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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-26-13, 08:22 AM Thread Starter
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Default Reading Fallen Angels...they're 9 years old?

I'm still getting through the early chapters but I'm already a bit annoyed by Nemiel's and Zahariel's age.

They're 9 years old and they behave like adults. They don't act or sound like kids at all. If they were 14 or 15, I could accept that they might be mature for their age, but they're 9 years old.

They sound way too mature for their age...to the point of absurdity. It's rather jarring. Zahariel's philosophical inner monologues don't sound like those of a prepubescent boy at all. As I read, I have a very hard time convincing myself that they could plausibly be the thought processes of a 9 year old boy. It really snaps me out of my immersion in the novel.

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-26-13, 08:41 AM
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I haven't read it since it came out buuuut...

I'd assume that's what happens when you live on a death world. You either mature (both physically and mentally) very quickly or die. Actually make that and/or die.

You have to start cultivating some very strong logic and reasoning skills early on.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-26-13, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by hailene View Post
I haven't read it since it came out buuuut...

I'd assume that's what happens when you live on a death world. You either mature (both physically and mentally) very quickly or die. Actually make that and/or die.

You have to start cultivating some very strong logic and reasoning skills early on.
Yep that makes sense to me. After all 100 odd years ago they would be up a chimney or down in the pits, if they were born into that working class..
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-26-13, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MontytheMighty View Post
I'm still getting through the early chapters but I'm already a bit annoyed by Nemiel's and Zahariel's age.

They're 9 years old and they behave like adults. They don't act or sound like kids at all. If they were 14 or 15, I could accept that they might be mature for their age, but they're 9 years old.

They sound way too mature for their age...to the point of absurdity. It's rather jarring. Zahariel's philosophical inner monologues don't sound like those of a prepubescent boy at all. As I read, I have a very hard time convincing myself that they could plausibly be the thought processes of a 9 year old boy. It really snaps me out of my immersion in the novel.
They live on a world where monsters are constantly assaulting humanity, carrying people off and eating them, killing them in their homes and destroying their settlements. You kind of have to grow up quickly then, like on Cadia how they use ten year olds as White Shields. Death Worlds like that don't have children who can afford to act like children, they need to grow up quickly and start helping out as soon as they can. And the nature of life and death in such a place would likely cause people to be more thoughtful about such things.


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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-26-13, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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Death Worlds like that don't have children who can afford to act like children, they need to grow up quickly and start helping out as soon as they can.
It's not just they don't act like children, they don't sound like children either. It's the tone and vocabulary I think. I'll post some of the longer quotes when I have the book on hand.

In their philosophical discussions and inner monologues, they sound completely like adults. Despite an upbringing on a deathworld, a 9 year old IMO should still act and sound less mature than an adult

It's like the authour didn't make even a minimal effort to portray them as young children brought up on a dangerous world. Rather, he just wrote them as adults.

Lastly, I'd like to point out that Zahariel's and Nemiel's lives don't sound like they've been that hard:
Quote:
[Zahariel] wanted to go back to the settlement where he was born, to his friends and family, to his mother's soothing words, to the warm place by the hearth
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-26-13, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by MontytheMighty View Post
In their philosophical discussions and inner monologues, they sound completely like adults. Despite an upbringing on a deathworld, a 9 year old IMO should still act and sound less mature than an adult

It's like the authour didn't make even a minimal effort to portray them as young children brought up on a dangerous world. Rather, he just wrote them as adults.

Lastly, I'd like to point out that Zahariel's and Nemiel's lives don't sound like they've been that hard:
I disagree, when you consider what it'd be like to grow up on a Death World it'd be impossible for a child to be immature for a second longer than they can afford to be. A nine year old is old enough to work, that was true in our world only a century or two ago, but on a world where monsters are the ones who actually rule it's a necessity that children would become productive as early as possible, and that would mature them damn quickly.

And his life doesn't sound hard because he has friends and family and a warm place to live?? Yeah I won't deny that Caliban had some small safe zones unlike other Death Worlds but those safe zones could be destroyed at any moment. Their lives would have been very hard, it may be that Zahariel chooses to remember the good times and not the bad, which would likely outnumber the good times by a large margin.


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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-26-13, 12:34 PM
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I am actually looking forward to the third Dark Angels novel. I want to get back to Caliban and Luther and Zahariel, especially see development with the latter. I would assume a good place for the authors to drop this would be sometime after Unremembered Empire..
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-26-13, 04:33 PM
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I'm with you, Monty. Fact of the matter is, you can't excuse an author for a lack of appropriate depiction of characters on the basis of them living on a Death World... when the same author does a poor job of conveying the fact they're on a Death World to begin with.

Brass tacks, the Beasts play a rather minimal role in terms of defining the setting and the tone of 'Descent of Angels'. They definitely don't convey the idea that Caliban is a place inimical to human life. The depiction of Caliban in 'Descent' doesn't even approach the dangers and hardships that existed in real-life environments. That takes away from the concept that these kids are serious and mature on account of their super-deadly environment.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-26-13, 05:17 PM
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I'm with Monty as well. Aside from the glaringly obvious lack of danger that Phoebus has already pointed out, I'm still in agreement with Monty that some effort should have been made to show their age. Yes I can understand children having to grow up fast in harsh worlds, but there would still be signs they are children and very young. Where as the Zachariel and Nemiel are as Monty said, written exactly like adults, if you were never told they were nine at the start, you would never know.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-26-13, 07:24 PM
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I'm reminded of some comment Stephen King wrote about why he put off writing the fourth book in his Dark Tower series so long, and it basically had to do with the story involving the main character's first love as a young teenager. King wrote that he put it off because while he could certainly talk about adult love, he wasn't sure he really remembered what it was like to have the raw intensity of feelings you might have as a teenager experiencing the emotion of love for the first time.

It's easy to sit back and take pot shots after the fact, but for an adult to accurately write a child character is not as easy as it sounds. It's like asking a 6 year old to write a story about someone who's reminiscing on their death bed after having lived a full life. There is no frame of reference. Odds are if the author had even tried, it would have come off seeming very hollow or contrived, not authentic in the least. Then people would be pissing and moaning about that instead of how the characters seemed too adult.

If it helps, consider that we're talking about people who have been living on another planet, completely isolated from all other contact with anyone else, for thousands of years. If you just look at fairly recent history on this planet, the diverse cultures that developed when they were isolated from one another by geography. That was generally only over the span of a few hundred years.

Or you could just, I don't know, let it go and enjoy the story for what it is instead of picking over every single little minor detail. I feel sorry for people who can't just watch a movie or read a book without constantly pointing out how this or that detail is wrong or some action sequence is completely impossible. It's fiction for crying out loud. You're able to suspend belief that people migrated to this planet thousands of years ago, that the birth of what is essentially an extra-dimensional god from an alien species' indulgence in excesses is why this planet was isolated for thousands of years. You don't seem to have any real problems accepting that The Lion managed to survive out in the Caliban forests as an infant. Genetically engineered super-human or not, where did he find food, water, clothing, shelter? How did he not get eaten by predators while he slept? You don't have any problems accepting that The Emperor can basically psychically manipulate his own cellular structure to make himself effectively immortal and having lived for tens of thousands of years even by the time these stories are taking place. You're able to accept all kinds of other completely improbable things by today's standards, but you draw the line at kids sounding too adult? Really?!
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