March 05, 2021, 03:13:50 AM

Author Topic: Dark Moon (2nd half)  (Read 1055 times)

Offline Bender

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Dark Moon (2nd half)
« on: May 11, 2020, 08:35:45 PM »
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Offline The Sword in the Tome

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Re: Dark Moon (2nd half)
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2020, 04:07:32 PM »
I'm a huge Gemmell fan.  Legend and Waylander I rate as 5/5 stars, and The First Chronicles of Druss The Legend I felt was 4.5/5.  My love of those three books keeps me wanting to read every fantasy story Gemmell has ever written.  That said, I haven't been blown away by all of his books — I rate In The Realm of The Wolf 3.5/5.  And now having read Dark Moon, I unfortunately have a similar opinion of it.

The highlight of the book for me was Tarantino/Dace.  I can't remember not enjoying any scene he (they?) was in.  I found his dual nature intriguing, especially his inner-dialogue.  And I was invested in his unlikely relationship with Brune — a character who I wish would have gotten even more page time.

Besides Tarantio and Brune, I also enjoyed Browyn and his mountain boat lesson, as well as Sirano's character arc and tragic end.  But outside of those characters I was lukewarm on everyone else.  Karis missed the mark for me, for whatever reason.  And worse, I felt her death/sacrifice was contrived and didn't justify whatever moral awakening the Daroth had immediately after her demise.

Speaking of the Daroth, I was totally underwhelmed by them.  And that was surprising considering I really enjoyed the antagonists in Legend, Waylander, and Chronicles of Druss. 

Back to characters — Duvodas was somewhat compelling, but I never invested in his romance.  And his wife's murder was handled without any surprise or subtlety in my opinion. 

As for the moral philosophy of war, peace, and pacifism, Gemmell already covered those virtues and arguments in Waylander.  And in my opinion he handled those topics more skillfully and memorably there. 

My favorite parts of Dark Moon were: Tarantio versus the bandits and Brune; all the parts with Tarantio and Browyn; Duvodas and Tarantio getting the Pearl and freeing Sirano; and Sirano's final moments with the Daroth.

Final verdict on Dark Moon: 3/5 stars.  Not a painful read but too flawed to recommend or want to read again.  And definitely not up to the standard of Gemmell's best work. 
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Offline Alex Hormann

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Re: Dark Moon (2nd half)
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2020, 05:32:44 PM »
Tarantio/Dace and Brune were my favourite part too. The resolution of their story gave me strong Mr Robot vibes. Sirano had a much stronger arc than I remembered too.

The Daroth/Oltor/Eldarin I find fascinating. Non-humans from another dimension? What a brilliant idea. Dark Moon has a lot of Gemmell's tropes in it, but this is one of its more original ideas. And non-humans aren't used enough in fantasy, particularly heroic fantasy.

I still think Duvodas' storyline is the weakest part of the book. Probably because he spends so little time around the other characters.

The final siege was great, and I liked the secret plans side of things. Could have done with being longer, if anything.

The resolution was a little rushed, but i did like that we are showed the aftermath and the legacy of Karis.

Overall I would say 4/5. Not Gemmell's strongest book by a long way, but I'm glad I revisited it.
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Offline The Sword in the Tome

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Re: Dark Moon (2nd half)
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2020, 08:42:53 PM »
@Alex Hormann I'm curious if the sudden moral awakening of the Daroth at the end of the book went down smoothly for you? This was a race that murdered every man, woman, and child they came across.  A race that desired the extinction of humanity, and the extinction of every other intelligent race for that matter.  And not to mention the Daroth roasted and ate people like chickens.  Yet at the end of the story the Daroth are handed Duvodas's baby son and they travel across country to deliver his babe to him.

It was too big of a leap for me.  I didn't buy it.
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Offline Alex Hormann

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Re: Dark Moon (2nd half)
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2020, 01:51:11 PM »
@Alex Hormann I'm curious if the sudden moral awakening of the Daroth at the end of the book went down smoothly for you? This was a race that murdered every man, woman, and child they came across.  A race that desired the extinction of humanity, and the extinction of every other intelligent race for that matter.  And not to mention the Daroth roasted and ate people like chickens.  Yet at the end of the story the Daroth are handed Duvodas's baby son and they travel across country to deliver his babe to him.

It was too big of a leap for me.  I didn't buy it.

I think it would have bothered me a lot more in a different book. Logically, it didn't make sense for them to change so quickly. From a storytelling perspective, this is why I say the ending felt rushed. But it does fit thematically withe rest of the novel's talk about laying down your arms and finding peace. It's overall more mythic than logical, which I think fits the tone of the book.
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Online Peat

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Re: Dark Moon (2nd half)
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2020, 02:22:04 PM »
@Alex Hormann I'm curious if the sudden moral awakening of the Daroth at the end of the book went down smoothly for you? This was a race that murdered every man, woman, and child they came across.  A race that desired the extinction of humanity, and the extinction of every other intelligent race for that matter.  And not to mention the Daroth roasted and ate people like chickens.  Yet at the end of the story the Daroth are handed Duvodas's baby son and they travel across country to deliver his babe to him.

It was too big of a leap for me.  I didn't buy it.

I think it would have bothered me a lot more in a different book. Logically, it didn't make sense for them to change so quickly. From a storytelling perspective, this is why I say the ending felt rushed. But it does fit thematically withe rest of the novel's talk about laying down your arms and finding peace. It's overall more mythic than logical, which I think fits the tone of the book.

I agree with it being more mythical than logical, but not with it fitting the book. Up to that point I'd say Dark Moon was a very down to earth, logical book. The sudden flight of myth at the end nonplusses me a little. I don't really care, but it isn't a "woah" moment for me.


One thing I do find very interesting is that Gemmell released four books in a tight grouping of 96/97 and three of them (DM, Echoes of the Great Song, Winter Warriors) shared a common conceit of "demonically insatiable army invades from outside commonly accepted reality, forcing prior enemies to group together to fight them". It's an idea that was really on his mind at that point and it feels like it took him a few gos to address it to his satisfaction (assuming he did and didn't just move on because). If I had to guess, just from publication order and the book, I'd say Dark Moon wasn't the last and that Gemmell thought he could do it better; more intense conflict between those who fought previously, stronger mythic resonance, better ending. But I might be saying that because I think the other two were comfortably better. Winter Warriors might be his best non-Rigante book; Echoes of the Great Fall is magnificent if flawed; Dark Moon is entertaining but I don't think the arcs really add up to much. There's too much story for one book.

Which is a shame as there's some fine characters and some scenes. 
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