Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Book Review: A THRONE OF BONES by Vox Day

A review by Dystopia Soak. I always find it intriguing to discover how few of my blog readers read my fiction. That's fine, it doesn't bother me in the slightest, as everyone has different tastes and preferences. It's not as if most regulars here get into Eco, Hesse, and Murakami either. But it is still satisfying to hear when someone finally gets around to giving it a shot and then discovers that it's really not that bad.
After Tolkien, no fantasy novel captured my attention again, though not for lack of trying. Over the decades, I picked up a lot of authors, each of them creating worlds and plots as anaemic and derivative as the rest. Few held my attention for even a chapter. By the late 90s I had stopped picking them up altogether. As far as genres went, fantasy was a dead end.

Then my wife heard about a new television series, and we binge watched a couple of seasons. No prizes for guessing what it was. After the first few episodes, I was so inspired I took a ‘look inside’ the first instalment on Amazon. George R.R. Martin was as good on paper as Benioff and Weiss were on screen. This was good stuff, and I started to wonder if I had finally found what I was looking for.

Alas, no. By the time I got my hands on a copy of Game of Thrones, Martin’s predilection for proving points by killing characters had become tiresome. As had his points about the cartoonish nature of good battling evil. I watched on, losing interest, putting aside the book, which I never started. Besides, my wife heard about Breaking Bad, and GoT faded into the background.

I could be forgiven, then, for skipping over reviews extolling the virtues of a new epic high fantasy by Vox Day when they first started appearing. For several years, I ignored advice to read Throne of Bones from people who struck me as otherwise sensible. I had had enough. It was one thing to read the man’s blog, but quite another to have my antipathy towards the genre confirmed.

That turned out to be a foolish mistake, because Vox Day is not like other fantasy writers. Where others try to mock and tear down all that is central to Western civilisation, Day has returned to the very heart of what makes the West great. And by doing so has provided us with the first true epic high fantasy since Tolkien to confront the consequences of losing out to barbarism.
If you haven't read A THRONE OF BONES yet, it's available in Kindle, KU, hardcover, and paperback. And audiobook fans will be pleased to know that Jeremy Daw has begun recording what will be a 36-hour monster. He has already recorded THE LAST WITCHKING & OTHER STORIES if you want to hear what he sounds like.

Those who have expressed interest in giving out copies of SJWADD to members of their organizations should be pleased to know that the paperback should be available on Amazon by the end of the week. And speaking of reviews, of a sort, it was nice to see this in a piece on Hollywood Values champion James Toback over at Taki's place:
Regarding the allegations being made against him, Toback told the up for sale ass brownie known as Rolling Stone:

The idea that I would offer a part to anyone for any other reason than that he or she was gonna be the best of anyone I could find is so disgusting to me. And anyone who says it is a lying cocksucker or cunt or both. Can I be any clearer than that?

Toback’s statement signals that he’s either well versed in Vox Day’s 2015 masterpiece SJWs Always Lie, a psychopath, or both.
Read the whole thing there. But as grateful as I am for Mr. Spielman's praise of my book, I can't say that I agree with his hypothesis. As Nick Cole and I have both independently concluded, the Hollywood Values scandal is not aimed at Warren Beatty (who, as an Alpha, never needed to engage in the predatory Gamma behavior exhibited by Weinstein and Toback), but rather, is primarily a defensive burn by the powerful Hollywood gays to try to distract from their exposure and eventual reckoning.

As Nick pointed out, Dustin Hoffman? How long has it been since he was even remotely relevant? That is the desperate behavior of evil men on a sinking ship throwing out everyone and everything they can get their hands on in a futile attempt to keep the ship from going underwater.



Anonymous Rien November 07, 2017 11:10 AM  


Vox, what you do for the alt-right is important.

But as the years accumulate you will be remembered for the Selenoth series. (JMHO of course)

Anonymous Aeoli Pera November 07, 2017 11:20 AM  

Some of your books are getting nerfed on Audible. Cuckservative got pushed back to the second page of the search results for "Vox Day".

Blogger VD November 07, 2017 11:26 AM  

Some of your books are getting nerfed on Audible.

It's not a nerfing. They just have a poor algorithm that confuses me with Vox Media.

Blogger VD November 07, 2017 11:27 AM  

But as the years accumulate you will be remembered for the Selenoth series.

I could live with that.

Anonymous krymneth November 07, 2017 11:27 AM  

I never picked them up because I never really got into fantasy. Tolkien transcends the genre, but my dabblings in the rest of it failed to impress me.

But you offered them free a month or two back, so I figured what the heck. And I've read them, and will be buying them as they come out now.

I think grounding the society in Rome breathes a lot of life into the series. It's too easy for Generic Fantasy Kingdom to have no culture, no reaction to the world around them, to just sort of vaguely exist. Selenoth adroitly dodges that.

