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The Wandering Inn

·5 mins

Book Review! #

This is an essay that I wrote when I was attempting to practice for the GRE AWA section before the test. As such, it is more of an essay than a book review per se. However, I do wish to modify it at a later stage to integrate the characteristics of a book review into it.

Argument #

The Wandering Inn is a book that’s considerably flawed in the world that it attempts to build as it does not provide every detail of the world for readers to comprehend it’s proceedings.

World-building is the aspect of setting up an alternate reality that is constantly in a mobile state. A world in a fictional universe only truly exists when there are multiple scenarios taking place without the main protagonist’s knowledge. Actions and reactions that take place in the absence of the character, and the presence of beings that are part of the world, and contain characteristics to define their reasoning of what they might do. The Wandering Inn is a novel that consists of this spectacular attribute that few manage to incorporate into their literature. The prompt states that the book is flawed with regards to the world that it attempts to build stating that the immersion is not quite enough. In my opinion, I will have to strongly disagree with the prompt for the three ensuing reasons.

To start with, characters in the Wandering Inn have a life of their own. In the Wandering Inn, each character consists of personality traits, be it innate or derived or racial. For instance, Drakes are an offshoot of Dragons, who were characterized to be greedy of wealth. The author makes it a point to reference this characteristic whenever a Drake character in question is acting or reacting to a situation. Furthermore, the landscape of southern Izril, consists of the Walled Cities, which were a development caused by the characteristic of Greed which consumes the Drakes. This is well thought out as it provides the reader a visual that the world developed thus far is a result of the actions taken by the ones present in them.

Secondly, events take place without the knowledge of the main protagonist. Despite Erin, the protagonist of the series, taking up a large chunk of the novel’s proceedings, it is not all that the author offers to us. As as example, Erin has close to no knowledge on some of the proceedings that take place in the council room of Liscor, despite so, the consequences of the discussion in the council prevail upon the world itself causing butterfly effect consequences. The imports may be affected thus leading to an increase in sugar prices thus reducing the production of cakes at the Inn, which may result in Mrsha, a Gnoll child, throwing a tantrum causing Erin to grow vexed. This prompts an investigation into the issue and a search for alternative solutions to the problem faced by the Inn as a result of recondite factors that are not explored entirely by the protagonist.

Thirdly, there exist extant beings and locations that the readers know exist but have no knowledge about, which are reserved for a chain of events that may be triggered in the future. While the novel provides us with a great amount of detail on the happenings of the world, there are some aspects of it that are concealed to the reader. This is an attribute of the novel that keeps the readers in suspense, thus building upon the suspicion that there is more to the world than what meets the eye. For instance, while the readers are aware of the Dungeon underneath Liscor, they are not privy to all of the information present about the Dungeon, nor are they surprised when a catastrophe takes place due to triggering something in the dungeon, simply because there is an understanding between the author and the reader which allows them to anticipate something going wrong because of the dangers of the dungeon which has been depicted by the author in the past.

Despite so, some may suggest that world building is about providing a proper understanding of every attribute present in the world to the reader beforehand. This may be a plausible take when designing the world, but when it comes to crafting the intricacies of the world and presenting them to the reader, leaving them with no suspense on the story progression would lead to the failing of the book, due to the lack of interest in story progression. Suspense plays a major part in books that rely on world progression, and revealing everything beforehand would be similar to requesting someone to enjoy a puppet show, whilst already knowing the story and who controls the puppets in the show. Which is to say that they were would be considerably bored, and long for the ending of the show. The Wandering Inn has excellent pacing with regards to the provision of content, knowing when to slow down after a major battle and when to escalate the proceedings to excite the reader, which heavily relies on knowing when to reveal aspects of the world, and when to conceal them.