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The Rose of the World - Jude Fisher

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Author: Jude Fisher / Genre: Sci-Fi / Fantasy

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      16.09.2007 09:39
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      could be worse, could be better- leaves you feeling a bit unfullfilled unfortunately

      Upon deciding to suggest this final book in the Fool's Gold trilogy for review, I decided first, out of interest, to see what other people on the Amazon site thought of both the novel and the series in general. It is true to say that some of the reviews were less than favourable but personally I think this a little unfair. Although the series has had its faults and this final chapter may be a little disappointing in places, overall this hasn't been a bad fantasy trilogy though, and especially in this last installment, there have been times when its all seemed a little too.....familiar in places. Certainly this latest novel owes a great debt to George.R.R.Martin but if you're stuck waiting for the next installment in his epic series (and when IS that next book finally coming out??), then I certainly feel you could do a lot worse than picking up this trilogy written in a very similar vein even if it really isn't anywhere as accomplished.

      For those of you who have stuck with it to the end, this latest novel begins to tie up all the story arcs and loose threads carried over from the last book. Aran Aransen has finally found his Sanctuary at the expense of all but two of his original crew that set sail with him; only his now insane son, Fent and the giant, Urse One-Ear have survived to the end of their journey but the destination turns out to be nothing that any of them could have imagined.....

      Lord Tycho Issian, by now fanatically obsessed with the woman known only as the Rosa Eldi, is ready with his benefactor, Rui Finco, Lord of Forent, to launch a full scale war against the peoples of the North in a bid to steal The Rose Of The World and make her his own no matter what the cost might be and has fuelled the centuries-born anger amongst his people to such an extent that they are more than willing to go to battle for him....

      And in the North, the mother of Ravn, King of the Northern Isles, puts her own end-game into play in her last desperate bid to rid her kingdom of the Footloose ursurper who has stolen the heart and mind of her son; even if it means siding with the enemy herself and betraying her people in the process.....

      Jude Fisher has tried to cram an awful lot into such a short series and almost finds herself a little rushed in this final chapter to bring everything to a satisfying conclusion. Some might even say that the ending when it comes is less than satisfying but after coming with the characters so far on their journey, I, like the ill-fated Aran Aransen who plays just one part in this story, almost felt compelled to see this journey to it's anticipated and sometimes a little obvious end. Her brutality with some of the main characters continues over from the last novel and though I won't reveal here who lives and who dies, with such a large cast in this trilogy it almost becomes inevitable in the end that at least one of the characters with whom you have connected with the strongest, fails to make it to the final pages.

      One of the factors that does come up in the Amazon reviews is Fisher's obsession with continually bringing back characters who were either dead or assumed to be by the very nature of their demise. As a gimmick, the Deus Ex Machina plot device can sometimes be effective in fantasy fiction but there is such thing as overkill and here Fisher seems to be a little trigger-happpy in its application. After about the third time certain characters have re-appeared you begin to think 'for chrissakes, give it a rest- how gullible do you think I am? ' for there are only so many times you can pull a rabbit out of a hat before it becomes a little predictable and commonplace. For those not in the know, a Deus Ex Machina (translated from the latin to mean the god from the machine) was a plot device that was often used in ancient greek tragedy to resolve a potentially hopeless situation- in most cases so unlikely that it challenged the suspension of disbelief and went against the story's internal logic. It has also become associated in plays and theatre with an act of god that saves the protagonist often from a fate worse than death. From this, you can perhaps more readily understand how over-use can really test an author's credibility.....

      Some people have commented that Jude Fisher only wrote this last novel because she was contracted to and, although I think this something of a harsh judgement, I do think she has gone into this trilogy not sure herself how it was going to pan out and finding herself beginning to struggle as she approaches the climax. I certainly feel that the cast of characters is way too vast at times for the reader to form any emotional attachments and that, because she has so many people to play with, she is often more harsh on her characters than she needs to be.

      That said, I think the central message underlying this series- that we are all one people despite our many diffrences and beliefs and that originally we all came from the same stock regardless of what we now believe in- is a powerful one; it is such a shame that it becomes a little lost in this setting and bogged down by all the other, different plot angles. There are certainly elements of the story that are reminiscent of Helen Of Troy and it often sems as though Fisher is trying to emulate other successful authors such as Robin Hobb and George.R.R.Martin a little too much thus elimating any chance to show us her own original style. This trilogy is definetly a much weaker version of anything by either of these other writers though it is nice for a change to see a fantasy series that is complete without carrying on regardless with no end in sight like both The Sword Of Truth series by Terry Goodkind or The Wheel Of Time series by Robert Jordan that seem to be almost never-ending at times. That said, I have enjoyed enormously both these series but when you are left hanging for the next installment for an indefinable period of time (the next Game Of Thrones anyone...anyone?) it is nice to read something that finishes in three parts for a change.

      Overall, if you have come this far and are still enjoying it you might as well hang on to the end. If on the other hand, you thought the last novel began to stretch on too far then you really ought to think about giving this final book a wide berth.

      At 675 pages, its something of a lengthy read but is available on Ebay or Amazon for a very reasonable price if you don't want to pay £7.99 for it and, to be honest, who could blame you....having finished this triloy at last, not me for sure!

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