Legend by David Gemmell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
An unfathomably numerous Nadir army heads to the mighty stronghold of Dros Delnoch to either accept surrender or slaughter their defenders. The old legendary warrior Druss known by many names such as Captain of the Ax, the Axman, Deathwalker, and the Silver Slayer comes to Delnoch in search of a worthy fighting death. When he arrives he realizes he can't just fight because the warriors of Dros Delnoch need him to lead.
Much of the tale of Legend seems to revolve around dying well. There are a lot of deaths and the ones that occur in battle are honored above all others. Since the story revolves around outnumbered protagonists taking part in a siege it makes sense. With that being said the story is quite bittersweet with a mostly realistic view of the depravity and destruction of war.
A part of the story I didn't like was the quick blazing love between Rek and Virae. I get that their is only so many pages to tell a story, but everyone knows if you are going to have a meet cute and want to speed up two characters falling in love then you need a montage. I guess it doesn't work the same in books as it does in 80s movies. Needless to say at this point I didn't buy Rek and Virae falling instantly in love for no real reason. That being said their relationship and devotion to one another was really well done after they fell in love.
I also didn't like the continual shifting from one point of view character to the next without a transition or even a line break to signal a different point of view. I found it a bit frustrating, but not to the extent it kept me from reading the book.
I really enjoyed the arthritic legend Druss. He really lived up to the legend despite being weary because of age. He is a warrior through and through and I enjoyed reading about him. For a man who insisted he was just a warrior and no leader he lead the men of Dros Delnoch admirably.
It's time for a Now You Know Moment. Did you know that the recurring term in Legend, baresark, is the Scandinavian term for berserker? Well now you know.
Overall I am generally dismayed to rate classic books because quite often the authors of today have borrowed from the classics and the plot points which were once uniquely spectacular now seem commonplace. I fear this was partially the case for me with Legend. Much of the story felt familiar and what made it special is unfortunately lost on me reading it 31 years later.
2.5 out of 5 stars
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