Read The White Luck Warrior by R. Scott Bakker Online


A score of years after he first walked into the histories of men, Anasûrimbor Kellhus rules all the three seas, the first true Aspect-Emperor in a thousand years.As Kellhus and his Great Ordeal march ever farther into the perilous wastes of the Ancient North, Esmenet finds herself at war with not only the Gods, but her own family as well. Achamian, meanwhile, leads his ownA score of years after he first walked into the histories of men, Anasûrimbor Kellhus rules all the three seas, the first true Aspect-Emperor in a thousand years.As Kellhus and his Great Ordeal march ever farther into the perilous wastes of the Ancient North, Esmenet finds herself at war with not only the Gods, but her own family as well. Achamian, meanwhile, leads his own ragtag expedition to the legendary ruins of Sauglish, and to a truth he can scarce survive, let alone comprehend.Into this tumult walks the White Luck Warrior, assassin and messiah both, executing a mission as old as the World's making......

Title : The White Luck Warrior
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ISBN : 9781841495392
Format Type : Trade Paperback
Number of Pages : 587 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The White Luck Warrior Reviews

  • Mike
    2018-11-19 21:59

    Observational aside: I will rarely reread books. Once I finish a book it is usually off to the next one, with few exceptions. In this case the sixth book in the series, The Great Ordeal, is coming out soon, a book I have waited nearly five years for, and I wanted to give myself a refresher on the entire series before it was released. I don't recall the first time I read "The Prince of Nothing" trilogy but Goodreads assures me it was before I joined this website. Since then I have read literally hundreds of books and grown as a reader thanks to those books as well as thinking through those books when I write reviews. Over that time my sensibilities and critical eye has changed as well (I'd like to think for the better) so it was a rather enlightening exercise this return to a time in my reading life from before Goodreads (BGR?). With that rambling out of the way on to the review.The Darkness That Comes Before reviewThe Warrior Prophet reviewThe Thousandfold Thought reviewThe Judging Eye reviewAnd we come to the last of the re-read in anticipation The Great Ordeal. Once again I am reminded of its pair in the Prince of Nothing trilogy, in this case The Warrior Prophet. Where The Judging Eye reoriented the reader to the new world order this book started to bring all the threads together and kicked the action into motion. In this book the Great Ordeal continues north on a mission to save the world from an ancient evil that nearly brought about the Apocalypse. Before them is a literal ocean of Sranc (think Orcs, but soooooooooooo much worse) and leagues of desolate, abandoned land that offers little succor. Not the most promising prospect even with the lions share of Sorcerers form the Three Seas and the Aspect Emperor in tow. Bakker doesn't gloss over the many, many, MANY problems launching such a large campaign over such a long distance will incur. This particular story line finishes this book with a horrifying, yet cold logical conclusion that is the hallmark of so much of this series. It is ere we see some fantastic battle scenes.Back in the imperial capital a divine conspiracy broils as the Outside has taken aim at Khellus's empire. To the Hundred (as the gods are known) Kellus is an abomination that must be expunged and they set into motion the White Luck Warrior, an agent that exists outside time who knows everything that will happen up to and including the murder of Khellus. There are also rebel elements from Khellus's many conquest threatening the Empire that are linked in, unknowingly, with the divine conspiracy.Finally there is Aka's obsessive quest to discover Khellus's mysterious origins. He has fallen in with a less than stable group of Sranc Hunters led by a hard veteran and an Erratic Nonman sorcerer. It is a bit stressful to say the least, especially with his former wive's runaway daughter. They must traverse countless leagues under the lie that Aka maintains to keep them in line. The kind a lie that is liable to get him killed if it is discovered.Once again Khellus is treated as a distant and closed off character. We see him only as the Aspect Emperor, the Husband of Esmenet, the man who stole Esmenet from Aka. We don't know his motivations are true goals, he is Dunyain, I am not sure he even qualifies as human any longer. We learn more about Dunyain culture and practices and it is truly alien and horrific. I can see why the gods might find offense in his existence.Speaking of the gods, this series really delves into interesting theological ideas. Within this universe there does appear to be some sort of afterlife, though I read a lot about damnation there was very little about salvation. The Gods appear to be distant and wrathful and willing to condemn souls to damnation at the drop of the hat. It is a pretty bleak theology that adheres to the principle of "Might Makes Right". This is little to nothing mortals can do to thwart the Gods ultimate judgement......Except for that the Consult, the big bad guys, are trying. They believe if they reduce a world to a mere 144,000 souls the world can be closed to the Outside and the Gods. Of course that does require them to kill everyone else and, having done this on several other planets to no avail, there is no assurance this process will even work. But that isn't stopping them from trying again. Sor tof tough to know who to root for since on the one hand you have genocidal aliens and on the other you have jealous, petty, and wrathful deities.All in all this was a great re-read, reminded me of a lot of stuff I had forgotten (I mean it has been five years since I last read it) and got me pumped for The Great Ordeal. I think I know where Bakker is going in this series. Where the first trilogy touched upon the many forms of control I think this series is going to explore free will and divine judgement. Should be a blast!Now, on to the fun quotes!Let's just hope they never unionize: It is not so much the wisdom of the wise that saves us from the foolishness of the fools as it is the latter's inability to agree. -Ajencis, The Third Analytic of MenAlways remember to check you privileged before passing judgement: "Nothing makes fools of people quite like a luxurious life...they confuse decisions made atop pillows for those compelled by stones...When they hear of other people being oppressed, they're certain they would do anything but beg and cringe when the club is raised..."Like I said, a dismal theology: "You think we worship the Hundred because they are good? Madness governs the Outside, not gods or demons - or even the God! We worship them because they have power over us."Beware of people in large numbers: "Men are fools at the best of times, but when they gather in mobs they lose whatever little reason they can claim when alone. Someone cries out, they all cry out. Someone bludgeons or burns, and they all bludgeon and burn. It's remarkable really, and terrifying enough to send kings and emperors into hiding."Now that you mention it, yes, a little bit: "The Ciphrang [demon] bound about your girdle. Is it true you have walked the Outside and returned?" "Yes." "And what did you find?" "You worry I never returned. That the soul of Anasûrimbor Kellhus's writhes in some hell and a demon Ciphrang gazed upon you instead."Sadly all to applicable to the real world: This one thing every tyrant will tell you: nothing saves more lives than murder. -Merotokas, The Virtue of SinOnwars to The Great Ordeal!

