Sep 23, 2009

The Worm Ouroboros

by Eric Eddison

I read this book once because I saw the title mentioned as a favorite of a character in a book I loved (how's that for a recommendation?) It's an epic-style fantasy about two warring kingdoms in a medieval world. It starts off with one man's quest to rescue his brother from the enemy and overthrow a tyrant- then the two factions battle endlessly to see who will control the entire world. Ordinary poor folk and foot soldiers die by the thousands for no good reason. The battles are huge and bloody, there's constant fighting, deceit and mass confusion going on. And sorcery, strange creatures, beautiful women who get ravished, etc etc. I can't say I've read another book so full of gory battle details (unless it's these by Richard Monaco). Looking back, I'm not sure what kept me going through the whole book- unless it was the fantastically rich, archaic language. Eddison writes like no other. His prose can be tedious, confusing and very beautiful. If you like reading epic sagas (particularly Nordic ones), or are interested in a fantasy tome that heavily influenced Tolkien's work, I could recommend The Worm Ouroboros. But for me, the storyline was too wandering and the ending frustrated me beyond belief. It's a complex work, that probably deserves a more discerning reader than myself (see below links for more appreciative reviews). It's full of heroism and romanticism, treachery and tragedy and headaches for this reader. I admire it very much but I hardly liked it at all.

Rating: 2/5 ........ 445 pages, 1922

More opinions:
Athenaeum
Mordicai
anyone else?

5 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I can tell this one's not for me. Thanks for the review.

An Anonymous Child said...

It actually sounds sort of endearing, but as you say it's probably not for everyone. I personally happen to like Nordic sagas and reading the occasional old-style book so I may eventually look this up, but it is certainly helpful to know what to expect.

Lenore said...

Interesting cover illustration - but yeah...that sounds like something I wouldn't read in a million years.

Jenny said...

I've been wanting to read this for a while, just because I know it influenced Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, and I love them both a lot. But I've been too intimidated to start, which I still am actually...

Jeane said...

Bermudaonion- You're welcome, for the warning!

Anonymous Child- This book might be a good fit for you! It just didn't work for me.

Lenore- The copy I originally read had a different cover, but I thought this one was more intriguing.

Jenny- It really intimidated me. I had to force myself through at some points. (More because of the language than the gore). Be brave and try it, and tell me all about it!