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Review: The Brothers of Gwynedd II: Dragon at Noonday, by Edith Pargeter

Pages: 137

Original date of publication: 1974

My edition: 2010 (Sourcebooks)

Why I decided to read: it had been recommended to me a long time ago

How I acquired my copy: review copy from the publisher

I’m sorry this isn’t a real review: a revised version of this review appears here for the first part of the quartet, Sunrise in the West. But my feelings for the book after having read part II haven’t really changed, and there’s not much more I can say about a book I generally dislike.

Dragon at Noonday is the second book in the quartet. All four books are included in one volume, but they can be read separately—as they should be, because this is one of those books that you have to read in baby steps., whether you love it or no. This book is still very slow-going, There are a lot of descriptive passages in this book, and a lot of historical details; but Pargeter’s prose style is very, very dense—I’d find myself reading a few pages, putting the book down, and picking it up again after I’d gone to read something else. It definitely didn’t grab my attention enough that I wanted to keep on reading, which is never a good thing. When I read a book, I want it to transport me to a different place, and this novel didn’t quite do it for me. I felt as though at times I was reading a recitation of facts, not a piece of fiction.

One of my problems is with the narrator, who’s not actually present while a lot of this novel takes place, so there’s a lot of “he told me this…” and “I heard that…” The dialogue is still very stilted, and it was very hard for me to become attached to any of the characters—even after reading about them through two volumes of this story! However, I’m finding the place names fascinating—I live in an area in Pennsylvania where a lot of Welsh people settled, and the place names around here are indicative of that (the township I live in was named after Radnorshire in Wales). I’m really hoping the book gets better than this; but as I’ve been warned, this book so far is sort of like watching paint dry.


dolleygurl said…
I am actually very glad that I passed up on this one. I have heard the same things being said by other readers as well. I'm sorry that it's not a great read.
I'm so sorry this book isn't working for you! I think the reason for the "telling" instead of "showing" is because back in the beginning of the book when we first meet Samson, he tells us that he will only relate events that he personally *knows* was an effort to establish his reliability as a narrator.

But I can certainly understand why so many people have a hard time with this quartet of books.

I like how you spell out exactly what isn't working for you....that's so helpful in a review!
Marg said…
I actually found the second part of the book much better than the first. I am actually looking forward to starting the third part.

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