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Review of The Sunbird (minor Spoilers)

PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2005 7:26 am
by John R
I am going to write this review in a way so as to give as little of the story-line away as possible. However some minor spoilers might appear which i can not help. (also sorry for any spelling mistakes!)

The Sunbird

Only the 2nd stand alone i've read of Wilbur. I must admit that when starting this book, i had quite high expectations since i'd heard it was one of his best.

I can say now that i was not disappointed in the slightest. In fact i was even taken aback a little by its brilliance. This is definitely one book not to miss out on.

Split into 2 parts, the 1st is set in the modern era (1970's) in Southern Africa. We follow the gifted, intelligent but physically deformed (Hunchback) Dr. Ben Kazin and his rich and handsome friend Louren. They share a passion for lost civilisations and archietecture. So when the red cliffs of Botswanaland show a potental sectet to an ancient civilisation and culture, Dr. Kazin thinks that this could be the one, the chance of a liftime, to realise his dreams. Both set of to try and uncover any leads. These efforts are constantly disrupted by many things, namely Terrorists, Violence, Greed and Love.

Even if this doesn't sound like your cup of tea, the way Wilbur writes it eventually weaves some kind of magic spell on you and you are swept into the world of these 2 characters and their dreams. The main character Ben is brought to life so well that you begin to share his passions, happiness, weakness and ambitions with him.

The 2nd part of the book goes back 2000 years and introduces us to the civilisation of Opet. Here our main hero is a courageous, well loved priest/war veterain named Huy Ben-Amon. His close friend is the King of Opet, Lannon. Their civilisation rules the southern continent but a potentially hostile enemy is lurking in the North. Due to their cruelty and complaciency overall as a society, Opet comes under threat by a seemingly unstoppable and relentless foe.

I don't want to talk about the 2nd part in any more detail othewise i might give something away. All i can say is that this part of the book is quite sensational. This has to be Wilbur at his very best.

I found the 1st part of the book very good, but its the 2nd part that makes the Sunbird so special, the way it brings both parts together, making this a right classic! Overall 9 out of 10.[/b]

PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2005 11:24 am
by WSI
nice review, John. I agree with u in all points, the 2nd part is the best Wilbur ever wrote. For me 10 out of 10.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 12:46 pm
by John R
Have you voted in the poll yet WSI? No one has given it a 10 yet. I gave it a 9 myself. [b4]

PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 12:53 pm
by WSI
now I voted, forgot it before. And u have a full 10

PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 5:42 pm
by John R
Cheers! [b22]

Anyone else read 'The Sunbird' yet?

PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 5:55 pm
by Matbow
Not one the list, although I'm having a break from WS at the moment :shock:

PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:09 pm
by John R
:o :shock: :exclamation: o_O :omg:

And any other appropriate emoticons!

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:19 am
by Monsoon
I slipped in a 7, a very nice book but there are quite a few that i liked even more.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:00 am
by WSI
matbow wrote:Not one the list, although I'm having a break from WS at the moment :shock:

I have decided to read the Sunbird again before this year ends. I actually have no time and 20.000 other books to read - but this is a must for me :wub:

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 2:23 pm
by Matbow
Just finished this book. I liked it and have given it a 7 - like Monsoon there are a few others which I prefer.

For me the books are a little too similar to River God/Warlock and 7th Scroll, which is probably why I haven't rated it higher. The 1st part of Sunbird is almost the same story as the 7th Scroll and is equally as good. The 2nd part just doesn't come close to Rivergod.

Obviously Sunbird was written before the "Egyptian Trilogy", so my feelings might of been different if I has read it the other way around. I might of even been slightly peaved that WS had blatanty ripped off one of his original novels.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 2:33 pm
by John R
That's interesting. I had no idea that this book was like the egyptians he's written. That seems strange to me.

I think me and you are the other way around mat, since i have first read The Sunbird and not River God so perhaps this is why i have given it a 9 where as if i was the same as you and it was River God being read first, then my rating may have been lower. Who knows! I'm just talking bollocks now, ...i'll get my coat. [skepti]

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 10:20 pm
by tedd
I read Sunbird when it was first published and remember saying to myself "This isn't the Wilbur Smith I know!!" - I was rather disappointed. Then I saw some rave notices about it and read it again a year or two later and tried to blot from my mind that it was a WS book or at least a book that was not in his usual style and genre. This time it read much better - and I could evaluate it better too. I give it an 8

PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 8:32 pm
by Kate4Tanus
I gave it an 8 coz it was very similar to Seventh Scroll. I really preferred the second part, set in Opet (thats wat it was called right?) It was a really good book, and I like how they showed the discovery and then resolved what happened to city, and I liked it. It was a little slow in some bits, but again, I really did like it.

Did that make sense? Hahaha. Probably not! Ignore me everyone!!

PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:32 am
by WSI
Meanwhile I read it again and it was such a pleasure as I thought. The part where the 'ancient' story/part begins is outstanding. Especially in the composition of the book.
(it es Opet or Ophet, a city that is rather popular in the lower historical debates)

PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:45 am
by VMS
I read The Sunbird last year rather quickly and in English (again, not my mother language), and it didn't feel quite what I expected. But now when you all keep telling how great it is, I'm gonna give it another try and read it again. Until that, a 7.

PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 12:03 pm
by John R
Anyone read The Sunbird lately?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:46 pm
by Nefer
I have read it, dunno why I haven't rated it yet!

Thought it was quite good - liked the 2nd part a lot better than the 1st. Didn't like how the characters were 'similar' in the two parts, but its a minor quible!

One of the few SAN's on my recommendation list!

PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2006 11:31 am
by John R
Didn't like how the characters were 'similar' in the two parts, but its a minor quible

That was what made it brilliant though in my opinion. The 2 parts were made to be a case of reincarnation...something that intrigues me...(not sure why!) gonna start a thread on this actually :wink:

PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 1:07 am
by icaro
It impressed the Sun Bird to me and I am glad to meet again it in Warlock and the Seventh Scroll. And it is as to be transferred in the time in company of fascinating and “real” personages… I gave 8 it. to the Warlock I give 10 him

Me impresionó el Pájaro de Sol y me alegro de reencontrarlo en el Hechicero y el Séptimo Papiro. Y es como trasladarse en el tiempo en compañía de personajes fascinantes y 'reales'... le di un 8. al Hechicero le doy un 10 :wink:

PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:28 am
by John R
I just about managed to follow that :wink: