- The pacing - I know for some people a slower story isn't what they like to see, but I find myself falling more and more in love with super chunky books and stories (if they are done well and spend the slow plot time to develop characters & worlds) - The imaginative worlds - This story is set in a world where VR (Virtual Reality) is a huge part of day to day life and some of the ultra high tech is so capable of simulation that it's virtually like you're in another world. We definitely see a lot of travelling in this book and see our character encountering all manner of creatures, cartoons and manifestations in these wacky worlds. The plot didn't ever feel too drawn out for me (especially if you compare it to something like Malazan or Wheel of Time - both super long yet I enjoy both a lot) and I found myself speeding through the majority of the audiobook (which is excellent by the way) in a day when I was travelling. I also love that we have people from vastly different cultures even within the same country like !Xabbu who is from a Bushamen tribe and has excellent stories to tell about this.
1. A character (Paul Jonas) or team of them (Rennie, !Xabbu) land in a sim word reminding us of something, sometimes blatantly. Plot events that don't have any real resolution. 6. A very tiny amount of plot events that set up real difficulties. But this is just a middle, filler novel, and is souring me on the series.
Unfortunately, the the cool ideas of the first one weren't enough to overcome some slowness, and the characters were more important to my enjoyment of the book. The most interesting plotline for me was probably Orlando, though Paul's story was pretty good as too. Much of this book seemed to be a way for Mr. Williams to live out fantasy of worlds he'd like to visit/explore from history and/or fiction. I will definitely be picking up the third book once my audio time frees up a little.
Oh yes - back before Neo got his clock punched by Agent Smith, Renie, !Xabbu, Orlando, Fredericks and all the other Otherland explorers discover that they are in more danger than they realize - if they die on the network, then they'll die in real life. At the end of book one, when all the main characters have been gathered together and are being told about the great dangers they will face, and how they are part of a plan to defeat the Grail Brotherhood and their Nefarious Scheme, most of the people there want nothing to do with it. We have a mission here!" Unfortunately, while the Fellowship of the Ring gets a clear mission before leaving Rivendell, the Otherland explorers are scattered before they know what to do, and their main goal is to run for their lives. Orlando and Fredericks get sent off into a world more bizarre than any online gaming ever prepared them for; Renie and !Xabbu end up in a horribly twisted version of The Wizard of OZ, if Oz had invaded Kansas, taken over, and started a three-way fight between the Scarecrow, the Lion and the Tin Man. This leaves us with the third and largest group being somewhat less interesting than the others. I can imagine that Tad Williams had a great deal of fun working out these novels, mainly because he created a concept that allowed for incredible freedom in world-building. So whether it is the mythical land of Xanadu, a cartoon kitchen where the groceries come to life at night, a world where people fly like birds, or the legendary land of Ithaca, the settings in these books are only limited to what Williams can think up and work with. We've met a strange type of character which exists in many worlds at once - the beautiful, birdlike woman who tries to help Paul Jonas and Orlando Gardiner find their way; the horrible Twins, whose only job is to pursue Paul Jonas wherever he may go. Offline, real-world investigations into the mysterious comas that afflict children begin to bear fruit - a young lawyer named Catur Ramsey is trying to help the parents of Orlando and Fredericks find out what happened to their children, and the search leads him to a strange woman, Olga Pirofski, who may have a vital clue.
I think I'll try to write a review for every book I read from now on. With all this said: here is my first daily review, Otherland: River of Blue Fire PROS: Similar to the first book, Otherland has managed to make me use my imagination is ways that I never have before. Sure, we have a couple people who we're supposed to hate like Dread, and maybe Osiris.
Shortly after Orlando and Fredericks are swept away, the others find themselves in a world where the river takes on the form of a jet stream, where flight is as natural as walking. In the "real world", the family and friends of those trapped play out their own dramas. A common theme throughout is the feeling of hopelessness, despair, and perhaps even boredom of both those trapped in Otherland and those in the real world. On the other hand, this book reminds me of The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien, in that it's a continuation of a story in progress, sort of like a bridge. Like Tolkien, the story isn't rushed and in some places seems to linger just a bit too long. Overall, however, I really liked this story.
I struggled with this.
Tad is currently immersed in the creation of The Last King of Osten Ard, planned as a trilogy with two intermediary novels.