  • Terry
    2018-11-27 19:55

    So, volume two of the “Aspect Emperor” series has come to a close and so far R. Scott Bakker still proves that he has the chops to pull off a multi-volume epic fantasy that not only uses the standard tropes in new and interesting ways, but that gives his characters depth, darkness, and complexity and does so with prose that is always enjoyable and sometimes downright exhilarating to read. I don’t think that I really *like* any of his characters (though Achamian, and to a lesser extent Mimara and even Sorweel, come close), but I find them all thoroughly intriguing, even when they are frustrating or repellent…or perhaps it’s because they are. Kellhus is still a fascinating cypher: a saviour who is chillingly amoral and manipulative, but whose ultimate aims and decisions on how best to reach them seem maddeningly right. Achamian, the ostensible hero of the tale, comes across at best as a petty cuckold hazarding ridiculous risks (for himself and others) for the sake of ill-feelings and wounded pride, and at worst as a monomaniacal menace who is little more than a tool that could lead to the utter destruction of all mankind. Kosoter and his pack of Sranc scalpers (esp. the mysterious Nonman mage Cleric) are always an intriguing bunch and watching their inner dissolution on the trail to the Library of Sauglish as they become pared down to a nub, leaving only their most essential (and repellent) characteristics is fascinating. I have to admit that I found the struggle for power at the heart of Kellhus’ empire in Momemn a little less captivating (probably because I find Esmenet a less interesting character than some of the others), but the glimpses we get into the dysfunctional and super-powered Dûnyain family (from “Uncle Holy” Maithanet right on down to dear little psycho Kelmomas) is always a fun train wreck to watch. And Sorweel, Serwa and Moënghus? Let’s just say I’m intrigued to see where and how the heck they end up.While much of the story is devoted to either having two of the main plot threads cover huge distances of geography (Kellhus & the Great Ordeal and Achamian & the Skin Eaters) or another main thread devoted to plunging into the labyrinthine intrigues of the slowly dissolving imperial court (with Esmenet, Maithanet, and Kelmomas taking centre stage) and thus at times it can seem that not a lot happens in a relatively large span of pages, there are some really exciting, edge-of-your-seat type moments on display. Whether it’s the kick-ass fight that Cleric and Achamian have with (view spoiler)[Wutteät, the seemingly undead Father of Dragons (hide spoiler)] in the bowels of the Library of Sauglish, or the psycho machinations of ‘little’ Kelmomas in the hidden mazes of the Imperial Palace, or the endless sea of hording Sranc inundating a portion of the Great Ordeal in the midst of the ruins of mankind’s first great empire, or even the somewhat confusing but thoroughly intriguing mystery of the White-Luck Warrior and his seemingly time-warped journey through the Three Seas, there’s more than enough to maintain a reader’s interest. The Cleric and Achamian thread was especially intriguing to me as the entire scenario seemed like some untold tale taken from _The Silmarillion_ and twisted in incomprehensible and often lurid ways. It was as-if (view spoiler)[ Gil-Galad (hide spoiler)] went insane, lost his memory, and went adventuring with an even darker version of Túrin and his outlaw buddies and they just happened to stumble upon (view spoiler)[ Ancalagon the Black or even Glaurung (hide spoiler)] and had a magical slugfest in the heart of the ruins of Nargothrond.Ultimately Bakker seems to strike a nice balance between moving the story forward and taking time to flesh out his characters and events. One could argue that some of the storylines don’t move forward (certainly geographically and sometimes plot-wise) as far, or as quickly, as one might wish, but ultimately I never felt bored with Bakker’s pace, or thought that he was sacrificing the story in the name of broadening his horizons or navel-gazing (I’m looking at you GRRM). Despite this nice balance, however, I still have a creeping fear that leads me to ask the question: Can Bakker wrap up this story in only one more volume given the relative leisure with which he has unfolded it to this point? As noted above I don’t in any way view his unhurried pace as a bad thing and I appreciated the way in which it allowed events to seemingly unfold organically and characters (even peripheral ones) to grow in interesting and realistic ways. It’s just that in looking back and seeing that approx. 2/3 of the apparent page count allocated for the story has been expended and then looking forward to see what he still needs to cover I really hope he isn’t forced to rush to the finish in order to reach the climax of the story in only one more volume. After all he is already working with a large cast, many with significant ties to the previous series who are still only beginning to be fully sketched out at this point. How will they develop? Should they have even been introduced? It's certainly nowhere near as bad as GRRM spinning out of control and adding viewpoint characters, locations, and subplots to an absurd degree, but is at least mildly analogous and makes me squirm a bit. Bakker’s also working with some pretty significant (and indeed numerous) plotlines that need to not only resolve, but also dovetail with each other to some extent, none of which seem to have their ultimate goal in sight yet. That being said, at the end of the day I have faith that he has the chops to pull it off...don’t let me down R. Scott Bakker!Also posted at Shelf Inflicted

  • Search
    2018-12-13 00:58

    An Overwhelming experience. Its shocking how this, a work of words rises above, transcends words. With this series Bakker has become Tolkiens lost, maniacally, diabolically perverted, philosophical twin. If Tolkien was the creator of fantasy as it stands today, Bakker is its proud defiler. This man is pure evil to write what he writes and still command the adoration and awe of the reader, in-spite of the disgust, in-spite of the awareness of the mutilation.

  • Therese Arkenberg
    2018-11-18 22:04

    Fifty pages in, I realized I had come to approach this as a horror story rather than epic fantasy, as if I was reading Stephen King or the Lovecraft Unbound anthology. In the opening chapters, Bakker succeeds in making forests scary. Maybe if I'd seen the Blair Witch project or played that Slenderman game longer, this would not be news to me, but I grew up among friendly, sunlit trees. The same monumental gloom that pervades the Nonman fortress our intrepid heroes (or greed-driven antiheroes, either way) barely escaped in the last book lives on in the black forest of the Mop. Which is, by the way, overrun with Sranc. A Sranc is to a Nonman what Tolkein's Orcs were to the Elves, blasphemous parodies, except unfortunately for Bakker's characters the Nonmen are already twisted, creepy, and dangerous. The Sranc are even worse--bestial, violent, equal-opportunity rapists, and worst of all omnipresent in stunning profusion.As if that weren't bad enough, it appears that the vision of Mimara's Judging Eye is in fact reliable. This disappoints me a little for reasons described in my review of the previous book, but also adds layers upon layers of metaphysical horror, as pretty much every character we know appears damned. Bakker's running a risk here of the reader giving up in sheer despair-induced apathy, but for now everything seems confused enough that there's still hope for some sort of emotionally satisfying conclusion for somebody, I suppose. But really there are a handful of characters who, if the series ends with them being dragged to hell, will have me perfectly satisfied if the No-God succeeds in shutting off this world from what has to be the vilest Heaven ever. Perhaps that's going to be the twist ending. If so, you heard it here first.Speaking of which, I also placed a bet early in the book that Sorwheel was the White-Luck Warrior. This would provide purpose to his ambling subplot, and after all he is clearly subject to some interest from the goddess Yatwer. But was I right? If I was, I couldn't tell you, because of spoilers. Given the White-Luck Warrior appears to exist and move in time quite differently from ordinary people, his identity may be unprovable until the last pages anyway.The White-Luck Warrior, whoever he is, is sent by the Gods against Anasurimbor Kellhus. Kellhus himself is after the Consult, servants of the No-God--so he is in fact doing something that would be helpful to the Gods, but the Gods themselves can't see this because they're blind to the machinations of the No-God. Thus the Gods have turned against Kellhus because he sees more than they can. Is this a metaphor for Kellhus and the Dunyain vs humankind in general? Quite probably. Kellhus aside for the moment, if there was one Anasurimbor the White-Luck warrior were to succeed in killing, Kelmomas is very, very high on my list. He's a grating combination of whining five year old (Bakker depicts the whining so well I wonder if he has some of that in his life?) and sociopath about to stab you in the eyeball. I still can't figure out what the kid wants, since his beloved "Mommeeee" Esmenet is a mere mortal besides him, but he's not seeking world domination yet so in the scale of things, he just seems petty and bratty. Yes, it says something about this series that the "petty brat" commits murder via stabbing-in-the-eyeballs. I enjoyed the scene where big brother Inrilatas completely unnerved him, not because I like the grotesquely unhinged Inrilatas so much as I hate Kelmomas. But during a particularly tense scene, Esmenent and her companions spent all their time worrying about innocent little Kelli (to be fair, Esmenet is in fact a mere mortal compared to him and has no idea how bad he is) and completely forgot his much more interesting elder sister, Thelliopia. Thelli reminds me a bit of Luna Lovegood in a darker universe, with a penchant for designing her own clothes (with Luna-esque love for creative and glittery things, and if I'm gravely misremembering Miss Lovegood, my apologies) and also seeing to the truth at the root of all things, because she's an Anasurimbor. She also may be located on the autistic spectrum, although with the Anasurimbor influence it's hard to tell, and the characters wouldn't have the language to identify that anyway. At the least she's much less grating and far more interesting than Kelmomas, plus happens to be one of the few female characters without a history of prostitution. Don't get me wrong, sex workers deserve stories, too. But when I start noticing and perhaps planning a drinking game around how every woman in a story is depicted, that may be a call for change.Yes, we get some additional sex worker characters, in a way that actually makes sense given the narrative and allows some reflective pathos on Esmenet's part. In justice, we also have the Swayal Sisterhood, who are really really awesome--the sorcery in general in this story has some amazing visuals. Also, Bakker does a solid job illustrating the mostly-male Great Ordeal covering up the threatening realization that women can be powerful enough to work sorcery by hiding it under facade of horniness and dirty jokes. Because when a woman is powerful enough to threaten you, you pretend she's only a ****, and presumably this makes you feel better. The Great Ordeal finds itself so enmired in awfulness and Sranc that I can even pity them despite how much this worldbuilding enjoys its casual misogyny.Our moral compass Achaimian may turn out not to be a moral compass at all--his willingly leading most of the Skin Eater mercenaries to their deaths in pursuit of his Dunyain conspiracy theory perhaps should have tipped me off--but he and Mimara especially start going off the rails while in a Nonman-induced drug haze. There's also the lovely snarl of whether Achaimian, in being against Kellhus, is unconsciously serving the interests of Kellhus' enemies the Consult and the No-God. Mimara even wonders if her Judging Eye is revealing his damnation because he's a sorcerer, or because he's helping bring about the Second Apocalypse. This is a motive/effect snarl I haven't seen in any other novel (leave your suggestions in the comments if you have) and it will keep me with this series even if the grimdark sometimes gets grating.Although while we're talking about motives, and Mimara, and depictions of women, the scene where Mimara tries to refuse the drug out of her mother's instinct (because having a fetus growing in your body automatically awakens maternal instinct, nevermind if your relationship with your own mother is strained because she sold you as a child into abuse so horrible and dehumanizing that you learned not to consider it abusive before you hit puberty)...I did a double-take strong enough to launch the book across the room. Really now?It's perhaps a bit petty of me to harp on these casual slip-ups, but I guess reading almost 600 pages of such relenting grimdark (drawn on by delectable motive snarls and powerful imagery, my own drug of choice) will make you that much less charitable. It also became harder to deny that sometimes Bakker's gambles with prose get out of hand. I'm pretty certain in one instance things are described as at their "nadir" when they're actually at zenith (although his word choice in general is a masterpiece of the unexpected, so maybe I shouldn't assume). And then he writes of two characters releasing "black-haired grunting" and "high blonde cries," which if it was coming from a friend of mine would be a signal to gently stage an intervention. Perhaps with the help of the Eye of Argon.The story ends with plenty of juicy cliffhangers, and I realize I have faith that this trilogy will be wrapped up in a more satisfying way than the first. If it takes a trilogy of trilogies to tell the tale of the Second Apocalypse, though, I'll be there the whole way, because reading these books is an experience like no other. Grunts with hair color aside, the epic scale and genuine creepiness become an addictive thrill. I'm always saddened to read the last few pages, while usually I love to gobble books as quickly as possible. Whether I'll be tagging the final book "apocalypses that weren't" hangs in the air. I could almost see Bakker writing an ending where the Consult wins--he's that brutal--and frankly I almost want to see it, because it would be just that awesome on an unparalleled scale. Also, the Gods are dicks and most of my favorite characters are damned anyway, so what do we have to lose?This review is cross-posted fromStory Addict.

