Free Reading The Dark Shore – Z55z.co

First entry, though complete in itself, of a fantasy trilogy from newcomer Lee Upon the Bright Shore lie the dominions of Irth above, the Abiding Star emanates magical Charm below, in the Gulf, exist the cold, heavy, Charmless worlds of the Dark Shore Irth s entire socioeconomic system, from wizardry to healing, depends on Charm Once, the wizarduke of the ruling Council was challenged by the rebellious Bold Ones their chief, Wrat, seized Drev s magic sword, slew Drev s sister, and attempted to conquer Irth Drew cast them bodily into the Gulf While upon the Dark Shore Wrat nursed his rage, acquired a black magic powerful than Charm, and formed an unholy alliance with a gremlin Now, seeking a frightful revenge, mad Wrat has returned to Irth as the Dark Lord, accompanied, courtesy of the gremlin, by hordes of dreadful cacodemons these, being creatures of the Dark Shore, are invulnerable to Charm So Drev hides in the desert while seeking his soulmate, the waif Tywi, whose protectors are the thief Dogbrick and his mysterious, capable companion, Ripcat Two aristocratic children few others have survived Wrat s onslaught , Jyoti and Poch, while trying to locate their aged weapons master, Caval, learn how to kill cacodemons without using Charm Finally, Caval recollects his own sojourn on the Dark Shore, and his companion, the magus Reece, who returned with him to Irth as Ripcat An excellent read Fantastic writing throughout and very exciting. First off, I think its fair to note that Adam Lee is a pseudonym for apparently semi popular SF writer AA Attansio, who I d never heard of He s been nominated for a Nebula Award several times but appears to have not published any novels in close to ten years He does still update his website, however, and answers comments posted on his blog, which is neat Also, in the interest of stating all my biases before I get going, it looks like he s also a fellow Jerseyan, having been born in Newark, First off, I think its fair to note that Adam Lee is a pseudonym for apparently semi popular SF writer AA Attansio, who I d never heard of He s been nominated for a Nebula Award several times but appears to have not published any novels in close to ten years He does still update his website, however, and answers comments posted on his blog, which is neat Also, in the interest of stating all my biases before I get going, it looks like he s also a fellow Jerseyan, having been born in Newark, although it appears he lives in Hawaii these days and for perhaps the first time in any writer I ve read possesses a quality that my wife can admire.I ll also say I have no idea why I have this series Published in the mid nineties, it appears to have been well reviewed at the time but I have no idea at what point I got it and buried the trilogy at the bottom of a pile, or what even caught my eye about it Its the first book of a trilogy entitled The Dominions of Irth and while it does seem like we re one typo away from having Gene Wolfe s Severian show up, unlike Wolfe s tetralogy this series is straight fantasy However, the back cover description doesn t even hint at how strange this book actually is and anyone expecting to walk into a world of knights and wizards fighting evil overlords are going to besurprised Whether that will be a pleasant surprise or otherwise probably depends on their tolerance for ornate descriptions and aphilosophical based approach to all the heroing.The basic setup is definitely straightforwardunused indie band name Wrat and His Cacodemons have broken through from beyond the Dark Shore to terrorize the eight dominions and by terrorize that means killing everyone in sight The head ruler of all the dominions, Drev, once punished Wrat and his crew of merry marauders called the Bold Ones for assassinating his sister the previous ruler by throwing them off the edge of the world and banishing them forever However, forever wasn t as long as anyone would have liked as Wrat appears to have made a deal with forces beyond the shore in order to get the ability to control the numberless cacodemons, who can t be hurt by conventional magic and are pretty good at tearing people to pieces and destroying everything In the wake of all this destruction Drev resigns his rulership and heads out to find a solution while Wrat takes great pleasure in doing things that evil warlords love doingdestroying cities, forcing people to do his bidding, killing at the slightest pretense, crossing streets against the light, and so on.Got all that Because everything prior to Wrat killing everyone is the backstory and if you thought that George Martin s body count happy fantasy series had an extensive history only told through expositions and conversations you haven t seen anything yetnot only doe Irth have its own detailed history but its own set of physics and magic as well, all of which gets crammed into the same space as the plot, making for a somewhat dense read at times And while the physical nature of the place is extremely odd at times people rarely sleep and when they do they float, like they re all starring in their own mini arthouse films whose meaning is tangible yet elusive what will probably strike even regular fantasy readers the oddest is his depiction of magic Based around a concept called Charm , it appears to power everything and come from the light of the Abiding Star and not quantum physics, I thinkit can be stored in amulets and necklaces and how much of it you have or can store can determine what kind of feats you re capable of But its not like some video game magic meter in execution, adhering to a definite logic that the author seems to have figured out in great detail but probably takes a few reads to really figure out the particulars A lot of it seems to be based around philosophical concepts of energy and lifeforces so while it isn t dippy its a far cry from the standard magic works for magical reasons that we normally get although given we have place names like the Calendar of Eyes, the Ladder of the Air, the Cloths of Heaven and so on you start to feel like you re in a shopping mall run solely by New Age proprietors.The very strangeness of the setting makes it fascinating in itself, especially in the early chapters when cities are falling from the sky, cacodemons are everywhere and the entire cast is in various stages of running for their lives The prose is extremely baroque, filled with detailed descriptions of pretty much everything, with at least one word per page forcing you to search your memory of all the vocabulary units you did in high school English class I didn t have to run for a dictionary that often but people who aren t on speaking terms with words like quotidian and sclera might find it rougher goingthe density of the prose strangely doesn t bog the book down but the pace even during fight scenes never seems to rise about languid as if even at its fiercest and most violent its some opium laced dream that is only arriving in gentle waves It adds a distance to everything except for the most visceral scenes that some people might not appreciate.It also doesn t help that most of the cast is geographically spread out and barely sees each other for most of the book You have Drev forging his best path, but you also have sibling lone survivors from a fallen city Jyoti and Poncho attempting to stay alive while glorified street urchin Tywi gets to hang out with Ripcat and Dogbrick in their own version of the let s stay alive contest also, to add another wrinkle, Tywi is apparently Drev s soulmate despite never having actually met Interspersing this with Wrat being evil here and there you wind up with a book where the thrust of the plot consists mostly of everyone running for their lives Thanks to the author s ability to conjure an atmosphere of general strange doom he keeps it interesting despite the emotional distance at times between the reader and the action, especially when it starts to get so abstact that you start to lose the impact of revelations that the book clearly thinks should blow you away But it also means you don t always live or die with these people, its just a story you re being told.Even so, he manages quite a bit of imagery that lingers in the mind While Drev isn t as amazing a hero as we d like, Jyoti winds up being the breakout character of the set, a young girl thrust into rulership by battlefield promotion essentially, doing her best to scramble her away across a landscape filled with stuff that wants to kill her while doing her best to keep her extraordinarily whiny brother alive Her scenes sparkle with a triumph that the other heroes can t quite approximate He does do darkness well, though, with Wrat being uniformly creepy and sickening in equal measure, a weasel who gets elevated through luck and viciousness and barely has the weight to carry off his own petty yet lofty aims We have bizarre witches and strange creatures, a ruler who is literally an evil sack of skin The cacodemons kind of stop being frightening after a while but they do lead to some funny moments, like a group of heroes realizing that while magic won t work on them, beating them to death works amazingly well the book leans toward the idea of everyone relying so much on Charm they forget how to swing swords but I feel like he abandoned wherever he was going with that.If the book succeeds its due to that strangeness, with the geography resolutely amorphous even with a map, the locations strung together with odd names that suggest at culture and history and myth without having the usual fantasy of we have in the nomad land now or this is the city of thieves Having just watched Tarkovsky s Stalker for the first time maybe I m just developing a tolerance appreciation for people wandering through eerie landscapes for the sake of metaphor but it seems like the kind of world where the less you try to pin it down theinteresting it becomes.Another plus is that despite it being part of a trilogy, the story started here also finishes, although not with a climax that comes anywhere near to rousing Its realistic but after nearly five hundred pages I thought we d get a somewhatepic confrontation But the journey to get there is probably like no other fantasy book I ve ever read in terms of overall atmosphere and setting and what larger hints he does drop about the structure of the world and the possible link to our world give you an idea of the bigger picture he appeared to have explored in the remaining books of the trilogy Fans of standard high fantasy, whether of the Tolkien variety or the Game of Thrones style may find it either too weird or too cold but for readers looking to venture off the beaten path this might do nicely To say that reading liking this book as a guilty pleasure is not fair It s good First of all, A.A.Attanasio is the author, using a pen name for some reason, probably contractual, and Attanasio can really write His prose verges toward purple at times and neologisms abound or maybe using words in unique ways isaccurate , but the story is mind blowingly strange and unsettling and unlike anything else out there this guy was writing Weird long before it became a trendy sub genre To say that reading liking this book as a guilty pleasure is not fair It s good First of all, A.A.Attanasio is the author, using a pen name for some reason, probably contractual, and Attanasio can really write His prose verges toward purple at times and neologisms abound or maybe using words in unique ways isaccurate , but the story is mind blowingly strange and unsettling and unlike anything else out there this guy was writing Weird long before it became a trendy sub genre I first read A A Attanasio s The Dark Shore when I was in my early teens At the time I read the science fiction and fantasy genres very sparsely The Dark Shore immediately captivated me Now some 15 years later, I don t read sci fi or fantasy at all, preferring books and novels that try harder to recreate and lend insight into the truths of the world as we know it Recently I decided to revisit The Dark Shore, wondering whether it would hold as much appeal for me as it had for my younger sel I first read A A Attanasio s The Dark Shore when I was in my early teens At the time I read the science fiction and fantasy genres very sparsely The Dark Shore immediately captivated me Now some 15 years later, I don t read sci fi or fantasy at all, preferring books and novels that try harder to recreate and lend insight into the truths of the world as we know it Recently I decided to revisit The Dark Shore, wondering whether it would hold as much appeal for me as it had for my younger self I was delighted to find that it held just as much, if not.When I was younger, I was less interested in the philosophical implications of this novel than the realism of the created worlds of Mr Attanasio s imagination For many readers I imagine that part of the appeal of novels and genres such as these is the fact that you get to suspend your disbelief and revel in a created world entirely different from your own For me the opposite is true I have found that in many science fiction and fantasy books, explanations of the workings of imagined worlds are often conspicuous and require a conscious effort on my part to suspend my disbelief which distracts me and diminishes my enjoyment of a text This is not true of Attanasio s work The constructed reality of The Dark Shore is so skillfully and seamlessly interwoven into the fabric of plot and character that it requires no choice on the part of the reader to endorse what is presented The prose is smart and descriptive, utilizing word choice that allows the reader to see, hear, smell, and feel the text The part of the novel I particularly delighted in upon this reading is the philosophy of the work and the characters The characters are attractive and three dimensional and they grapple with realistic issues regarding the nature of the world The implications and questions posed concerning love, greed, revenge, humanity, marginalization, etc are relevant in a way that I wholeheartedly endorse and are questions I would look for in texts of any other genre Well written, Mr Attanasio