Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Genre Character of the Week: Valentine the Juggler

Every time you read a book or watch a movie, you begin by putting together a basic understanding of who the characters are – like I said in my review of the YA book Twilight, the book begins by stating

“My Mother drove me to the airport with the windows rolled down.” As far as a first sentence goes, it does the job – I know the story will be from a first person perspective, that the narrator is going on a trip, probably without her mother, and that wherever she is leaving from has a nice enough climate to drive with the windows down.

The book I read this week actually begins much more like the film Memento, wherein the main character is also trying to figure out who he is from the context presented in his story so far. Valentine, the lead in Robert Silverberg’s “Lord Valentine’s Castle” begins the story outside of a small town, walking down the road. He feels as if he has walked for a while, but past that he doesn’t have the slightest idea where he came from or who he is.

The novel itself is one of self discovery, as Valentine puts together who exactly he is, the reader is shown the world of Majipoor, a planet which was colonized by “Old Earth” thousands of years ago. The story is an intriguing mix of Science Fiction and Fantasy and definitely works as both.
The first people Valentine meet are jugglers, and he takes up with them and begins to learn the trade himself. Also, kudos to the author for making me very interested in the mechanics of juggling, something to which I’ve only had a passing interest up until now.

The book is pretty cool, and although it does include a significant amount of world building (where the author spends a lot of time describing his setting), Valentine’s world comes off as a very interesting one.

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