I dropped out of this book after 200 of its 600 pages, and that kind of makes me sad.
This second installment is so much of a disappointment, I don’t even feel like explaining why. I’ll try anyhow, but I’ll keep it short.
Bakker explains why this is such a lesser book himself, in the first sentence of the acknowledgements that precede it:
Since I had over fifteen years to write TDTCB, I really had no idea what I was getting into when I committed to finishing The Warrior-Prophet within one year.
It was a rush job. Plain and simple. The writing has deteriorated to a degree that’s hard to believe. There’s three big problems:
The plot seems to not move forward. By page 80 not a single new thing has happened. Boring. I thought things would get better when the action starts, but the first big battle scene lacks the poetry of the first book, and feels clunky & predictable. So if even the action isn’t redeeming, why keep on reading? I tried, but kept on being bored.
The characters seem to have lost their depth. In the first chapters Achamian keeps on repeating he is in doubt for pages and pages and pages. We get it. Move on, Bakker. Kellhus is a kind of superman – that was obvious in the previous book too – but it seems his Bene Gesseritish nature only gets more and more cartoonish. As for the side characters, all the nobles and generals seem interchangeable and generic, and seem to behave like children. To me, they felt like names and names and names, not characters.
And last but not least: THE PROSE. Leaden, clumsy, often pompous, with a lots of unnatural dialogues that made me cringe. There’s also lots of irrelevant details that could be mistaken for detailed world building with actual depth.
Wrapping an arm around her waist, Achamian led Esmenet to Xinemus, who stood chatting with Bloody Dinch. When he introduced her, Xinemus merely offered her a perfunctory greeting, then pointed to a faint swath of smoke across the eastern horizon. The Fanim, he explained, had infiltrated the mountains and had struck across the highlands. Apparently a large village, a place called Tusam, had been taken unawares during the night and burned to the ground. Proyas wanted to survey the devastation first-hand – with his ranking officers.
He explained! He? He, Cromwell?? From a place called Tusam?
Walking. The city whores called those who followed the Columns peneditari, the “long-walkers,” a word that often became pembeditari, the “scratchers,” because many believed camp-whores carried various infestation. Depending on who asked, peneditari were either as worldly and thus as admirable as castle-noble courtesans, or as polluted and thus as despicable as the beggar-whores who laid with lepers. The truth, Esmenet would discover, lay somewhere in between.
What a giant cliché. What a boring sentence. And thus I stopped reading.
And I haven’t even discussed Bakker’s constant repetition of the supremacy of logic. We get it! You’re getting a PhD in philosophy!!