Blogger ThirdMonkey November 07, 2017 11:27 AM  

I usually read three books at a time: Theology, history, and fiction. Fiction is usually my least favorite, and I usually save it for right before bed to wind my brain down and escape a little. ATOB is not working like that. A regular bedtime is quickly becoming later and later. I haven't enjoyed fiction this much in several years. I only regret waiting so long to finally read it.

Blogger Ivaneus November 07, 2017 11:54 AM  

Speaking of Selenoth, isn't there a second half to Sea of Skulls coming out sometime in 2018?

Also, do you know what the title for book three is going to be yet?

Blogger SciVo November 07, 2017 12:38 PM  

I will get around to your work, but I'm on a fun kick of Reddit's Humanity, F*** Yeah! So it's the already-bought competing with the free, and you both have volume.

Blogger Zarathustra's Bastard November 07, 2017 12:41 PM  

Fanboy gotta fanboy:

Vox, I came to your fiction through your blog. Devoured AToB and Summa, and it's been a long time since I've found myself genuinely immersed in fiction. I love the way you unapologetically take the Dungeons and Dragons version of Tolkien, and by weaving through it your knowledge of Roman and Medieval history make the whole thing plausible. I love that Amorr is both a bastion of civilisation and genuine Christian piety, and also a cesspit of corruption where innocent men get murdered on the street as a matter of practical politics, and wars are launched to build private fortunes. I love how you weave in your model of sociosexual hierarchy but do so subtly; at least twice in AToB I thought of a male character 'Hah! Gamma!' and then was pleasantly surprised that they had more lurking beneath the stories. Also, a couple of times your beautiful female characters felt intimidating in _exactly_the_same_way_ I find beautiful women intimidating in real life, which is a remarkable thing to be able to do with narrative.

Selenoth is really shaping up to be another Narnia or Discworld for me. Much gratitude for taking the time to write it.

(By the way, The Crows was _harrowing_. I couldn't make it through in one sitting.)

Anonymous Anonymous November 07, 2017 1:04 PM  

I would say that the world created by Robert E. Howard for Conan had a lot of promise, so much so that Howard never really was able to bring it fully to its potential.

Blogger Gordon November 07, 2017 1:05 PM  

I listened to The Last Witchking & Other Stories. I was quite pleasantly surprised. I'm not often a fan of darker fiction, but the stories in the collection varied widely in setting and theme. I liked the narrator also. I'm glad to hear that the audio version of ATOB is coming soon, as I'd prefer to hear it rather than read it.

Blogger Ivaneus November 07, 2017 1:09 PM  

Howard Stone, thank you for reminding me that I still need to finish reading the Conan collection that I'm only~60% of the way through.

I agree that it is a fantastic world Howard has created but I will hold off on judgement of whether or not fleshing it out was beyond his capabilities. I haven't finished the works he did produce or read enough of his writing to be an adequate judge.

So far though, it looks like Howard simply wasn't very invested in comprehensive world building so his world doesn't have the fully formed and fleshed out feel that is expected from post-Tolkien Fantasy works. I don't have a problem with that, I think there's plenty of room for "pulp" especially when it's as good as Conan stories are.

Blogger Gordon November 07, 2017 1:28 PM  

And I've just added a review of The Last Witchking to Audible. Reviews matter.

Blogger RobertT November 07, 2017 1:35 PM  

It's pretty uncommon to be proficient in that many different almost completely unrelated fields: fiction, the SJW stuff & your blog. I read the blog & your fiction, the SJW stuff not so much. While other authors struggle with their blog, you have your fingers in comics, game design, fund raising, soccer, hit records, whatever.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan November 07, 2017 1:54 PM  

This might be heresy but I like your fantasy writing better than John Wright's.

Blogger Jeff Wood November 07, 2017 2:15 PM  

I will be content if Skulls ends where it presently does, and the next volume takes over from SoS. So, one nag fewer.

Recently you have been remarkably busy, to the point where you may have had to re-introduce yourself to your dear lady Wife. Do things in the order which suits; your readers can wait.

Anonymous BBGKB November 07, 2017 3:07 PM  

I will be content if Skulls ends where it presently does

The train isn't fine we are still waiting to see what happens with the underground dwarf train Vox RR DAY.

Anonymous E Deploribus Unum November 07, 2017 3:08 PM  

your readers can wait.

Speak for yourself, Jeff!

Kidding. Happy to see it when we see it. Better to have it done right than done to some arbitrary schedule.

Anonymous CPEG November 07, 2017 3:14 PM  

I'm also looking forward to the wolf infiltration plot, and what I predict will end up being Severa's descent into feminism. I would put money down on the key to unlocking Witchcraft Level 3: Crone Edition to be her baby dying. Double or nothing, she kills it herself.

Anonymous Anonymous November 07, 2017 3:32 PM  

I have the paperback Throne of Skulls, I just haven't gotten around to it yet. I will, I just need to get to it on my schedule.

Blogger Ben Cohen November 07, 2017 3:51 PM  

Vox when's the second half of book two coming out?

Anonymous CPEG November 07, 2017 4:10 PM  

"Also, do you know what the title for book three is going to be yet?"

