June 19, 2019, 10:18:46 PM

Author Topic: Swords & Scoundrels, Part 4: Interlude after 21 to 28 (The End)  (Read 2119 times)

Offline JMack

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Here is the thread for posting about S&S part four.
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
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Offline Eclipse

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Re: Swords & Scoundrels, Part 4: Interlude after 21 to 28 (The End)
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2016, 08:02:49 AM »
Finished enjoyable enough but won't be carrying on as I didn't like one of the MC.

I would have liked to learn more about the clockwork city and the clockwork woman I thought there were fascinating.

The siblings dad was a bastard he certainly fucked his kids up , a true villain

According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate

Offline tebakutis

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Re: Swords & Scoundrels, Part 4: Interlude after 21 to 28 (The End)
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2016, 12:40:30 AM »
I just finished!

Overall, this was an enjoyable read. It also had an unusual narrative structure - the Interludes came every so often to fill in the backstory for the characters, and then we were back to the advancing plot. This threw me a bit the first time it happened, but I did end up liking how we would see the origins or reasons characters had done things earlier, and then work back from the earlier revelation to connect the dots.

The book also seemed to dramatically speed up in the second half. The first half was pretty much a slow burn, with some meandering by the protagonists and lots of intrigue that seemed to be going in many different directions. Once Kacha and Vocho split, however, it seems like the plot went barreling toward the end at a fast pace. The last 40% or so just had a breakneck pace I really enjoyed, and I almost wish the book had that pace throughout.

I only had two real complaints, and both are subjective and personal. I'm going to admit something that makes me sound absolutely terrible ... I tend to skim alot of description. :) Basically, what keeps me intrigued are dialogue and action, and this is actually something I have to constantly fight in my own writing - ensuring I add enough description. If you have more than a paragraph describing something, I'm probably going to skim right past the rest, *especially* if it's not pertinent to the story.

If there was one thing that slowed me down with this book, there was a LOT of description - pages and pages of it - and as neat as it all was, when it wasn't advancing the story, I tended to skim until we started moving forward again. However, while this didn't work for me personally, I do think the descriptions and all of the inner monologue of the characters was very well done, and people who do enjoy extensive worldbuilding will enjoy that element.

The second problem I had was actually following all the interconnected plotting and intrigue: You had plots with plots hatched by Eneko, the prelate, the king(Bakar), Licio (the king's little brother?), Sabates, Alicia, and Petri, and everyone had their own secret goal and their own plot which was in competition with the other. So I was definitely with Vocho and Kacha in not knowing what the hell was going on ... they were basically just pawns being manipulated by pretty much everyone from every conspiracy.

So on the upside, I was as confused as the people being manipulated n the book, and I felt for Kacha, Vocho, and even Petri as they tried to figure out everything that was going on. However, the more analytical part of me wanted to actually understand the plotting and conspiracies, and I had trouble doing that. I really wasn't sure where everyone stood and what their goals were even by the end of the book, though Kacha's quick summary helped. I'm certain the clues were there, I just wasn't able to pick them out, so that was a little frustrating. Like I said, subjective stuff.

That said, there were many, many things I liked. First, the fencing was top-notch. The descriptions were short, punchy, and got the action across in ways that made it easy to visualize what was going on. Pretty much every time there was some fencing action, I was really enjoying myself.

Second, I actually enjoyed all four main characters (and yes, I'm including "Dom"), and liked that they all had believable flaws. When Kacha and Vocho had their falling out, it got me right in the feels. And I was glad we did see a bit of reconcilation with Kacha and Petri at the end, as Petri always struck me as a good guy manipulated into a bunch of bad situations. And Dom was just awesome throughout, everything from his seeming talent for never getting dirty to his posh little apologies as he was casually defeating people.

Finally, from a setting standpoint, the idea of the clockwork city was awesome, and I think the scenes where people were narrowly escaping through gears and waterworks were my favorite. I also loved all the little throwaway bits about how the city worked - that people would orient themselves by the Shrive and King's House (the only ones that never moved, except for the Guild), how there were defenses that just fired off randomly, and people learned to get around them, the clockwork duelist in the guild ... and, of course

Spoiler for Hiden:
When Kacha stuck Eneko's sword in the gears, and the whole city got stuck midway. Chaos ensues. It was like a giant transformer that got stuck mid-transformation, and the descriptions of the chaos, fires, and screaming was really cool. That was a neat element I didn't expect, yet totally bought when it happened.

So overall, a really fun read. I'll definitely pick up the next one when I have time.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2016, 12:42:06 AM by tebakutis »

Offline Eclipse

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Re: Swords & Scoundrels, Part 4: Interlude after 21 to 28 (The End)
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2016, 06:33:01 AM »
It wasn't Dom I had a problem with it was Kacha I just couldn't click with her.
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate

Offline Raptori

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Re: Swords & Scoundrels, Part 4: Interlude after 21 to 28 (The End)
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2016, 09:36:38 AM »
Funny, I finished it about five minutes before you @tebakutis, but then went to sleep!  ;D

Good summary, agree with most of it. I don't have a problem with description unless it's pages long like in WoT or LotR, so that didn't bother me, but the feeling of not understanding what was going on did get a little frustrating at times. Felt like it was a feature rather than a flaw though, a way to make it easier to empathise with the characters.

Vocho and Kasha had too few redeeming features for me to really root for them though, whereas Dom and Petri were much more likeable. Apparently I had guessed Dom's identity really early on (think it was the very first time we saw him fight); when he took Kasha to his father's house I thought the reveal was that he was Petri's brother, but apparently I'd misread something there!

The biggest problem I had was the interludes. In and of themselves they were entertaining stories, but they made it extremely difficult for me to get any reading momentum going. The same problem was present in Lies of Locke Lamora (which has a similar structure), but here the interludes felt more loosely connected to the main narrative and there was less narrative in between the interludes. They did contain key information though, so I guess the story couldn't work without them.

There was a lot to like though. The climax was brilliant, such a great use of the worldbuilding which really helped heighten the tension. The prose was good, especially the fights, as was the dialogue. The setting was memorable too, loved how the religion in Reyes was tied to the physical makeup of the city, made it feel vivid.

I'll probably pick up the next one, though I'll be hoping for fewer interludes!
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.

Online ScarletBea

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Re: Swords & Scoundrels, Part 4: Interlude after 21 to 28 (The End)
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2016, 09:56:54 AM »
I'll probably pick up the next one, though I'll be hoping for fewer interludes!
As far as I remember, no interludes in book 2 :)

This is what I wrote about it:
Quote
I have to be honest, and say I enjoyed book 1 more than the first half of book 2, but that might also be due to personal reasons, my mindset as I was reading.
I kept just wanting to read more of Petri, I think those scenes are written perfectly (which again shows my mindset hehe)

After the halfway point, either I changed or the book did. I got a lot more interested, things kept me reading more and more, and about the last third was really good! That's why I immediately started reading book 3, and in the few pages I've seen, I'm really sympathising with Kacha...
« Last Edit: September 02, 2016, 09:58:45 AM by ScarletBea »
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Offline Raptori

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Re: Swords & Scoundrels, Part 4: Interlude after 21 to 28 (The End)
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2016, 11:19:55 AM »
Thanks, definitely makes me more likely to give it a go!  :P
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.