Reviews

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, by Kai Ashante Wilson

shopgirl's review against another edition

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5.0

A master class in craft & form. Electrifies the brain.

em_reads_books's review against another edition

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4.0

Whew, this was difficult for such a short book, dense and rich and violent and never fully explaining itself. I think it would demand a reread, maybe two, to really comprehend the story. But I don't feel that total comprehension is necessary - the sketches we get of Demane's life and background and love story and [thing that happened at the end] are satisfying despite being a bit of a tease with their lack of precise explanation.

I absolutely love how the author played with language in the dialogue, using real-world dialects to convey what was being said and how in fantasy-world languages. Same for the vivid imagery and depiction of the relationships between the caravan men. Enough great pieces to overcome my sense of "but what haaaaappened exaaaactly?" with the whole.

jenndoesntwantto's review against another edition

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4.0

This is a strange, fascinating book that is meant to read like documents from another world entirely. The writing style is a synthesis of ye olden times high brow and contemporary slang, which only adds to the sense that these words originate from a world parallel to our own.

It's a novella, so be prepared for an experimental narrative structure and ambiguous ending. Your enjoyment of it will largely hinge on how well you like the characters and the world as not much happens in the first 3/4. I liked the characters very much, and found the glimpses into this scientific magic system fascinating.

All in all, a dreamy and engaging read. Would definitely be down for more set in this uncanny universe.

sarrie's review against another edition

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3.0

I love the idea behind this, but for me it was lost a little bit in the heavy, flowery language. If you enjoy that, it may work better for you. I, unfortunately, found myself not lost but more confused for most of the story as to the choices in phrasing and language.
I simultaneously hate and love the ending, and I think I will pick up more by this author in the future. The idea and premise was fascinating.

katymm's review against another edition

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3.0

Really fun fantasy/pulp/literary/poetry language mashup. My issues with it are that it was pretty difficult to follow and that nothing really seemed fleshed out enough. I wanted to know more about everything in a way that was frustrating, not in the good “leaves you wanting more” way. I haven’t decided whether I’ll read the sequel yet.

mariahaskins's review against another edition

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5.0

I’m not quite sure what to say about Kai Ashante Wilson’s glorious, enigmatic, and utterly spell-binding ‘The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps’ that will do it justice. Maybe I should just say this: read it. Read it for a story-line that never goes where you think it might. Read it for characters that you desperately want to stay with, even when the story is over. Read it for Wilson’s intoxicating and dizzying prose that brilliantly flexes between crude and exquisite, between earthy everyday and divinely terrifying. Read it for the sheer pleasure of finding a writer who masterfully bends and twists and sculpts the language to conjure up and create another world – familiar enough in some ways to feel like it has to be our own world, yet so strange beneath that almost-familiar veneer that you’re gripped by a sense of WTF-vertigo.

I could read Wilson’s prose just for the pleasure of the language itself, but there is a compelling story here, too, and whatever you expect from ‘The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps’, I have a feeling that story will surprise you.

Kai Ashante Wilson’s prose is completely addictive: shifting effortlessly between crude and base, ornate and almost ceremonial in tone. I recently read his novelette ‘The Devil In America’ at Tor.com, a story that devastated me with its powerful language, original imagination, and bleeding-raw emotion. After reading ‘The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps’, I want to read everything he’s ever written.

Earlier this year I read Gene Wolfe’s ‘Soldier of the Mist‘, and in some ways ‘The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps’ reminds me of that novel. Just like Wolfe, Wilson manages to tell a fragmented and often utterly mystifying tale while keeping my rapt attention from the first paragraph to the last.

booksmithscientist's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark emotional mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

firesoulbird's review against another edition

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4.0

Read for Book Riot's Read Harder 2017: Read a Fantasy Novel

thesincoucher's review against another edition

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3.0

I tried to read A Taste of Honey a while ago (I don't know why as I realise that's the second in this universe) and didn't get along with it so I was so pleased that I liked the writing on The Sorcerer so much. The writing is really something else, it transports you to that world like nothing else and with very little describes a whole giant worldbuilding. I really loved it.

The problem was my expectation of the ending - I felt it dragged on that battle but it really didn't because the battle was essential to the ending but my expectations were that the battle was just a plot point, basically. I really didn't expect the book to end like that and if I had no expectations, I'm sure I'd have liked it more. But also at the same time, I really wish it had ended differently?

riverqk's review against another edition

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4.0

4.5 stars. Beautifully written. Also really appreciated that this fantasy novella wasn't so white-centric (the characters are very specifically black) nor hetero-centric (straight-centric? not sure what the right word would be), which in my experience seems strangely rare in fantasy/sci-fi.