becomes the father of King Arthur, but he has his own life and challenges as he feels his loyalty torn between Camulod and the Pendragon Federation over which he becomes king.
Banter Points: Whyte goes back in time for this book in his Camulod Chronicles to fill in the story of Uther, since the majority of the series is told from Merlyn's perspective.
Bummer Points: The length. Oh, and how dull the first half is. Word Nerd has a hunch that the second half of the book is going to be great. That is the part where Uther goes after his life-long nemesis, Gulhrys Lot of Cornwall and in the process, steals Lot's wife, Ygraine, who becomes the mother of Arthur. The first half has been a litany of events in Uther's life, many of which the reader knows already because this same ground was covered in past books, albeit from Merlyn's side. There's only one event where Uther's perspective shed something new on the story. To tell this drawn out history, Whyte also abandons his former crisp, first-person POV used in all the other books in favor of an omniscient third. While the omniscient third saves him from horrid POV switches between chapters, it also dissolves the book into much telling and not enough showing.
Word Nerd recommendation: Whyte's books have been so good and such a good rendition of the King Arthur mythos that Word Nerd is sticking it out. Yes, there is a hiatus coming between the first and second halves of Uther, but Word Nerd has a lot of hope that this one and the next ones will pick back up to his standard.

No comments: