Review: Shadow and Claw

Shadow and Claw
Shadow and Claw by Gene Wolfe

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What. a. slog. I was turned on to this book by The Sword and Laser podcast. The description of a dying earth that contains the remnants of technology that people have largely forgotten or spurned really interested me. What I found in the first two volumes of this series was a pretty aimless fantasy tale. I think it was a good move to merge both of these volumes into a single paperback as I would not have been interested enough after The Shadow of the Torturer to pickup The Claw of the Conciliator.

It is not that the book is written poorly. In fact, the imagery is very good. I'm just not interested in Severian and his adventures. He is a wholly unlikable main character. There is very little plot to speak of. Instead, it feels like a quilted patchwork of scenes with no common design. One of Severian's traveling mates even goes so far as to wonder at what his goal is when he has so many goals at once, yet appears to be chasing none of them.

I don't think I'm going to pickup the next two books in the series. I fear that there is some twist in volume three that will change my opinion (this series has a tremendous amount of praise) but I'm just not willing to spend any more time on it.

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Jade Mason