I've found this first book to be very good - more in the Anne Rice vein than typical fantasy, however. Because this series jumps into a unique universe already fully realized, there's not a lot of background explanation of terminology/geography - it assumes you know the world the author has created. I'd highly recommend the first 3 books in the Nightrunner series before starting this trilogy.
I disagree that the book is unrelentingly depressive. It does begin with the murder of a child, but that's the crux of everything that follows and realistically casts the main characters in that plot setting. Also disagree with the comments of plot holes simply because it ignores the fact that even by the end of the book, there's no proof or certainty that the king was actually having female heirs killed - you believe that has happened but complaining that he didn't kill his half-sister ignores the repeated lines that the king did love this half-sister dearly. For me, having a character be completely, 100% evil is silly and the author avoids those kind of black and white depictions for all of the characters.
I think this first book is a great start.
An incredible work of fantasy fiction! It is so rare to find an author who can master plot and go deep in character. She describes this world so well and in such detail while masterfully moving the plot forward so as to not bog the reader down.
The Narrator, Victor Bevine, has the ability to bring forth several different voices for each character, intimately knowing each character and matching tone and intention perfectly.
I feel like I lived inside this world! Bravo!
I need more ears!
I hated this series. By the time you're done with it, you feel completely depressed. It is the opposite of entertainment.
The story is unrelentingly grim. I love dark fantasy, and horror/gothic style stories, but this one starts with the murder of a newborn baby, and just goes downhill from there. I especially hated the lack of logic in the story. A King has all the women and girls in his bloodline murdered, including newborns, so that he won't have competition for the throne -- but incredibly, he allows his sister, the rightful ruler, to live. It makes no sense. There are countless nonsensical plot holes like this one, that just make the awful things Flewelling tossed into the story, feel excessive and gratuitous.
I regret having filled my mind with the images it provokes. Read with caution.
I read this story in 2001, way before it became an audio book and find myself coming back to re-read or relisten to it every now and then. It was so far out of the norm when it came out that it was unexpected and satisfying. The world building, the character development still hold up after 15 years. I sometimes find world building tedious, but for some reason Flewelling's descriptions are always interesting to me. Every book goes over different kinds of things, how castles and cities functions, court life. The magics of each culture are truly different. But at the core there is always a solid understanding of the characters.
The darkness in this book isn't darkness for darkness sake. There is something to this theme of the god who brings great gifts and madness at the same time. And I suppose at the center the main character brings me back, because I always enjoy the characters that have genuine kindness matched with strength, like a Harry Potter or a Katniss Everdeen. Unique people, well drawn, but ones who care about more than just themselves.
loved it. the first chapter was a bit of a struggle. Setting all the characters and defining their roles was a bit difficult but by the second chapter the speed picked up and I couldn't put it down. I had to finish it and I knew when the last chapter came that there had to be a whole book left unspoken. I was sad that I did not have that next book. I can't wait till it comes out to find out how this story really ends.
Say something about yourself!
Haunting, engaging, and emotive.
The Tamir Triad in general reminds me of the "Snow White, Blood Red" series of adult fairy tales edited by Datlow and Windling. It has an excellent feeling of prophecy, destiny, and inevitability.
I loved how Bevine did voices. They were wonderful. He's one of my favorite readers in a long while. Duke Rhius was particularly good; I felt the weight of his decisions and love for his family.
I wouldn't call crying an "extreme reaction" but I definitely did cry. Despite this being a re-read for me, I left with a feeling of melancholy. The characters in this book had to make some hard choices, and endure some sadness, and I kept some of that with me after reading.
I enjoyed the story but there are some caviats to my rating. The author definitely wants you to feel the emotions and growth of the character, Tobin, but I feel there is some lack of development on some of the larger political backgrounds that would make this more believable for some readers.
I'm not sure I toally agree with other reviewers that a major plot hole is to be found with Tobin's mother avoiding the king's assassins all of his other female relatives fall down dead. Some vague allusions are made about the politics and love protecting Tobin's mother, but I didn't really feel convinced. Perhaps if the politics were more clearly explained in this book beyond just vague prophecy, the plot hole would be shored up . Obviously the book has factions in its politics, and they play a very important role in Tobin's life, so I myself would have enjoyed learning more about them.
That said I feel there are some interesting characters in this book that warrant 4 vs 3 stars. It definitely is not a book that is cookie cutter and I'm interested to see some of the other hard decisions that the author forces her characters into.
This book is more focused on the emerging sexuality of Tobin and allowing all other explanations to fall to magic. There are a lot of dark consequences to the decisions made for Tobin at an early age by his guardians that are out of his control and greatly shape who he will become when the magic is removed. This book is not a political drama in a fantasy setting. If you're looking for that, this is probably not the book for you.
While I enjoyed Luck in the Shadows and company, I classify those books as light reading, as we used to call it "a good read." I was somewhat surprised when about halfway through this trilogy I realized that I was thinking of it as a major, substantive work. More than just a good read, but a story that stayed with you and made you think about it long after the last page was turned, the last word spoken.
This trilogy has more gravitas and also more sense of suspense. That Ms. Flewelling is able to maintain the sense of suspense throughout the book is even more impressive because if you have already read the previous/future Nightrunner series, you broadly know how things turn out. But the artistry is in the details.
This is ultimately a story of love, romantic and familial, duty and redemption. If the Nightrunner series was more to the young mature audience side of the scale, this is more to the fully mature audience side of the scale, although both series obviously cross over to both types of audience. I especially loved the short epilogue, which I cannot discuss because I do not want to give anything away. Suffice it to say that it will resonate for anyone who has lived long enough to see the superimposed images of those you love both as they are now, and as they were when everyone was young and beginning their journey.
Victor Bevine did a wonderful job narrating the story. An interesting characterization given the problem facing the main character.
I highly recommend this series.