Sunday, March 23, 2008

RotS Reviews III

This Easter morning I have decided to celebrate the bodily resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, thus defeating Satan's plan for the world and ensuring victory over the power of sin, by reviewing three more stories of blood and mayhem from Return of the Sword.

Mountain Scarab- This is one great story. Sigurd Grimbrow and a band of savage raiders attack a caravan and steal the goods. One of the goods is a feisty young woman who realizes she must stay by Sigurd’s side in order to stay alive. The interaction between the two characters was an absolute joy to read. Sigurd is also one of the best sword and sorcery protagonists I’ve encountered. He doesn’t hesitate to kill anyone he thinks needs some killing but is basically a good guy at heart. The author, Jeff Stewart, got everything right in this one.

Lair of the Cherufe- Here we have a story that is fun to read, with several clever elements and some good hack and slash style fantasy. The virgin princess, stolen from her father’s castle, is to be sacrificed to the great beast and the hero has to save her. I have to admit I started laughing uncontrollably to myself when I realized a major flaw in the plot: The sacrifice has to be a virgin, right? Well, there’s an easy way to fix that… But the hero made a promise to her father and so he goes through all the steps to get her back with virtue intact. This includes searching for objects of power in scary places with mythical guardians, fighting the evil Prince’s henchmen, and facing off against said scary beastie. This story is good solid sword & sorcery, through and through.

To Be A Man- This is a difficult story to review because the subject matter is almost entirely sexually oriented. It is well written but it’s not for children. (Funny that I seem to think violence and bloodshed are OK for kids but that’s a different discussion.) The characters here are amazingly well drawn, the female lead is so over the top it’s a smashing success, and the story moves along and has some truly funny moments.

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