MG Reviews TGO

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MG

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« on: May 24, 2016, 08:33:36 pm »
Fans of R. Scott Bakker’s The Second Apocalypse series slog on, book after book, chapter after chapter, one page to the next, seeking revelation.  In Earwa, Bakker has crafted a world so dense and possessed with epochal mystery that readers find themselves consuming every morsel only to be twice as hungry for more Meat.  Through his five Earwan novels thus far, Bakker has conceived and kindled the reader’s lust, patiently starving us on our journey, hoarding his greatest secrets.  With The Great Ordeal, the penultimate book in The Aspect-Emperor series, Bakker begins to betray the final mysteries of his cosmos, feeding and goading readers more than in any of the preceding novels.

The Great Ordeal follows the four story arcs continuing from the end of The White-Luck Warrior: Sorweel, Serwa, and Moenghus arrive at Ishterebinth, Achamian and Mimara wander the ruins of Ishual (and beyond), Esmenet strains to hold the fragments of family and empire together (Kelmomas plays in the dark), while Kellhus leads his Exalt-Generals, Proyas and Saubon, and his Great Ordeal onward to the ancient fortress of Dagliash.  The novel reels from revelations about the Dunyain and Nonmen to the bloodletting in Momemn and the northern wastes.  At the end of The Great Ordeal, all four arcs deliver the world to a state of havoc, savagery, and disaster, and the reader is left hanging on a precipice unlike any other in Bakker’s series.

The Great Ordeal marches not only further but also delves deeper into Earwa’s story.  Unlike Tolkien, Bakker does not give us an epic with a Silmarillion to be published later.  The Second Apocalypse, and The Great Ordeal in particular, unfold the current drama and the ancient mysteries as one.  The darkness that comes before characters, factions, and whole civilizations begins to take shape and loom into sight.

A distinct and surprising delight of The Great Ordeal is Bakker’s use of specific, rhythmic, and lyrical stylings adapted for individual character POV.  I had not expected Bakker’s writing style to change in any new significant ways in the interim between 2011’s The White-Luck Warrior and The Great Ordeal, but I found myself rereading sections just to form the words in my mouth.

New characters, new magic, new places, new heartbreak.  Thaumazein, wonder, awe.  For Plato it was the origin of all philosophy.  For Shakespeare it was the spark of all human character.  For Bakker it is the gasp of realization that the mind’s ignorance knows no bounds.  We are doomed to stumble in the dark.  “Could tragedy be a passion?”  Yes.  Scott Bakker proves it—with a fury. 

I recommend this book by Bakker with more fervor than any other in the series.  Page for page, this volume was a most haunting pleasure to read.  Revelation and unforeseen revelation infect the reader and the characters both in substantial measure.  Just as Bakker has hoarded his secrets over many books, The Great Ordeal itself seizes and then accelerates, disgorging dreadful truths by the end.  My advice: put the book down after you finish chapter 11, call in sick before you start chapter 12, read straight through to the end.

10/10 – This story is exactly what I want from the last-but-one book of an epic sequence.

Finally, The Great Ordeal retells the age-old story of fateful human frailty.  An inquiry for the reader and an inquisition for the characters. 

Do not wait.  Get this book. 
This is what you have been waiting for.
Descend. 
Consume.

- Andy T a.k.a. Bakkerfans from Twitter and Facebook a.k.a. mrganondorf from www.second-apocalypse.com

P.S.  It is now evident to me that R. Scott Bakker is a liar.  He pretends to shake out crumbs in an occasional interview or blog post, but reader be warned: his answers hide more than reveal.  An unreliable author of unreliable characters—he’s been manipulating us all along, holding back the flood that drowns: The Unholy Consult.

MSJ

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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2016, 08:41:50 pm »
That's a great review MG! It's got me all worked up over here.
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

profgrape

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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2016, 08:44:25 pm »
Well MG, I think you've achieved the impossible: making me want this book MORE! :-)

Madness

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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2016, 08:44:39 pm »
I second that, MSJ and profgrape.

Also, it literally just brought in the most hits, real or otherwise, ever, to one post.
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Redeagl

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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2016, 09:22:03 pm »
Great review,MG.IS NOT HYPE INFINITE?
“The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before?”

- Chronicler of the Chroniclers

MG

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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2016, 09:37:07 pm »
Great review,MG.IS NOT HYPE INFINITE?

INFINITE!!! Thanks Redeagl :)

@ MSJ - That's the hackle-transference, TGO raised mine and now it's spreading

@ PG - It is worth the excitment!  Truly!

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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2016, 01:40:01 am »
Geat review Mg, thanks. Gave me chills, I'm excited to get the final release in my hands.
One of the other conditions of possibility.