It will almost certainly NOT be "A Fjord of Femurs."

Blogger Lovekraft November 07, 2017 4:34 PM  

Am curious whether anyone else thinks this "Paradise Papers Tax Haven" story is timed a little to suspiciously to deflect away from PervertWood.

Blogger Ivaneus November 07, 2017 5:17 PM  

@22 "The Tower of Tibia and Tribulation?"
"A Crown of Craniums"
"The Forest of Phalanges"

Or on a less punny route, we have Throne of Bones and Sea of Skulls so maybe next we get . . . "River of Blood?" nah, River of Blod is a little too obvious and on the nose, though River of X is probably not a bad guess. "Land of Graves" or Tombs could also work.

Or maybe book three is just called, "Zoth Ommug Butt Invasion." Hugo nominee for sure.

Blogger Starboard November 07, 2017 6:20 PM  

It is true; I have not read enough of your fiction, Mr. Day. I came into Vox Popoli with SJWAL, so it took a while to branch out from the blog and politics into fiction. I've enjoyed what I've read so far, and ATOB is patiently waiting for me to get my act together.

It is interesting that both your commentary and your fiction are very, very good. There are some authors that can write commentary better than fiction like C. S. Lewis, and some that are better at fiction than commentary like John C. Wright. No offense intended to Mr. Wright. I adore his fiction, so his political commentary falling flat for me may be due to a high bar.

Anonymous Rocklea November 07, 2017 6:27 PM  

"And audiobook fans will be pleased to know that Jeremy Daw has begun recording what will be a 36-hour monster."

There's something about the British accent and the fantasy genre that just works. The Last Witchking and Other Stories was awesome. I'd read A Magic Broken and The Last Witchking but not Wardogs Coin, so the extra stories were a great bonus.

Blogger MendoScot November 07, 2017 8:14 PM  

I forsee...

Severa winning with the guidance of her avatar.

"A Field of Camomile".

Blogger The Overgrown Hobbit November 07, 2017 8:29 PM  

I read and quite like your SF. Very entertaining space opera in a nifty future universe.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr November 07, 2017 9:37 PM  

I really liked ATOB. Most impressive world creation, good plot, decent characters. Plus a one-page dessert of the clearest description of Roman naming conventions I've ever read. ASOS...needs to be finished.

The SF isn't bad. It's very reminiscent of James H. Schmitz's work - which is high praise, I'm quite fond of his stories.

Anonymous Boleslaw November 08, 2017 4:04 AM  

Do you plan to release Sea of Skulls on paperback one day?

Blogger Andrew Brown November 08, 2017 6:45 AM  

Throne of Bones is epic. The Valerians are my favourite, mainly because of the legions, and the characters are on another level. If only I had the courage of Fortex, the experience of Corvus and the intellect of Marcus, I'd be unstoppable haha 😂

Blogger VD November 08, 2017 7:43 AM  

Do you plan to release Sea of Skulls on paperback one day?

Sometime next spring. In hardcover too.

Blogger GithYankee November 08, 2017 10:13 AM  

Not only is it "not that bad", it's actually quite good. I'm 600 into ToB - the military maneuvering and assassinations are absolute high points. The characters are also well-rendered, with Fjotra(sp?)being my favorite so far - also the goblin POV chapters were really top notch. Everything the various "orc" fantasy books were not. Well worth the read - but I would highly, highly recommend get the hardcover because it's too complex and long for the phone. Just my two cents.

Blogger JohnofAustria November 08, 2017 11:08 AM  

Yeah, I finally read both books, as well as *Summa Elvetica* and loved them. It helps that I love Classical history but find medieval and Renaissance history tedious.

The best thing about them is that Vox splits the difference between a ideological nihilist like Martin, who thinks reality is people always being the most vile that he can imagine, and Lewis, whose heroes tended to be far too polite for modern audiences. His heroes are men who choose good as best they can, his villains are just the same. Great stuff.

Anonymous Ahärôwn November 08, 2017 5:20 PM  

Yes, both Summa and ATOB are excellent.

I finally got around to ordering both hardcovers about a month ago (along with SJWAL) and read both of them within a 48-hour span. The Tolkien references are indeed there, but I also noticed what seemed to me to be references from WoW and the Elder Scrolls.

I'm looking forward to A Sea of Skulls in hardcover as well.

Blogger Edgar Abbey November 08, 2017 9:09 PM  

I plan to read a Vox Day novel soon. I will admit, I consider the Game of Thrones novels to be the best fantasy series I've read since the LOTR. I realize that it dismantles a lot of the standard fantasy novel traditions, but I enjoy the story.

I have only read one book by Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore. It's probably the most enjoyable novel I've ever read that I didn't understand. I'm not sure why I haven't read anything else by Murakami.

I just finished 1st Riftwar novel by Raymond E. Feist, and of the fantasy novels I've read, it's the closest to capturing the epic nature of JRR Tolkien, although it's not quite on his level.

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