The Double Phoenix

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    In progress: Cyador's Heirs by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

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Archive for the ‘Imager Portfolio’ Category

Imager’s Intrigue

Posted by spragujs on January 24, 2011

Hey, this one marks the first official Off the Shelf book.  I haven’t had it that long, but technically I did get it before this year, so I’m counting it toward my total!  1 down 14 to go!  On to a big break where I’ll be rereading and starting something new.  Kristen Britain’s Green Rider series.

Imager's Intrigue cover artI finished up with the Imager Portfolio this weekend.  To my knowledge it’s the last book in the series, but that could just be because there’s no new news out there, or it could be that that’s (literally) all he wrote!  ::insert groans::

Imager’s Intrigue followed 5 years after the story told in Imager’s Challenge.  Rhenn’s been working with the Civic Patrol and continues to do so until the Collegium is struck a severe blow.  Afterwards he’s needed to take over with certain duties there.  Duties which involve trying to keep Solidar afloat before more progressive countries beat it into submission.  Greed and selfishness have driven Solidar to be inwardly focused and extremely vulnerable.  Fortunately for most of them (though they might think otherwise), they have Rhennthyl.

Rhenn has grown a lot since the last book.  He’s still got stuff to whine about in this book (of course), but generally refrains from doing so.  Certainly there’s enough restraint that it wasn’t annoying this time, only understandable.  And strangely, though the language was still formal, it didn’t seem overwhelming; or maybe I just got used to it!

In any case, I’d say this was a very satisfying conclusion to the story.  Rhenn gets to save Solidar, and in doing so has saved any of his countrymen from having to do so.  (There were some not so clean or easy decisions to make in order to get to this point.)  It’s certainly a statement on arrogance, power, how power is wielded, and various forms of government.

Posted in Imager Portfolio, Off the Shelf, Reading | Leave a Comment »

Imager’s Challenge

Posted by spragujs on January 11, 2011

Imager's Challenge cover artI just finished Imager’s Challenge, the second book in the Imager Portfolio by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

The blurb: 
Imager’s Challenge takes up immediately after the conclusion of Imager.  Still recovering from injuries received in foiling the plots of the Ferran envoy, Rhenn is preparing to take up his new duties as imager liaison to the Civic Patrol of L’Excelsis.  No sooner has he assumed his new position than he discovers two things.  First, the Commander of the Civic Patrol doesn’t want a liaison from the infamous Collegium, and soon has Rhenn patrolling the streets of the worst district in the city. Second, Rhenn receives formal notice that one of the High Holders, the father of a man Rhenn partly blinded in self-defense, has declared his intention to destroy Rhenn and his family.

Rhenn’s only allies are the family of the girl he loves, successful merchants with underworld connections.  In the end, Rhenn must literally stand off against gang lords, naval marines, Tiempran terrorist priests, the most powerful High Holder in all of Solidar, and his own Collegium – and find a way to prevail without making further enemies and endangering those he loves.

The book’s writing still trends toward an extremely formal feel as I mentioned in my review of Imager.  Also, it seems like I’m noticing more repeating of ideas, or overly spelling them out in this book.  I don’t know if this is something I just noticed, or started happening more recently in Modesitt’s books, but I’m finding a bit more effort at being concise would be nice, at least for the reader.  It’s very possible the characters do it in order to not be misunderstood when speaking out loud, but this doesn’t need to happen in the character’s thoughts as well. 

