Monday, June 14, 2010

Swords Against Death by Fritz Leiber

Swords Against Death is the second Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser book (I reviewed the first, Swords and Deviltry, last year). I was going to wait until I'd read the third book before writing another review, but I don't know when I'll get around to the next book. By the time I do, I'll probably have forgotten the details of this one.

Anyway, I liked Swords Against Death even better than the first book. I was surprised that the tone was so much lighter--much more what I'd expected when I first started reading the series. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser do a lot of adventuring, sometimes for treasure, sometimes against their wills (or at least their better judgment). I liked that their personalities became more developed this time around, too. Fafhrd is a little bit happy-go-lucky, in a lugubrious way, while the Mouser is cautious and a little superstitious.

Some of the stories were more accessible than others, language-wise. The stories with a more arch, stilted tone interested me less than the slightly more modern ones. On the other hand, some stories (particularly "The Price of Pain-Ease" and "The Bazaar of the Bizarre") tipped a little too far toward modern and sometimes feel early-1970s dated. I also noticed a casual sexist and racist tone in some stories that I don't remember from the first book; it's not bad enough to put me off the books, but I was surprised and disappointed.

I'm still going to read the third one, of course.

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