Thursday, November 16, 2006

Review: Mountain's Call by Caitlin Brennan

Hey everyone :D

So wassup? I'm still in procastination mode concerning my presentation, but please, don't urge me to go work on it. My mood's been a bit gloomy lately - nothing to be happy, but not depressed or down. Work has been boring... and I miss my friends. Should call them up and go out...

So as I said, I've been reading Mountain's Call by Caitlin Brennan. I've been really curious about this book, because basically, I've seen it everywhere since September. Mountain's Call was reprint in paperback format and released in September and at the same time, she had 2 sequels (Song of Unmaking and Shattered Dance) coming out in tradepaper format almost back to back. The ick is that she really has nice covers and it's from Luna. I mean, Poison Study and Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder are also from Luna... See where I'm getting at? So I finally broke down last week and bought the first volume... I was a good girl and went: I'll see if I like it before buying the series. Smart no? So here is my review...

Mountain's Call by Cailtin Brennan: 2.75-3/5

In this world, magic and gods co-habit together. Gods being horses... but not any horses: white stallions and their Ladies. Young men who may become the white stallions Riders are "called" to the Mountain. "Called," you cannot deny it, your whole body has the urge to go to the Mountain. However, in a 1000 years, never a woman was called.

Valeria has been "Called" and so, she starts her journey to the Mountain, disguised as a boy, and abandoning her family. On the way, she's robbed and almost raped, but luckily is saved by Kerrec, a First Rider. Kerrec doesn't reveal that she's is a girl and so, Valeria passes the testings and has even become the Champion of the testing; however, her glory is short-lived as she is discovered. Not knowing what to do with her, i.e. kill her or send her away, she becomes Kerrec servant so he will be able to train her. Ah, and let's not forget the conspiracy of a prince to overtake his father's throne...

I guess I was expecting something like Poison Study and Magic Study and that's why I've been so disappointed. The beginning wasn't bad; although I found that the world building was not as well-explained as I would have wanted.

See, what makes a fantasy book a good book? Good characters, good plot, enough information on the world building and because these books often contain a quest of some sort, camaderie. The characters weren't bad, but I didn't like them. Not enough info and no camaderie... so what's left? Yeah, the plot was promising, but it wasn't supported well. So let started by the characters... Main character is Valeria... it reminded me of Valek :P Anyway, I don't even know what I feel about her character. Perhaps she was smart, but in my opinion, it's more like she's very intuitive and that helps her with her magic and the horses. She's strong-willed and determined. But emotionally... It's interesting because over at McVane, she brought up the subject of Mary Sue readers. Anyway, I'll admit that I have things that I like my characters to do and things that I don't like... one of them is sleeping with many persons in one book... Unfortunately, this happens in Mountain's Call and well, it made me like Valeria a little less... So Valeria discovers the pleasures of sex with Eun, the barbarian prince. Well that's fine. But then, when she realized that she was in love with Kerrec, I would have appreciated that she stopped having sex with Eun. In my mind, this speaks of morals. I might be old-fashioned, but well that's me. I mean, she knew that she didn't love Eun - it wasn't even undecision - she just craved sex... well that girl, is what usually breaks a relationship nowadays. So yeah, not a good point in her favor. Onto Kerrec now... well the man is okay, you don't really get to know him very much. He's very much like ice, very cold and arrogant. He's mind is flexible, apparently because he's the youngest Rider. You don't really get to know him very much throughout the story... once he starts to show emotions, it's to tell readers right away that he's in love with Valeria. All right, that's fine with me. Then, a chapter later, he hates her because she's a traitor. I guess the problem here is that although Valeria and Kerrec fell in love with each other, they didn't know each other that well and sure didn't understand the other. Kerrec thought that Valeria was a traitor and that was it, he despised her, hated her. Not once did he doubt that perhaps, Valeria had a motive behind. Even when later, it showed that perhaps Valeria wasn't a traitor, he denied it. I guess it boils down to, there was no trust between them.

What else? The writing style... I thought the whole story-telling was very passive. You were told what was happening and it seems to me, on a very monotonous tone.

So yeah, that's it. Perhaps I'm not very objective with this one and I set the bar quite high, expecting something similar to Poison Study... but I just can't help it. Maybe the rest of the story is better, but I don't really feel like buying it, since it's in tradepaper... Ames! read it and tell me if it's better! :P next book is probably going to be London's Perfect Scoundrel by Suzanne Enoch.