Lamentation by Ken Scholes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What was it that kept me reading this book, even as it kept grating on my nerves and frustrating my brain's attempt to analyze it? A big attractor was the cast of clear-cut and appealing characters, each of whom were of a type, but only a couple were a stereotype. Another was the interesting world, which is something like medieval times, but not quite, and included some intriguing modern touches and hints that there is (or could be) a rich history. This made the fantasy a bit more like science fiction. Probably most of all is the unfolding story, with layer upon layer of intrigue.
But what did grate on my nerves? Let's start with some of the writing quirks. How about the use of "magicks"? Really? We couldn't come up with a new word or a different word for something that acts like magic, but isn't? Then there's the matter of repetition, of "magicks" and "Whymer Mazes" and "scouts" and "salted knives". It reads like a whole city talking about nothing but Rubik's Cubes and Quantum Leaps all day for years. And if you've got mechanoservitors and iron ships that are steam powered (the latter implied by the former), where is the industrialization that created them? Why does a worldwide society seem completely stuck in a single age, technologically and otherwise, for thousands of years?