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review 2017-04-27 03:52
The Shadow of the Torturer (audiobook) abandoned at 34%
The Shadow of the Torturer - Gene Wolfe,Jonathan Davis

I'm abandoning this audiobook. I've read it before in print and although the narrator isn't bad, I'm bored by it. The print version was actually interesting. The audio one just doesn't work for me.

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review 2017-03-21 13:26
The Shadow of the Torturer - Gene Wolfe
I really liked the ancient archaic feel of this book even though it is set in the far distant future. I can't wait to read the rest of the tetralogy.


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text 2016-10-23 22:13
A Shadow in Summer - Daniel Abraham

I just read the "Prolog" to this today... an interesting setup, delivered quite capably. The mystery of the andat is an attractive one, and Otah is a character I want to follow for the rest of the novel.


Interesting to note: This chapter bears some similarities to the prologue chapter of another great "Shadow" novel (The Shadow of the Torturer, by Gene Wolfe), which itself unfolded into a quartet of similar length (The Book of the New Sun). In both books, the main character is a young adolescent raised as more-or-less orphan in a strict, highly ordered monastic environment wherein a propensity for cruelty makes its way into both characters as a result of the system they've been brought up in. Both escape this order after being unable to resist showing mercy, though, and they strike out on their own. I wonder if there will be any more similarities (or indeed intertexts) with that Wolfean masterpiece... I am most intrigued.

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review 2015-05-23 00:00
The Shadow of the Torturer (The Book of the New Sun #1)
The Shadow of the Torturer (The Book of the New Sun #1) - Gene Wolfe The tale of young Severian, an apprentice in the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession -- showing mercy toward his victim -- and follows his subsequent journey out of his home city of Nessus.

So this week may not have been the appropriate week to read this book. Like, by a long shot. This week may have even been one where I’d have had trouble digesting something simple and YAey since we had lots of family drama, which usually (and this time, too) leads me to indulge in weird daytime TV that mostly involves HGTV and little else.

SO. I read the first half of this pre-drama, enjoyed it but didn’t really look too closely at it, which I gather is not the way to read this book. Then drama happened, I took a day or two off from reading, and came back to it a bit lost. I gulped the second half of the book down today with the frequent periodic outbursts of a video gamer cursing at his game coming from my husband, and I totally did not understand the significance of anything that happened. Woo. From about where we met Dr. Talos, I felt like the whole story took a loop for the genuinely odd, and while I got the greater riffs of the story I don’t really see what was so significant about them or whether I should continue on. Sigh.
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review 2015-02-18 00:00
The Shadow of the Torturer
The Shadow of the Torturer - Gene Wolfe Imagine me holding the book upside down, cocking my head to the side and squinting while gritting my teeth. That's the depiction of my bafflement.
I do not know what I've done wrong with this book; I have seen Gene Wolfe showered with praises left, right and from Neil Gaiman's lips, and cornered with ferocious attacks front, back and center. To my eyes, it was a downhill read from a quite "Mhmm" of interest to an abyss of lethargic silence.

I was interested in the guild of torturers, but nothing of much interest was revealed. I was interested in the details of the torturers' work, but that is apparently for others to know. I wanted some argute psychological insight into the mind of a person raised to be a torturer, but Severian's mind is void of any insight (despite Thecla's "You're so intellectual, you will be the most cerebral torturer in history" – now THAT would have been a story worth the reading).

But no, I have found nothing that would justify the reading of the second book. Some details here and there (the chaps that eat corpses, the guild of the librarians, some thoughts on clemency and so on) gave me some vain hope that something interesting would happen in the next page , but the plot was so flat it would have needed surgery to draw the eye. The characters were so bland and insipid they resembled actors more than people – not one breath of psychological undertone in their existence. The female characters, this should be said, were especially atrocious: if Severian's inclination to fall in what he called love suddenly and for no apparent reason was hard to believe, every woman's continued effort to present herself in various states of semi undress when in front of him was probably the greatest fictional ingredient of the whole sorry story. The ending was so abrupt one would think someone has chopped the last chapters off out of frustration and they have been reprinting the book like that ever since.
Except tht it's not a book that compels frustration, just a very quiet, very disappointed sigh.
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