In conclusion…

We’re done! Yay!

And, while I’m happy I read this, I’m also positive that I didn’t have the kind of seminal experience that people in my mother’s generation had, reading this story as teens. I suspect this is due to (a) my age: forty-mumblemumble, (b) the current state of the world of fiction, and our expectations as readers, and (c) how learning the craft of writing has changed the way I read.

That being said, I can see how this would have really appealed to younger, less cynical me. A lot of what sticks out to me in this work is the clunky storytelling which is (imo) a function of being originally a serialized work. And again, a function of the times and how stories were written back then.

But there’s a lot that is good, in character archetypes, that connects in a seemingly straight line to a modern work like Will Wight’s Cradle series. The most obvious example is the plucky, and somewhat bumble-headed, hero that is Guo Jing. He’s definitely Lindon in Cradle.

He’s also Luke Skywalker, Ash Ketchum, and Harry Potter. Not the greatest padawan, trainer, or student, but able to make progress through grit and determination. Forgive me, I know there’s quite a bit I’ve jumped over in the middle there, but I’m still working on getting through those works. Does anyone have recommendations for what I should read next?

Another positive effect of reading this is being able to talk about this with my mother. When she found out I was reading this, she also went through and read it again (in Chinese) and we were able to have some interesting discussions comparing the original with the translation. Of course, my mom has read the sequels as well, so at some point I’ll need to get those checked off so I can keep up with her.

So now that we’re done with Condor Heroes (at least until the sequels get translated), what do we want to do for the next read-along? I am open to any and all suggestions. Maybe something more contemporary? Let me know in the comments!

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