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[personal profile] aryllian
I got this for Christmas, too, and actually read it before Tooth and Claw, but I wanted to think about it a bit before writing anything about it.

I think my problem with these books is that I'm too much like Patrick--too insistent on a scientific worldview. I thought at the beginning of The Whim of the Dragon, when Patrick declares his determination to find out what is going on and how things work, that if it weren't for Patrick I would be much more likely to quit reading, because I too want to have a good explanation of what is going on and how things work.

And I don't feel like I really got that. Oh, there's an explanation, but not something that I can really get a grip on. As Patrick complains later, it's all like poetry, not logic. And while I like poetry, I don't like it as an explanation of how a world or a magical system works.

But how else am I to take the vague explanation of magic? As I understand it, basically magic is the same as imagination, and reality in the secret country is what everyone agrees on. Sort of like in the children's game they would say, "Let's say that..." and it would become true, but with many more people involved.

And it sort of makes sense, but it doesn't.

If it weren't for Patrick, I wouldn't like it nearly so much. As it is, I can just barely accept it, because Patrick, a character, doesn't like it either. But I think I agree with him in a way: I do not insist on living somewhere that the Second Law of Thermodynamics applies, but I do want there to be some kind of laws. Something that holds no matter what anyone thinks. Something more than the kind of logic found in poetry.

I am also a bit bewildered by the ending, and why Claudia/Melanie did what she did, but I think that might be because I wasn't paying enough attention to the bits of history as they were presented.

I think I will have to reread these books before I decide exactly what I think about them. For now, all I can say is that I probably will reread them. Eventually.

Date: 2004-01-31 07:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
These are some of my favourite books, but there are ways in which I find them very unsatisfying -- different ways than you did, but unsatisfying nonetheless. I am not like Patrick, and never have been, so it took me a long time before I could relate to him.

Have you read anything else by Pamela Dean?


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