mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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The Ox God Wept. (88)

Endurance by Jay Lake.

Graveflower-eyed man,
his enemy armored in
Moloch horridus.

I liked Green when I read it, & I liked Jay Lake's "Clockwork Earth" novels, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that I liked Endurance. First thing first, the cover. I think it is a gorgeous cover-- like the cover of Green-- but I still think the protagonist needs to be darker. Much darker! The fact that our main character-- the formerly eponymous Green-- is a non-white character among pale-skinned supporting characters is a major facet of the book, after all. To play devil's advocate, the cover does capture the whipstrike sense of danger Green has about her. For me, the predominant attractions here are the non-Westernized setting & the active female protagonist. Ugh, when I say it like that, it sounds so clinical. What I mean is-- in Green, Jay Lake spun out a world based on vibrant influences other than the Generic Europeanesque Feudal Fantasy Setting, & he brings a healthy dose of genuine worldbuilding & inspiration to the table. The setting of these books is creative & evocative. & if that world is a china shop, Green is the bull in it (or well, ox if you'll forgive the pun), running riot over the machinations of gods & men. Lake lays out the big strokes with a great deal of craftsmanship, but it is the little details that sell it. The blue guy in pangolin scale armor? The subtle reference to the painted Fechin from Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun? That is what makes it for me. A bit of a flourish, underplayed for dramatic effect. You know what this book more viscerally reminded me of? Maybe this is a very personal response, but it reminded me of martak's Epic-level Planescape campaign. It was a part of his Oisos setting, in which our characters-- the Aasimar Paladin turned half-angel father of the Messiah, the Human Cleric turned Saint & Avatar & the Tiefling Psion turned Demigod of Blasphemy-- were godmakers & godbreakers.
Tags: books, haiku, lake

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