Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Unicorn Point

Hey I made it!  I wasn't sure if I was going to complete this last book before the end of the year or not...but I did, and with a whole day to spare!  Unicorn Point is the 6th and final book of Piers Anthony's "Apprentice Adept" series.  Or so I thought.  In my rush to wrap up trilogies and other series this month, I hadn't realized that there is actually a 7th book in this series.  I don't own it but have seen it in the book store in years past.  Not so suprising that I hadn't realized it though when you consider that Piers Anthony is an extremely prolific author with 140 books published to date.  I've been reading him since I was a teenager, many moons ago and my database tells me this is the 63rd Piers Anthony book I've read.  Wowzer.

Mr Anthony is somewhat infamous for cramming 6-7 novels in each of his "trilogies".  Many people think the first three make a fine trilogy and then he proceeds to write more and thus ruin the series.  His Xanth series alone started as a trilogy and is still going strong after 34 books.  I tend to agree but am such a completest that I feel obligated to read the entire series.  This particular series, the "Apprentice Adept" series is among my favorite, expecially the first three.  The concept is very cool: a world that has a fantasy region called "Phaze" as well as a science region called "Proton."  Magic works in Phaze whereas Proton is very science fictiony.  Turns out the two regions were split from a single region sometime in the past and even the people have duplicates in the other region.  Thus a magical "adept" in Phaze has a corresponding citizen or serf in Proton.  But when one person accidentally enters the other zone...well you can imagine what sorts of chaos might develop.

This is definitely one of Mr Anthony's series that should have been limited to three books.  Those first three novels, beginning with Split Infinity formed a tightly woven and complete story with well developed characters and compelling plot.  They remain among my favorite fantasy novels.  However, his attempt at a follow-on trilogy largely fails in my opinion.  The new characters are mostly lifeless, and very similar to one another.  They even think the same way and have the same attitudes (something I've noticed for many of this author's characters). The plot is overly complicated and confusing making the entire reading experience an onerous one.  There are just enough intriguing parts to keep me on the hook and continuing to the next novel but overall I wished the author had pursued other stories.  That probably explains why it took me 2 1/2 years between reading book 5 and book 6.  This book, Unicorn Point is divided into 18 chapters, each with a different point of view character.  That basically turns the book into 18 seperate vignettes that are intended to bring the entire story together.  Instead it seperates the story and further complicates it.  Take my advice and stop after the first three books in this series.

Next up:  time to stop completing unfinished series and start fresh stories.  I'm not sure what I'll chose to start the new year with but it'll be exciting to browse my shelves (exactly 300 books still to be read) and come up with the next entry.  Tomorrow...the much anticipated (at least by me) TopDragon book awards!

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

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  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire