Book Review · reading

Book Review: The Hammer of Darkness by L.E. Modesit

Blurb From GoodReads: Martin Martel is an exile in trouble with the gods in this SF novel by the bestselling writer L. E, Modesitt, Jr, now back in a new trade paperback edition from Tor.

After finding out that he has unusual powers, he is banished from the planet Karnak. Martin is thrust into the tranquil world of Aurore, vacation paradise for the galaxy. There he finds that the reality of Aurore is much different from its serene veneer. The gods are wantonly cruel and indifferent to the chaos they cause: are they really gods or just men and woman with larger-than-life powers? Whatever the answer Martin Martel must challenge their supremacy to defend his life, love, and the fate of all mankind.

I’ve read a lot of L.E. Modesitt’s books and enjoyed all of them. Except for this one. The Hammer of Darkness just confused me. I don’t understand the main character, one Martin Martel. I don’t understand his motivations or his goals.

Okay. So. There are gods and demi-gods and terrified worshipers. Odd, for a sci-fi novel. They have really mental powers, I get that. But the mental powers, the energy field they use, their god-like immortality, none of that is explained. It bothered me.

It’s also pretty clear from the writing this is an early book. I don’t know how early, but one of his earliest books. I mean, there is a big difference between this one and his latest book from this year.

What I liked: the main character does some sort of documentary of the religions of the planet. It was pretty fascinating. I would have liked to see more on this aspect of the world.

I think my biggest problem with the book is that the main character never really seemed to connect emotionally with others. He gets woman after woman. I mean, he says he loves this one, than the other one and he really lusts after these two. Another god kills the woman he says he loves, but he does nothing.

Then, later, he goes to another planet and destroys half the world. I never really understand why. He never really gave any reason for going to the other world in the first place. Afterward, the other gods see an opportunity – seeing as how he was away from his power base – to kill him. They fail and that fight that destroys a lot, too, but at least I understand destruction during a fight.

Than he comes back and takes one of the other goddesses back in time and places her as the daughter of a powerful lord in his world. It turns out she was the love of his life. But I don’t get why he took he back to the past. I just don’t.

The last scene is sweet and romantic. Apparently after destroying her rule and figuring out he wiped her memory and placed her as the daughter of a powerful noble, she decides she loves him after all.

I don’t get this book. I just don’t get it.


Teaser Tuesday: Servant of the Underworld

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 

It seemed an ordinary place, a room like any other in the city: an entrance curtain set with bells, gently tinkling in the evening breeze, walls adorned with frescoes of gods – and, in the centre, a simple reed sleeping mat framed by two wooden chests. Copal incense burnt in a clay brazier, bathing the room in a soft, fragrant light that stung my eyes. And everything, from the chests to the mat, reeked of a magic: a pungent, acrid smell that clung to the walls and to the beaten-earth floor like a miasma.

– Servant of the Underworld (Obsidian and Blood, book 1) by Aliette De Bodard