This is part two of a series. Part one is 'Range of Ghosts'. Hopefully Audible will list them as a series soon.
The followers of the Eternal Sky seem to be based on the Mongols, at the time when their empire was being torn apart by a war of succession, and other characters are from neighboring empires based on those along the Silk Road, but in this world, there are hungry ghosts, djinn, ghuls, rocs, clever magicians and dark sorcerers. Bear's characters seem very human, and she's got a real talent for description. Once you're immersed in their gritty, day to day lives enough to almost feel the gait of a steppe pony beneath you, the supernatural seems to fit right in.
Truly excellent fantasy.
I enjoyed this one better than the first book in the series, and I have to admit to being intrigued by the world-building and the story arc that seems to be developing, but there's just something about the characters that falls short. They just don't behave quite realistically sometimes, and I find it a bit jarring. I think I'll continue with the series, though, to find out what happens.
Sometimes it is good to be reminded there really never were any good old days, that crime is not worse now, and the way the press covers it is not a whit more irresponsible or sensationalized than it used to be.
This in-depth, well-researched book provides a glimpse into New York City's past, and both the murder case and the newspaper rivalry were fascinating subjects.
It is obvious that the Mann Gulch Fire deeply affected Maclean, and stuck with him his whole life. Once you've read this book, it will stick with you too.
Spoilers Spoilers Spoilers!
I liked the world building, and the characters were interesting. My main gripe with this novel is that after going to the trouble to build up an intriguing plot, the author winds up solving everything by just tossing aside the rules of the first 2/3 of the story, making the hero and heroine super-powered, and fixing everything like 'ta-da, Magic!'
Still, the world of Crosspointe was interesting, and I plan to give the next one a chance to be better.
I enjoyed this book, with just one little quibble. The heroine was just too contrary and it occasionally got annoying. Towards the end, I just wanted to shake her and tell her to stop being so self-absorbed.
I adore most of Bujold's novels, be they Chalion, Vorkosigan or Sharing Knife. I have both read and listened to most of them multiple times, and intend to listen to them again. The stories are so good that I enjoy listening to them even though I am so familiar with them that sometimes I can recite along with the narrator in my mind.
But sadly, not this one. I don't know why. It's just flat, for some reason. Only the main character made a real impression, and I was let down by the ending. It's not a terrible book, but I can't really recommend it.
I've been in love with this series since the first book, and I am so happy that the ending didn't disappoint. Of course, most listeners will have figured out a lot of what will happen, but there are enough surprises to keep you from getting bored!
Sullivan's writing is pretty straightforward, and he doesn't waste a lot of time on pretty prose or description, but the story gallops along with verve and enthusiasm. The whole series is just plain fun. We get conspiracies, betrayals, love, sword fights, adventure on the high seas, elves, goblins, assassins, thieves, war, royalists vs imperialists vs nationalists, friendship, impending doom and redemption. Who could want more than that?
Elizabeth Bear has clearly done her history homework. Not that this is history, or even alternate history, but more a hero's tale knitted from impressions of history. In a world where various empires have come and gone, battling gods have shattered the very sky. The war rising to sweep across nations begins with a reluctant claimant to a his grandfather's throne, stumbling alone off the battlefield after having been left for dead.
Temur doesn't want to rule, he only wants to live and maybe find a new family with the woman he loves, but his uncle wants him dead, and a distant cult bent on sowing chaos and destruction wants to use him, or his unborn child.
Once-Princess Samarkar has given up her fertility to find power of her own. Now she must put her skills and wits to use in aiding Temur's cause, as that seems the best course of stopping the cult using necromancy and black sorcery that is seeking to spread war to every realm under the shattered sky.
The story moved along at a good speed, and I found the characters believable, earthy and easy to care about. Just be warned that this is part one, and the end will leave you desperately wanting to know what happens next.
McKillip's imagery is rich and dense, and I enjoy the way she paints pictures with words, though I suspect the surrealism and dream-like quality of some scenes will wear on some people's patience. Unfortunately, the reader seems inspired by this aspect of the prose to read in a slow, sing-song voice like a bad actress playing a person under hypnosis.
As for the story, I thought it had potential, but it never seemed to grow complex. The characters didn't evolve enough, especially Brendan Vetch, who seemed originally meant as the protagonist, but seems the least interesting character by the end. We are presented with a supposedly dangerous mystery, and character conflicts, but just as everything is coming to a climax, Od, the ancient wizard who everyone respects and no one will defy, steps in and fixes everything like a teacher sorting out squabbling children.
If it weren't for the narrator, I'd say it was still worth a listen, so I recommend listening to the sample before buying.
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