Left Hand Of God Trilogy by Paul Hoffman - The Most Tragically Annoying Books Ever

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    DuDZiK

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    Left Hand Of God Trilogy by Paul Hoffman - The Most Tragically Annoying Books Ever

    Post by DuDZiK on Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:43 pm

    Were it not for the annoyances hinted at in the title, I would rank this as one of the best fantasy series I've read. The characters were good, the banter was witty, the plot was interesting, the world was compelling...ish.

    It's that slight hitch in the world building that really irked me as I read it.

    Now I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to books, I'm not as harsh a critic as others can be. For those who use Goodreads, I'll give you an idea of how I rate books. If it's just good enough where I still liked it, it's 3/5; if I really liked it, it's 4/5; if I absolutely loved it, and I think it's one of the best books/series I've read, it's 5/5. Without the problems I would rank this quite possibly as 5/5. I'd have to think about it, and I might give it a 4/5 in the end anyways. It's one of those situations where its better than 4, but not quite as good as a 5. So I'd have to decide if its closer to one than the other.

    Anyways, onto the problems with the world building.

    The world is interesting. There are differing cultures/nations/kingdoms/peoples, not necessarily the most diverse in a fantasy book/series out there but by no means monotonous. It's also not a static world, but a changing one. Past ideas, philosophies, technologies, and borders on the world map change through the course of the series. What let's the series down is that the author flat out takes concepts/names WITH the proper names straight from the real world and our history. And sometimes he combines them in really strange ways.

    Now before you ask, no this series is not supposed to be an alternate history. The Kingdom of Switzerland, for example, is guarded by the Mississippi river. That same kingdom has a history of neutrality. He also doesn't ALWAYS take names from the real world, at least not that I know of. That's just one example. Allow me to list off the various other examples I can think of:


    • The Materazzi Empire is run by a Doge (name from Venice), the dynasty's founding king was William the Conqueror aka William the Bastard.
    • A scholar/engineer is convicted by the Redeemers (a Catholic like religion that DOESN'T take the historical name, despite taking a lot of its religious tenets and also despite naming Jesus of Nazerath as a figure in the backstory/world history in the book) for claiming that the Earth revolves around the Sun, which contradicts the official dogma of the Pope. This same scholar/engineer speaks of wanting to build giant brass tubes in a circle to smash things call atoms together in order to discover the source of all matter.
    • Mentioning a previous nation called "the Fifth Reich" led by Alius Huttler. This came up in book three, previous to that I had said to my friends while complaining about the above examples of straight up stealing names and concepts that if borrowed the concepts and at least gave them different made up names it wouldn't be so bad. Then I saw this doozy and changed my mind.
    • There are people called the Jews who are often persecuted and are money lenders/bankers
    • The Laconic people, notable warriors whose society is held together by the Helot slaves that outnumber their warrior caste by four times. These Laconics raise children of the warrior caste from age 5 to be warriors, raised by the state, trained in combat and to steal and punished if caught only for being caught not for doing something immoral, who also throw disfigured children off a cliff. Basically, take the cultural folklore/mythology/history of the Spartans. However, the General mentioned in the book has the surname Stuart. WTF???
    • There's a Hanseatic League
    • Gaul, yet also France that aren't the same place
    • Norway, a country ruled by the Materazzi Empire


    There are other examples, smaller ones in terms of significance to the actual story that are only mentioned in passing that I can't remember off the top of my head. They were so prevalent throughout the trilogy and came damn close to tarnishing it for me. I said before I'd probably give it a 4.5/5 and maybe even a 5/5 without all of that, but with it I'd give it a 3/5 or 3.5/5. That's how annoying it was for me.
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    _-Scarlett-_

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    Re: Left Hand Of God Trilogy by Paul Hoffman - The Most Tragically Annoying Books Ever

    Post by _-Scarlett-_ on Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:25 am

    I've read fantasy books set in the real world, or fakey real world (i.e. Piers Anthony), but never something that picked and chose names and places from the real world just for kicks. I don't think I could get over it either.
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    rainshadow
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    Re: Left Hand Of God Trilogy by Paul Hoffman - The Most Tragically Annoying Books Ever

    Post by rainshadow on Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:39 am

    It's one thing to take proper names and use them to create a world. It's quiet another to throw them together seemingly at random. It's distracting and I wouldn't be able to set the actual history aside as I try to follow along with the fiction.


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