Mordant's Need

I just finished reading Mordant's Need (Man, those covers are dreadful; glad I've got the original editions). I've read it a time or two before, and there are a number of odd things about that.

The first was that I ever started the first book. I read it in high school, when I was an absolutely voracious reader of anything sci-fi or fantasy that I could get my hands on. What makes it odd, though, is that I had previously tried to read Donaldson's Thomas Covenant, and, despite being solidly in the target audience, just couldn't push my way through them. I tried four of the six books, and was only able to get through one of them by it being my last unread book on a plane flight.

And I wasn't exactly overwhelmed when I finally made it through that one. So I'm not at all sure why I picked up Mordant's Need at all. Nevertheless, I did.

But here I'm wondering about another thing, as to why I actually finished it. At the beginning of the book, the two main characters are a cipher and a bumbler. Generally, when I really enjoy a book, it comes from significantly identifying with (one of) the main character(s). But I can't figure out how I would have identified with either of them; I've never been clumsy, nor have I ever had a significant lack of self-confidence. I certainly couldn't understand Terisa's reaction to Master Eremis.

And those seem like the defining characteristics of those two. And yet, they grow into intelligent, passionate people with purpose (one weakness of the books is that Geraden grows out of his clumsiness; I can't say as I've ever seen anyone manage to do that).

And while I can't understand Terisa's reaction to Eremis, the interaction between those two was quite amusing, finishing on quite the high note.

So despite all the hurdles in the way of me finishing the series, I have ended up doing so several times. And enjoyed the books each time.

Fortunately, I've waited long enough each time to forget the main reason for why the kingdom is in such peril until it became clear from the story. It would seriously spoil things, I think, to know in advance about the doddering old king.

The only real weakness I saw, was some tactical elements around the final battle. Terisa (or Geraden, come to think of it) could have used her powers to circumvent most of the biggest threats in that battle, without ever leaving their initial position there. And one or two details describing troop movements seemed... unlikely, to put it generously.

Still, I enjoyed the series again, as in the past.

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