The Ordinary


Jim Grimsley


Fantasy / Science Fiction


Date Reviewed:

September 28, 2004

s this the first book in a series? The story seemed so open ended, setting up background and plot threads that certainly aren't resolved by the story close. The story moves at such a languid pace, I assume there must be future volumes that tell the rest of the tale. I have looked on the Amazon website, but no hints there about future volumes. The plot synopsys on Amazon is misleading also - the conflict between the technology driven Hormling and the magic of the Erejhen is resolved in the first 100 pages. It seems as if there will be more of this to conflict - but that doesn't happen, at least, not in this volume.

One thing I dislike in a story is when a character says to another: "I can not explain that to you now." Jedda, the heroine, gets that remark a lot. All sorts of answers can't be given to her, unfortunately, those answers never come, and no explanation why she can't be given answers. It seems like a lame plot device - the author wants to create mystery by artificially withholding information from Jedda and the reader.

Jedda and two other Hormling are trapped on this side of the gate when it is closed. The other two are not as innocent as they first pretend, there is some sort of conspiracy involving the trader Jedda used to work with, who had disappeared. But we never find out what this was all about. The other Hormling characters are simply discarded, never to be mentioned again, as the plot jumps in time to a whole new thread. The new thread gives hints of a mad villan, but this is not explained, and after an astonishing brief chapter of some suffering by Jedda, the climax of the story has passed and everything is now hunky dory. Huh? What was that all about? Why did Jedda have to suffer, what was the villanous portion of Jessex up to? I hate a story where "Only the hero/heroine can perform the deed to save the world", and there is no explanation of why only Jedda can save the world, or what it is she does that saves the world. After the slow pace, with long descriptions of clothes and customs (how many pages are spent on that banquet, which advances the plot not a whit?), with endless sips of wine, water and tea (these folks are well hydrated), the story finish zips by in an eyeblink, with little more than a than a few pages.

We see some conversations from Jedda's point of view. Then, the story changes to Malin's point of view, and we get an exact replay, word for word, of the same conversations, but this time we get Malin's viewpoint, and inner thoughts. Again, it does nothing to advance to the story to repeat the conversation, it seemed like padding. There is a ton of story waiting to unfold, all those answers have yet to be provided. If Malin is nearly immortal, and spends all this time learning, how is it that mere mortals know more than she? They have but one relatively short lifetime to learn magic, so how could they possibly be more advanced than Malin? It would seem there would be no one to teach her but Jessex. No mortal could write those learning volumes.

This book apparently follows Kirith Kirin, set in the same universe, but much later in time. There are way too many references to Kirith Kirin, they start to sound like commercials. How often do we discuss our ancient leaders in conversations? George Washington doesn't seem to come up as a topic of discussion all that often. I am not interested in Kirth Kirin, and I won't be reading any more books by Grimsley. I assume there are further volumes in this story, although I find no mention of that anywhere, but I won't be looking for them.