So far, these Feist (occasionally in conjunction with Janny Wurts) Riftwar Cycle books — of which this is the tenth — have been pretty inoffensive High Fantasy, employing several popular tropes and an often fairly simplistic writing style, but adventuresome and intriguing enough to make me happy enough to keep reading.
This one is so, so terrible, I kind of want to quit reading this series forever — which upsets me, because I have more than ten more of these things on my TBR, and have cared for them for way too long.
The problem here is in our… er… protagonist? Anti-hero?… Roo, whom we first met in the first book of this sub-series, Shadow of a Dark Queen. Best friend of that book’s hero, Erik, he was always an aspiring businessman, but in this book he reveals him to be the most venal and vicious creep of a jerk of a main character outside of Patrick Bateman and Humbert Humbert, and I hated every moment I spent in his company.
Look, I get it. Feist was clearly trying something new here, maybe in response to people making comments like “employing several popular tropes and an often fairly simplistic writing style” about his books. But boy did he fail, and the last half of the book, in which Roo betrays his wife when he’s seduced by a (predictable) spy for the Serpent Queen — oh yeah, the invasion is still imminent, but it takes a backseat to the so-fascinating vagaries of shipping wine and dealing with the Midkaemian version of the Mob — is just awful.
If I do return to this series, it is going to take a long, long time before I can rid my mouth of the bad taste of this one.
TBR DAY 193: Rise of a Merchant Prince (Serpent War Saga #2) by Raymond E. Feist
TIME ON THE TBR: 15 years.
PURCHASED FROM: Op shop.
KEEP: I’d really rather not, but it’s part of a series, so…