Even if I’m still not done with Martin, I’m too eager to start House of Chains, so I did.
Ahh, so glad. The beginning of the book shows already the typical Erikson approach. The writing seems slightly different than usual and even the style of narration seems chasing a more traditional approach (and it’s coherent with what Erikson said about the beginning of this book and the “sustained” POV). But there’s again the satisfaction of what makes this series so good. It’s an attempt to do a traditional narration, while not losing the unique flavor of the series.
In the first two pages of the first chapter there’s enough facts and hinted ideas that would normally fill 50 pages. It’s rich, and you soak in there. Then the POV quickly swaps, one page here, one page there. It once again demonstrates how Erikson doesn’t fear to spoil all the ideas and show all the sides of the plot that would normally be left hidden and unsaid. He never reveals completely everything, but he does way more than other writers would do and I still think that he wastes like that too many ideas. With every POV change we discover how partial was the previous and how the characters are at the same time so sure of themselves and yet so helpless and oblivious of truth. The reader gets to know more, and then has to put the pieces together.
That’s the masterful trick. Knowledge leads to trust. In the same way the characters are convinced of their truths, while shown as naive to the reader, so the reader is lead to perpetuate the same mistake.
This without considering the prologue, that is almost as strong as the one of the second book (that was exceptional). If this is what I get from the book considered the weakest link in the series, I’m happy.
(There’s also a roughness of prose that I especially notice since I read some pages of Martin and then some of Erikson. But it is more due to an economy of writing than a lack of skill, and Martin is much more flowing and verbose. Much more.)