I had a fellow editor recommend Robin Hobb's SOLDIER SON trilogy to me. I thought I had read some of it, but I couldn't find the book on my shelves and his description of the character and the world didn't sound familiar. So I got myself off to Boulder Bookstore for a little search and destroy mission.
And all I found was the 2nd book.
Okay, I figure that's fine. Any writer worth her salt (and Hobb is worth hers) will make it easy on a reader to pick up a second book. It should be a complete story.
And by the second page I recalled that I HAD met Nevarre before. I had read the first book, after all. I like to think that I wouldn't have bought the first book again (or maybe I borrowed it or something). But I had a potty-dancing kid with me, I was late picking up my other kid, and I very well might've... Anyway, thanks, Universe, for saving me from my own stupidity. Again.
I'm throwing it out there: the book makes me damned uncomfortable. In her world, magic makes you fat. So this guy is unknowingly hoarding magical power and getting fatter and fatter. He's supposed to be a handsome soldier and you can see his life all starting to derail. I give Hobb all props for doing something completely DIFFERENT, as well as tackling a tricky subject. There's more to the story than that, but right now it's foremost in my mind.
I think I might be a bit prejudice in RL, but not too much, because I once lost 30 pounds. I know what it takes. Plus, really, most of my friends are getting older, too. Not too many of us are at fighting weight any more. And I never have been skinny, even at my leanest--I'm just not built that way.
But in fiction, I like me some handsome heroes. I like to spend time with Beautiful People. I think in fantasies we always just assume our hero/ines are beautiful, right? Nevarre starts out that way, but 50 pages into this book he's definitely NOT.
Interesting that one of my most beloved characters is a middle-aged square-shaped woman with no name. She's definitely the one I got the most mail on. (She's over there on the sidebar still, and I'll be including her in a straight thriller or mystery sometime this fall.) I wrote her to confront my own demons about getting older and less attractive. Honestly, I thought I was kinda over it.
But hell, guess not.