Monday, January 7, 2008

Across the Face of the World - Opening Chapters

I've got to admit that I'm loving ACROSS THE FACE OF THE WORLD by Russell Kirkpatrick so far. The publisher, Orbit, was kind enough to provide me with an ARC copy, for which I thank them.

This novel was originally published in by Voyager in New Zealand (I have a disproportionate number of New Zealander debut novelists who have appeared on this blog -- there must be something in the water over there) and I just LOVE the Voyager cover! I do like the Orbit cover as well, but I was really wowed when I saw the Voyager cover.

I suppose I ought to say something about the novel itself. After a "Buah-hah-hah! I shall defeat the world!" prelude (not really, but almost), it goes on to tell the story of Leith and Hal, two brothers who have waited almost two years for their father to return from a mysterious mission, ordered by the king itself. This in itself raises all sorts of questions. Who is their father that the king even knows about him? And why was he the one chosen to journey across the face of the world to carry out this mission? And will he ever return?

He does return and brings all sorts of other questions back with him.

So far, the plot has been rather predictable, that doesn't bother me. The author tends to jump around in point-of-view, but that doesn't bother me, either. The plot even features a farmboy (or two), and that doesn't bother me either. Why?

Because I think I'm in love with Hal. If I were reading this last year, he would have had the potential to supplant Joby as my favorite male character. I just got to a part where he basically said, "Choose between two equally impossible tasks? We're doing both by God, and you're going to help!" All that fire and he's a cripple, too. I hope Kirkpatrick has a romance in mind for him. He deserves one.

The chapters are r e a l l y l o n g. If you try to read until the end of the chapter, you may be reading a while. The chapter breaks tend to appear at jumps in the narrative. This doesn't mean that they aren't cliffhangers -- they are, for the most part, and they're good ones. There's lots of description and the plot proceeds at an unhurried pace.

I'm finding nothing to complain about so far, and lots to admire. More to come!


John Ottinger III (Grasping for the Wind) said...

I was of the same opinion when I read it. The opening chapters are pretty good and remind me of all the great coming-of-age fantasies. I wonder what your reaction will be later in the book. ;)

Carole McDonnell said...

Ah those New Zealand writers! They're very good aren't they? I've been meeting a few online also.

Re: the POV issue. I hear we Americans are the ones who get most anal about POV rules. Supposedly other countries don't get so worked up about it.

It's nice to have a new love, btw. I haven't fallen in love with a main character in a book in years. But perhaps, that's because I read so much nonfiction. Will see.

Tia Nevitt said...

John, I can be pretty patient with slow plots when I really love a character. When I had to read through all Paksenarrion's battles in the first book of The Deed of Paksenarrion, they were hard to get through, but worth it in the end because I liked the character so much. I'm hoping it proves to be the case here.

Carole, I've heard the same thing about POV, and I've come to expect a bit of "head hopping" when reading overseas books. Like I said in my post. It didn't bother me. In fact, I see many strengths with the technique.

Gotta get you reading some more fiction! You need a character to fall in love with every now and then!

Amanda Ashby said...

Go Kiwis!!!! I'll definitely look out for this book (and hopefully get it with the pretty cover). I absolutely hate head hopping but cripple farm boy has me intrigued!!!!

Robert said...

Like John, I'll be interested to see what you think of the final product. For me, the book started out pretty strong as well, but then it just went downhill. Hope you like it better than I did!

Chris, The Book Swede said...

Likewise, having not read it, will be very interested to see what you make of it. It looks promising... from the cover. But I try not to make that mistake too often!

Tia Nevitt said...

I've gotten as far as Watch Hill. So far so good! My ARC copy is falling to pieces, however. I keep having to hold previous pages in the book as I read. Maybe I ought to just let them fall out and set them aside until I'm finished.

Robert said...

That's good to hear :) Sorry about your ARC copy though. That's only happened to me once before, but I have to say it was pretty annoying...

Tia Nevitt said...

Maybe they are only supposed to be good for one reading! ;)