book-reviews

Chanson de Geste

by LVDB

Rating: ★★★

Another bit of derivative fiction in the same vein as Carpetbaggers, Chanson de Geste also examines the 15-year gap in the Narnian timeline, but focuses primarily on Edmund, using the device of a sort-of-disembodied ghost of the White Witch to pit them against each other in a vaguely directionless examination of the role of sentiment in politics, whilst also humanising the Narnian villain without whitewashing her backstory.

While slightly dark and based on an interesting premise, the story is written in too shallow a manner to really do justice to its material. This seems to be a common failure of this kind of derivative fiction -- the need for pacing that keeps readers going means that depth of coverage is omitted and scenes that could be whole chapters of development are left as merely a paragraph or two. The good writers, such as this one, cover this by hinting at plotting going on under the surface, but at the end of the day I'm left feeling that I had a light treat when I wanted a meal.

Also, as I said, it's directionless. What initially looks to be a sort of dialogue where Edmund tries to sell the value of genuine loyalty and affection and Ladis tries to teach harsh realities quickly becomes lost in a tangle of poorly-communicated romantic interest, introspection and ambiguity from both actors. It's not that it all falls apart, as such, it keeps you reading, and the pieces connect, but there's no clear roles to work with, so it's hard to see if anything interesting has in the end been said.

While there's nothing particularly wrong with it as light entertainment, Chanson de Geste lacks the followthrough it would need to actually be worth much of your time. It might be slightly better than Carpetbaggers, but suffers from heavy focus on Edmund and Ladis, and more intentionally rejects the style of the originals, so it's likely to come down to personal preference there.