Sunday, August 19, 2007

CSFF Blog Tour: The Legend of the Firefish

CSSF Blog Tour

Like I said in my entry yesterday, this month's blog tour focuses on The Legend of the Firefish by George Bryan Polivka.

Shiver me timbers! If ye be lookin' fer adventuer on the high seas, matey, then look no further.

Oh, forget it. I can't do a whole review in pirate-talk.

Anyway, the story centers around Packer Throme, a seminary drop-out turned swordsman. He wishes to get on board the Trophy Chase and help Scat Wilkins, notorious pirate, to hunt the legendary Firefish, a ferocious creature known for its exotic meat.

The story is also about Packer's sweetheart, Panna Seline. Panna doesn't want Packer to go and so she leaves the safety of her home and heads out after Packer only to get caught up in an adventure and a plot bigger than her.

Polivka's writing is great. He kept my attention and, during a climactic part of the book, kept me reading. It was as if I had glue on my hands. I simply could not put the book down. He has an eye for swashbuckling adventure and his prose carries you through the action scenes.

Having said that, there were a few things that bugged me.

First of all, there's how Polivka handled point-of-view. Most books I read handles P.O.V. the same way: if the author is going to jump into the head of another character within a chapter, there's an extra return between paragraphs making it clear that a shift has happened.

Polivka didn't do that. Instead, he would jump to a new P.O.V. at the end of each paragraph instead of at the end of a section. That took a little getting used to because we'd suddenly be in someone else's head and I had no idea we were going to make the jump.

But that's not what bugged me. Instead, what bothered me is that even though he was handling P.O.V. shifts in his own unique way, Polivka would still throw in random section breaks at times that didn't feel right. It was the same scene, no major time had passed, but yet a new section started even though we had been bouncing between P.O.V.s in the former.

It's strictly an aesthetic thing, I know, but it bothered me as I was reading.

The second thing that bothered me was the fact that Polivka seemed to be keeping a foot in reality and a foot in the fictional, so to speak. The countries of Nearing Vast and Drammun are obviously fictional. So are the Achawuk and the Firefish. The Christianity, though, is straight out of our world.

I kind of wish that Polivka would have either kept the story entirely in our world, simply inserting the Firefish into this reality (and playing with the history of Europe in a counterfactual historical kind of way) or pulled the trigger completely and invented a Christianity-analogue for his fictional realm, one that would be easily recognizable and relatable.

I'm not sure how easily he could have accomplished this. I'm not even sure if it's a good idea. But for me, personally, it felt awkward.

There is one other issue I had with the book, but I'm not sure if I can or should share it. I'm still processing it mentally. Maybe I'll bring it up in the tour; maybe I'll keep it to myself.

At any rate, don't let my minor pet peeves dissuade you from reading this book. It be a rip-roarin' yarn of adventure on the high seas. Arrrrrrr!

An' be sure to cast yer eyes on what me mateys on the S.S. Blog Tour are sayin' as well.

Trish Anderson
Brandon Barr
Wayne Thomas Batson
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Grace Bridges
Amy Browning
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Frank Creed
Lisa Cromwell
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Merrie Destefano
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Russell Griffith
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Christopher Hopper
Jason Joyner
Dawn King
Tina Kulesa
Lost Genre Guild
Terri Main
Rachel Marks
Karen McSpadden
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
John Ottinger
Lyn Perry
Deena Peterson
Cheryl Russel
Chawna Schroeder
Mirtika Schultz
James Somers
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Daniel I. Weaver


Becky said...

I thought the POV shift took a little getting used to, but I thought the payoff was tremendous. A friend disagrees with me, but I think this is classic omniscient POV. Contemporary fiction relies so much on 3rd limited or first, we don't know how to react to omniscient.

The other thing is Bryan's inclusion of Christianity. I found that utterly refreshing. I'm tired of the fantasy religions with their transparent Christian equivalents. It makes the stories feel thin to me. I much prefer this approach--or one that isn't allegorical.

Anyway, I'm glad you still enjoyed the story, John.


pixydust said...

Yah, we're way too trained to hate OMNI these days. I'm not a fan AT ALL. But I've heard so many good things about this book that I'm really excited to read it still. Sounds like you liked the story, though. I'm like that. Little things will bother me in a book and it'll kind of ruin the mood.

It's nice to be warned. Maybe it won't but me as much that way...

Jason said...

Looks like some similar thoughts on the book John. I go into some more about the POV, might be interesting for you.

Good review. I agree that despite some mild stylistic glitches it is a good book to pick up.

gbpolivka said...

John, thanks for your comments, time and attention. I'm delighted you couldn't put it down. I hope book two comes with just as much glue!