C. J. Cherryh's "Fortress" series
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I hope you are all doing well!
I would like to know if anyone here has read the Fortress series by C. J. Cherryh. I have found the first 4 books here for sale for a VERY low price (used books, obviously), and was wondering if they are worth adding to my to-be-read pile or not.
I read some reviews of the first book, Fortress in the Eye of Time, and many people complain it's dreadfully slow and boring. And it's 700 pages long! Some complained about the lack of action (which could be a problem) and the excess of political intrigue (which I happen to like).
But it has also been commented that the story picks up in the following books. One reviewer even said you can start reading the series from the second book, Fortress of Eagles, without big problems. I have to confess it'd feel a bit like cheating. :-P
So... what is your opinion on this series? Bring it home or leave it at the bookstore?
Thank you in advance for your help! ;-)
I love most of Cherryh's stuff, but only read the first in that series (Fortress), for much the same reasons as the reviewers you mentioned -- it dragged, there was endless uninteresting political intrigue, and the whole premise failed to grab me. I don't have a high tolerance for too much political intrigue; the same thing bugged me about the Deryni series by Katherine Kurtz (and that series had a great premise, but bogged down in endless palace politics).
But if you like political intrigue, why not try at least the first one, esp. if it's cheap? Some people have made favorable judgements.
I found the entire series to be excellent, if anythign the first book is the best with the more mundane concerns of the kingdom bogging down the later books. It isn't fast faced fantasy, pretty much none of Cherryh's work (maybe with the exception of Chanur) is, and her fantasy particularly less so. What she does have is an amazing twist on magic in the character of Tristain. She writes him very well, as a young mind coming to grips with the world around him - fire is hot, steps can trip you, butterflys are enchanting, and why can't you see your own elbow, and at the same time surrounded by these darker experiences. Interleaved with that is his innate sorcery, compared to the rest of the world's hard earned somewhat unpredicatable studious magic. He retains his charming navietivity throughout, but has to make some difficult choices for his new-found friends.
Thoroughly recommeneded - witht he cavet that not everyone likes Cherryh. I wouldn't say this was her best work, but it is certainly great, and novel, fantasy.
My review of the book is here
Thank you rshart3 and reading_fox, for your views on the series!
It's interesting to see two people having such different views on the same book! :-)
My fear is finding the book boring and not finishing it. Some books can be slow paced but interesting, other can be slow paced because nothing ever happens and because the authors is loving his own endless descriptions of the same thing a bit too much. My fear is that the book fit the latter category, not the former...
If anyone has a different view on the series or on the first book, you are invited to share it!
I love this series with a passion!!!
It is incredibly well done, and completely non traditional, and horrifically undervalued in the CURRENT community of fantasy readers. The beginning is odd - it takes awhile to figure out what the author is doing, and then it takes off with a vengeance.
I think readers who bog down are 'expecting' something else, maybe? and don't let the story lead them...but the concept (MINOR! blurb like spoiler) of a totally completely innocent character, brought to life as an adult by a magician - then set loose in the world - to encounter all the human shades of gray, and the vicious teeth of power struggle and politics - the story is utterly unique in fantasy, and Tristan an amazing view into the human condition from a start of childlike innocence.
The magic in this series is excellent, and also originality without parallel.
I cannot do other than highly recommend these books - and to urge that you push past that confusing start - as the character becomes less confused - all becomes clear. It's a masterful bit of writing to show what is happening from a completely new and unworldly character's viewpoint - and all of the 'confusing' events that occur have a meaning that does piece together. Definitely stick with the first volume - it becomes gripping, and each subsequent book, more gripping still.
I love these books enough to have re-read them several times and they still hold up strong. There are nuances I pick up each time I take the journey.
I don't think with me that it was the book being confusing. Actually I love books that throw you into the middle of a complex world or situation, and it takes a while to figure out what's happening (that kind of book seems more common in SF than fantasy, for some reason, but it happens in both).
I read Fortress in the Eye of Time years ago when new (I often jump into a new Cherryh as soon as possible), so I remember only my main impressions. I guess I should look at it again, given the strong recommendations.
I liked those books. From what I can remember, the main character is quite interesting and appealing. Reading this has put those books higher om my to-reread-list!
>6 I'm the same. I read Fortress in the Eye of Time when it first came out and really enjoyed it. I have the rest of the series, but haven't managed to return to it. I'm going to have to move that closer to the top of the TBR list....
I've just ordered Fortress in the eye of time from amazon, after reading all the praise for it here. I like books that start slowly and build up a detailed picture of the world and characters, so this sounds like one I will enjoy (and a complete contrast to Cherryh's Chanur series which I am currently devouring).
I have always enjoyed the first book, but when I read the next one, it seemed that some of the progress Tristan had made was lost, and I find that deeply annoying. I feel like it was meant to be a stand alone book and maybe should have stayed that way. If she had to revist something, I would have rather had another of the Rider at the Gate and Cloud's Rider world.
Thank you JannyWurts and everyone else for sharing your views on this series. I am almost sure I'll buy at least the first book, if the store still has it! Curiouser and curiouser now!
I usually don't like books that are way too slow, but it seems that in the case of Fortress in the eye of time, this has a purpose, so I believe it wouldn't bother me so much. I just dislike when the authors get too caught up describing and admiring the world/characters they have created and don't move on with the story... Apparently this is not the case with C. J. Cherryh!
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