Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Sum of All Men (First Quarter Analysis)

I've listened to about the first quarter of The Sum of All Men by David Farland in audiobook and I'm loving it.  It isn't as dense as the older epic fantasy series, which cuts down on the world-building a bit, but it manages to replace the usual bulk with better character development and plenty of mystery.  The learning curve is very well-developed for the subgenre.  This novel is showing a lot of promise so far.

The setting of The Sum of All Men is winning.  It has roots in plenty of fantasy tropes, yet manages to find uncharted lands to explore.  The concept of endowments is fascinating from a character standpoint.  The two distinct layers of the magic system that I have seen so far are both very cool, even if the second one is a bit less original.  As far as scenic locations go, the amount and type of description utilized has been spot on for me.

Character development pacing has been slow so far, but I feel like the characters have been set up in such a way that when specific conflicts start gnawing at each one individually there will be a lot of it at once.  So far, all of the primary characters have seemed quality-made.  There is a great use of the sympathy and pro-activity sliders.  Competency is foggy because of the endowment system.  That will depend upon the circumstances of each individual scene.

Not a huge amount of important plot events have occurred thus far.  I attribute that mostly to the subgenre.  It isn't a big deal to me, though it might be to some people.  I like how things are going.

It's probably safest for me to listen to a bit more before I go recommending this novel.  For now, I encourage you to at least take the time to read a sample of The Sum of All Men and see what you think.


  1. Hi Patrick, The Sum of all Men sounds very interesting. I will try and read a few pages online.

    1. Great. I'm glad it piqued your interest.