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The Wilding April 13, 2006

Posted by sensawunda in Books.
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The Wilding is C.S. Friedman’s long-awaited sequel to In Conquest Born.

Don’t read The Wilding without reading In Conquest Born first! It’s very much about the consequences to the events at the climax of ICB. Fortunately, ICB is a classic and is still in print.

It’s an incredibly fast read for a “doorstop” book. Sometimes I get weary of slogging through a thick book. Not so with The Wilding. Friedman writes tight, with terrific pacing, and the clashing cultures at the heart of these novels remain interesting.

It doesn’t achieve as much sensawunda as ICB did (granted, that’s a tough act to follow). As rich as this universe is, I think she used up the big surprises in ICB itself. I looked at Friedman’s website and learned that she doesn’t actually care for sequels – her publisher talked her into writing this one. I never would have guessed that from reading The Wilding, but I think I understand her point of view. It’s no longer about discovery. In a sequel, it’s about revisiting a milieu that entertained us before, and exploring implications from the first novel. That’s still interesting, but on a more abstract intellectual level.

There’s a clue for us. One way to achieve sensawunda is with mind-blowing discovery.

These two novels are well worth reading, as are all of Friedman’s novels. All I’m saying is ICB had more sensawunda.

Sensawundameter: WandWandWand

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