Those Above by Daniel Polansky

Griffin

Journeyed there and back again
#1
Good things:
- Eloquent prose
- Interesting themes
- Strong worldbuilding

Less good thing:
- telling us things, not showing us
- three, consecutive chapters with people getting up and morning rituals: dull!
- 2 of the four pov-characters are cardboard thin: Bas is a general but apart from the battle at the beginning we barely does anything at all. The other, Calla, is a gateway POV for us to look upon the Eternal
(Godlike creatures) and barely has any scenes where she actually does anything herself.
- the Revenant Mother, Eudokia, is a real spider queen, but is all too succesful in any venture.
- Plot is slow, and just a setup really for the story
- His prose may be eloquent, but it's very descriptive.
- The rare scenes that actually have some action are pretty bland and not all that exciting.
- Toilet humour among the highly civilized sound falling turd

Conclusion: 6,5/10
The author really knows have to write in a fun and fluent way but he really needs to up his game qua characterization and plot progress
 

Haven

Became a Faceless Man
#2
There are things about @Griffin's review that I agree wholeheartedly with: slow plot, setup fodder, dullness in the starting chapters etc etc.

But I personally feel it is too early to judge any of the characters; Bas's history and how he got his fabled blade are still unknown, as are Eudokia's true reasons for hating Those Above.

Calla's story is perhaps the most straightforward, although I still don't understand how her book of translations figures in.

On the other hand, Thistle is the most intriguing...and what he might become is unknown.'

I think I'll only judge objectively after I read the second book and understand these character's true origins.

As for the toilet humor, that is pure Polansky...And I actually like it. Real life is a good example of how I mix highly civilized words and toilet humor, after all :D
 

Griffin

Journeyed there and back again
#3
But I personally feel it is too early to judge any of the characters
It is indeed too early, but I am of the opinion that you just can't use a 400-page book just as a setup for the next installment. Either write a longer book, or add to the plot.

On the other hand, Thistle is the most intriguing...and what he might become is unknown.'
Indeed, he has the most dynamic in the entire book and although it started off as a basic poor kid working his way up in the criminal underworld, there are some nice deviations.

As for the toilet humor, that is pure Polansky...
I wouldn't know, it's the first I've written by him.

Real life is a good example of how I mix highly civilized words and toilet humor, after all
It's not that I mind toilet humour, Erikson does it as well and I do like it. I just think the contrast is a bit big with his sofisticated prose.
 

Haven

Became a Faceless Man
#4
Oh yeah I forgot, 7.5/10 mainly because of the lack of concrete plot and how goddamned expensive the book was -.-