Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tanith Lee. Delusion’s Master (1981)

     Tanith Lee. Delusion’s Master (1981) Well written ‘adult’ fantasy, b ut it palls after a while. The Gods are indifferent to humans, the Demons care about them, but are offended when humans reject them. Lee riffs on Babel and holy cities and priests etc. All very visual, in a graphic novel sort of way. The book would probably have worked better as graphic novel, actually. The language is lush, it echoes the quasi-archaic styles that seem to be de rigeur for these efforts. Problem is, after the Prologue there are no characters. Humans are unnamed, but despite being given names, Chuz and other demons are mere figures in a landscape. The landscape and figures shapeshift, everything is described as occurring on an epic scale, and eventually I surfeited. Rich language, dream-like plotting, fantastic imagery aren’t enough. I want to care about the characters one way or another. In this book, only the Prologue, a terrifying story of lust and love and murder and vengeance and lethal ambition, does this. In later books, Lee does give us characters we care about, we want them to succeed or fail, but not here. I stopped reading about halfway through. Those who like this genre will no doubt rate the book much higher than I do. *½

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