Thursday, July 29, 2004

The Forest House

I finished Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Forest House last night. It's the first time I've read her, and the book is engrossing. Her rich characterizations make me understand why so many fantasy writers are fans and emulators. I enjoyed it and am waiting impatiently for The Mists of Avalon via InterLibrary Loan.  Still, some things about it disappointed me.

1.) I didn't buy Arganos' inability to tell Eilan and Deida apart all their lives. He's was Deida's father.  It felt like a "God in the box" trick.  I bought it when Deida was mistakenly chosen for the Forest House by Lhiannon, since she didn't know either of them well at that point. 

2.) If the whole of Eilan's "work" for the Goddess was in giving birth to Gawen and founding the house of priestesses on the Isle of Apples, why didn't she send Gawen with Caillean? I know she loved him and wanted him with her, but Bradley makes the point that his safety is the Druids' power over her-- she would surely have ended the threat and the leverage when Caillen left.

3.) IMHO, it felt like a book without an ending. Despite the logical points that can be made about the survival of Gawen, the second House of priestesses, etc-- it took half a day's digestion for me to concede that she'd actually ended it, rather than just stopping.    This would be OK for a writer known to pick up the next book with practically the next breath of the same character, i.e. Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. But my understanding is that Bradley's novels are commonly as much as a generation apart.

In spite of all that, don't let my nitpicks keep you from reading Marion Zimmer Bradley-- She is gifted worldbuilder and storyteller. If you read The Forest House, and can make cases against my complaints, I'd love to hear them!