Monday, April 26, 2010

Traitor's Sun

Traitor's Sun (Darkover)
Traitor's Sun
Marion Zimmer Bradley
2000, Tor publishing

Traitor's Sun is a novel of Darkover and my first experience with both the Darkover Universe and Marion Zimmer Bradley.  Darkover intrigued me but the book ultimately fails.  Darkover seems to be a mix of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

This is a stand alone book, so you don't have to even be aware of other Darkover novels (there are quite a few) to understand the story.  It simply follows a senator of a collapsing, corrupt planetary federation as he flees to his homeworld of Darkover.  The King has just died and the federation are pulling out, but an ambitions captain is going to try for one last takeover.

The premise of the story wasn't bad.  The writing, however, was very bad.  An ensamble story, we get to look through many different characters eyes.  Unfortunately, they all think alike and have way too much internal dialogue.  The entire 400+ page book takes place over a week.  A lot of the characters were indistinguishable from one another and I would often forget who was related to who and how.

The worst part of the story was the aforementioned internal dialogue.  Characters would routinely run this pattern through their heads:  "I am worried, I will have tea/wine to calm myself, I am distressed, what character over there said makes sense and relaxes me,  I am worried again, well lets not be worried.  I actually started looking for this and would laugh when it happened.  It was horrible. 

The book also just kind of stops.  The funeral was part of the story but towards the end it became the whole story with the battles happening as sub plots to get to the funeral.  Maybe if I had read other Darkover books, I would have cared about the dead king, but I didn't on either account. 

Overall the book isn't very satisfying.  It comes across as generally thin.  There were some interesting characters, but the author bogs them down with internal dialogue that goes nowhere and never fully explores them.  I am assuming this is because there are books of Darkover that follow these characters.

I would only recommend this book to fans of the Darkover Series and people that have absolutely nothing else to do.  I mean if you have a choice between reading this book and watching paint dry, it is a toss up.  I have Mists of Avalon on my to read shelf and am not sure I want to even attempt it after this. 

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