Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Unremembered - Book Review

The Unremembered (By Peter Orullian) pulled a pretty dirty trick on me by having an opening chapter that pressed all the right buttons for me, then completely switched gears to a flat, contrived story. In fact, that is my one word review of this novel: contrived.

The opening chapter is solid. We’re introduced to a being of god-like power (o), who has gotten a little nuts (o), is quite angry (o), and is about to be punished in a unique way that won’t kill (o), allowing him to come back even more powerful and angry (o) once he breaks his prison. See all those buttons? I settled right in! I’m of the opinion that nothing is more interesting than crazy gods. Stories of Greek Myth retain great power, yes? Yes.

Right, then we’re introduced to the actual main character of the book, a young boy from a small (about to be destroyed town, though it doesn't happen) with a mysterious past, named Tahn Junell. His friend is the comedic relief, who never speaks except to make a bad joke, along with the book nerd friend who actually doesn’t know much, and a sister that works hard to destroy any enjoyment a reader might get from this story by being against all the fun / cool action, preferring instead to coddle children as her obsessive, overbearing motherly instincts dictate. Soon another mysterious person comes into town, with a really attractive young girl, who tells our heroes next to nothing yet they all leave on a mysterious journey soon anyway. I'm not naming the characters because you already know their names. These are not unique constructs. Will the next chapter be about the interesting gods? Hey, maybe we could go back and forth? That’d be ok.

No. The entire reason I picked up this book is only ever vaguely mentioned at for the remainder ("Creators be praised!" or some dumb thing). I held hope because the world itself had some (for me) unique fantasy elements to it. I was really intrigued by the Far. Spent quite a bit of time wondering how they worked. Unfortunately the bland, one dimensional, afore mentioned characters just stomp right through the world. I felt like a prisoner reading. Some reprieve was so close… I’d hope someone would ask anything about the cities, or magic, or ancient people. No. Tahn asks the same question repeatedly throughout the entire novel even though it was addressed as well as it ever will be in the very beginning.

The few stops only serve to force an understanding of each characters chief attribute.  Dying people are held until their last breaths, begging that their ideals be preserved, and our characters, with no real grasp of what they’re talking about, swear oaths (it was always plural) that they defend good and justice and… Everyone had this contest going of who could be the more stereotypical goody-goody fantasy character. It was nauseating. Evil minions call out cryptic taunts as though everyone knows what they’re talking about. Tahn and company adamantly stay stupid. Which the world challenges them on. But though they accidentally tap into some incredible inner power, they’re quick to turn away from it, refusing to ask the All-Knowing guide anything or make use of it.

The end poses the question of if this seemingly innocent young boy can possible defeat the ultimate evil with the help of his friends. I could not care less. 

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