  • Terence
    2018-12-07 19:08

    NB: There are spoilers galore in this review so be warned. Also be warned that I make no allowances for not having read the previous books so there are many allusions and references that will make no sense to the uninitiated.R. Scott Baker continues to deliver on the promise shown in The Judging Eye and its predecessor series, The Prince of Nothing. As with the first book, this one follows three paths:Momemn: As the Great Ordeal marches north and Kellhus cuts off all communication between it and the Empire, fissures continue to develop and widen. Fanayal, the deposed Fanim Padirajah, appears out of the desert to conquer Iothiah and by the end of the book is besieging the capital itself. Esmenet's hold on power is tenuous not just because she is a woman in a patriarchal society straight out of the Old Testament but because she is a damned woman - a "whore." But it's her obsession with her children (especially after Kelmomas murders Samarmas) that scares Maithanet into staging a coup. Outside of the Palace, the Cults, in particular Yatwer's, are increasingly vocal in their opposition to the Anasurimbor dynasty. The Hundred Gods cannot "see" the No-God or recognize its threat so they can only regard Kellhus as an enemy.Bakker's theology is one of the more unique aspects of the series. Unlike Erikson's or Cook's idea of ascendant mortals, or Tolkien's Christian-derived Valar, the gods of Earwa (or the demons, if you're Fanim) know nothing of human suffering or compassion and appear to move in the world without regard to their worshippers.The Momemn sections were the weakest parts of the book for me if only because Esmenet, the chief POV (the other being the sociopath Kelmomas), is such a cryer* and willfully obtuse. She was much smarter and better than this in The Prince of Nothing. Motherhood appears to have made her stupid since it's her refusal to recognize that her children are 1/2 Dunyain(!) that undermines her position as Empress.The Great Ordeal: Here we continue to follow Sorweel. At the moment, he is protected from the Anasurimbors' Dunyain sight by Yatwer and has been accepted as a Believer-King, a believer in Kellhus's divinity and an ally, not a hostage. Sorweel believes he is meant to assassinate the Aspect-Emperor but when he becomes part of a hostage exchange with the Nonmen of Ishterebinth (the last Mansion in Earwa), all his assumptions are overturned.These sections dwell on Sorweel's increasing confusion as he becomes a valued member of the Ordeal, comes to understand that its goal is "good," but still feels he must avenge his father and come to terms with what he thinks Yatwer wants.I think Sorweel plays a similar role to Cnaiur, the Scylvendi chief from The Prince of Nothing. A "regular" mortal who can stand apart from Kellhus's manipulation. He's not as strong or unique a character as Cnaiur was, however. The Scylvendi was an implacable force of nature (shades of Karsa Orlong from the Malazan Book of the Fallen). The Sakarpi king is a naive boy whose protection comes from a enigmatic god's "blessing."The Slog of Slogs: My favorite sections are those told from Drusus Achamian's and Mimara's POVs - their trek (accompanied by the Skin Eaters) across the Sranc-infested north to Sauglish's Great Library. Here, Bakker gives freest rein to his philosophical ruminations. Not for every reader, for myself it made fascinating reading and it didn't slow the story down at all.In this first read, the theme that dominates is the myriad relationships between belief and reality. Examples include: The Ordeal's belief in Kellhus vs. what he really is (and what his motivations are); the Skin Eaters' belief in Achamian's motives vs. what his real goal is; Achamian's belief in what moves Lord Kosoter vs. the truth; Esmenet's belief in the love of her son, Kelmomas vs. Kelmomas's Dunyain nature; the belief of Yatwer's worshippers vs. her motives; (broadly speaking) the difference between the World vs. the Outside; or the nature of sorcery (which imposes the sorceror's beliefs on the World's reality, and explains why its practitioners are damned). And more permutations could be listed.The Dunyain have, perhaps, come closest to true perception but at the expense of emotions like love and compassion. But, then, Bakker's cosmos bears greater resemblance to H.P. Lovecraft's uncaring, amoral universe than to Middle Earth. And - yet - souls are damned or saved and (judging from what Mimara sees with her "judging eye") saved by those very emotions that the Dunyain have eschewed and that the religions of Earwa barely recognize.All three threads end in cliffhangers: In Momemn, Esmenet and Maithanet reconcile only to have Maithanet assassinated by the White-Luck Warrior, and the rebel armies of Fanayal appearing at the city's gates. The Ordeal ends with a bloodied but still intact host approaching Golgotterath, and Sorweel and the Anasurimbors Serwa and Moenghus journeying to Ishterebinth, which has become an ally of the Consult in the two thousand years since the First Apocalypse. The Slog ends with only Achamian and Mimara surviving to reach Ishual, only to find it a deserted ruin.In all this I've hardly mentioned the titular "white-luck warrior" because he remains an enigma. Some parts of the Momemn sections are told from his POV. He exists both within and outside of the World and perceives everything that comes before and everything that comes after. In that sense, he's what the Dunyain aspire to be but his origins and motives remain unexplained (I see a set up for an exploration of free will vs. determinism in the final volume).I have no idea where Bakker is going to end up with this series and so look forward to The Unholy Consult, which can't come out too soon for me.Highly recommended.* I'm surprised Esmi hasn't gone blind from all the tears she's shed (or collapsed from dehydration). I swear that every page mentions - at some point - tears or crying or incipient crying.

  • Corey James Soper
    2018-12-06 00:53

    I always find books like this difficult to review, because I acknowledge whilst I enjoyed it, most people would find it pretty tiresome. The premise, of Neitzschean superman let loose in a medieval Near East with a singular mission to prevent The Apocalypse may raise an eyebrow or two, and when it comes to the super-powers of the Anasurimbor Bakker resorts to a fair amount of hand-waving and obfuscation. It works because it does, and like the Believer-Kings, you just have to accept it. We take it on board - the premise is fascinating. It's not really a fantasy novel at all - more speculative fiction with a medieval bent; Dune with swords. The homage/subversion of the Fellowship trope (A wizard whose wise because, like Socrates, because he knows nothing etc)is probably the strongest arc of the new series, plumbing the Ancient North you'll remember from the dreams of the first trilogy. This is brilliantly accomplished, but a little too Tolkein. Bakker's answer to the Elves, the mad Nonmen are a brilliant look at how ugly immortality can be, and this delves into their world. It's Apocalypse Now meets Lord of the Rings, and its brilliant. The other arc, featuring Kellhus' lengthy march to Golgotterath to squish the Consult is the true Slog of Slogs, and reminiscent of the Holy War of the first series - Bakker's descriptions of warfare are inspired: somehow brutally realistic and the airy stuff of the heroic epic in one. Sorweel remains my favourite character of the series, and by far the most human. However, the plotting back home on the Andiamine Heights is badly accomplished, glib and ultimately meaningles. It's just a plot arc to fill space and increase the stature of Kelhus all the more.Stylistically, it is dark. People say A Song of Ice and Fire is dark, but this series makes ASOIAF look like an episode of The Tweenies. Bakker is controversial, yes. He plays with the unheimlichkiet with reckless abandon, and the Inchoroi are a disturbing bunch - when people aren't being raped in their wounds by Sranc their faces are coming apart in tendrils, or they're eating each other or selling their children into prostitution. Bakker takes the latest craze for grimdark to the nth degree, with all the slavery and crushing depression that necessitates. It is a little infantile, and it grates.The prose is purple in the extreme. A lot of people will find that off-putting, and even I, a sucker for the over-long sentence find it grates. (Also, Mr Bakker, please never use the phrase 'death came swirling...'. Your editor must have missed how often you use it, and honestly it is total shit.) The wanky in-universe philosophy stuff gets on my nerves (I never read the quotes that open the chapters) and breaks the character's sense of voice persistently. They exist because Bakker has a universe-sized axe to grind about all the silly little things we untermenschen believe in - I suppose the price we pay for grandiose literature is a grandiose ego.It's a thrilling read because it's big, it's new, and it's no-holds-barred. The world being at stake is normally a cliche, but Bakker takes that trope so seriously, with such back to the wall tension, that it works. There's realism - of a sort.But don't be deceived - the Bakkerverse has very little to redeem it. There are no laughs in The Second Apocalypse. No Joe Abercrombie or Pratchett quips, no GRRM gentle irony. It's the closest thing to a medieval dystopia you'll read. All loves end in betrayal, all faith is an illusion, and nothing is really worth fighting for anyway - except that the fate which befalls you if you fail is so unimaginably awful.

  • Rosanna
    2018-11-29 22:54

    The originality is back!! For those disappointed in Bakker’s previous book, The Judging Eye—due to its complete knockoff of Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring— Bakker more than redeems himself with The White Luck Warrior. Only Bakker can get away with combining the extremely bizarre and grotesque, while remaining philosophical and intellectually stimulating. This book has it all: an evil, murderous child infatuated with his mother, sranc who couple with the dead in the most gruesome way imaginable, an Empress consumed with power to the point of losing her original self, a non-man who supplies a drug to his followers and in return gains worship, a damaged whore who can open her “third” eye and see the sins and damnation of her fellow companions, a wizard who has forsaken his school, his god and his wife and has let his desire to gain vengeance overtake his higher thinking skills, and a young warrior who can communicate with an Earth goddess—Yatwer—bent on assassination. Bakker manages to combine high level action with graphic battle sequences, all the while showing the emotional strain and psyches of the people involved. This book is wonderfully written and full of interesting twists. (view spoiler)[Esmenet hires an assassin to kill Maithanet and just when the two recognize their misunderstandings for one another and try to reconcile, Maithanet is murdered. Here we see just how fully power and Kellhus’ manipulating words have corrupted Esmenet. Immediately Esmenet is “speaking oil” to curry favor with the onlookers and saying that Kellhus ordered Maithanet’s death. She does not shed one tear for her brother-in-law; instead she puts on her mask and acts the roll of Empress. It will be interesting to see how the empire holds together without Maithanet helping to advise. Oh, and what about Kelmomas. Isn’t he a very talented, gifted little boy? So loveable and innocent, not capable of harm? Well, maybe not. He has turned into a homicidal, evil genius who is hiding in the palace and living off his victims. Meanwhile, Esmenet and Mimara think he’s the only child capable of love. Boy, I can’t wait to see their reaction when they find out the truth. I don’t know if Esmenet will be able to survive the news, especially if she finds out that Kelmomas murdered Sammi. The last shocking revelation: Mimara carries Achamian’s child. Now that puts a strain on things. Achamian loves Esmenet. Esmenet’s child is Mimara. Achamian views Mimara as his child. A little incestuous I’d say. Again I’m very curious to see Esmenet’s reaction; not that she has any right to be mad after her betrayal. I still wonder how things will end. Ok and I have to mention Kellhus and the Men of the Ordeal. Things don’t look good on that front. They seem to be losing the war, despite Kellhus’ best efforts. Kellhus’ origins still remain shrouded in mystery. Here’s my guess and it is only a guess, so don’t hold me accountable. I believe Kellhus might have been created by the consult and the great twist will be he—master of all and great manipulator—was manipulated himself into thinking he was helping to defeat the consult. I could be wrong but that’s my guess. (hide spoiler)] Go read the book. It is fantastic. Bakker remains a master of fantasy. I can’t wait till the last book comes out.

  • Anthony Ryan
    2018-11-24 22:58

    Epic fantasy through the prism of Nietzschian philosophy, all rendered in compelling but exquisite prose. Highly recommended.

  • Tammy
    2018-11-22 20:50

    Even for Scott Bakkers' high standards, this was an amazing book. Epic, Rewarding, Delicious.

  • Phil
    2018-12-12 22:52

    Here's a extract from my review, full link: I read the Prince of Nothing several years ago, I was awestruck at the dimension of the characters, the depth of the plot, the ingenious, tangible and inflated world building and the philosophical/anthropological exploration found in the protagonists insights while they marched to war. I read that this last aspect (mostly so in the author's case) is seen for some as an author who is overreaching, spreading to far into the complex breakdown of the human psyche, desires and passions but I tend to disagree. You really don't have to be overly learned to enjoy Bakker's work. Still, as I'm sure I'm not alone, I probably missed on some principle dissection and have to admit that the prose can get tiresome and wander mostly around suffering which could draw away its share of potential readers.Concerning The White-Luck Warrior, like its predecessors, I delightedly found an intricate work of thoughtful, lengthily descriptive and engaged epic Fantasy. There are times while reading the book that I felt a hundred miles away from the common tropes like the prophetical farm boy looking for a special artefact to help him in fighting the evil wizard but the roots are still presents and, stripped off of Bakker's particular touch, it remains true in its foundations to the references of epic Fantasy. The hero is turned out into several all-powerful or inspired human beings with a couple of dubious beacons at their head and the evil wizard is Mog-Phaurau, the No-God. Although, the humans themselves could be the greatest evil of all...To move the plot forward, the threads found in WLW are the same that started in The Judging Eye. There is no new major point of view and in the end, it's basically (and I know some may have grown tired of the term) a bridging novel. Many trilogies have them and this is not an exception. Still, the ending of the book is satisfying but I'll get to it later. The stotylines follow specifically Achamian and Mimara, Sorweel and co, Proyas and Kellhus, Kelmomas and Esmenet and finally a point of view of a point of view (you have read correctly).That one is the actual namesake of the book, the White Luck Warrior himself. Frankly, I'm quite perplexed as to the reason behind that choice for the name of the book. There are only three apparitions of the 'thing' and they could be considered as epigraphs. The principle of a being seeing himself living and acting while grasping all the possibilities these actions could take him to is unorthodox and complicated. Still, we should see more of him in the following book and he could become more interesting or at least, a puzzling perspective or variable.

  • Neil Pearson
    2018-11-29 00:00

    I'm not sure if Bakker was being meta but this book really feels like the oft quoted "slog of slogs". While "the judging eye" felt pacier than the previous books, this one seemed to reset the balance. I think this is partly due to the chapters being very long meaning we only drop in on Momemn's story 3/4 times throughout the book.Negatives aside though there are still some great moments. Cleric is one of the most tragic "elves" I've read about and the Quirri storyline feels like a fantasy version of "Requiem for a dream". Sorweel becomes a lot more interesting/likeable in this installment too, which is a relief, and the next generation of Anusurimbors become ever more fascinating and entertaining.What holds this series together for me though is the fact that I still don't have a clue whether the main character is good, evil, crazy or a mixture of the three. So while I'm disappointed in the pacing of this book I'm still in for the long haul, although it seems like Bakker has a lot to cover if the second act of the story is to have any meat.

  • [redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.]
    2018-11-24 03:02

    Mind = blown.

  • Sotiris Karaiskos
    2018-11-23 22:57

    Κουραστικό βιβλίο, διαβάζοντας το είχα την αίσθηση ότι παρακολουθούσα κουλτουριάρικο road movie όπου οι πρωταγωνιστές προχωράνε και προχωράνε φιλοσοφώντας ακατάπαυστα, έχοντας που και που ένα ακατανόητο ξέσπασμα που εμείς καλούμαστε να το ερμηνεύσουμε. Ακόμα, όμως, και στις περιπτώσεις όπου ξεφεύγουμε από αυτό το μοτίβο ο συγγραφέας καταφεύγει ξανά στον υπερβολικό συναισθηματισμό που αγγίζει τα όρια του συναισθηματικού εκβιασμού, με ακόμα περισσότερες εξομολογήσεις από θλιμμένες πουτάνες και λοιπά κακοποιημένα άτομα. Υπάρχουν, φυσικά, και κάποιες ελάχιστες σκηνές δράσης όμως η απόδοση τους είναι πολύ βαρετή για να βελτιώσει πρόσκαιρα την κατάσταση.Οπότε στο τέλος απλά... βαρέθηκα και διάβαζα με το ζόρι για να δω πού θα καταλήξει η ιστορία και τελικά δεν νομίζω ότι καταλήγει πουθενά. Με αυτό το υποκειμενικό δεδομένο η βαθμολογία μου είναι ανάλογα χαμηλή και θα χρειαστεί αρκετή σκέψη για να αποφασίσω αν θα φτάσουν στο τέλος της σειράς.

  • Thomas Edmund
    2018-12-04 20:57

    First of all - I rate Bakker's The Darkness that Comes before as one of my favourite trilogies of all time. And I have to say when Judging Eye came out I was most disillusioned. Where D.T.C.B was populated with strong characters and forboding, The Aspect Emperor seems bogged down in the petty factitions that previously formed the background of Bakker's writing but wasn't the key focus.White Luck Warrior does improve on the Judging Eye however. More of significance happens, each of the three story arcs makes a leap worthy of a stand alone novel, even if Bakker appears to be falling into the fantasy trap of dragging his epic into more and more books.See, I was dissapointed when the first trilogy didn't really feature much on the second apocalypse - now that Aspect Emperor chugging along, I'm feeling the same dissapointment as it becomes apparent this trilogy is merely an interlude. The revelations seem only self important, the tension feels contrived and if I hadn't enjoyed D.T.C.B then I don't think I would have related to any of the characters at all.Of course much of this rant is due to high standards - White Luck Warrior is high powered fantasy, highly recommended and I still can't wait for the next one.edit 2016: Re-read in prep for upcoming The Great Ordeal.It's funny what a bit of time and experience will do for a reader. In many ways The White Luck Warrior reads the a better second half for The Judging Eye, which I liked for seeing where the characters went, but wanted more action than catching up after 20 years. White Luck delivers on the action part and has tonnes of action to satisfy any hard core fantasy fan. The twists are in my opinion even more powerful than GRR Martin's at times because the cast is less diluted with characters. And as gritty as Martin's work is Bakker pulls far less punches and in my opinion disturbs on almost every level (not sure if thats a compliment or not)Weirdest thing - wasn't really much white luck warrior involved (assuming I didn't miss a metaphor somewhere and the warrior isn't a new character). Which exemplifies the best thing about this book in generating to many freaking questions one cannot wait to get them answered.

  • Goran Zidar
    2018-11-12 22:09

    Let me preface this review by saying upfront that I really enjoyed the previous books by this author. The three books from the first series, and the first book of this series, are among my favourite books. I found the world building and the characterisation to be excellent and I was very much looking forward to reading this book.With that behind me I am very disappointed in the result. For me the entire novel exists to get the characters from point A to point B in the largest number of words possible.In all of Nothing much happened. Sure there were battles, and political coups and plenty of deaths but in terms of the overall storyline it was pretty devoid of anything new or interesting. Kellhus appears only a handful of times and those are pretty brief. Achamian – who is one of my favourite characters – says very little and in fact is gagged for a large portion of the story. Esmenet appears to have become a paranoid idiot and the Consult are almost entirely absent.If you can slog your way through to the end (the slog of slogs) there is a nice bit of action to end on. Plus the Non-man, Cleric, grows into an interesting character but this is scant reward for the 600 or so pages before this finally happens.In short the only “Great Ordeal” was the one I had trying to get through it. I will still probably read the next one but rather than being excited by the prospect I will doing merely because I’m something of a completionist, but if it ends up being anything like this one, I doubt I’ll read anything more from this author.

  • Jason
    2018-12-09 01:08

    There is much to like and much to dislike in this series, much and more of it in this single volume. WLW may be the best of both trilogies. The story flips back and forth between three main threads. Achamian and Mimara's remains my favorite, and the tragic Nonman Cleric featured heavily there. They face another epic danger from the ancient past, a part which stood toe-to-toe in quality with Achamian's final confrontation in the first trilogy.Esmenet's seat of power continues to sway in the heights, a precarious position on every page. Her family is more dangerous than any outside force. Her sons continue to steal the show, and I enjoyed those parts featuring her youngest far more than I did her own.We watch Kellhus' adventures through the eyes of Sorweel, the White-Luck Warrior himself, along with side bits in third-person. I find this character only slightly more interesting than Kellhus himself, who remains an empty ideal stripped bare of all mystery in the first trilogy. We've seen bits and pieces of this before. Sranc for orcs, Nonmen for dwarves and elves... Fantasy regurgitated into a dark Middle-Eastern smorgasbord with a dose of philosophy, rancid with the basest behaviors of the basest of men.And what does that say of me wanting to read the next one?

  • Dean Wangerin
    2018-11-25 23:13

    I can't tell you how much I loved this book. Like the first book (The Judging Eye), this book totally blew me away. The writing style is a delight to read - it's elaborate, but without being overly detailed. The characters are fascinating, dark and intricate. Character conversations aren't fluff; each is important, and when they speak, it's worth listening to. You get the feeling that the fantasy world they are in is real, full of an ocean of other history and mysteries, rather than a narrow playset designed specifically for the characters to traverse in. And the action, the plot... frankly everything is great. Dark but great.The only part that dragged was the middle to late parts of the "Slog"; that became a bit of a slog for us poor readers as well as the characters. A bit more aggressive editing would have paid off on that story arc.Overall I am loving this series. I'm going to go so far to say that the series is one of my Top 10 all time favorites!

