Friday, 24 June 2016

Book Review - The Vorrh - Brian Catling

“Walking into the night, he was in control of his world. He would shape it with the gods and demons into an understanding of forces, each with its own price, marked in blood.”

I am not sure what to make of this book. It took a little while to get into, but once I did I *think* I enjoyed it. Maybe.

The Vorrh is set in and around a vast, mystical forest on the edge of a small town in Africa. They say if you travel through the forest, full of angels, demons and more, you lose your memories, or worse your soul. It is a story of many characters who’s stories become loosely entwined thanks to The Vorrh. Oh, and there is a bow made out of the dead body of a woman…  it’s all a bit weird.

I think the main problem with this book is that it focuses on building the world rather than the plot within it. If you enjoy long, descriptive texts - which I will admit are fantastically written - then you may like this. If you don’t care about the backstory of a table; the tree it once was, who cut it down, how it came to be in this house, that kind of writing, you won’t like it - it will be a very long read. And I, at times, did find it a long read. Sometimes I could only read a few paragraphs before I gave up, finding the writing pretentious at best, other times I read continuously for hours without stopping.

I think the plan is to turn the story into a trilogy, and by the end of the read I don’t think I will carry on with the next book. I guess there is a slight mystery around who Ishmael’s (a cyclops who gets his face rebuilt) parents are, but, honestly, I don’t care. It was good while it lasted, but I’m not interested in carrying on the story.

There are no heroes in this fantasy, no character that you really root for, it isn’t written that way. The intent, I believe, is to cause unease, perhaps slight fear, at the idea of The Vorrh, did I think that was achieved. Not really, but then it takes a lot to freak me out in books.

Do I recommend this book, I honestly don’t know, and I don’t think that is a good sign. It really depends on the person. Perhaps if you love world-building and philosophy, but if you like adventure in your fantasy I don’t think this is for you.

Personally, I rate this book 2 out of 5. Though I enjoyed it in the end, I didn’t really connect to the story, and had I never read it I don’t think I would have missed out on much. 

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