Shadow of the Torturer is the first volume of The Book of the New Sun, a fantasy/sci-fi quadrilogy that is generally considered to be one of the best. The main character is a former Torturer named Severian who is exiled from his guild after extending mercy unbecoming a torturer to a woman in his care. True, “Extending mercy” basically just means hat he killed her in a slightly less painful way, but torturers are, as you might expect, a bunch of hard cases.
Well, when I first started this book, I was pretty excited about it. The buzz I'd read had been almost all positive, the concept sounded very interesting and full of potential, and the writing itself was fairly appealing... at least when I first started the book.
The first section, where we learn about the torturer's guild and Severian's life in there, is pretty cool. Unfortunately, once he gets kicked out, the pace of the book, already pretty slow, grinds nearly to a halt, as Severian has several adventures in which nothing really happens. I'm all for slow books, and I'm all for setup, but between the copius amounts of both, Shadow of the Torturer just wore me down. It doesn't help that the print size in this book is absolutely miniscule.
So anyway, I only read this book, and I'm not I'll finish the series. I'm sure it's great for some people, but not for me. I need more lasers in my sci fi.