The Mongoliad: Book Three

The Mongoliad: Book Three (The Foreworld Saga)[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”1612182380″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”107″]

By: Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, Nicole Galland, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, Cooper Moo

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book to review. As is my policy with books that I receive for review, if I don’t like it, I don’t review it.

You might want to read my reviews of Mongoliad: Book One and Mongoliad: Book Two before moving on.  I don’t do spoilers, but it might make more sense to start at the beginning.  In the reviews for both of the first two books, I make mention of how the multiple, seemingly disjointed, plot lines bothered me.  And, in the review of Book Two, I closed by saying how it would be a sad thing to see the whole series fail if those plot lines weren’t brought together in some way.  In book three, the plot lines did finally merge.  While that, in and of itself, doesn’t make the series a success, it will certainly help it.

Much like in Book Two, it took me a while to get back into the story.  Book Three is nearly twice as large as Book Two, so even the 50-100 pages it took me to reacquaint myself with the characters and plot lines left me with plenty of book left to enjoy the story, and the ways that the authors finally tied all the lines together.  It was never dull.  In fact, being the last in this series of the saga, it was filled with plenty of action as the different plot lines were brought to a conclusion.  It becomes obvious, at the end of the book, that, while the series might be over, the saga is not.  We’ll be seeing far more of this world before the authors are done with it.

Throughout the series, the writing has been well done.  Despite having seven different authors contributing to the novels, it’s impossible to tell who wrote what, or notice any differences in style.  I can only imagine that is a hard task for even two authors.  I can’t imagine just how hard it is to do when there are seven authors contributing.  It’s either a testament to the aptitude of their editors, or to the skill of the authors themselves.  Either way, well done!

Overall, the series is wonderfully crafted.  I had a few moments where I got lost, or wasn’t entirely sure who the character was, but once I got my bearings, I fell right back into the story and was easily lost in it.  I’ve long been a fan of medieval fiction (must be all the Arthurian legend I read), and have read a few other stories set in the Mongolian Steppes, and the way the series melds and molds those two worlds together is very nice.

If you’re a fan of epic fiction, or historical fiction (which tends to be epic), you’ll be doing yourself a disservice by not reading this series.  It may soon be remembered as the Wheel of Time of historical fiction.


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The Mongoliad Book Two

The Mongoliad: Book Two[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”1612182372″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”107″]
By: Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, E.D. deBirmingham, and Cooper Moo

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book to review. As is my policy with books that I receive for review, if I don’t like it, I don’t review it.

It’s only been about 4 months since I read the first book in the series, The Mongoliad, but even in that time, I found that I had lost the story somewhat. I think that some of that is due to the style that the book is written in. Rather than one cohesive story, we’re following several view points from several groups. And none of the groups seems to be directly tied together. I’m assuming that by the end of the series, they’ll have all been tied together and we’ll have some grand over-plot that will come into view. If that doesn’t happen, this whole series might well be a colossal failure.

About now, you’re probably asking why I’m writing this review at all.  After all, didn’t I say above in that disclaimer that books that I receive free of charge only get reviewed if I like them?  Why, yes, I did.  End of review.

O.K. not quite.  The fact is that I did actually like the book.  The plot lines that have yet to be tied together aside, the rest of the book is pretty good.  With as many authors as they have going on this, I expect that there would be some disarray when it comes to viewpoints, tone, tempo, etc, but really, it’s pretty even throughout.  I’m not sure what their arrangement is for who writes what, but it’s working well for them.  The other reason that I find that I like the book (and the series) is that the characters are well done, and I find myself liking most of them.  I find myself reading on to find out what happens to them, and where they end up.  That’s a sign of a pretty good novel in my book.  (That’s a juicy pun!)

Here’s the thing.  I like the book.  I like the characters, and, taken on their own merits, I do like the plot-lines.  I still maintain that if they aren’t all tied together somehow by the end of the series, the series might be a failure anyways.  It would be a sad thing, but it would be true.

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The Mongoliad

[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”1612182364″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”107″]The Mongoliad: Book One (The Foreworld Saga)

By: Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, E.D. deBirmingham, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, and Cooper Moo

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book to review.  As is my policy with books that I receive for review, if I don’t like it, I don’t review it.

The Mongoliad is a “saga about the complex, bloody history of Western martial arts.” Or, at least, that’s what the press release I received with the book says.  My suspicion is that the saga part that includes the history of western martial arts will be a bit clearer as the series continues.  While there are certainly some elements of it in the novel, it is not much more than a few passing details during battles.

A few things bothered me about the book.  First, it’s a collaboration between 7 authors.  I’m not sure exactly how that works, but it seems like that would be a classic case of too many cooks in the kitchen.  The second thing may actually be a result of that, I don’t know.  The method of delivery of the story is somewhat intermittent.  It jumps back and forth from the viewpoint of the Mongol side of things to the Christian side of things and then, within those sides, it jumps from one character to another.  A ways into the book, I suddenly found myself reading a section from the viewpoint of a character that hadn’t had a section before.  Which, if he were a new character, wouldn’t have been so jarring.  But, he had been a character from the beginning of the book.  The next thing is more of a personal pet peeve.  It annoys me when a book that is part of a series doesn’t have an “ending” of it’s own to stand upon.  The ending of this novel isn’t really an ending at all.  None of the plot points are wrapped up, and the reader is simply faced with a blank page and the story pauses until the next novel.

Annoyances and bothers aside, the book is fairly well written.  I think I would have been left wondering had it not been, considering there were 7 authors to contribute tot he writing.  For an ARC, I actually found very few typos, which is a bit of a surprise.  Usually, an ARC is loaded up with typos and lost sentences.  Kudos to the editor that edited the ARC.

I found the characters to be believable, dialogue was well thought out, and very rarely felt out of place with the characters.  The plot lines follow well, and served to drag me right into the novel.  It is highly readable, for a book of nearly 450 pages.  It rarely is dry, and isn’t loaded up with momentum killing monologues and remembrances.  It’s well worth a read, and I’ll be looking forward to the next one in the series.

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