Friday, 3 December 2010

The Scorpion

Like I've said a few days ago, I've aquired a few of the L5R novels I didn't had and I've been reading them all, starting with the Scorpion.

The Scorpion is the first of the seven novels dedicated to the Clan War.

It actually deals with the Scorpion Clan Coup rather than with the Clan War proper, with focus on Bayushi Shoju's character.

It's a fairly decent novel, but while I remember enjoying it it doesn't seem to have aged that well.

The writing flows, and characterization is well done. Manipulation scenes are, in my opinion, nearly impossible to do believably, but Kachiko's manipulation of Hatsuko works well enough.

As a bonus point, there is a new family mentioned, the Inoshiro. Unfortunately their affiliation is not explicited, but they seem to be Crane, or possibly Seppun vassals.

Where I think The Scorpion fails is in the managemento of time. The entire planning and execution of the coup feels like it has occured within a period of about 3-4 months which broke my ssupension of disbelief this time around.

I wasn't entirely happy on how the magical aspect of the setting was handled either. It's clear that Stephen Sullivan was trying to keep it toned down, and, to his credit, he was largely sucessful in it, but there were still a few instances where it was used to little narrative advantage.

Finally, why such fascination with natto? At one point it seems Rokugani eat nothing else but natto.

Overall though, it is an enjoyable novel to read, depending on your tolerance for gaming fiction, and L5R fans won't be disappointed.

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