  • Joy
    2018-12-02 23:08

    This remindes me of the Dune books in some ways. Very complex plot, with much of the explanation of why and how hinted at rather than spelled out. Intellectual concepts and not an easy read. Expect to take your time. The protagonist is still not clearly good or evil.

  • John
    2018-11-15 02:50

    It should probably go without saying, but the second book in a series--and a series that is intimately tied to a trilogy that preceded it--is not an ideal place to jump in. If you haven't read Bakker's other work, you can't start here. The White-Luck Warrior continues where The Judging Eye left off, following the same basic threads of story: Sorweel, son of Harweel, the young King of Sakarpus traveling north with the Great Ordeal toward Golgotterath; Esmenet presiding over a crumbling empire as Empress, more concerned about her children (including the psychopathic youngest whose true nature she is oblivious to) than her empire; Psatma Nannaferi and the Yatwerian cult plotting the demise of Kellhus and his empire; and Achamian, Mimara, and the Skin Eaters traveling toward Sauglish (The Coffers!) and ultimately toward Ishual and Kellhus's origins. Re-reading The Judging Eye immediately prior to diving in here, I was struck by how tightly structured each novel is, with a relatively limited (for epic fantasy) number of POV characters and plot threads, each of which we get to inhabit for an extended period. Within each chapter, we do jump around a bit: with the Great Ordeal, we see things not only through Sorweel's perspective, but also returning to Nersei Proyas, a significant character from the first trilogy who receded well into the background for The Judging Eye), and even to Kellhus himself, which surprised me a bit--his remoteness and the increased opacity of his character made sense to me when reading the first book, but he's still plenty mysterious, so no worries on that score). We also get a number of scenes from an impersonal POV, showing the battles and progression of the armies of the Ordeal. Sorweel's character, who I couldn't really get into in The Judging Eye, started to grow on me here as he wrestles with competing loyalties, competing truths, and some coming-of-age stuff. He's blessed by Yatwer, given powers to hide from the Anasurimbor and, he believes, eventually assassinate Kellhus, but he's also coming to believe in the war that Kellhus is waging. And he's falling in love (or lust--he is a teenage boy, after all) with Anasurimbor Serwa. So yeah, he's growing on me. In Momemn, we're still following Esmenet and Kelmomas, but I appreciated where the storyline went here, spiraling out of any one character's control. I also felt like I was developing a greater understanding of Kelmomas's character: we'd seen already that he had a large portion of Kellhus's ability to stand aloof from events, to act with complete amorality to achieve his ends, but it became clear to me just how thoroughly these abilities are wedded to the very childish goal of having his mother all to himself. He's almost completely blind to any other considerations, except as they touch on his goal or possible impediments to it. It gives me some small hope that he could grow out of this phase (like I said: it's a small hope). Meanwhile, Esmenet's storyline got more interesting as the distrust that Kelmomas has sown between her and Maithanet flowers into her attempt to arrest him and his subsequent coup. Esmenet the fugitive was, for me, more interesting than Esmenet the Empress. And then that arc wraps up with the Fanim Fanayal ab Kascamandri showing up to besiege Momemn (I guess I should add that this Fanim storyline was its own storyline as well, bringing together the rebel Fanim with Malowebi, a representative of Zeum trying to decide where his nation might offer its support to break the empire without suffering Kellhus's retribution if unsuccessful). And then there's the Slog of Slogs, where we gradually discover that nothing was quite as it seemed. They have a skin-spy in their midst, but he seems to have more autonomy and character than any of the skin-spies we've seen before. Lord Kosoter's motives were not as simple as they seemed, and Achamian becomes a prisoner rather than the director of their expedition to Sauglish. One thing I loved about this storyline is the deeper and deeper view we get of Nonmen through Incariol. One of the things that I've been particularly conscious of in this second series is the way that Bakker plays with tropes and precursors, such as the way that Cil-Aujas echoes the Mines of Moria from Tolkien (while also being quite different). I've always been intrigued by the Nonmen, who seem like a unique take on the trope of elves in fantasy. Much like elves in Tolkien, Nonmen come before humans, they tutor them, and they are a race that is fading from the world as Men become ascendant. Yet Nonmen are, to my mind, so much richer than elves, because where elves are basically just humans who live a long time, Nonmen have a much more alien quality that at least partially derives directly from their immortality. Their memories decay, degrade, drive them insane. And with prolonged exposure to this race we get to know them better here (side note: we also get to see them in the story thread around the Great Ordeal, as Kellhus meets with emissaries who purport to be from Nil'giccas, which is interesting given that we find out that Incariol is actually Nil'giccas...). And this whole thread--and the novel as a whole, wraps up with a pretty bad-ass battle in which Achamian and Incariol don't just battle a wracu, a dragon, they fight against the FATHER OF DRAGONS. And then Achamian and Mimara get to Ishual only to find it destroyed and, apparently, deserted. And there we are. As the second of four books in the series, it's bound to be something of a bridge in the story, but overall I was quite happy with it, with the shape of the individual arcs as well as the whole. I'm about halfway through to followup,The Great Ordeal and know it will all be over far too soon and I'll be left to wait desperately for the conclusion. Given what a master of the craft Bakker is, I trust it will be epic.

  • Jeroen
    2018-11-22 23:05

    The White-Luck Warrior starts at a point in Bakker’s ongoing epic where all the stakes are raised high, and the events of the previous book – The Judging Eye – will either lead to survival or ruin. After The Judging Eye set everything up, we now enter the real tests. This is the moment when the series, the Aspect-Emperor series, will have to show what it has up its sleeve, and whether it can hold its own in comparison to other fantasy series out there.There are two main threads. The company of Achamian, Mimara and the Skin Eaters has emerged from the deeps of Cil-Aujas and is severely diminished. Their journey evolves into quite a unique thing. Not only small in number, they are also mentally struck numb and weak. Their enterprise hangs on a thread. At this moment, the time is right for the mettle of Lord Kosoter to show itself, and for the erratic Nonman Cleric to reveal his mysteries. Mimara too has to figure out her role in all this, whether to become a witch and what the purpose of her Judging Eye will be. It is interesting that only Achamian doesn’t have a clear path of development for his character. It is the people surrounding him who hold the real mysteries. And I find myself questioning the characterization of Achamian and of Mimara; especially her budding feelings for Achamian, which strike me as highly unrealistic. Fortunately, this is downplayed in the story. Since Achamian and Mimara are the main characters of this part of the story, this is a weak link. In any case, Bakker has manufactured a very interesting fellowship that hangs together by strange power relationships and mental spaces. Their adventures are very compelling with moments of creative brilliance.The second main thread is the march of the Great Ordeal. Bakker delivers some stunning battle scenes here. Emperor Kellhus has taken possession of mankind, and all nations now march with him north towards far Golgotterath. At the start of this book, the supply lines start running thin, and the great army has now reached the distance that they have to cut contact with the empire and are forced to break up into four parts to forage the plains for food. They are on their own now, and vulnerable. This is also the moment when the long-dreaded confrontations with the Sranc hordes are upon them, and the armies have been anxious about this from the very start. Then there is a handful of other storylines that add some extra layers. They involve the breakdown of the empire that Kellhus left behind. Where these Empire-chapters were a bit tedious in The Judging Eye, they turn more interesting here with the introduction of the memorable, uninhibited Inrilatas. In short, this part of the story also comes into its own. His wife Esmenet is left to deal with palace intrigue and her psychopathic offspring, and the Gods themselves seem to have turned against Kellhus. They apparently support the warlord Fanayal, and the Goddess Ur-Mother Yatwer has sent out a holy assassin, the white-luck warrior. Although the book goes by the same name, this warrior remains deeply mysterious, like Kellhus himself. I’ll put it straight. The White-Luck Warrior is about narrative pay-offs that tumble over one another, and the pay-offs of these three threads are so well done that the novel is catapulted into the top tier of best epic fantasy novels of the last decades. Bakker’s series is really something compelling and memorable.Bakker’s prose, though, is in continuous danger of being too heavy, too overwritten, and in previous books he occasionally crossed the line with strained expressions. Here, the prose still balances on the edge of collapsing into overreaching disorder, but he toned down some excess, leading to a rich prose. Also, the infusion of manufactured sayings and philosophical tidbits is confidently restrained, giving the text a more balanced feel.The way the story unfolds is like the whirring of different-sized rotors in a machine, that all unspool their narrative strands at different speeds, and they all hook into each other. The plans of Kellhus are somehow connected to the fellowship of Achamian, and the cult of Yatwer is connected to the marching army. Add to this a ferociously intelligent writing and a heavy sense of drama and theatre. I am not just invested in the story, I am wolfing down a heavy meal of a story that is aesthetically and intellectually fascinating.

