Bloodstone [1997]

They say that Film Noir is not a genre, but a certain stylistic convention with some thematic unity. I kinda get it when thinking about this novel not as a genre-piece, but an example of the Elric school of heroic fantastical writing. It’s not strictly a fantasy, but it has all those kinds of hallmarks and stylistic features: the Mary-Sue hero, the improbable survival of the hero in amongst a generally brutal environment, and so on… there’s some quality just eluding my elucidation which lumps this into the same kind of feel as the first Amber stuff (but not as good), most of Fiest’s writing, early Brooks, and that ilk.

Whatever else you might say about it, it’s a rip-roaring page-turner for the majority of its length. It’s got a brash energy which allows you to invest time and energy in the read. Unfortunately, by the end, it’s so ridiculously tied up in its own mythology and convoluted chronology that in the end it’s basically nonsensical.

I don’t regret reading it, but I also can’t imagine any circumstance in which I’d recommend someone read it, or read it again myself.

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3 Responses to Bloodstone [1997]

  1. demonground says:

    It’s odd you are reading the last book in a trilogy here. The Jon Shannow novels are actually some of Gemmell’s best, but Wolf in Shadow is by far most intriguing of the trilogy (the first one).

    I guess also that you miss the context of the series by not reading in order, also the ‘place’ Gemmell was at when he wrote the core of WiS – his mother just died, he was in rainy London on assignment, etc.

    By this book the story line has merged with an earlier series and much of the dark feel and grit of a world flipped has been lost. Go read WiS (I have a copy) if you want to see Gemmell at this finest!


    • mashugenah says:

      I only picked up that it was a third part of a trilogy about a third of the way through, by which stage I thought I might as well carry on.

      I don’t know that it necessarily mattered too much, as there weren’t introductions/re-introductions that I couldn’t swallow as convenient back-story. I didn’t feel like I was missing crucial information.

      Thanks for the offer of Wolf in Shadow, but I think I’ll pass.

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