Currently Reading: Valor (and it’s not looking good)

valor (Custom)Even after my abysmal start with John Gwynne and his arrogant debut with Malice, I was the bigger man and decided to give the rat a second chance. The book hadn’t even started and the (what can I use as a pejorative that isn’t a profanity? I need a word that adequately describes my dislike of the man, the author, the style and in fact, every single thing about him) son of a ghuhn was already rubbing my face in his sickening, overwheening pride. The Cast of Characters was right at the beginning of the book and if you remember (and if you don’t I’m going to remind you), my first big complaint was that Gwynne debuted a first book in a series with over 45 named characters. Well, that rat ghuhn listed 94 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) (I know, because I counted them) characters in his cast of characters. I stuck my tongue into the corner of my mouth, calmly closed my kindle Oasis and didn’t read another word for over 24hrs.

I had to think. So I turned to the series of books that I consider to be the most dense, the most depressing, the best written and the most awesome of storylines, the Malazan Books of the Fallen. In Reaper’s Gale the Cast of Characters is 153. However, that was Book 7 of a series of 10, where each book was actually a double novel. So I checked out the second book, Deadhouse Gates and it clocks in at around 84 characters.

Honestly, I can’t figure out why I have such problems with Gwynne doing this when I’ve seen it done already. Maybe because I now associate Malazan and Erikson with 1000 page nihilistic existentialism soap box preaching and complete and utter authorial disregard for actually telling a story? And I’m concerned Gwynne is going to go down that road? I already know this is grim stuff, so that strikes against it but I can’t figure it out. That bugs the living daylights out of me. 

Right now, the following is ME and what you can’t see is John Gwynne prostrate at my feet as I decide if I’ll swing the axe or not.



I started reading again last night and I’m still on the fence. If you don’t see a review of this next week you’ll know I stuck to it.


bookstooge (Custom)



I found the perfect term. Dirty Louse.

45 thoughts on “Currently Reading: Valor (and it’s not looking good)

  1. A long time ago I asked what were your thoughts on Gwynne’s work because I had never read him (I still haven’t). I remember you were quite vocal about it…bottom-line of what you told me: “crap”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually, you might be getting me mixed up with someone else, or your time frame is off 🙂
      I only read the first book back in April of this year.


      I had an almost physical reaction to his first book and it appears that I’m still reacting to it in this book.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I don’t remember. But that doesn’t mean it’s on your end. Unless it was on your blog, where I only read the comments from the email notification.

          If we did talk about Gwynne a while ago we were in the same boat about wondering whether to start him or not.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Well, I also have strong opinions on him as well! 😀 😀 😀

              I don’t like Cameron. He’s more historical than fantasy, he’s grimdark and in the one book I read of his the supposed good guys ended up raping a nunnery…

              Liked by 1 person

                  1. A friend of mine said his work was pretty good. And then I asked what your your thoughts. And you said: “nah…” I’m still looking for the NEW perfect fantasy series.

                    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s been years since I read the first book but I do remember there being a ton of characters, to the point I had a hard time keeping up with who was who. I also remember it being incredibly slow until the end. Despite both things, I remember enjoying it and have the second book on my TBR list. Doesn’t mean that I won’t throw a fit too when I finally pick it up knowing this. Lol.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t remember how many chapters book 1 had, but this one has 120. And each one is a Point of View change. I’m giving it to the 10% mark to impress me otherwise I’ll be dnf’ing it…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw so many glowing reviews of Gwynne that I knew that I HAD to at least try him.
      But Malice made me react badly and Valor is making me react almost as much. What really bugs me is that I can’t exactly nail down what it IS that is causing the reaction.

      You are definitely not alone in this!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I did want to see if Book 1 was a fluke in terms of how I reacted, but since it isn’t, I’m trying to figure out what the common issue is. So far I’m left scratching my head and just chalking it up to “I don’t like it” 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Man, GRRM waited until the end AGOT (and every subsequent book) to do an appendix of Houses and thus all the characters seen and unseen in the novels. If he had done it at the beginning, ASOIAF might have died a quick death.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I usually skip over those kind of things when at the beginning, but when I have to keep on hitting the next page button on my kindle, and it keeps going and going and going, well, then I start to notice 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thing is, I usually like epic fantasy, a lot. But something, that I still can’t nail down, just rubs me the wrong way about Gwynne. I simply don’t care about anything taking place in the story.

      so I’m definitely not engaged by this one 😦


  4. LOL, I do feel that it every time you read a bad book and review it my day gets better 😀 Should I wish only crappy books for you? That aside, I still haven’t checked out Malice. Maybe your troubles come from the very fact that you’ve already read and re-read Erikson? You know, too much of a not-so-good thing and you’re getting allergic 😉 I still won’t eat Digestive chocolate cookies after I ate a few before a 10B storm on a lousy sailing boat and they were the first thing to come up…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It could very well be that I’m allergic now. Ironic thing is, when I delete this series off of my kindle, I’ll be replacing it with the Wheel of Time books for my first time re-read of the whole thing.

      I guess that will be the real telling point if I’ve become allergic to Epic Fantasy, or just to Gwynne.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m no stranger to large casts in epic fantasy, but yikes that number is a lot. It’s not that I mind following a lot of characters, but they have to be written well and memorable or else I don’t see much of a point. Sorry this series isn’t working out for you, I’ve never read it but I enjoyed the first book of his new trilogy and am looking forward to continuing with the second book soon. At least that one has a manageable number of characters, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, I thought I was inured to this after my Malazan re-read. Which is why I was wondering if there was something else in play. I just can’t nail it down though.

      Glad you’re enjoying his second trilogy. I guess I’ll be consigning him to the stack of authors Not for Me.


  6. Not every book/author is for everyone – otherwise we would all be the reading equivalent of Borg drones 😀 😀 . Still, I guess it’s a matter of point of view AND personal inclinations: I saw the list of characters as a friendly reminder (and I *do* need them now more than ever, since encroaching old age makes my sieve-like memory even more unreliable) and accepted from the start the fact that I could not commit them all to memory, so I let myself go with the current and just enjoy the story.
    I hope this second book turns out better for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My biggest problem with casts of characters that large isn’t when they exist, it’s when the author feels the need to put the list of them at the FRONT of the book. (To be fair, this could also be a publisher decision. I’m not sure in this particular case.) Unless the guide is a short one (like a quick pronunciation guide when using non-English languages) I prefer all of my guides to be at the end of the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a good point. Is it the author making those choices or the publisher? My gut reaction is that it is an authorial choice, but I do know there is a LOT of the book that is out of the author’s hands if they go with a big publisher.

      I like all the stuff to be at the end too.


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