Warning: Call-time pass-by-reference has been deprecated in /home/content/m/i/k/mikenoel/html/mambots/content/joscomment.php on line 43
Daggerspell -- Katherine Kerr
Written by Mike Noel   
Sunday, 15 June 2008


 This is another of those fantasy books from the 80's that I somehow missed. The other notable entry in that list was the David Eddings Belgariad series that I reviewed a few months ago.  Daggerspell was better and more interesting that the Eddings books but it still had a few problems.  Or maybe just quirks.  I'm really not trying to be all that critical but some things just stick out like sore thumbs.  After reading Eddings, this book, and some old Shanarra I think I'm beginning to understand why people have always looked down a bit on the fantasy genre.  This book wasn't that bad though.  As I said, just some quirks.

First, the author loved the word "keen".  Not the adjective that describes something as sharp or interesting but instead the verb "to keen".  This means to wail or moan in grief.  Typically this word is used to describe the sound an animal makes when it's sad.  The classic image is a small bear cub "keening" over the dead body of it's mother who has been shot by a hunter.

I didn't count but it seems to me that she used that word close to thirty times in this book.  It's such an uncommon word, especially when applied to people, that it seems odd that she would use it so much.  I remember one section where she used "keen" three times on just two pages.  Not really a problem but just strange word choice.

Another quirk was slapping.  I think every major character got slapped and did some slapping himself or herself.  There was lots of slapping going on.  Whenever someone did something that another character didn't like there was a slap coming.  This isn't something you would notice at first but after a good two dozen slaps at various points in the book you start to notice.

The third quirk I want to mention isn't quite fair.  The book was written in the mid 80's and a lot of fantasy water has flowed under the bridge since then.  At the time it might have been a fresh idea but now, 20 years later, it's not.  The bad guy had a "prophecy" over him that said that no man could kill him.  Of course, the main character is a girl.  You can see where this is going.  Tolkien used the "gender loophole" device in The Return Of The King and I think that it's been used many times since then (he probably didn't invent it).  But by now it's a pretty tired plot trick.  I just rolled my eyes when I got to that part of the book.  But who knows, maybe back in the 80's that was still a novel concept.

In the end the book was ok.  About halfway through I seriously considered putting it down but I persevered.  I'm glad I did.  Things did get better before the end.  I doubt I will hunt down the other books in the series but if I have nothing else to read and one is given to me I'd probably read it just for the light enjoyment.


Last Updated ( Monday, 09 June 2008 )