Let’s Read The Fifth Sorceress ch. 16-17


After our foray into the Gnome Zone it’s back over to Parthalon to check in on Kluge. I could have sworn he was supposed to stay in Eutracia and try to kill Tristan and Wigg, but whatevs. Kluge is “training” with some of his soldiers, by which I mean he’s murdering them.

He enjoyed these days above all others, when he was allowed to kill his own troops.


Their only concern had been that no realistic training to the death could be had,

I’m not sure you understand what training is.

Tradition said that whichever Minion warrior could kill him during such training would, provided the sorceresses approved, assume his rank and automatically become their unquestioned leader.

This seems like a really great way to run an army. Anyway Kluge kills another soldier or whatever.

The returning wheel was already spinning through the air, a silver, spherical blur.

How does a wheel make a spherical blur?

He hung the deadly sphere back at his belt

What the fuck? Is it a sphere or a wheel? It can’t be both.

I still can’t get over how terrible “returning wheel” is as a weapon name. Why not call is something cool, like DOOMERANG. Now that’s a proper weapon name.

Succiu shows up and we repeat the whole tiresome OH NOES I WISH TO POSSESS HER BUT SHE LUSTS ONLY FOR MEN OF ENDOWED BLOOD A BLOO BLOO thing. She wants to discuss something hugely confidential and Kluge points out that maybe Geldon, who she’s dragging around on a leash, shouldn’t be present. But she’s like NAAAAH HE’S HEARD ALL SORTS OF IMPORTANT STUFF IT’S NOT LIKE HE’S SENDING LETTERS TO OUR ENEMIES LOL.

This is yet another case of the plot very obviously twisting itself into knots via furious hand-waving to ensure that some pre-determined event occurs. This is not how you plot a story. If a certain event absolutely must occur and you can’t or won’t alter it, then set up the circumstances of the story so that it seems inevitable. To the reader the plot must feel like a river flowing down paths governed by the geography of the landscape, not a canal that’s been messily carved out of the earth to run in a certain direction.

Succiu tells Kluge to double the guard around their palace, since she suspects Tristan and Wigg might find some way across the sea.

Indeed, [Wigg and Faegan] have neither seen nor spoken to each other for over three hundred years. But I believe Wigg will try to find him

What do you mean you “believe”, you fucking told Wigg he’s still and alive and where to find him for no god damn reason. The sheer stupidity of that still makes me angry.

I shall kill you in front of the second mistress, endowed blood or not, and prove to her which of us is the better man.

Ugh the masculinity is just bleeding off the pages. Can someone point me to an all-female fantasy novel please, I need a palate cleanser.

The frustration was always the same, and fueled the flames of the other, equally burning desire in his heart: to eventually find and kill the one man in the entire world who truly appeared to fascinate her.

Kluge chapters are even more repetitive than normal, since this bullshit is his sole character motivation.

Kluge’s second in command comes up and announces that they’re going to execute a Minion for not being violent enough or something, I don’t know. Then Kluge starts thinking about the nearby architecture. It is mildly interesting that the Minions’ various compounds are super duper luxurious and decadent instead of being spartan in order to ensure continued loyalty… but not that interesting.

There’s some more grimdark sex and violence nonsense before the chapter ends, but I won’t bother going into it.

Chapter seventeen

Hey I wonder what Shailiha is doing? The answer is “being miserable” because she’s trying desperately not to sleep so she doesn’t have more terrifying not-nightmares (notmares?) and that surely does suck. It’s been several days since a memory of her past life surfaced, but she experienced one earlier and that means it’s scary-room time.

It only just now struck me how utterly nonsensical Failee’s plan is. Are people even capable of deliberately expunging their own memories? Probably not.

Then, out of the fog, had come another, younger man. He was tall and had dark hair, and seemed to be trying to call out to her, beseechingly.

The book seems to have trouble distinguishing between memories and telepathic communication.

Sensing this, the First Mistress had insisted that one of the four other Sisters be in Shailiha’s presence at all times, just to be sure that she would be brought to her if indeed such an occurrence transpired.

You still don’t find anything suspicious about this? Failee’s walking on some pretty thin ice here. If Shailiha failed to report her memory just once, the entire plan would unravel.

Shailiha isn’t able to stay awake and “dreams” that there are hideous boils erupting all over her body and leaking blood. Man remember when this book was about wacky horse adventures and giant butterflies?

The last thing she thought of was them. Not of herself, or even of her unborn child this time, but of them. The ones who kept coming to her in her memories. They were the cause of this. Just before everything went dark, she knew that she hated them, all of them, and she wanted them dead. Real or not.

God this plotline is so stupid.

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20 thoughts on “Let’s Read The Fifth Sorceress ch. 16-17

  1. Redsilkphoenix

    All-female cast, you say?

    Don’t know of any fantasy ones off the top of my head, but for SF, I have some. If reading about humanoid cats doesn’t turn you off, you can try C.J. Cherryh’s Chanur novels. They were originally printed in the 1980’s, but were reprinted in omnibuses in the 2000’s. The Chanur Saga omnibus has The Pride of Chanur, Chanur’s Venture, and The Kif Strike Back. Chanur Endgame omnibus has Chanur’s Homecoming and Chanur’s Legacy in it.

    If you want a realistic SF take on grimdark sex ‘n violence, C.S. Friedman has In Conquest Born and The Wilding to offer. Her Braxin culture can best be described as Gor as created by real people. The books are also an example of how to write humans without having White be the default color.

    Both series are good reads; you should try them out sometime.

  2. Pingback: Let’s Read The Fifth Sorceress ch. 18 | Doing In The Wizard

  3. shardbaenre

    So you wanted an all female cast, did you? Well, I don’t know if this is your bag, but I started reading a space opera about a warship seeking revenge. Every character, every last one of them, is assumed to be some shade of brown and female until told otherwise. And even then, they are still referred to with feminine pronouns. And the narrative weaves that into actions and reactions. You aren’t told why this is or what significance it has and it isn’t a big deal. It just is. It’s part of the world. I appreciated that. It’s a space opera so terms are bandied about and you gotta get context clues as to the meaning or keep reading. It’s annoying in places, but I actually enjoy the story so far. The book is called Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie.

    1. ronanwills Post author

      Unfortunately I tried reading that just two weeks ago and gave up less than a third of the through- I found it incredibly dull. But then space opera is majorly not my thing, all my previous attempts at the genre have ended the same way.

      1. shardbaenre

        Yeah, space opera is an acquired taste. Pacing is way different. I enjoy space opera, but I completely understand why others don’t. I’ve really enjoyed the plot myself. It’s doing interesting things…well…interesting for me heh.

        I think a major problem is that space operas tend to just assume you’ll get the oblique terms they toss around and it can break the enjoyment of any given story. Or they become the Honor Harrington series…which…those were a guilty pleasure of mine until the later books and then I had to give it the side eye and walk away.

        1. ronanwills Post author

          tbh my problems with space opera aren’t even that rational; I just switch off when books start talking about spaceship classes and interstellar empires. For whatever reason me and the genre don’t see eye to eye.

          For what it’s worth I can see why Ancillary Justice took off among fans of the genre.

  4. Elspeth Grey

    All female is, unfortunately, going to be a tall order. But here are a few where the cast is predominantly women, or the main character is a woman and her viewpoint and relationships with other women are key:

    The Girl of Fire and Thorns, by Rae Carson
    Graceling, by Kristin Cashore
    any of the Discworld books focusing on the Witches, and also Monstrous Regiment, by Terry Pratchett

  5. Eudaemonium

    I know this book is meant to be bad. But like, seriously? It defies all reason. I can’t believe someone actually published this thing.

  6. reveen

    So the Minions basically jacked Xena’s chakram, or maybe the Glaive from Krull because I think watching Xena would burn Newcomb like holy water burns a vampire.

    Hell, the stupid dreggan seems like a concept that could have come from an 80s-90s fantasy-action show/movie. Plus we got Tristan’s leather getup, the cartoonishly evil villains, monsters that could be guys in makeup with prop wings.

    Yeah, I think I found Newcomb’s primary frame of reference for fantasy.

    1. Nerem

      I’m like 100% certain he stole the idea of the extending sword from Inuyasha. One of the villians (Jakukotsu) has a extending snake-sword that he uses to launch long-range melee attacks. Jakukotsu is actually a decent villianm unlike Kludge.

  7. haroldsmithson

    I don’t know about an all-female fantasy novel, but I do know of a few ones written by and focusing on women that I’ve heard are good:

    -Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackley
    -The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke
    -The Mists of Avalon by Marion Bradley Zimmer
    -Saints and Sinners (alternatively, The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories) by Angela Carter

      1. haroldsmithson

        Huh. That’s unpleasant.

        I won’t defend her against the charges but I will say that there is a divide between the work of an author and their personal life. It’s entirely possible that the book itself is good, though I admit I probably won’t buy the book.

        1. Elspeth Grey

          Oh I won’t deny she was important in getting female authors involved in fantasy, and her work has been important for feminist writers and readers in the genre. But her estate does nothing to help her victims, so while people are welcome to look at her work for its own merits, I’d advise getting a library copy.

          (Personally, I found Mists of Avalon to be unreadable, even at an age when I was very undiscriminating.)

    1. Rakka

      If science fiction is accebtable there’s always LeGuin. Always Coming Home and The Telling are two full-lenght ones that come to mind (haven’t read Lavinia yet) and the collection of stories Birthday of the World has several that have heavy majority of females in cast – primarily Solitude and Mountain Ways, also The Matter of Seggri but the last one’s not a happy story. And Coming of Age in Karhide also, but then of course Gethenian gender is what it is.

  8. Signatus

    “This seems like a really great way to run an army.”

    My thoughts exactly. This is not how training is done, anywhere, and this is a terrible way of running an army. Not to mention you’re lowering your troop’s numbers for no reason whatsoever. It is mentioned not only are soldiers killed, but also incapacitated due to the wounds, which pretty much means each time you train your numbers are going down. Yes, that sure looks like a good strategy to keep an army strong.

    Blah! Senseless evil, because you can’t have your evil minions not do evil things.

    “How does a wheel make a spherical blur?”

    Guess he got that from Oliver and Benji (or however it was called), when the ball became a sort of roundish blurr or something.

    “He hung the deadly sphere back at his belt”

    Ok, I didn’t notice that. Anyways, this book is incredibly inconsistent. At one point Tristan is described to have brown eyes, when we’re told his eyes were blue (or so I recall, I might be mistaken).

    “This is yet another case of the plot very obviously twisting itself into knots via furious hand-waving to ensure that some pre-determined event occurs.”

    While I completely agree with you on this instance, this is one of the few “realistic” traits Succiu has. She’s such an arrogant person that believes herself invincible, to the point of making some stupid choices as trusting way too much that Geldon will remain loyal even after being tortured, chained and humiliated. We’re constantly told how certain characters are, and in this case, Newcomb has (probably accidentally) showed us a personality trait.

    For example, we’re constantly told Failee is crazy. I’ve yet got to see her do anything I’d consider a trait of madness. So far she seems very determined into achieving her goals, which is not in itself a sign of madness.

    “Can someone point me to an all-female fantasy novel please,”

    Does that actually exist? Because maybe you’ve given me an idea. Been stuck with this survival horror fantasy idea in my head and all three attempts to pull it off have not worked for me. I still think the main character (who is male) is the problem.

    “Are people even capable of deliberately expunging their own memories? Probably not.”

    Not in our world, but this is treated as some sort of trick her endowed blood is capable of doing, which makes me wonder why Newcomb simply didn’t use a “wipe memory” spell and be done with it. Rowling used it (the Obliviate, I think), and it did what it had to do without getting into utterly complicated shit.

    This is my biggest problem with the book. It’s TOO complicated. The magic system is complicated, the plot is complicated, everything is complicated. A good writer would be able to write this story in 300 pages and it would make more sense.

  9. Pingback: Let’s Read The Fifth Sorceress ch.14-15 | Doing In The Wizard

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