  • Hugo
    2018-11-13 21:52

    Man, these just keep getting better and better. This is the second book of the second trilogy of the overarching Second Apocalypse story, the third (and last?) being released in 2015, if I'm not mistaken.The first trilogy - The Prince of Nothing - reads like a fantasy take on the first crusade to Jerusalem, coupled with elements of Dune, the Silmarillion and LoTR. Imagine Aragorn going insane, and becoming a prophet with a mission to unite the whole world under an iron rule, in order to protect it against an unspeakably perverted evil out to kill every single human being.Having achieved this, the second trilogy - The Aspect Emperor - details the ordeal of actually going out to destroy said evil, and the results of trying to do so by any means necessary, while the newly founded empire is imploding due to the insanity of the imperial family and plotting of alien gods.I admit these books aren't for everyone. They are grimdark in the very bleakest sense, there is nary the tiniest glimmer of hope found anywhere, and the characters are invariably flawed, making bad decisions and constantly suffering the consequenses. The setting is very dark, a real crapsack world where greed, bloodlust and lechery are the driving forces of most everyone. Hierarchies of power are relentless, and a human life, least of all the lives of the millions of slaves, are worth next to nothing. Above all of this, the gods offer no solace or redemption, only eternal damnation, which incidentally is the driving force and motivation of the antagonists.Bakker's language is quite dense, with plenty of references to names and places, in a manner that feels rather archaic (partly it reads like the Bible, or like I compared it earlier, to the Silmarillion). It is also partly very poetic. This is even more pronounced in this particular book - The White-Luck Warrior. There is often great beauty to be found in the tragic events that permeate the story. Bakker is a philosopher, which is noticeable for example in the different Schools of Magic, which are based on classic schools of philisophy. So, do not expect a light-hearted fantasy romp, featuring strong-jawed righteous heroes, or wizened wizards wearing pointy hats. Said wizard is more likely bound to be a drunken, cowardly loser, driven by petty revenge, and bound to repeating the same stupid mistakes over and over again.Oh, and erect phalluses. There are lots of erect phalluses. Being the distinguising mark of the antagonist (yes, really), there are plenty of erect phalluses, and heinous acts being performed by the bearers of them, mostly on dead or dying people. So, you've been warned.But, all in all, this series have become perhaps my favorite "modern" fantasy series - in close competition with Joe Abercombie's books (which, funnily I found very bleak when I first read them, but actually feature quite a bit of humor, and one or two glimpses of hope here and there - something that is entirely missing from Bakker's works). I am definitely looking forward to the next, and last, part of the trilogy.

  • V.G. Castle
    2018-12-12 01:13

    Instant favorite! Classic! Top of my list now.I gave the first book, the Darkness that Comes Before five star. After that, the entire series seemed to flunk. Even the Judging Eye felt like a dragged to me.But White Luck Warrior is an absolute redeem of the series. It's just too good. There are many actions scenes. There are twists that will keep you on the edge of your sit. There are dark scenes, violence and sex. Definitely not for the kids. There are also romance, if you can call it that. There is mother's love. A torn Prince who is not sure which side to take. Lost and mad children. There is magic and medieval war. It is also thick in philosophy.Sadly, one of the main characters died. That whore. . .The elements and story arcs I've been looking for in a novel are all here. This is the kind of book I really like to read. I couldn't ask for more. Where can I read similar books like The White Luck Warrior?10/10...A must read. R.Scott Bakker just did a good job. I can't wait to divulge on it again or read the next book.

  • Joshua
    2018-11-26 02:08

    I love it!I'm not going to mention anything about the particulars of the story; there are enough reviews about that. I think the most fascinating thing about these books is the question of who the hell the "good guys" are.I don't know!This is a moral ambiguity that would make GRRM scratch his head. It's not exactly comfortable, but it is fascinating.If you've read any of/anything about The Second Apocalypse series, you probably know that the antagonists are a VILE, ancient evil. They seem to put a lot of readers off the whole series because they feel like escapees from an Edward Lee novel. Somehow, I'm somewhat ashamed to admit, Mr. Bakker actually got me to feel a twinge of sympathy for them. And that's probably the highest praise I can give him as a writer.This series is not an simple read. It's extremely challenging to your sense of morality and what you would normally expect from fiction. Personally, I like a challenge.

  • Keith
    2018-11-30 21:06

    The latest volume in R Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing and Aspect Emperor connected series is stunningly good. Bakker's skills keep improving, and the world of this series, it's revelations and it's complexity keep getting deeper and more mind-blowing with every installment in the series. This novel is so good, it even manages to make it's preceding volume, The Judging Eye, better with what it adds to the plots and characters that were introduced in it.Kellhus has to be the most intriguing character I've ever read about, and he'll have you thinking about him and his motivations long after you've finished reading. Actually, this can apply to just about everything in this novel. If you're a fantasy fan that loves complexity, and having something to mentally chew on after you've finished reading, then you must read Bakker's series.

  • Peter
    2018-11-18 01:53

    I tend to be wary of over-complex, over wordy stories and I approached this series with only moderate expectations.The author holds back on the truth and dispenses it in miserly portions. Most of the book is one man’s search for the truth. A truth that may decide the fate of the world. It’s a fantasy story spanning concepts from the huge to the tiny. At times you might feel mired by excessive, arcane pros but then the story changes gear and the characters are running for their lives for the next 40 pages. It all combines to into a satisfying experience.I'd like to give this and the previous volume 4.5 but I can't so I'll give the previous 4 and this one 5. It’s a tough read in some respects but if you get drawn in you wont resent it.

  • Amanda Sautbine Clemmer
    2018-11-14 23:52

    This is the most recent book in Bakker's trilogy of trilogies, which started with the Prince of Nothing. Set in a fantasy world with hints of sci-fi, the first trilogy builds the world in a convincing and fascinating method--only to smash it to bits with an even better second trilogy, which reveals that the first three books were only setting the stage. I enjoyed the last book, The Judging Eye, to a great extent... but it falls short of The White Luck Warrior. This book does everything you could want it to, and more. You see new sides to old characters, pick up on fascinating details of the unfolding universe and you will be seriously shocked at some things that I can't mention because of spoilers.

  • Nathan
    2018-11-20 23:12

    The best in the series yet. The imagery is as detailed as ever, but the pace in this book picks up considerably. It was certainly the most entertaining book of the series so far. Small nit picks- Still dont like Esme, and I am not sure why the High Priestess storyline needs to be in at all. On the other hand, the end of the book has Anka in what should be one of the most cliched spots in the fantasy genre, and instead it came out as fresh and exciting. Bakker really does do it right.