Also, Rhenn’s a bit more whiny than I care for in my characters these days.  (The same was true of Modesitt’s last main Recluse character…  Interesting…)  He’s given very good reason for the Collegium to stay out of his problems and vice versa, and still whines about them doing so time and time again.  This may be the railing against “image” that Modesitt mentioned in his original blog post on the subject, but again with the repetition.  I like to think a smart character like Rhenn would be able to deal with the issue rather than dwelling on it.  Maybe by the end of the series there will be some change in the way Rhenn’s nation is run and I won’t have to think about the whining anymore.  😉

Now, having gotten through the negative parts, I do love many of the character’s in these books, including Rhenn.  The main characters especially are generally extremely self-sufficient which I definitely like.  In addition, Modesitt addresses the consequences of various people’s actions, which is a nice thing to note these days.  Many people do things without thinking twice about it and then are surprised when bad stuff happens because of it.  Unfortunately, these folks often seem unable to see that it was their actions that caused the problem, and never learn.  There are also the folks that think they’re above reproach and retaliation and eventually find out otherwise.  >:)  In an interesting thought exercise, Rhenn also learns that his actions, however immediately beneficial, may not be so in the long run and he (and others) have to decide which would have been the more appropriate way to go.  This is definitely a book which gets the reader thinking, while still being a pretty quick read (for its size).

I’m just glad I have the third book on my nightstand right now waiting to be read.  We’ll see what kinds of crazy things Rhenn will do to his city and the Collegium this time.  😉  Also, randomly, I’m not sure what it is, but I really kinda hate the cover art of this book…

Posted in Imager Portfolio, Reading | 1 Comment »

Imager by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

Posted by spragujs on March 29, 2009

Imager cover art

To start off with, Mr. Modesitt was inspired to write this book by the state of today’s society.  Read his very interesting blog on the subject here.

Imager is the first novel of the Imager Portfolio.  I enjoyed the book greatly.  It was some pretty typical Modesitt writing, just within a new world and a new style of magic.  Also, while it had some similar jobs for our hero, it sounds like as a spy/patroller, the potential directions for this character may be different than the war trappings that so many of Modesitt’s other fantasy novels have taken on.  His writing still feels fairly formal to me, not just the dialogue, but also the whole narrative.  

Unfortunately, the book felt a little like a long drawn out prologue to a much bigger story.  Though I suppose it could be due to it being the first novel in the series.  This time though, unlike when I read Karen Moning’s books, while the story did not end with a cliffhanger it left me wanting to read more right now!  Oh well, on the plus side, the manuscript for the next book is complete, so hopefully it won’t be too long before Imager’s Challenge comes out!

For a bit more about Imager, here’s another blog post I wrote recently, comparing this world to that of Harry Dresden.  🙂

Posted in Imager Portfolio, Life, Reading | Leave a Comment »

Names

Posted by spragujs on March 22, 2009

I started reading Imager by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. on Saturday.  I decided to take a break from the Dresden Files to read this since it just came out, and the excerpt on Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist made me want to read it.  (See my post on upcoming book releases for details.)

After getting through 9 chapters and 54 pages, I’m struck by an interesting dichotomy between the Dresden Files and what will presumably (remember only 9 chapters so far) be a theme in the Imager Portfolio.  That is the difference in what Names mean between the two universes.

In Harry Dresden’s universe, a person’s Full Name (including how it’s pronounced and such) means You.  It’s supremely symbolic and has a power over you.  In the Imager Universe their religion’s god is the Nameless, because to them to name something is to presume you know everything about it, when you never really can.  I get the impression it’s the ultimate in taking to heart the idea of “judge not”.  

It’s certainly possible (I’d say probable) that these aren’t truly opposing ideas.  In Harry’s world (as I learned in book 3, which I just finished, post coming soon) it’s said that a human’s name changes with them (I’d guess most frequently in pronunciation based on their moods, ideals, etc., but that probably includes actual name changes like when a person takes their spouse’s name, or just plain changes theirs).  Where, by Naming something in the Imager universe, you are assumed to have judged that person as its whole when your impressions of a person can never know the whole of their being.  

Hmm, I guess, after thinking about it, that a person names themselves in Harry’s world, but a Name is given to a person by someone else in the Imager world.  Interesting.

Posted in Dresden Files, Imager Portfolio, Reading | Leave a Comment »