It’s a Scum-rian Dragon

Ask and you shall receive: I got my shipping notification from amazon, and the last book will be here tomorrow.  Amazon, is there a reason why you want to pay overnight shipping?  It’s not like you didn’t have plenty of time…  Oh, and I finished Elegy for a Lost Star.  As you may have guessed.

Anyway, onto something that drives me insane about books: errors.  I get super involved when I read, and there is nothing more jarring than a mistake.  It jolts me out of the zone, makes me pause, and check to see what it was I just read.  These include spelling errors, grammatical errors (or just very strange choices), wrong character names, and other facts I know to be incorrect.

Elegy for a Lost Star has a couple glaring errors.  At this point we’re four years into the present timeline, and this has been repeated and made clear throughout this book and Requiem for the Sun.  However, when discussing the training of the Bolg Archons, we see numbers such as five and seven pop up.  Ylorc has been unified only four years, how could these people possibly have been trained for five or more years by people who weren’t even present five years ago?

Now, it is true that, of the various races, the Bolg are among the shortest lived – probably due to their lifestyle in the past, rather than any real traits.  However, I’m pretty sure that they use the same years as everyone else in the world.  If, for some reason, they counted the length of their years differently, that’s something that needs to be established and made clear to the reader.  But that’s something you usually see in books containing multiple planets, not one bound to a single world unless if the species in question is from another.  Since the Symphony of Ages is a very self-contained world, I think we can safely agree that this is not the issue.  That, in fact, this is just shoddy editing.

Back to the Archons. It is stated that not one of them is yet eighteen years old.  This makes me question my impressions of some characters who have been introduced earlier, though not as Archons. Again, it has been mentioned that the Bolg tend towards shorter lifespans, but “short” hasn’t really been defined.  It’s also misleading because of the Cymrians (pronounced “Cum-rians”).  First Generation Cymrians are immortal (of the “if nothing bad happens, they don’t age or die” variety), and their descendants are long-lived, though the further removed from the First Generation, the shorter the lifespan.  There are about fifty generations at the present, those youngest being among the Bolg.

So it would be nice to define terms, since we know one of the main characters is 157 years old, another is roughly 1700 (sequentially, not experientially), and others fall in all sorts of areas before, between, and beyond.  Are most adult Bolg in their late teens instead of their 20s-30s?  It would make more sense then that Krinsel has been one of the primary midwives from the beginning, considering that this is a position of rank and respect in Ylorc.  But saying that, as an Archon, she is younger than 18, raises a lot of questions of how she rose to that rank by age 14.

Now, on a more positive note, this book contains one of my favorite scenes.  You have your dragon, attacking the mountain kingdom.  There is one actual weapon designed to fight the dragon…and it’s not in the kingdom right now because the King is elsewhere.  He really should stop leaving – bad things happen when he does.  Anyway. How do you defeat a maddened ragewyrm?

You do so in a way that is utterly reminiscent of the absolute snarkiest chapter of Les Miserables: by overwhelming her with raw sewage and fecal matter.  And yes, the classic French novel has an entire chapter about the Parisian sewer system and the contents therein.  Don’t ever believe people who say Victor Hugo was boring.  He knew his snark, and the current translation conveys it so very well indeed.

With that image clearly in mind, I’ll be back after I finish The Assassin King, the shortest book in the Symphony of Ages.  So, tomorrow.

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