Let’s Read The Fifth Sorceress ch. 9

fifth_sorceress_title

Hey remember last chapter, when Tristan’s parents were brutally murdered in front of him and his sister was kidnapped and his entire world was destroyed in the space of less than an hour? That sure was exciting, now back to Tristan moping some more. And Wigg is here too!

Tristan could see that Wigg’s eyes were full of tears, but he didn’t care. He looked with hatred upon the one who had done nothing to help his family in their time of need.

Boy if you’re angry now you’re going to be super pissed when you find out that Wigg convinced the King to go ahead and have the abdication ceremony as planned and how this entire situation came about due to his active and consistent efforts.

‘Where are we?’

‘In one of the farthest reaches of the Redoubt of the Directorate, below the palace. They will not find us here. I doubt they know the Redoubt exists.

Oh, you mean the Redoubt the king wanted to move the abdication ceremony to in case of an attack, except you shot the idea down because then there wouldn’t be hundreds and hundreds of innocent bystanders crowding every inch of space? That Redoubt?

(I’m going to keep harping on this because the sheer laziness of the plotting blows my mind)

The book actually has the gall to bring all of this up, only for Wigg to once again claim that “there was nothing they could do” and act as if they were forced by necessity to hold the ceremony in the palace. Your readers aren’t stupid Newcomb, we can tell when you’re trying to pull a fast one on us.

There were many other sorceresses, women who had rudimentary training in the craft, who joined their demented cause.

I really hope we get an explanation for why every single sorceress turned evil and joined a movement whose sole purpose seems to be “act as evil as humanly possible for the lulz”.

Wigg claims that there were also women who fought against the sorceresses and men who joined them, but conveniently both groups died. Uh huh.

Tristan and Wigg decide to wait two days for the Minions to depart (they’re fucking everyone’s shit up for a while and then sailing back to Sorceressland) and then emerge and see what kind of state the land is in. But before that there’s more half-assed justifications for why the wizards never told Tristan about any of this beforehand.

The Chosen One shall come, but he will be preceded by another, Wigg thought. He still has no idea. How could he?

If you fucking told him what was going on then he might have an idea.

Oh my God this book is going to kill me.

‘And because the floor was now invisible, I could slide us through it unseen. We discovered during the construction of this Achievement a very interesting phenomenon of the craft – namely that two invisible objects, unlike two normal objects, are able

NO ONE CARES JUST GET ON WITH IT

‘Sit down, Tristan,’ the old one said, ‘and I will explain to you the history of Eutracia, the one we did not teach you at school, and the secrets of the nature of your birth.’

Fucking finally.

Wigg stood and walked over to stand before the fire, seemingly lost in thought.

I think we can just take it as given from here on out that if a charactrer isn’t speaking they’re lost in thought or their mind is drifting back in time.

Wigg recounts the story of five year old Natasha translating the Tome, and confirms that the entirety of the book, including, presumably the prophecies, was translated fully, which means the wizards really have no excuse for failing to see the attack coming. At the very least the prediction about the sorceresses trying to turn Shailiha to their side should have clued them in to the fact that they weren’t really dead.

An actually halfway interesting concept is brought up, namely that the blood of “endowed” people is literally alive and possibly even sentient. They gain magical abilities as a side effect of this. The way its described makes endowed blood seem almost like a symbiotic lifeform sharing its hosts body, which is kind of cool.

Stunned, he simply remained standing in place, staring in wonder.

No wait, I spoke too soon; when characters aren’t drifting mentally back in time they’re stunned and amazed at things.

Anyway Wigg goes on for a very very very very very very very very long time about how exactly the paragon and the red water from the magic caves works. Here’s a sample:

‘You see,’ Wigg added, ‘the waters have yet another intriguing property. They insulate the stone from the blood of the endowed. This form of insulation, or protection, if you will, forces the stone to lose its color, since its connection with the wearer – in fact, with anyone of endowed blood – is blocked. This allows the stone to return to a virgin state, which is necessary because the proximity of the stone to the blood of its wearers is so close that, in a metaphysical sense, they become virtually one. Therefore,

In between all of this Wigg sighs and Tristan is amazed and Wigg shakes his head sadly.

‘Anyway,’ he said, once again raising his imperious index finger to the prince,

Wigg also sticks his finger into the air a lot, because he attended the school of finger-based wizardy along with Zedd.

Basically this whole section is just buttressing to support how labyrinthine and over-complicated the backstory is.

‘I must know of the Prophecies. And somehow, within me, I know that you are the one who was ordained to tell me. And I think you know that, too. Speak.’

[…]

‘Don’t toy with me, wizard,’ Tristan said, with surprisingly little friendship in his voice.

You may be having flashbacks to Wizard’s First Rule here, in that Tristan’s HIDDER POWER stirs within him and he suddenly starts getting all arrogant and authoritative. He even starts calling Wigg “wizard” like Richard did with Zedd.

