Book Review: The Path Of The Outcast by Gav Thorpe

The Path Of The Outcast - Header

The Path Of The Outcast promises so much, having taken so long to arrive. Everything is set up and repeated in the first two novels of Gav Thorpe’s The Path Of The Eldar omnibus that the weight of expectation you create onto The Path Of The Outcast, the demands you place on it to give you the story you want, to tell you how everything finally ends, is almost too much to ask.

I was longing for this book, I had spent so long with the characters I first met in The Path Of The Warrior that more than just needing to know how the story ends, I almost longed for it. The way that Thorpe ended The Path Of The Seer, meant that I had no choice but to read it. This was no longer the observation of three lives but rather the tales of three friends.

And yet, the book that I was expecting didn’t marry up at all to the story I received. I should have seen this coming, after all the Outcast – Aradryan – features more in name than in character in the first two books, but because The Paths of the Warrior and Seer are so repetitive in their narrative, I some how expected this book to be the same. I was expecting the same story from the third perspective and I was very, very wrong.

Being an Outcast, being away from the events already described, meant this book had a freedom. In fact, it’s so far removed from it’s two previous siblings that it almost feels wrong to say it’s related. And this created an uneasy sensation as I read it. Because I knew where it was ultimately going, because I knew that this book was the key to the questions raised in the first two being treated to such a distant plot, withdrawn and away was confusing and muddling.

That isn’t to say that the book isn’t enjoyable. The tales are much darker and much more visceral than anything that has gone before, lacking in character driven focus, we’re treated to acts of war, death and destruction on a regular basis. The first two books playing a psychological card that is thrown aside this time in favour of a much more renegade and shallow existence.

There are obvious overlaps between the books, the pivot moments and events that you expect to see are there, but somehow, the way they are portrayed this time around just doesn’t seem to work. I think because we’ve already met them twice, and painted the picture twice, when it’s skewed slightly as it is this time, when it’s glossed slightly over, or the world viewed from within rather than without it doesn’t feel right. You end up painting a new picture and that breaks the connection because it causes you conflict in your mind.

Also, as the book is very much actions speak louder than words, I never really felt I knew the characters. Their actions minutely described but their emotions not. I had been expecting to really get to know the characters, to follow the same style and tone as the first two books, to get under Aradryan’s skin and learn about him and his role in this tale and it never happened. I still don’t really know him, and the power he apparently had in the ultimate bigger picture never really being explained. It’s washed across, but left an unsatisfactory taste in my mouth.

My biggest problem though is Thorpe’s writing. I’m not sure whether it was new, or I was only now picking it up, but it almost felt like he had a list of words he couldn’t deviate from. Time and again, the same slightly sidestepped adjective appeared, and it became very off putting. It may, again and again be the perfect word to describe the shape, colour or appearance but that doesn’t mean you have to blindly stick to it. Mote being the most obvious example.

The Path Of The Outcast has left me totally disappointed with the Omnibus, I just didn’t feel it gave a fitting send off to the characters, or the pivotal events that have become so much a part of my life recently. I almost feel, now I’ve finished their story that I no longer know them. The picture in my head, the opinions I had formed, seemingly blurred and dissolving. This book is so outcast from those that went before that I almost think you could, and may be would be better off reading it alone.

Posted on by 5WC in Book First Edition

Comments are closed.