This was a re-read; apparently The Barrow is what I turn to when various plotless books have reduced my reading velocity to zero. The Barrow was better the second time around; I was prepared for the wat, and I could think more about the book as a whole and what it is saying. And I like what it is saying! I wouldn't necessarily say that this is a feminist book, but it is a book where the main concern is how we think about sex. Like, there is a perfectly valid reading that this book is about a struggle between three different ways of viewing sex and gender. And I wouldn't necessarily say that I completely understand what Mark Smylie's view point is (even after reading ~1000 pages of his work over the last 10 years), but it is a viewpoint that I want to learn more about and get more data points on. The book is still in some sense a failure, since 80-90% of reviews mis-understand the book, but I at least enjoy The Barrow even if most people could not comprehend its genius. :)
Quite apart from the themes, The Barrow is simply an excellent adventure story. If you don't enjoy the first 50 pages you are either dead inside or not a giant nerd, and that sort of high quality & fast paced action continues through much of the story. I would quibble with how some of the action turns out at the very end (Sir Arduin was robbed; he would never fall for that/That Annwyn reversal really came out of no where; there wasn't any textual evidence for it before the very end), but overall the plotting and scene setting were great.
#ThisIsAGreatDay #ThisIsABlessedDay #TheGreatestDayOfAllIsComing