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The Darkness That Comes Before (Prince of…
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The Darkness That Comes Before (Prince of Nothing) (original 2004; edition 2005)

by R.Scott Bakker

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1,562324,758 (3.86)45
Member:AHS-Wolfy
Title:The Darkness That Comes Before (Prince of Nothing)
Authors:R.Scott Bakker
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Tags:Fantasy, Prince of Nothing, 999 challenge

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The Darkness That Comes Before by R. Scott Bakker (2004)

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English (30)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (32)
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
Ha! I love the reviews for this book. If you're older than 14, and have ever read anything the cover of which does *not* feature embossed gold lettering and a fire-breathing dragon Goddess, you love it. People who don't understand the 'show' vs 'tell' distinction but use it anyway, people who have the vocabulary of a 12 year old, and people who are unwilling to put in any effort whatsoever hate it. I don't read much fantasy, just because I can't take much description in prose, let alone the stilted, turgid style that seems to dominate the genre. But that's not a problem here.

Simply put, this is beautifully written, very intelligent and suitably imaginative. Reading it is a pleasure thanks to Bakker's style; it's engrossing thanks to the characters and the story; and it's funny if you can train-spot all the historical references. They range from the first Crusade (Xerius = Alexius I; Maithenet = Urban II) through a whole range of philosophical schools from the Eastern and Western traditions.

Most of the book is written in varying degrees of free indirect style, and occasionally Bakker's need to stuff information into a scene is a bit too noticeable. But given how much information the reader needs in order to understand the world she's being thrown into, it's not too outrageous. Sometimes Bakker has too many fragments, but they weren't too obtrusive. The real problem here was pointed out by another reviewer: the women are all whores or shrews. I don't mean 'in general.' I mean there are three women in the book, and they are whores or shrews. I'll give Bakker the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he's trying to point out a fact about our world's (deplorable) treatment of women by highlighting how badly they're treated in the world of the novel - the narrator is definitely sympathetic to Esmenet, at least. I hope he's writing those characters with something clever in mind; it's more than a little obnoxious otherwise. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
Well, apparently I got over my sci-fi kick and finished this after all.

It's a big sprawling book, and as some of the other reviewers mention it has some fairly unlikeable central characters, but I found that part of it's charm. I also suspect the ones that others found sympathetic, are the ones I wanted to smack and vice versa. Esmi, for instance, is so annoying, Cnaiüs is fascinating, and I could have done with more Kellhus.

Although it switched POV fairly often, I think the number of pov characters was manageable, and it was clear who was speaking when. So the style didn't bug me as much as it sometimes does.

There's a lot of politics and conspiracies and plotting, and a lot of war. I found it interesting that although sorcery and it's use or not, is a major central plot of the world itself, it was rarely used in the books, making it much less of the deus ex machina that it can turn out to be, and making it much more dramatic when it does show up.

Overall, a solid winner, and very much looking forward to reading the rest of the series. ( )
  krazykiwi | Sep 22, 2013 |
This book, and the series, is fantastic. Do yourself a favor and read them. A spectacularly well thought out world, characters, magic system, plots etc.


( )
  MitchHogan | Jul 25, 2013 |
While I think this book sets the stage for an interesting series I had a lot of problems really getting into the book itself. Bakker seems to be reluctant to build any real depth to his characters. Because of the general shallowness of the primary characters I have had trouble caring what happens to any of them.

For example, the character Kellhus - the first one we meet, is introduced in a very detached way and even though we get to see things from his perspective at times I just don't care if he lives or dies. There have been a few glimpses of what he is capable of martially and, because of that, I am anxious to see him in later battle sequences but, if he dies off in one, I don't really think I'll care.

It doesn't get any better with the rest of the characters. Each goes through some pretty substantial emotional trials but not once am I left caring how they make it through them. There was never any connection between me and them.

Even with all that though I'd still read the next book in the trilogy just to see what happens with the story line because the world itself is interesting and, perhaps, is the only character I am curious about at this point. ( )
  finalcut | Apr 2, 2013 |
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Epigraph
I shall never tire of underlining a concise little fact which these superstitious people are loath to admit -- namely, that a thought comes when "it" wants, not when "I" want ...
Friederich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
Dedication
To Sharron - before you, I never dared hope
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(Prologue) One cannot raise walls against what has been forgotten.
All spies obssessed over their informants.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0143013742, Paperback)

Many centuries ago, the world was nearly destroyed by the dark wizards of the Consult, and the High King's family was wiped out--or so it seemed. Then from the wild, uncharted north comes a mysterious and extraordinarily powerful philosopher-warrior, Anasurimbor Kellhus, descendant of the ancient High Kings. But the return of the king's bloodline is little cause for rejoicing. For Kellhus's appearance may signal the overthrow of empires, the destruction of the sorcerous schools, the return of the Consult demons--and the end of the world.

The Darkness that Comes Before is a strong, impressive, deeply imagined debut novel. However, this first book of an epic fantasy series is not accessible; it reads like a later volume of a complicated ongoing series. Author R. Scott Bakker has created a world that is very different from J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth, yet in depth of development comes closer than most high-fantasy worlds. In addition to providing five appendices, Bakker attempts to make his complex world clear to readers by filling the prologue and opening chapters with the names of characters, gods, cities, tribes, nations, religions, factions, and sorcerous schools. For many readers, this approach will have the opposite effect of clarity. It's like demonstrating snowflake structure with a blizzard. --Cynthia Ward

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:40 -0400)

Two thousand years have passed since Mog-Pharau, the No-God, last walked among Men. Two thousand years have passed since the Apocalypse. In a world wrenched by holy war and devastation, a sorcerer, a concubine, and a warrior find themselves captivated by a mysterious traveller from lands long thought dead, a man who makes weapons of insight and revelation. Unable to distinguish the passion that elevates from the passion that enslaves, they fall ever deeper under his thrall, while what begins as a war of Men against Men threatens to become the first battle of the Second Apocalypse.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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