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Reviews of Gormenghast (1950)

Review by archaic (2007-02-19)
Once again the author gives us an incredibly descriptive story. This book introduces the reader to the professors. These characters add much humor to the book that lightens the dark mood. The author also introduces other parts of Gormenghast castle that were previously hidden from the reader.

I felt that this book didn't live up to the first one. The villain, Steerpike, was less ambitious than he was in the first book. I never felt that we got to know Titus very well in this book. Yes, he was the main character, but we still only heard of him when there was some sort of ceremony going on. Overall this was still a decent book.

Review by clong (2005-03-08)
Peake's Gormenghast series should be on the reading list of every serious fantasy fan. His descriptive writing is superb, and the combination of quirky, likable, and yet absurdly grotesque characters and gothic setting are truly unique.

This book continues the adventures of the survivors from the cast of characters introduced in Titus Groan. It builds on the strengths of Book I, within the framework of a more conventional plot (with Titus as the protagonist and a much less ambiguous Steerpike as the villain). An assortment of professors are introduced as new characters to provide comic relief and an opportunity to observe Titus' growth and development.

I found it a bit of a slow read, although there are several amazingly compelling scenes, ranging from the magical pageantry of Titus' birthday masque to the pulse-pounding pursuit of Steerpike through the labyrinthine passages of the castle. The Prunesquallors' soiree and subsequent love scene in the garden provided one of the funniest interludes I can remember reading.

©Steven Jeffery /, 2017
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