‘The Prophecies are about you, among other things,’ he said softly. ‘They speak of your birth, of the birth of your twin sister, and of the quality of your blood.

“They also told us how we could have avoided all of this shit, but I decided to ignore them so the plot would happen.”

‘There was another like me?’

‘Not was, Tristan, is.’

‘Who is this man?’ the prince asked, a look of danger in his eyes. ‘Do I have reason to fear him?’

How badly do you want to punch Tristan in the kidneys right now?

Wigg reveals that the other Chosen One is Shailiha, which we already knew. In fact most of the actual important information is stuff we already knew.

Wigg raised the infamous eyebrow,

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By the way Wigg’s infamous eyebrow shows up fourteen times throughout the book. Not just general mentions of his eyebrow being raised, that exact phrase. If you do take into account any general description of Wigg raising an eyebrow, including “the familiar eyebrow” and variations on “the infamous eyebrow” the count sky-rockets to forty-one. 

Forty one times.

This is all beside the previously mentioned 100+ occurrences of “the old one” (I thought it was a round 100, but apparently the search function on the kindle app just can’t display more results than that). Likewise,  Tristan is referred to as “the prince” just as often, and Wigg goes by “the wizard” more than 100 times as well. Someone apparently told Newcomb that you shouldn’t repeat the character’s names too much, which is total bullshit; using descriptive phrases is way more grating. Hell Wigg gets two of them, he’s referred to as “the wizard” nearly as often.

‘The Tome tells of the One who will come, preceded by another, who will have endowed blood of a purity never before seen. It is also said that the purity of this blood will enable the Chosen One to lead us, and finally show us the way.’

Tristan will complete this ultimate destiny of ultimate power by reading the third book of the tome, which has yet to be translated from Mysterious Precursor Language.

Tristan’s mind was taken back to Wigg’s explanation of the Ones Who Came Before.

Oh my fucking God, Tristan remembered Wigg’s explanation, stop with the time-travelling minds.

BLAH BLAH BLAH MORE TALKING AND MORE INCREDIBLY OVER-COMPLICATED NONSENSE (you would seriously not believe how much bullshit I’m skipping over here) and Wigg once again does the THERE IS SO MUCH I CANNOT TELL HIM thing.

Here’s a random sample:

the road to fulfilling your destiny as the Tome decrees. Namely, to be the first to eventually master, join, and effectively command the two opposite sides of the craft, namely the Vigors and the Vagaries.’

Death enchantments, Tristan thought to himself. The esoteric use of the craft that instantly produces the death of a wizard who breaks

UGH

‘And the Afterlife,’ he said softly, almost reverently. ‘The Afterlife is mentioned in the Tome, isn’t it, Lead Wizard?’

Wait, what? How did he work that out?

The Afterlife is of course the (apparently) sole element of Tristan’s religion that he only realized he knows nothing about two months ago, at the age of 29.

It also mentions an Underworld, an opposite place, just as the Vigors are the opposite of the Vagaries.

Astute readers will remember that there was also an Underworld in Wizard’s First Rule.

Incidentally while we’re on the topic, I’ve been mulling over whether this book is worse than WFR. My gut reaction was initially to say yes, but then I started going back over my old WFR posts and remembering how fucking god-awful that book got.

‘Over the course of the last three hundred years, the occasional use of the word “Afterlife” by the members of the Directorate came to be overheard by the general population, and was eventually adopted into our language as a natural part of our custom of speech, although no one outside of the Directorate ever had the slightest inkling of what it really meant,’

That’s total bullshit. Also why is everything so weird and over-complicated. Also stop talking.

After about 5000 pages of this the upshot is that Tristan needs the Paragon to complete his destiny, except now the sorceresses have it due to Wigg’s incompetence.

Tristan reached up to wipe away a solitary tear.

Does anyone ever cry more than one tear at a time in this book?

He felt overwhelmed and awed by the circumstances of his existence. And there was another emotion sweeping through him.

Tristan felt emotions. Here are the emotions Tristan felt. These are the reasons why Tristan felt the emotions that he did. Beep boop beep outputting novel.

Tristan and Wigg are baffled at why the sorceresses want Shailiha. Maybe because she’s one half of the chosen one pair (or the one that came before or whatever the fuck) and she has super-powerful blood? That seems like an obvious reason.

Anyway Wigg says they need to head to Shadowood and find Faegan, then follow the sorceresses across the Sea of Whispers to rescue Shailiha. Before Tristan can ask more questions Wigg knocks him unconscious with magic.

He sat down heavily at the lonely table, lost in his thoughts.

I tried doing a count of how many times characters are lost in their thoughts, but any combination of search terms is easily over 100.

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19 thoughts on “Let’s Read The Fifth Sorceress ch. 9

  1. Pingback: Let’s Read The Fifth Sorceress ch.10 | Doing In The Wizard

  2. reveen

    Does anyone ever cry more than one tear at a time in this book?

