Review Talon of the Silver Hawk (Conclave of Shadows #1) – Raymond E. Feist

talon of the silver hawk.jpgFor four days and nights Kieli has waited upon the remote mountain peak of Shatana Higo, for the gods to grant him his manhood name. Exhausted and despairing, he is woken by the sharp claws of a rare silver hawk piercing his arm, though later he is not sure if it ever happened. Devastation greets Kieli on his return home. His village is being burned, his people slaughtered. Although it means certain death, Kieli throws himself into the battle … and survives. A distant voice echoes in his mind: Rise up and be a talon for your people. Now he is Talon of the Silver Hawk, and he must avenge the murder of his people, at whatever cost…

I wanted to like this book. Earlier this year I picked up Magician by Feist and did really enjoy reading it. This one though…

There is no characterization. Every person in this story is exactly the same, apart from their name and set of skills. The one can hunt, the other is good with a sword and then there is one that can cook. That’s it. None of them have personality whatsoever. Our main character, having lived till his 16th in a group of people with a very different culture should therefore be different, one would think. One thing Talon constantly keeps bringing up is that with his people your parents choose your wife, and you stay with her the rest of your life. Okay. Talon sleeps with the first girl he sees on the first day he enters the his new life…. That’s quite direct for someone whose partner should be chosen by his father. They are together for a year or so and he wants to marry her. But then she disappears, for no apparent reason. She just disappears into thin air. Within half an hour of finding that out, Talon is sleeping with another girl. Only to have the next unbelievably beautiful lady cross his path within the next 30 pages, of whom Talon is determined to ‘get much more than a kiss on the cheek’. And not 100 pages later he has developed himself into a true womanizer.

Caleb had forced him one night to accompany him through the city, drinking at inn after inn until at last they had arrived at a particularly well-regarded brothel. … After that, there had followed liaisons with serving girls, merchants’ daughters, and the occasional daughter of the minor nobility. More than one young woman had accused him of having no heart, for he would never speak to them of love. Desire and the pleasure of the body, yes, and his directness and bold approach had won more than one young flower of Roldem who had been determined to resist the notorious young man from the west. His bed was empty only when he wanted it to be.

So never mind those 16 years of upbringing with a different culture, he is just the same as all the other man, if not worse.

Because of the lack of characterization, you never feel for the people in this story, not even Talon. You like none of them. I even became to dislike Talon throughout the story more and more. He is fine with the fact that no one ever tells him of the plans they have of his future, he just lets it all happen. He is fine with everything, hasn’t got a single opinion for himself, as long as he eventually can take his revenge. And then there is the way he sleeps around and how he treats women

When it came to women, he found them a means to an end, either to satisfy his lust, to gain him social access, or merely providing diversion. … she would have washed every inch of his body, but his mind was on other things besides playing with a bath-girl, and he ought to keep his mind focused on Melinda, who would be more than eager to meet his need for passion after supper.

Maybe it is just me, but I can’t sympathize with a guy who thinks woman are only good to have sex with.

Speaking of the woman. There are 3 female characters who have more than 1 line of text, and their only role is to sleep with every single man who is somewhat their age. They and the minor female characters are all gorgeous, with big tits, a tiny waist and swaying hips. Apart from the cook’s wife of course. All the women do is clean, simple cooking, and please man. Sigh…

Then there is the story itself, which is incredibly slow. Apart from getting laid Talon is being trained to do some proper ass kicking. This training is done by several people, among whom a great magician who can’t do simple maths.

Should I give you grains of sand, one each second, in one minute you would have sixty in your hand. It would take more than thirteen days for me to hand you a million grains of sand, if I continued at one a second without stopping.

Now Mr Feist, lets grab our pocket calculator. Like you said, there are sixty seconds in a minute. There are also 60 minutes in an hour, and 24 hours in a day. So there are 60 x 60 x 24 = 86.400 seconds in a day. Now let us divide a million by 86.400. How many do you get. Not more than thirteen right? More like eleven and a half. True, this is a little thing and you can’t criticize a whole book on it. But, it’s a little thing. It’s not rocket science… it is basic maths. It is so easy to just do it right. This is just letting your genius character do maths but being to lazy yourself to do the calculations.

I was very close to giving up on this book several times, only to continue because of a friend’s encouragement. He promised things would get better. And they did. After struggling through 80% of the story, things finally start to happen. There are interesting politics and exciting battle scenes. The last few chapters set up a good premise for the rest of the trilogy. I am not sure yet if I will continue with the other books though…

2 star

6 thoughts on “Review Talon of the Silver Hawk (Conclave of Shadows #1) – Raymond E. Feist

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