Drake is forced to give up his life in Cliffton to redeem the biggest mistake of his life.
Be warned, most of my reviews contain spoilers.
Paul Genesse knows how to torture his characters. The Golden Cord begins with Drake out on what I believe is his first, or at least one of his first, hunt(s) with his father and a few other members of the village. However, instead of being allowed to come with, Drake is forced to confront his best friend who is trying to come with them on the hunt. Ethan is physically crippled and would therefore impede or possibly endanger anyone who went on a hunt with him.
Ethan ends up angry from his encounter with Drake and tries to prove himself worthy of being a hunter. He ends up falling to his doom before Drake can save him.
Drake spends the rest of the book trying to redeem his failing, suffering horrible ailments and even distancing himself from his family. The best part is, Drake isn’t trying to redeem himself to the village, he’s basically given up on that part. No, Drake is trying to redeem himself to Ethan, who technically has already died.
Reading The Golden Cord reminded me of another truth about writing. Stories and writing cannot be separated. When I read this book just looking at the writing, I didn’t want to continue. There wasn’t really a point, and honestly I feel that way with a lot of writing (including my own).
Now please don’t take this as an insult to the writing in this book. That’s not at all what I’m trying to say. Rather, my point is, we don’t read books to simply enjoy the writing, unless we are English majors. Writing is a tool which we use to further our stories. Removing the story from the writing removes the point and I don’t think some people understand that.
There are quite a few “academics” that say that Harry Potter is written horribly, or The Hunger Games wasn’t that great. They completely missed the point. Any writing should further a point of humanity. I personally believe that writing is a tool we use to reach out to others and let them know that we understand what it’s like to suffer, what it’s like to be human.
The Golden Cord tells us that we all mess up. Through it’s story, Paul tells his readers that he knows we all need understanding, redemption and love. Drake’s struggle through endless pains, lack of sleep, and even facing death many times shows how strong those needs are, and that our mistakes can bind us eternally, if we let them.
And for that risk of showing readers he gets it, I commend Paul.
I recommend this book to all those who have felt these needs and to all who enjoy epic fantasy.