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The White Tree (2011)

by Edward W. Robertson(Favorite Author)
3.53 of 5 Votes: 1
Broke Robot Books
The Cycle of Arawn
review 1: I purchased this book as a part of a bundle. It was a nice surprise to find I liked this book better than the ones that actually led me to buy the bundle. This book has a lot going for it for a fan of dark fantasy. A morally ambiguous protagonist, a world with powerful secrets, and a plot involving the pursuit of forbidden knowledge. Dante, the protagonist, is appealing in terms of the easy to understand nature of his moral ambiguity, which stems from the very human desire of a young man to move beyond his usual realm of his own experience and to empower himself. Not to say that this is a book only for young men. I think anyone, on some level, can relate to a desire to get more out of life and improve one's own position in society. Who hasn't experienced the desire for mo... morere freedom or the ability to stand up for oneself? One issue with Dante is the fact that in our introduction to him the reasons behind his initial actions in the book are as brief as his motivations are relatable. The book begins halfway through Dante's first murder. Which is great in terms of an active start, and we are very quickly drawn into the story as it flows along. But it must be said, a little more backstory might have been nice. Readers do not need to feel as though this book is exclusively appealing to hard-core grimdark fans. One of the most satisfying elements of the story is the development of Dante's character as a loyal friend to his one-time hired sword, Blays Buckler. Initially Dante is a paranoid and hunted youth, suspicious of all around him in his pursuit for power. But over time he comes to readily put his life on the line and sacrifices opportunities to increase his power for his friend. In the end, he is willing to make sacrifices for others as well. For readers who do not like the fatalism of grimdark as a subgenre, this sort of redemptive element may be a mitigating factor. Dante's world is a traditional medieval fantasy world, which works well with the story. The world's theology is an interesting element. It extends through the spiritual beliefs, political situation and the workings of magic in the world. As such it provides a multi-level arena for events and action within the world, which leads to an interesting and satisfying plot. I don't feel a lot really needs to otherwise be said about plot here. It mainly involves Dante's actions in service to his own survival and those who he cares about. Whilst the plot is good, what makes it shine is how Dante handles situations in moral terms and why he does so. His moral development is very satisfying, especially as it manages make him more socially acceptable and likable a person whilst not betraying him to an idealistic view of the world. As far as negatives go, this book could have done with some proof-reading. I hate to write this, because I think Robertson's work here is otherwise great-one or two other minor quibbles aside. He needs to fix his typos. Maybe naturalise a few lines of speech. I see these as minor issues, and they did not really affect my enjoyment of the book or the flow of the book as a whole. But I understand this may be an issue for some readers. The other issue I had with this book was the great lump of nothing after the climatic fight at Whetton. It being in a bundle, I thought that this fight was going to be an incredible end to a great story. In reality, it was followed by a Tolkienesque journey where not much happens except that Dante and friends travel to the next place of interest in their story. On the plus side, Once they reach the next place of interest, the dead capital of the worshippers of Arawn, things become awesome again. In the end, in terms of the enjoyability of character, plot and setting, I would give this book a full five stars. However, a lack of editing and another draft or two dropped that to four stars. I really think this book could have been amazing with an extra draft or two. As it is the book lacks the polish that would really make it something.
review 2: This is an amazing book. If you're a teenage boy you'll be hooked to the pages without being able to lift an eye till the end. If you're a girl you'll be really interested, but probably not as attracted to the situation. The storyline is amazing, it's deep but not too complicated to hide the action (which is aboundant) or the developing of the characters. The book has ended but I still don't know which characters are good and which are bad. There is a blackness that comes out of the story, you feel almost contaminated by this magic. Can you use black magic and still be a good character? Can you kill so much and stay good? Can you still understand what friendship is when you've become a power hungry monster?Would love to read a following book to have some answers. less
Reviews (see all)
Was a reasonable good read. Enjoyed it enough to finish is. May consider reading the sequels
It was nice to see Edward writing in the fantasy genre.No, off to read the sequel!
Another holiday read - not bad, classic fantasy mini-epic.
Sequel please?
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