Thursday, January 17, 2013

Review | Sheepfarmer's Daughter by Elizabeth Moon

Sheepfarmer's Daughter
Elizabeth Moon
The Deed of Paksenarrion #1
Published 2000 by Baen Books (Simon & Schuster)
Traditional fantasy
2 stars

Paksenarrion — Paks for short — is somebody special. She knows it, even if nobody else does yet. No way will she follow her father’s orders to marry the pig farmer down the road. She’s off to join the army, even if it means she can never see her family again.

And so her adventure begins . . . the adventure that transforms her into a hero remembered in songs, chosen by the gods to restore a lost ruler to his throne.

Here is her tale as she lived it.

Bite-Sized Review
I was excited to read this book, especially after greatly enjoying Ms. Moon's Vatta's War series, but I was disappointed by the halting, disconnected storytelling. Because that problem improved as the book went on, I'm still willing to give book 2 a try, but I won't be rushing to read it.

Chocolate (things I liked)
-A girl runs away to join the army. That's a pretty awesome start to any book, and I loved the premise of the story. Sheepfarmer's Daughter shows Paksenarrion, or Paks for short, in her life in the army, which even now is rare enough to be pretty cool.

-I actually did like Paks herself. She was uncertain and insecure at times, but she was also tough and compassionate. Aside from the couple of times where she was a total idiot, she was a good character.

Brussels Sprouts (things I didn't like)
-The storytelling. The book, especially the first half, is written more like a series of short stories that feature the same character but aren't really connected. It was really difficult to stay engaged without any real flow to the story. In the second half it got a lot better, but not enough to really make up for everything else.

-The supporting characters. None of them seemed to have much of a personality of their own. They were basically interchangeable and even in cases of their danger and death, I couldn't scrape up an ounce of give-a-crap.

Recommended for
Fans of Mercedes Lackey, especially The Oathbound/Oathbreakers, and people who want to read the book a chunk at a time, possibly with some time in between.

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