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Running a quick Amazon search on Talon of the Silver Hawk will generate nothing but praise, but after having read the book myself, I wonder at how it all got there. How could such an incredibly mediocre book attract so many fans? It’s astonishing. I suspect mind-control.
For a long time rabid Feist fans had been pressuring me from all angles to give him a try. So, elated that I would finally be introduced to the world of Raymond E. Feist, I crammed the book into my busy reading schedule.
I was sorely disappointed. The book was remarkably unremarkable; average on all counts.

The plot was cliché. You’ve all seen it before – the classic “boy-sets-out-to-avenge-murdered-family” deal. After the slaughtering of his village, an Orosini boy named Talon of the Silver Hawk is the last of his people. He joins a secret society called the Conclave of Shadows, where he is transformed from a bumbling country lad into the sophisticated Tal Hawkins—a womanizer, nobleman, and master swordsman. In this guise, Talon faithfully serves his masters from the Conclave of Shadows, all the while quietly planning his ultimate quest of vengeance.

The events were unrealistic. “I would choose luck over skill any day” is a favorite saying of Tal Hawkins. Feist uses Talon’s unbelievable “luck” to push the story along far too often; the entire book is just an eye-brow-raisingly-tiring string of lucky escapes, miraculous recoveries, and convenient coincidences. In fact, the story even begins with luck (Talon survives a seemingly-fatal battle-wound, which, by the way, he does again about a million times in the rest of the book).

The story is horribly predictable. After Talon wiggles out of death’s grasp for the millionth time, the reader is no longer impressed by his oh-so-heroic suffering, nor are they surprised or relieved at his miraculous recovery. This takes away all the suspense in the story because we know that no matter how dangerous things get, Talon is immortal, protected by his handy-dandy “Main-Characters-Can’t-Die!”-shield.

The dialogue is unnatural, which makes for awkward reading. Things are said that no one would ever say unless it was rehearsed. Also, much of the speech is obviously contrived to impart background information to the reader; it sounds rather awkward coming from the characters’ lips.

The “romance” was ridiculous. There’s this cheap “coming-of-age-through-sex”-scene near the beginning, and doesn’t quite fit in. Talon is supposed to be an innocent young country lad at this point; it would have been against his beliefs to rush into the bed of a young girl so quickly. Yet he does. Throughout the rest of the story, Talon lies with several other girls, each time thinking that he is “in love”– until, of course, he runs into the next pretty maid. There is a lot of repetition there. It gets dull rather quickly.

The characters are all pretty stereotypical. There’s a hero with a dark past, a wise old wizard, a silent and deadly hunter, a cruel power-hungry lord, a bloodthirsty killer-for-hire . . . .

The writing was bland. What happened to the five (perhaps even six) senses? It was rare that I got to use more than one. And the action? Very repetitive. Hence, it was boring. The whole thing seemed sloppily made, as if the author didn’t bother to do much revising. The writer in me just screamed to scribble all over those pages and edit them to pieces! I’m not the most qualified writer, but I think that even I could have done that book some good.

Needless to say, I wouldn’t recommend this book. The plot was cliché, the events unrealistic, the story predictable, the dialogue unnatural, the romance cheap, the characters stereotypical, and the writing bland. Everything about it was formulaic. It seems to me that the author didn’t really care about this book; he just did what he had to do to get the job done.

Okay, in an attempt to mollify all of Mr. Feist’s fans out there, let me say this: I do believe that Feist has a lot of talent, but in the case of Talon of the Silver Hawk, I think he was just being lazy. It isn’t an entirely bad book, just rather derivative.

So, if you only read a few fantasy books each year, don’t waste your time on this one. But if you snap them up like potato chips, then borrow it from your local library, knowing that it won’t be impressive. That way, if nothing else, you could be like me and write a nice, scathing review on it.



The following comments are for "Talon of the Silver Hawk: Not So Sharp"
by AdriaScribe

Not as bad as Magician.
My hatred of Raymond Feist is well documented. It may well even be in my bio. I'm pleased to finally find someone who doesn't idolise him.
At least Talon is a competently written book. Magician is a work of pure juvenility.

( Posted by: MacLaren [Member] On: September 11, 2004 )

The tale of the nutty publisher
'Word count! Word count! Word Count!'
Can't you see that's all that matters?
'Word count! Word count! Word Count!'
Feist, come and sit with us mad-hatters

'Word count! Word count! Word Count!'
Drag the story on well past its due
'Word count! Word count! Word Count!'
Round and round; I don't care, you?

'Word count! Word count! Word Count!'
Writer, make a stand if you dare
'Word count! Word count! Word Count!'
Ha! We shall see how well you fare

'Word count! Word count! Word Count!'
Four-hundred pages is a must
'Word count! Word count! Word Count!'
Forget about God; Trust in us!

'Word count! Word count! Word Count!'
The actual words don't matter you know
'Word count! Word count! Word Count!'
Just keep 'em coming, suck or blow

(Great review by the way).


( Posted by: eleutheromaniac [Member] On: September 11, 2004 )

This was a great review. You remind me of Brian Saul, he is an art critic with mad ginger hair, have you heard of him? I think he had something to do with the Sex Pistols, can't remember.

Never heard of this writer or this book, but I shall duly do a search and see what's happening.

Alex :-)

( Posted by: londongrey [Member] On: September 11, 2004 )

Thanks, everyone. MacLaren: Talon is competently written? Uh-oh. O_O; I think I'll pass on the rest of Feist's books. . . although it was fun to review this one. . .

( Posted by: AdriaScribe [Member] On: September 11, 2004 )

Roger Ebert? Wow.. O_O;

( Posted by: adriascribe [Member] On: September 17, 2004 )

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