Saturday, 23 August 2008

Book Review: The Broken Sword (Poul Anderson)

Wow, two book reviews in two weeks. Go buy Sport Toto already.

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Title: The Broken Sword
Author: Poul Anderson

Synopsis (from Amazon.co.uk):
The sword Tyrfing has been broken to prevent it striking at the roots of Yggdrasil, the great tree that binds Earth, Heaven and Hell together... but now the mighty sword is needed again to save the elves, who are heavily involved in their war against the trolls, and only Scafloc, a human child kidnapped and raised by the elves, can hope to persuade the mighty ice giant Bolverk to make the sword whole again.

But things are never easy, and along the way, Scafloc must also confront his shadow self, Valgard the changeling, who has taken his place in the world of men.


What I Liked:
  • It's a classic!
  • It's a much more mature fantasy compared to most, including LOTR.
  • I've always liked fantasy with roots in Norse mythology
  • Violence! Blood! I haven't read a fantasy with so much of those in it in AGES.
  • The intrigue and the developments are really gripping
  • Elves vs Trolls! And humans stuck in between! Hmm, sounds familiar...
  • The quest to reforge the sword was my personal highlight of the book.
What I Didn't Like:
  • OMG so tragiiiiic. I'm so depressed kill me now.
  • Somehow I found the two lead characters incredibly annoying.
  • Somehow the parts that mention 'the Christian god' seem very out of place in a fantasy book.
  • It was written in 1951, so the style MIGHT be a little archaic to those not used to it.
Summary:
A collegaue of mine recommended The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson to me some time back, describing it as "Damn ganas and tragic, with lots of Norse gods". Wow, give me the book already.

One week later, I bought it on impulse when I saw it and liked the cover. It was only then that I discovered that it was actually published in the same time as the Fellowship of The Ring, way back in 1954. I'm surprised I took so long to discover this though, because apparently it's quite a classic.

It's a pretty good read, and not THAT hard to finish, despite some archaic language ala LOTR. It's certainly a lot more mature than LOTR though, with lots of violence, sex (er... more like reference to it, actually), and the most tragic characters ever. Think Shakespeare, but with elves, trolls and magical swords, and without the headache of reading all that Olde English.

Now, on to The Once and Future King...

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