ENCHANTED PILGRIMAGE Mass Market Paperback – Jul 12 1985
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
While in those books the end result is great, in "The Enchanted Pilgrimage" the plot starts nicely, but deteriorates over time with too much explanations about interdimensional travels and related stuff. There are some nice characters to start with, but they become underused, underexplored, without a life, a personality of their own. It took me some perseverance get to the end of it, but, if you are a fan, maybe it is not a complete waste of time.
"Enchanted Pilgrimage"(1975) is a fantasy novel by Clifford Simak - a writer know primary for his science fiction. The story, while imaginative in parts, employs traditional fantasy tropes: an idealistic quest, magical beings, mystical artifacts, a virginal damsel and several apparent insurmountable obstacles blocking the completion of the journey. Author Simak keeps the action moving to its uninspiring conclusion. It was somewhat disconcerting to see a few science-fiction touches thrown in to propel the plot when things seem to bog down.
Our hero, human Mark Cornwall, purloins an ancient document from the university library. Upon studying the tome Mark is inspired to travel to the Wasteland and discover there a purported Elder civilization. If you have read much fantasy you will not find anything new here: a magic swords saves the day, cryptic unexplained evils need to be dealt with, a unicorn's horn in the hands of a virgin proves very helpful, a godly hermit gives deathbed instructions and inspirations and a man from an alternative Earth shows up on a motor bike with a machine gun and a camera. Honestly that's is in the book - how absurd!
Simak fans should read this book, others looking for a good fantasy novel may want to consider something else. I would suggest Lovecraft's "At the Mountain of Madness" or books by A. Merritt or Moorcock's Elric saga.
There was very little character development in this book and the dialogue was painfully stilted. The author seemed more at ease describing the landscape , but the world is never developed past anyone's sightlines. The nature of the quest that the characters are undertaking is too nebulous to be compelling, and once the mysteries of the wasteland are revealed, they don't make any particular sense. This novel felt like a bunch of story elements thrown together and then written on autopilot. There is something oddball about this, but it's not enough to make it satisfying. This is the first Simak book I've read, but I'm willing to assume that his better-known works must be superior to this.