    Remember back last chapter, when Shalalailama freaked out over her husband’s body, presumably involving tears? Tristan was mystified by that shit.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Let’s Read The Fifth Sorceress ch.8 | Doing In The Wizard

  4. zephyrean

    > Your readers aren’t stupid Newcomb, we can tell when you’re trying to pull a fast one on us.

    Unless you have strong evidence the book was meant as rageview bait, the majority of his readers must have trouble getting dressed without assistance.

    > Wigg claims that there were also women who fought against the sorceresses and men who joined them, but conveniently both groups died. Uh huh.

    Hasn’t there been a massive rape-a-thon of women just last chapter?

    > Does anyone ever cry more than one tear at a time in this book?

    The wimminz, I’d hazard a guess.

    Reply
  5. Elspeth Grey

    I tried to imagine reading this with all of the text and without actual pictures of The Rock interspersed throughout.

    And that’s why I can’t talk now, after that much screaming.

    Reply
  6. andrea harris

    Oh my god. People bitch at Tolkien about being long-winded but at least he had Gandalf explain everything about the Ring to Frodo right away in an early chapter and got that the fuck over with. Criminy.

    Reply
    1. Austin H. Williams

      As I’ve said in concordance with this observation before – it seems like most of Tolkien’s imitators picked up on his least desirable traits and decided THOSE were what made his books special.

      Reply
  7. q____q

    „Stunned, he simply remained standing in place, staring in wonder.“

    I know next to nothing about writing but it seems like one of these (being stunned, standing in place, staring) would have been sufficient to get the emotion across.

    Reply
  8. UBM

    I can hardly wait to meet the gnomes in Shado-wood (now I’m reminded of Grimm Shado and Witchaloks…).

    Reply
      1. ronanwills Post author

        I submitted this on my phone with spotty Internet, so I couldn’t attach any of the bells and whistles the posts normally have. I’m going to edit it when I get home.

        Reply
  9. Signatus

    “Your readers aren’t stupid Newcomb, we can tell when you’re trying to pull a fast one on us.”

    This whole thing would have been so much easier if Newcomb left out the prophecy (or made it so ambiguous it only spoke about the Chosen One, although I’d have left it out completely), and made the whole attack something unexpected. THEN it would be legitimate for Wigg to say “there was nothing he could do”.
    As it is now, it seems as if the author was trying to convince us that he chose the only possible path to write the book, when it’s obvious he wrote himself into a corner and forced the story from there on (it becomes more glaringly obvious later in this chapter).

    “Wigg claims that there were also women who fought against the sorceresses and men who joined them, but conveniently both groups died. Uh huh.”

    And again, the men’s punishment was simply to swear to use only the vigors. Women were completely banned from the craft. Yeah, that’s not mysoginy at its best.

    “‘And because the floor was now invisible,…”

    Over complicating everything is usually not a sign of good writing. Why do these people feel compelled to overcomplicate every single thing? It makes the whole thing more chaotic and the plot holes more glaringly obvious.

    “the Ones Who Came Before.”

    You know? I’d have gone with aliens. They make for a more satisfactory possibility than THIS.

    “‘And the Afterlife,’ ”

    There is another example of an author who doesn’t have a clue of how religions get formed. Paolini is another glaring example.

    “Incidentally while we’re on the topic, I’ve been mulling over whether this book is worse than WFR.”

    I think this book is bad. The writing is bad, and the crafting is even worse. But WFR was something in itself. It’s a punishment I wouldn’t desire upon my worst enemy.

    Another stupid thing about this book is when Wigg mentions that by accepting the Paragon they had to give up their old powers. Again, Newcomb wrote himself into a corner and instead of going back to craft the whole thing into a sensible possibility, he added yet another patch to the whole mess. It’s like he suddenly realized wizards had powers before, so those powers had to go somewhere for the whole thing to work. It would have been much easier to say they were overwhelmed by sheer force and be done with it.

    Reply
    1. Elspeth Grey

      Fantasy authors on the whole are really bad at creating religions and, I find, ESPECIALLY bad at showing how people interact with religion. I think a lot of it comes from a complete inability to separate themselves from a modern, Western mindset (post-Enlightenment, capitalist, etc.). And more probably comes from a lack of direct involvement with multiple religions.

      Fantasy authors as a whole, I think, make up worlds where gods are real but fail to think through what that actually means for the people, expect religion to work basically the same way contemporary Christianity does in spite of there being no reason for that, or just create a straw man religion to “prove” a point.

      Reply
      1. Mr Elbows

        I feel like a really easy thing to make your worldbuilding (and religion-building) not shit would be to listen to some of the 1000s of recorded history & religious studies uni lectures that are available for free on the Internet®, but maybe that’s just too hard. Not to mention actually talking to religious ppl in real life, that’s just o u t o f t h e q u e s t i o n~~

        Reply

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