Modesitt - Soprano Sorceress

May 23, 2004

Modesitt, The Soprano Sorceress
finished it a couple of days ago and returned it - no publishing info handy.

Painters have a term for a work of art that consists of a set of standard design elements combined onto a single canvass, arranged in one of several standard forms, and then finished to suit the artist's taste: a pastiche. The difficulty in such a composition is not in the design but in the execution.

Modesitt's Soprano Sorceress is such a pastiche. The main character's personality is essentially that of his male craftsman-mages from the Recluse series. Her profession and earlier life is drawn heavily from the musician in Archform: Beauty - I am not sure which he wrote first. The world she is in is one where magic works, and working magic is created through a combination of melody and lyrics while it gets its power from accompanyment and performance quality. Our heroine is a musician who was sad in our world and was magically transported to this new world, shades of Alan Dean Foster's Jon-Tom, only unlike JT who was a "heavy metal guitarist" who played an awful lot of Beach Boys covers, Anna is an opera-trained soprano. Modesitt then advances his plot using his standard formula of longer chapters showing the primary character interspersed with short chapters of just a few paragraphs showing the various oppositional figures as they plot against the main character.

But, the test of a pastiche is not the design, but the execution. And Soprano Sorceress is a well-executed pastiche. He has five books set in this world. So far I am on the second one. I expect that I will read them until I get bored, and that I will not get bored until I finish.

I am reading a LOT of Modesitt; I need to be careful that I don't overdose and get sick of his formula and his standard licks.

Posted by Red Ted at May 23, 2004 10:17 AM
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