Review: Canticle

Posted: September 13, 2010 by in Books We Like (4/5 single_star) Meta: Ken Scholes, Fantasy

Having Daniel Abraham withdrawals? Do you find yourself listless and antsy now that Abraham’s Long Price Quartet is over and we have no book from him to look forward to this year? Might I offer a suggestion? Pick up Ken Scholes‘ work. Start with LAMENTATION (Amazon). Go ahead. Do it now. I’ll wait here while you go and read it.

Wasn’t it great! There’s no need to worry. CANTICLE (Amazon) is just as good as LAMENTATION, possibly even better.

I’ve tried several times to tell friends and family about these books. It usually takes about half an hour for me to really tell them about the series and why it is so awesome. Upon first glance, you may think that the series is complex with several intricate story lines weaving in and out of each other in a beautiful tapestry that comes together at the end to create something beautiful. You would be right. You may also think that all of those stories and characters would be hard to keep track of. There, however, you would be wrong. Scholes seems to effortlessly weave well-crafted characters together laying them out in such a way that you are never confused as to who you are talking too or about. Even characters that I thought at the beginning were flat and two dimensional turned out in the end to have motivations that suddenly drew the character out and made them more sympathetic.

I just realized I haven’t told you anything about the series yet. All I’ve done is gush about how much I love it (get used to it). This is a fantasy series, CANTICLE being the second of a proposed five volumes. It’s a nonstandard fantasy series in the vein of the before mentioned Long Price Quartet by Abraham, or Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series. This is a unique world with new magics, creatures and races to explore and enjoy. The series has an Arabic middle eastern feel to it, with turbans and tents and caravans and large expanses of desert, which gives the series a unique feel that I found refreshing. You can imagine the heroes fighting with curved scimitars rather than the standard medieval blades.

Here at CANTICLE we can easily say that this series is turning into something special.

The first book in the series was excellent, and when I got to the end it felt like a tight controlled narrative. There were unanswered questions to be sure, but only enough to keep you interested in the world. The epilogue to the book sets up a larger more mysterious world to be explored in the rest of the series. Book two on the other hand felt looser. By the end of the book less questions were answered and only a hint of what is truly going on is revealed. I don’t mean this to be a bad thing, because it’s not. I figure that Scholes wrote the first book to hook you in and by the time you’re reading through book two you are so entranced by the world and the characters that there’s no chance of not finishing the series. Now Scholes can weave a bigger bolder and more daring story over the course of the rest of the series and thus far it has been wonderful. Yes kids, this includes book three, ANTIPHON (Amazon).

I told my wife that this series was turning into something special and I haven’t revised that statement. These are great books. They deserve to be read. They deserve to be talked about and enjoyed and passed to friends. So what are you doing reading this review. Go out and get it!

  • Recommended Age: 16+ It’s complicated and there is a few scenes of torture in this book, not graphic, but still a bit disturbing
  • Language: None
  • Violence: A bit. Like I said it’s never described very fully, but it’s still there.
  • Sex: A few references over the series but, again, not graphic


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