MG

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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2016, 01:45:55 am »
Geat review Mg, thanks. Gave me chills, I'm excited to get the final release in my hands.

Aw yeah ... that's the chills that radiate from the heart of Earwa--the space in between ;)

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« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2016, 01:33:06 am »
Awesome stuff man, this got me genuinely psyched even more more than I was before (which seems less and less possible as time nears, yet never ceases to occur). After hearing about just how revelatory TGO was from both RSB himself alongside Madness for several years, it wasn't until the combination of the  most recent excerpts and this very review that the reality of it sunk in. We've really only been scraping at the tip of an iceberg, haven't we?

A distinct and surprising delight of The Great Ordeal is Bakker’s use of specific, rhythmic, and lyrical stylings adapted for individual character POV.  I had not expected Bakker’s writing style to change in any new significant ways in the interim between 2011’s The White-Luck Warrior and The Great Ordeal, but I found myself rereading sections just to form the words in my mouth.

Really like to hear this, and somewhat surprised in spite of myself. It's crystal clear that RSB's craft, on a fundamental level, improves with each entry -- the elegance with which he handles both language and the simultaneous stories seen in The False Sun is something I don't think the writer of The Darkness That Comes Before could have done, at least not with so much grace. I don't want to sound overly harsh since even at his worst RSB is still better than probably 80% of the authors working in the "epic fantasy" sub-genre when it comes to mechanics, but I personally didn't feel as though he as actually consistently nailing the very specific tone he's been going for (which feels somewhere between Tolkien, Homer, and Cormac McCarthy at his most Biblical -- good company to be in) until The White-Luck Warrior. It only makes sense that his handling of characters and diction would become more deft with time, especially since RSB is still relatively young (as great authors go). 

Thaumazein

Thanks for this word. ;)

Madness

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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2016, 02:14:29 pm »
Awesome stuff man, this got me genuinely psyched even more more than I was before (which seems less and less possible as time nears, yet never ceases to occur). After hearing about just how revelatory TGO was from both RSB himself alongside Madness for several years, it wasn't until the combination of the  most recent excerpts and this very review that the reality of it sunk in. We've really only been scraping at the tip of an iceberg, haven't we?

Yaaaassss 8). We miss having you around, FB!
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MG

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« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2016, 02:41:50 pm »
Awesome stuff man, this got me genuinely psyched even more more than I was before (which seems less and less possible as time nears, yet never ceases to occur). After hearing about just how revelatory TGO was from both RSB himself alongside Madness for several years, it wasn't until the combination of the  most recent excerpts and this very review that the reality of it sunk in. We've really only been scraping at the tip of an iceberg, haven't we?

A distinct and surprising delight of The Great Ordeal is Bakker’s use of specific, rhythmic, and lyrical stylings adapted for individual character POV.  I had not expected Bakker’s writing style to change in any new significant ways in the interim between 2011’s The White-Luck Warrior and The Great Ordeal, but I found myself rereading sections just to form the words in my mouth.

Really like to hear this, and somewhat surprised in spite of myself. It's crystal clear that RSB's craft, on a fundamental level, improves with each entry -- the elegance with which he handles both language and the simultaneous stories seen in The False Sun is something I don't think the writer of The Darkness That Comes Before could have done, at least not with so much grace. I don't want to sound overly harsh since even at his worst RSB is still better than probably 80% of the authors working in the "epic fantasy" sub-genre when it comes to mechanics, but I personally didn't feel as though he as actually consistently nailing the very specific tone he's been going for (which feels somewhere between Tolkien, Homer, and Cormac McCarthy at his most Biblical -- good company to be in) until The White-Luck Warrior. It only makes sense that his handling of characters and diction would become more deft with time, especially since RSB is still relatively young (as great authors go). 

Thaumazein

Thanks for this word. ;)

Fuck yeah FB!  Scott is still aiming to write it as that "scripture otherwise" he's yapped about.  It works!

themerchant

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« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2016, 08:34:48 pm »
Great review, this from Wert whets my appetite

"This multi-stranded finale is epic and breathtaking, among the greatest convergences in modern epic fantasy, and the notion it was originally supposed to be a mid-novel climax makes you wonder what exactly Bakker is holding back for the second half."

Bolivar

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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2016, 01:58:09 pm »
I go on Amazon today and look what I see under Editorial Reviews:



Dare I say it's the best blurb of the bunch? Put this somewhere on the dust jacket people!

Madness

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« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2016, 02:18:45 pm »
Fuck ya, MG!

Also, how random that Esslemont read TGO?
« Last Edit: June 01, 2016, 02:20:44 pm by Madness »
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« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2016, 12:15:43 am »
Dare I say it's the best blurb of the bunch? Put this somewhere on the dust jacket people!
Agreed. Get that on the dust jacket!
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