However, as generations went by, the male heirs to the throne became intensely resentful of the prophecy that emasculated their claim to power. Finally Queen Agnalain took the throne and the people of Skala suffered under her erratic and selfish command. Prompted by the people's outcry over this mad queen, her son Prince Erius claimed primogeniture, and seized the throne. Erius's ascent may have pleased the people of Skala, but a faction of the population, one who had not forgotten the prophecy, were worried. Plague, drought and famine spread throughout the kingdom weakening it's defences and offering easy pickings to Skala's old enemy and neighbour, Plenimar.
As people start to recall the Oracle's prophecy, Erius begins to quietly kill off his female relatives who pose the only threat to his monarchy. Constantly in fear for her life, Princess Ariani the King's sister, gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl. But Ariani is married to Lord Rhius, the patron of the powerful wizard Iya, and Iya has sinister plans for the babes.
BONUS AUDIO: Includes an exclusive introduction written and recorded by author Lynn Flewelling.
©2001 Lynn Flewelling; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
I was pleasantly surprised as I got into this book. The first chapter starts out a little slow, and my first impression was "oh oh - another cheesy mage/sorcerer fantasy novel" - but the series turned out to be quite addictive. The characters are three-dimensional, the story-line surprisingly creative in terms of ghosts/demons, and the author does a good job of painting the scenery with her words. I would definitely recommend it. Good narrator too.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at FanLit.
I finished listening to the audio version of The Bone Doll’s Twin, the first in Lynn Flewelling’s fantasy epic THE TAMIR TRIAD, around midnight a few days ago. Instead of going to bed, like normal people might, I immediately downloaded book two, The Hidden Warrior, and listened for a couple more hours. That’s how much I was involved in this story about a young girl who doesn’t know she’s magically hidden in the body of a boy.
Tobin, who’s really a girl, has had a difficult childhood. When he was born, his uncle, the king of Skala, was covertly killing off the royal women and girls because a prophecy says that the land must have a queen as ruler. King Erius had gained his throne through treachery and he intends to keep it. Tobin’s parents asked a magician to hide their newborn daughter, but they didn’t realize what kind of dark magic they were getting into. The cost was heavy and now Tobin’s mother has gone mad and Tobin’s twin brother is an evil ghost. On top of that, Tobin’s family has moved to their country estate because they fear that the king’s magicians might be able to detect the cover up. Tobin is an odd child already, so it doesn’t help that he’s being raised so far from noble society. His father and the magicians who help him must mold Tobin into someone worthy to take the throne someday.
These days I don’t have as much patience as I used to for long epic fantasies involving prophecies and boys coming of age, so I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying The Bone Doll’s Twin so much. Lynn Flewelling’s writing style is pleasant and her story gently moves along at a pace that’s leisurely without becoming dull, most comparable perhaps to Robin Hobb’s FARSEER saga. There is a large cast of male and female, young and old, magical and normal, common and noble characters who are well developed, not simply stock characters. It helps that we see the story from several of their perspectives, not just Tobin’s.
A main theme in The Bone Doll’s Twin is gender identity and Flewelling handles this very well. While Tobin, who doesn’t know he’s a girl, wants to be a famous warrior like his father, and is successfully working toward that goal, he has a softer side, too, which he thinks is a weakness and fears to show others. He sleeps with a doll but we’re not really sure if that’s because he’s a girl and it’s natural for him to like dolls, or if the doll is a connection to his mother who made it. Similarly, he loves to spend his time building a model of the capitol city, a pursuit that could be seen as either a masculine or feminine hobby. While we see hints of Tobin’s feminine side, it’s all tantalizingly ambiguous so far. Things will begin to look different when Tobin reaches puberty in the next book, The Hidden Warrior.
I’m listening to the audio version of THE TAMIR TRIAD which was produced by Audible Frontiers and expertly narrated by Victor Bevine. Lynn Flewelling reads her introduction to the book. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I immediately downloaded and started listening to The Hidden Warrior when I finished The Bone Doll’s Twin. This is a story that’s worth my time.