  • Bruce
    2018-11-15 19:07

    This latest chapter of Scott Bakker's increasingly epic saga was for me a slight letdown following the excellence of The Judging Eye. That's not to say the book wasn't very good (thus the 4 star rating), or didn't move the story along to where it needed to be (it did). The White Luck Warrior wasn't the most difficult read in the series (the first volume still takes the cake on that front), but it was certainly the slowest. I found that the brisk, intense pace of the last two books was often brought skidding to a crawl in this one. Part of this had to do with the logistics of the main characters at this point in the story, for which an extensive series of travelogues was almost a foregone conclusion. Again, the travelogues themselves weren't poorly written, but there were times when they felt very repetitive. While I hesitate to invoke that most dreaded of fantasy literature terms - "bloat" - the thought of doing so did cross my mind.That's not to say there weren't good bits; in fact there were quite a few. Achamian & Mimara's travails on the "slog of slogs" remained interesting, and again concluded in a thrilling and unpredictable fashion. Esmanet's plotline in Momemn was great, with a number of twists I didn't see coming (including one brilliant instance of author trickery where by rights I should have seen the twist coming, a huge one at that).I found the stuff centering around the Great Ordeal itself, however, to be less successful. I think my main issue is with Sorweel, the primary narrator in that plotline, whom I don't find to be very interesting. I do think he has an important role to play in the story's conclusion (after all this buildup, he'd better), but he reads like any number of sullen teenage boys with chips on their shoulders that I've seen in dozens of other novels. To the author's credit, he did make a decent plot change toward the end that gets Sorweel out of the grinding routine he'd been stuck in for nearly two books, which hopefully will propel his character arc forward. In summary - a good continuation of the story with some nice twists ( including a couple that could be game changers) slowed down by a bit of plot stagnation to set up the final volume in the trilogy, which should be a doozy.

  • Adam Whitehead
    2018-11-21 20:00

    The Aspect-Emperor, Anasurimbor Kellhus, is leading the Great Ordeal into the heart of the Ancient North. Hundreds of thousands of troops and thousands of sorcerers are heading for Golgotterath, the seat of the vile Consult, where they plan to destroy the Ark of the Heavens and obliterate the alien Inchoroi before they can resurrect the No-God and plunge Earwa into the Second Apocalypse. After the relatively painless opening leg of the march, the Ordeal now crosses through hundreds of miles of territory infested by the vile Sranc, whose numbers blanket the earth. For Sorweel, the young King of Sakarpas who has been sworn to Kellhus's cause but continues to harbour doubts, the Ordeal is doubly a nightmare, for he also seeks to avenge the death of his father and serve the gods, who, blind to the machinations of the Consult, are offended by Kellhus's temerity and fear his power.Elsewhere, the gods' fury makes itself known as the Cult of Yatwer allies itself to the Fanim to launch a devastating challenge against the New Empire. As the Empress, Esmenet, struggles to hold the Empire against this external threat she also faces internal crises; a growing schism with Maithanet, the Shriah of the Thousand Temples, and a force for chaos and destruction which is growing much closer to home...The mercenaries known as the Skin Eaters have departed Cil-Aujas and now face a gruelling march along the 'Long Side' of the Osthwai Mountains, through a terrible forest and across vast plains to reach their destination: Sauglish, where Drusas Achamian hopes to find a map that will lead him to Ishual, the home of the Dunyain and the truth behind the Aspect-Emperor.The White Luck Warrior is the second volume of The Aspect-Emperor, itself the middle sequence of a much longer series called The Second Apocalypse. As such it carries us to the second half of the overall series and, fittingly, it raises the stakes, expands the backstory and furthers the understanding of both the characters and reader of what is happening. The previous volume in the series, The Judging Eye, was very fine but also somewhat claustrophobic and lacked a satisfying conclusion (arguably only the Cil-Aujas storyline had a real climax). The White Luck Warrior has no such issues: it is a monumentally satisfying work of epic fantasy and probably the finest volume in this subgenre published for half a decade.With this series, Bakker has taken the most basic of epic fantasy plots - a bunch of ugly bad guys want to destroy the world and wipe everyone out, only to find an ultra-powerful 'chosen one' rising to oppose them - and empowered it with motivation and ambition before not so much deconstructing it as tearing it apart and rebuilding it brick by brick. It's a work of fiendish intelligence, but also one of at times wearying nihilism and cynicism. This world is dark, cold and brutal, but the alternative is so dark and horrific that it is shown to be worth saving.The White Luck Warrior sees Bakker achieving a near-perfect balance in his work. The Prince of Nothing trilogy was packed with philosophical asides which were often fascinating, but had a tendency to slow down the narrative (the problem being not so much that they were long, just that were a lot of them). In The Judging Eye Bakker reduced these asides quite a lot, resulting in a book where it felt like he was restraining his full powers in the service of accessibility. In this book he strikes a compromise between the two: Bakker's philosophical points are here locked to the story and the characters and made to service them. So discussions about the nature of belief, faith, damnation and redemption are relevant to the actual plot, the nature of the Outside and the gods, and cast intriguing new light on the nature of sorcery and the precise motivations of the Consult, the Inchoroi and Kellhus himself.The plot is perfectly pitched as it moves between three primary storylines: the Great Ordeal as it battles its way through hordes of Sranc, mostly related by the young Sorweel; the long journey of the Skin Eaters, as told by Achamian and Mimara; and events back in the imperial capital, focusing on Esmenet and her increasingly disturbing child Kelmomas. Some other characters come in for brief periods, but the book's sharp focus on these three storylines results in a relentless pace that pushes the story forward at all times. Each chapter builds character, or reveals backstory, or hints at things to come or at things that have already passed. For a book almost 600 pages long in tradeback, there is no flab or filler, which is itself an impressive achievement.The title of the novel and its 'middle book' status recall The Warrior-Prophet, the middle volume of The Prince of Nothing, and there are echoes of that novel here: the endless march into a desolate wilderness, resulting in supply problems, whilst, unexpectedly, the words and actions of Cnaiur are still driving events two volumes after his death. Most notably, after the mostly 'quiet' Judging Eye, Bakker brings back the badass here. Massive battles and huge sorcerous conflagrations make a comeback and are handled even better than before. At the same time, Bakker doesn't repeat himself: the Sranc represent a very different enemy to the Fanim of the first series. Elsewhere, Bakker's oft-criticised (sometimes justifiably) treatment of women is reversed somewhat here, especially when the Gnosis-empowered Swayal witches enter the fray and Mimara's discovery of the Judging Eye gives her soul-stripping powers that exceed those of the Dunyain.Structurally, Bakker suddenly (and after the anti-climactic Judging Eye, unexpectedly) seems to have discovered the art of a perfect cliffhanger. To the point where he gives us no less than three of them, leaving yawning mysteries that need to be solved, characters walking into horrendous danger and huge battles about to be joined. He also deepens the sense of mystery in the series through carefully-measured revelations about the Consult, the Inchoroi and their goals (including the Consult's fixation on one particular numerical value). Expect fantasy forums to be buzzing as the full implications of these revelations are discussed in the coming months.The White Luck Warrior (*****) is a powerful, engrossing, ferociously intelligent novel that sees Bakker at the very top of his game. It leaves the reader on the edge of their seat for the concluding volumes of the quartet, The Great Ordeal and The Unholy Consult.

  • Jon
    2018-12-12 18:58

    Bakker's 2nd book in the Aspect Emperor trilogy and 5th in his Three Seas narrative ranked right up there with the preceding 4 installments. The beauty in these stories is Bakker's reinterpretation of traditional fantasy (and even science fiction) archetypes; infusing them with philosophical questions & themes, modern political theory, and most importantly a book full of wonderfully flawed and fully real characters in a surreal, hostile but human world. This was the first series to really make me feel as if Tolkien's mythology had finally been relegated to either children's story or myth white-washed by time (which may have been Tolkien's point). Don't be fooled, Bakker's novels are wonderfully complex and often end up presenting more questions than they ultimately answer, and if you are not a fan of following characters through thousands of pages of experience, this one might not be for you. As the middle book in the second trilogy though (with one book to follow in this series and another three in a supposed final installment) the story never loses steam like it could have, and I found myself at times truly horrified and at times laughing out loud. I finished the book upset at just how bad things had gotten for the characters I'd come to love and at how long I'd have to wait for next book. I'll be in stores the day The Unholy Consult is released and I might just have to reread the entire series before it comes out!