The White Luck Warrior: Heightens the stakes

The White Luck Warrior by R. Scott BakkerThe White Luck Warrior by R. Scott BakkerThe White Luck Warrior by R. Scott Bakker

If you’re reading this review, then there’s no need to go into any rigamarole about THE PRINCE OF NOTHING or THE ASPECT-EMPEROR series by R. Scott Bakker. Point blank: The White Luck Warrior (2011) superbly escalates the story begun in The Judging Eye, and indirectly so the THE PRINCE OF NOTHING series, to leave the reader on the doorstep, panting for more. The Unholy Consult is going to be as epic as epic fantasy gets.

Where The Judging Eye expends much of its energy re-setting the pieces on the board and putting them in motion, The White Luck Warrior opens with the pieces already in motion — and in some cases, exhausted from the rousing conclusion to The Judging Eye. Though there are lulls and eddies, The White Luck Warrior moves these pieces’ stories at full-steam. The Great Ordeal, still marching its way across the great plain, encounters unheard-of swarms of sranc; Akka and his daughter still head toward the coffers of Mimara to learn the roots of the Aspect-Emperor; and things in Momemm remain politically unsettled as Kelhus’ family continues to implode.

To say the book is non-stop action is one step too far, but whether it be tense scenes involving Kelhus’s mad children or Sorweel discovering his role in the great ordeal, learning about the Non-man’s real history or what dragon’s bones mean, Bakker ramps up the action at a steady, engaging pace leading directly into the concluding volume. If everything continues to move in the directions hinted at, The Unholy Consult is going to be one hell of a climax.

Aspect-EmperorSo yes, if you like what you’ve read so far, The White Luck Warrior is just as good, if not the best yet. Digging ever deeper into the implications of the Great Ordeal as plot revelations and twists appear, it’s a middle volume that heightens the stakes rather than leaving them out to dry. The harsh, brooding mood of the prior books continues to address Bakker’s uber-grimdark agenda in philosophical as much as plot-centric fashion.

This leads me to believe that if The Unholy Consult is as good as The White Luck Warrior, and George R.R. Martin continues to be unable to focus the storyline of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, Bakker may be able to say he has written the best epic fantasy series of the modern era.

Published in 2011. Praised by readers and critics around the world, R. Scott Bakker has become one of the most celebrated voices in fantasy fiction. The Aspect-Emperor trilogy follows on from the acclaimed Prince of Nothing saga, and The White-Luck Warrior is the chilling second book in the new series. Ruler Anasurimbor Kellhus and his Great Ordeal march ever farther into the Ancient North, as his consort Esmenet finds herself at war. Exiled wizard Achamian, meanwhile, leads his own ragtag mission to the legendary ruins of Sauglish. Into this tumult walks the White-Luck Warrior, assassin and messiah both . . . . . . In this ambitious volume, Bakker delves even further into his richly imagined universe of myth, violence, and sorcery.

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JESSE HUDSON, one of our guest reviewers, reads in most fields. He lives in Poland where he works for a big corporation by day and escapes into reading by night. He posts a blog which acts as a healthy vent for not only his bibliophilia, but also his love of culture and travel: Speculiction.

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