mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli
mordicai

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Marut. (12)

Death's Heretic by James L. Sutter.

The Cinder Furnace,
Weeping Tower, Throne of Flies
& the Drowning Court.

This is the first of the Pathfinder novels that I've read that wasn't written by Dave Gross, & it suffers in comparison. Don't get me wrong, it isn't bad, but it lacks the humor of Gross' characterization. Something suffers in the human element-- though part of that is doubtless the level of magical intervention in the story. See, Death's Heretic is about an immortal undead hunter searching for a lost soul by scouring the planes. By planes, not plains-- the story takes a sizable interlude in the afterlives of the Pathfinder universe. One thing I want to note about that: in Pathfinder, the Neutral Evil plane is Abaddon, & it is ruled over by...The Four Horsemen? That is great stuff; I am a big fan of scraping real world mythology for re-use, so that you get some of the emotional oomph. Hell & the Abyss have always been the most well defined & vital planes, but throwing the Four Horsemen into the mix is a great idea. Now, I'm a big fan of Planescape, so I'm more than happy to go along on this journey, but it does undercut the emotional development of the characters somewhat. I found the gender roles predictable, which was I think the greatest weakness of the story over all. The characters are a little bit stock, for my tastes-- the brooding, lantern-jawed hero with a dark past, the tempestuous young woman who is drawn to him but has a stubborn streak-- but that is made palatable by the simple fact that thank heavens they aren't white people. The story takes place in the reaches of the Pathfinder universe that draw their inspiration from Egypt & Arabian Nights, & Sutter nails it. It isn't exotica or Orientalism-- just a tale in a setting whose primary influence isn't pseudo-European, & that is a huge relief. I was also impressed with how Sutter managed to handle the angel, which could have gone poorly but was handled with panache. Not to mention the lovely cover, but then, I'm a sucker for Kekai Kotaki.
Tags: books, dnd, haiku, paizo, pathfinder, sutter
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