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BLOOD MY BLOOD
Extremely different. No one could call this formula writing. As someone who reads a lot, I appreciate the different approach.
FLESH MY FLESH
I did come close to giving up during the first five chapters. These chapters are mostly world building and an introduction to the characters. A lot of names are thrown at you at once and since most names start with a vowel, I was totally lost.
BONE MY BONE
In chapter six, the main character takes over. It is a sort of coming of age, only with lots of weird situations. The boy who is a girl, but does not know it, has a ghost/demon to deal with, an insane mother and he is kept in isolation. The story really picks up when he is allowed a companion who becomes his squire. The companion is a very loyal and lovable character. I was also very fond of the witch in the woods.
THE PAIN CAME BACK FOR A MOMENT ON CRAWLING CENTIPEDE FEET
I could not give this five stars, due to the confusing first five chapters and there were some flat spots in the middle. I see the sequel is even longer, but I will probably give it a try, just because I like the weirdness.
Narrator was excellent.
I chose to read this from an Orson Scott Card pick. This is a very originally written adventure with a realistic gothic/ghost/dark underline. I am a fan for life. I really feel like Lynn could have easily added 2-3 more books to this Triad. The others to follow are equally amazing.
The narrator was a twinge too much at first (he's trying to seduce the heck out of the story).... but the tale is BIG enough to get you INTO the story and past all of that kind o' thang. Very Nice. Unusual and entertaining. Ghosts. Demons. A haunted castle and a haunted here. I'm glad I picked it up and am headed into book II (as we "speak"). LOL.
This is pretty standard fantasy as written by a woman, more witches than dragons and written by a capable author. Its a bit twisted as the audio sample clearly shows but for the genre its fairly mild. Note if you are not familiar with the genre than this doesn't mean mild, read pg 13 to R. If you get into it be prepared to at least get the next book because this one doesn't really end, just leaves you hanging and somewhat annoyed. Maybe I was just annoyed because I hadn't bought the next book in the series yet.
The narrator reads well and is not annoying in any way. A few mispronounced words.
Overall I'd say the audiobook is quite good but not great, and a lot better than most of the crud flooding the genre.
Wonderful story and characters! I love the themes explored in this book, but it's never heavy handed. Good narration, too. I'm looking forward to the other two books in this series.
I've been listening to audiobooks since I was a little kid wandering the house, dragging a toddler-proof Playskool tape player behind me.
This is true Gothic fantasy. I mean Gothic in the good old Brontë style, wedded with fantasy to create a wonderfully spooky mood, with secrets, murder, prophecies, magic, lonely manors in the mountains, and mad women with long black hair. At the same time, the story itself is unlike anything I've ever read/heard before. Flewelling brings up a lot of serious topics, including morality and gender identity, but is never heavy-handed.
The mood is certainly dark at times, but it never reaches the kind of gratuitous, would-be edgy grimdark levels that some fantasy strives for. I'd say this book is often more creepy than dark, and that darkness is balanced out with a real sense of hope.
I have two rescue dogs. One Scottish born husband. And a love of books that goes back to childhood and bookmobiles!
i just finished this one and found the other 2 are also available. so my next step will be to snarf them up as fast as possible!
why? because it is a cliff hanger with wonderful writing and a really good narrator!
normally i dislike series books that have to be read in order but this is one is worth it! it has all sorts of .... weirdness (for lack of a better word). when the region is ruled by women, things are generally run well. when it run by men...different story. want to guess the sex of the ruler. you're right, a king! and things are not good.
the king has a married brother who becomes the father of twin...one boy, one girl. a things are really bad as the king and new uncle has seen to it that girls who would be in line for the crown are dying.
attending the delivery are a witch and 2 scorchers. the girl child must be protected if there is ever to be good new in the land...but how?
listen to find out for yourself and meet ghosts and warriors and people who go a bit batty. if you don't, you're going to miss some great lines that will give you a giggle, some emotions you will understand with just a bit of thought provoking ideas.
yes, i do highly recommend this book (AND two following it)!
To fully understand the source of the intrigues and society in the Nightrunner series, this is a must read. As always her characters are well developed and the plot is full of surprises.
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