Friday, June 17, 2011

Review: The Thousandfold Thought by R. Scott Bakker

Having survived the siege of Caraskand the Holy War now has an open road to the city of Shimeh. Kellhus has been proclaimed as a prophet and now has total control of the war. Achamian has finally revealed the existence of Kelhus to the other mandate sorcerers but has decided to aid the prophet and teach him the gonsis. Having been humiliated Conphus is exiled by Kelhus but an unexpected turn of events may make him an even bigger factor than before.

The third volume is definitely more psychologically driven than it's predecessor. Cnaiur has seemingly finally succumbed to his madness and Achamian is forced into a position where he has to confront the very fabric of existence. Bakker does an excellent job here and I found it utterly fascinating watching these character's deepest thoughts unfold. I doubt it is for everyone but needless to say I'm impressed.

Pacing was an area in which Bakker controlled the narrative extremely well. For the first two thirds it moved steadily, and with the arrival at Shimeh and the inevitable confrontations it quickened. Bakker switched here to short, sharp view point changes that gave a frantic feel to proceedings. While some of these confrontations were given a good chance to develop, ie Kelhus and Moenghus others felt too rushed. The Cnaiur-Moenghus meeting was over in two pages and after all the build up this was disappointing. Granted that Bakker's has envisioned this trilogy as part of a larger whole I still think it could have benefited from a more solid conclusion.

Overall Bakker once again delivers a satisfying read, though a more definite conclusion would have been welcome. 8/10.

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