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Brilliantly clever, but lacking as a story

By eSPiaL, member

Mar 21, 2017: The magic system and lore of Unsong is one of the most amazingly unique and clever ideas I’ve ever come across in a story. It’s worth reading a few chapters at least just to see how ‘magic’ as a concept does not have to be constrained to the fireballs and dragons of traditional fantasy, or contained to the scientific and rational rule based ‘magic systems’ that is increasingly popular in modern fantasy. Honestly, this system puts even more established and famous ‘magic/power’ systems of authors such as Brandon Sanderson, and Wildbow to shame in terms of pure creativity and out of the box thinking.

Sadly, the story prose do not match up to the creativity of the worldbuilding. From the very beginning of Unsong, it is clear that the author is casting away traditional linear storytelling with multiple jumps in PoV, jumps in time, and mini interludes presenting snippets of information expanding the mythos. For me, this constant switching of pace, plotline, and constant interruptions completely deflated any interest I had in Unsong as a story. The constant switching of perspectives and locale make the minor characters we jump between feel like simplistic caricatures, made worse by the fact that we don’t stick with them for any significant period of time. The plot is very hard to follow, and we don’t get enough time with any of the characters to really empathize with their problems and feel any particular need to see their journeys through to the end.

I managed to make it through the first 2 arcs of the story, skimmed through a few more, before giving up in frustration at the constant leaping around that occurs.

In conclusion, while this story is amazingly creative and clever with its world building and details, it ends up reading like a bunch of experimental short stories set in the same universe.

2 of 2 members found this review helpful.
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