Review: The White-Luck Warrior

This post will include my review of the book The White-Luck Warrior by R Scott Bakker. It is the second volume of the Aspect Emperor series, released in February 2012.

The text below is taken from the blurb on the back of the book.

A score of years after he first walked into the histories of men, Anasurimbor Kellhus rules all the Three Seas, the first true Aspect-Emperor in a thousand years.

As Kellhus and his Great Ordeal march ever further into the perilous wastes of the Ancient North, Esmenet finds herself at war with not only the Gods, but her own family as well. Achamian, meanwhile, leads his own ragtag expedition to the legendary ruins of Sauglish, and to a truth he scarely survive, let alone comprehend.

Into this tumult walks the White-Luck Warrior, assassin and messiah both, executing a mission as old as the World’s making…

Let me preface this review by saying upfront that I really enjoyed the previous books by this author. The three books from the first series, and the first book of this series, are among my favourite books. I found the world building and the characterisation to be excellent and I was very much looking forward to reading this book.

With that behind me I am very disappointed in the result.

For me the entire novel exists to get the characters from point A to point B in the largest number of words possible.

In all of Nothing much happened. Sure there were battles, and political coups and plenty of deaths but in terms of the overall storyline it was pretty devoid of anything new or interesting. Kellhus appears only a handful of times and those are pretty brief. Achamian – who is one of my favourite characters – says very little and in fact is gagged for a large portion of the story. Esmenet appears to have become a paranoid idiot and the Consult are almost entirely absent.

If you can slog your way through to the end (the slog of slogs) there is a nice bit of action to end on. Plus the Non-man, Cleric, grows into an interesting character but this is scant reward for the 600 or so pages before this finally happens.

In short the only “Great Ordeal” was the one I had trying to get through it.

I will still probably read the next one but rather than being excited by the prospect I will doing merely because I’m something of a completionist, but if it ends up being anything like this one, I doubt I’ll read anything more from this author.


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