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In the Earth Abides the Flame by Russell…
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In the Earth Abides the Flame

by Russell Kirkpatrick

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Fire of Heaven [Kirkpatrick] (2), Faltha (2)

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Orbit,fall07 ( )
  lencicki | Aug 28, 2013 |
Orbit,fall07
  orbitbooks | May 9, 2013 |
This is the second book of the Fire of Heaven trilogy, and aspects of the writing are better than the first book. The dialogue is still painful in places, though not as frequently. There are still a large number of characters, which I like, but this author seems overwhelmed; several characters, including some that are supposed to be foils for one another, are instead hard to tell apart, and other characters suddenly reappear after being invisible for pages (during which they were supposedly present). As best as I can recall, the book fails the Bechdel test; there are more than two female characters, but the only conversation I can recall between two female characters was about whether one of them should pursue a relationship with a male character. The particular strength of the first novel in the series, its moving descriptions of landscapes, helps the second half of this volume - but the first half takes place in a single, oddly conceived city. Since the book lacks any kind of prologue summarizing what happened previously, it was not easy to pick up the thread of the story three years after reading the first volume.

A more central problem for this series is that its core interest -- should the characters trust that they are being led by the Most High -- creates unresolvable structural problems in the narrative. The author regularly tries to build up tension and speed the pace of the narrative, but since the conflicts at the heart of the novel are spiritual and internal, he repeatedly drops from a high-tension, deadline-driven plot into an internal world of conversations between leading characters and the voice of God. That transition destroys the pacing. It doesn't help that key villains escape again and again, and that both protagonists and antagonists, journeying on separate paths for weeks, meet again at just the right moment to maximize the drama of their confrontation. But even if these problems were fixed, the central conceit of the novel (and series), that God is both in control and waiting for the characters to mature enough to let themselves serve Him, is a very difficult armature on which to model an epic fantasy story. Particularly for a reader who doesn't share this conception of the Divine, the plot becomes a halting progress towards an inevitable but unexciting outcome. Not that it gets there: the book ends with all the major plot threads in cliffhangers. ( )
1 vote bezoar44 | Jul 6, 2011 |
Ech, bleah. What started out as a decent fantasy quest adventure has turned into a tedious bit of proselytizing and a limp romance between two characters who seem to have nothing in common other than having gone on the adventure together. I don't like being lectured by authors about the nature of faith (especially when it's clear that there's a not-so-veiled conversion narrative aimed at the reader), and I don't like contrived plots that pair up characters just because they're heroes of opposite gender.

I especially don't like the way that it obvious that the author thinks that just because the male hero is attracted to the female hero, she must eventually accept that he's her One True Love... even though it's clear her character really isn't interested in any sort of relationship at all, and that his character is besotted only with a fantasy and shows little understanding or respect for her as a person. (Which, perhaps, is not surprising, given how weakly developed her character is.)

I don't normally stop reading a series before the end of the last book, and it is even more rare that I'd stop before the end of a book midseries. But I'm doing that with this one; I just can't take it any more. ( )
1 vote ranaverde | Dec 17, 2009 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Russell Kirkpatrickprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cotton, PeterCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316003425, Mass Market Paperback)

They have journeyed across the face of the world, but their quest is far from over...

Battered and bruised, suffering grievous loss, the Company enters the great city of Instruere. They have to warn the Council of Faltha of the Destroyer's threat -- but they have no idea of the depth of treachery that awaits them.

When the arrival of a disturbing stranger ignites political and religious tensions, events escalate beyond control. Only one thing could unite a land wracked with such mistrust. But can it be found? Or is the Jugom Ark merely a legend?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:00 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Battered and bruised, suffering grievous loss, the Company enters the great city of Instruere. They have to warn the Council of Faltha of the Destroyer's threat, but they have no idea of the depth of treachery that awaits them. When the arrival of a disturbing stranger ignites political and religious tensions, events escalate beyond control. Only one thing could unite a land racked by such mistrust. But can it be found? Or is the Jugom Ark merely a legend?… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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Orbit Books

An edition of this book was published by Orbit Books.

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