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Quick Review: The Tower of Fools

Not counting the prologue, which mainly consisted of a list of names that I couldn’t keep track of, the first few chapters were quite a joy to read, with good writing and humor. However, after a while it became a matter of pushing through, at least until chapter 25, which was when the author seemed to remember where he wanted the book to go and how to take it there, and also the importance of meaningful character interaction and development. Even that chapter’s crazy, jarring start is worth mentioning, probably being just what was needed to make the reader know that it’s actually worth paying closer attention again. And the level seemed to remain somewhat higher after that chapter, though I don’t know whether that’s objectively the case or it’s a result of the lasting impression it left.
But most of the book tends to drag on, getting bogged down in a small scope and mundane matters, the greater and supernatural events it hints at taking too long to arrive and not being sufficiently emphasized even when they finally do. And with a fool as the lead, an asshole as his main companion and all kinds of rottenness in most other characters, it’s hard to like or cheer for them. Also, if for a while I was thinking that the book was originally written for a Polish audience, in Polish, so the fact that I couldn’t keep track of the names, and even of some of the events that were being mentioned, was my problem, as I continued reading I got an ever stronger impression that, assuming he wasn’t just making things up, since I didn’t care to check, the author was showing off his knowledge of the period at the expense of the book’s actual story and characters. And he’s definitely showing off and making it hard for the reader by adding all those parts in Latin, and occasionally in other languages as well, and not translating them except on rare occasions, mainly towards the end. Admittedly, this is something that the publisher could have fixed.

Rating: 3/5


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