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If you could sum up Lord Valentine's Castle in three words, what would they be?
fun fantasy perambulation
What did you like best about this story?
I first read Lord Valentine's Castle 30 years ago and really loved it. I found that listening again to the story 3 decades later that my memory of it was as fresh as the day I first read it.
I think it is the mood of the story that sets this book apart. This is no epic fantasy with pitched battles against terrible odds for the very survival of a people. Though the stakes are just as high, here a vagabond troupe of jugglers have the fate of a world of billions in their hands as they perambulate across the planet of Majipoor, muddling through challenges as best they can.
Though there is a great set of quirky characters, both human and alien, in many ways the most interesting character traits are reflections of the highly diverse culture which has managed to maintain general harmony over thousands of years and the seemingly weak forces which make it all work. If you can suspend disbelief that it's possible you're left with the general feeling that this world would be a really nice place to visit or live. And the world of Majipoor is in itself epic in scale, a huge, low density, metal poor planet with vast continents filled with fascinating folk, flora and fauna around every bend in the road.
There is plenty of conflict to keep the story moving along at a typical gentle Majipoorean pace and slowly build to a climax at the end which resolved all the main threads of the novel satisfactorily. In many ways the sub plot of the story of Edeard in Makkathran in Peter F. Hamilton's The Dreaming Void was very reminiscent of Majipoor's low tech science fictional universe with a strong fantasy feel to it.
Probably not for aficionados of Grimdark but if you'd like a fun exploration of a future fantasy world which has a very positive feel and where success is linked more to your ability to inspire others to do the right thing than to the size of the army you can raise then this is the book for you.
It is interesting that while Majipoor has a strong and diverse multi-cultural society there is still a legacy of an aboriginal population which have been very poorly treated, and the very accepting and tolerant but not quite equal treatment of non humans (can you really call people who have lived somewhere for millennia alien?). And there is a sense that Majipoor is a slumbering backwater in an unfashionable part of the galaxy which helps dispel a sense that it is all too perfect to be true.
Well worth a read!
What does Stefan Rudnicki bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
Fantastic narration as I've come to expect from Stefan who really brings the characters to life and who conveys the warmth of the narrative really well.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I read this book shortly after it's first publication so it's a great pleasure hearing it in audio form. I only need to comment on it's superb, expert narration. Flawless.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
this is one of my all-time favourite fantasy books so i was delighted to see it on audible. as expected, i thoroughly enjoyed it, a magical listen and very well narrated. please can we have the other Majipoor books soon!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful