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The Reading Jackalope

The Garden of Stones

The Garden of Stones - Mark T. Barnes Not worth finishing. I had a very hard time getting into the novel. A combination of flat characters and the new names/races. I'm all about delving face first into a fantasy world with little to no set up, but this one doesn't work for me. I never felt connected to the characters or interested enough to continue with their stories. And the world building doesn't feel like a backdrop, it feels like the point of the story. That's not a compliment. World building should be good, I shouldn't feel like no thought was put into the world obviously and it's clear that Barnes put a lot of thought into his story. BUT it needs to be a place where the characters live and not the whole reason you're writing the novel. The world building overshadows the important novel building things like character and plot.

However I was willing to plough through the novel at least a little further until I got to this line: "The (peoples) saw beauty in everything. Even war was an art to them..." At that point I was done (even if it took me a day or two after I read that to come to that decision). War is not art. Fighting can be an art. Weapons can be art. But war? No. War is death and ugly and killing because you'll be killed otherwise. It's monstrous and there are always bystanders who get hurt. There is nothing noble or artistic about it. Anyone who tells you otherwise doesn't really have a good grasp on what war actually entails. There is a reason that Ares is a brutal god where as Athena is often qualified as goddess of marital arts and not just war. I'm willing to acknowledge that perhaps Barnes meant that fighting was an art or something along those lines, but to use the wrong word here indicates that he didn't really take much care with his word choices. And then why should I bother reading further?