SpeculativeFiction


The Given Sacrifice


The latest book in SM Stirling's Change series, The Given Sacrifice concludes the war against the Church Universal and Triumphant with a certain sense of anticlimax. While none of the events quite surprised me, I was left with a sense -- quite familiar to me from other recent books in this series -- that the author had overstretched his ability to maintain dramatic tension and that the events that have occupied the past three or four books in this series would have been better served to all take place within a single book. Compressing the narrative, if not necessarily the time scale, would make it easier for the reader to preserve the sense of risk and danger that has been rather lacking since Rudi retrieved the Sword of the Lady.

Spoilers below.
Even the confrontation with the villain of the last several books is desultory, taking the form of a page or two of action followed by 10 pages of metaphorical vision-exposition that nevertheless manages to resolve nothing, illuminate nothing, and raise no interesting new questions. And that's not even the end of the book; it's followed by a length epilogue that serves more to open up the next story arc than to conclude this one.

I can't rightly recommend that anyone who has been following this series simply skip the conclusion of (at least this part of) the story, but I'm left with a sense of vague regret that I bought the book. Worse, there wasn't anything in it that I couldn't have predicted several books back.

I'm afraid the author simply ran out of enthusiasm and new ideas before he ran out of paper and ink.

This is a natural point to drop the series, and the author, especially as the plan for the next series set in the world of the Change seems to be "more of the same".

This entry was published Wed Sep 25 00:13:48 CDT 2013 by Matthew and last updated 2018-06-27 00:33:17.0.

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