Aug 232014
 

I’m six books through The Wheel of Time.  I’ve already read something like 8 or 9 books in the series before (I’m kind of vague on exactly which book I gave up on while they were being first published), so this is a sort of re-read followed by new read for the the last few books.

You can follow my reviews and retrospectives of the books as they get published, by checking the ‘The Wheel of Time‘ tag.  Before I embark on book 7, I thought I’d spend a bit of time reflecting on what I hope the last 8 books in the series deliver, and what questions they answer.

For all I know, some of these could have been answered in the books I’ve already read beyond this point, some may get answered later in books I’ve not read, and some may never be resolved, but I thought I’d write them down anyway.  I’ve turned off comments on this post, so that no one is tempted to try and comment with any spoilers for book 7 onwards.  However, be warned, there are spoilers for everything up to and including book 6 below.

When asking these, I’m assuming the Dark One doesn’t win at the end, with the only issue will be how much do the good guys lose in order to win.  As it goes, this is pretty much a boring list of stuff, but when I’ve finished the series I might come back and tick off the ones that get resolved.  So, here goes (don’t forget, spoilers)

  • Does Moiraine survive, who rescues her if she does (does she rescue herself)?
  • What did Moiraine see in Rhuidean, and how much of that is ever revealed to us?
  • Mat – just everything about Mat.  What does he end up doing, does he end up using the Horn? Does his death mean he’s no longer linked to it? Does anyone else realise that?
  • Who is Olver, and is he Gaidal Cain?
  • What is the taint on Saidin?  Does it ever get explained?
  • Just exactly what is going on with the seals?
  • How important was Herid Fel and which of the Forsaken did him in?
  • What is going on with Lews Therin inside Rand’s head.  Are they really talking to each other?  Does Lews hear Rand in his own timeline?
  • What happens in general to the Aiel after it’s all done.
  • Do the Tinkers ever find the song?
  • Do the Tinkers and the Aiel ever forgive each other?
  • Do Moiraine and Thom end up together?
  • Does Elayne ever work out Mat’s fox-head medallion and does that play any role later?
  • Do they ever relearn the art of healing without having to use energy from the patient (i.e. can they heal with just the One Power, like in the Age of Legends)?
  • Just what the hell is Verin really up to?  Who is she, how old is she, and how long has she known about the events leading up to where we are in the books?
  • Does Elayne ever work out how to make angreal and sa’angreal?
  • Does someone, anyone, finally realise that if you don’t just talk openly and honestly with your allies, you don’t get anywhere?
  • Does someone, anyone, finally realise men and women must work together and trust each other to succeed both in the battle and in life afterwards?
  • What happens with Lan’s heritage, and does it play any role?
  • Do the Ways ever get cleansed?
  • Does the taint get removed from Saidin (I’m cheating, I know the answer to this one already, one of the few things I remember from later books)?
  • What’s going on with Moridin (again, cheating, I’m not sure he’s been introduced yet)?
  • Are some of the characters meant to be stupid for a reason?
  • Is it ever explained that the ability to channel is genetic and hence killing male channellers before they have kids is the reason why fewer people in general can use the One Power, or is it only ever alluded to?
  • Does someone chop Nynaeve’s braid off to save us all from ourselves?
  • Does Elayne ever take up the Throne of Andor?
  • Does Rand end up with all three girls or does that dream ever get abandoned / explained?
  • Does Perrin hold out and remain human?
  • Does the Tower become whole? Do they stop using the Oath Rod? Is that ever fully explained?
  • Padan Fain – what happens to him?
  • Who does and doesn’t survive the last battle (people, nations, structures, cities, etc.)
  • Does Rand fully seal the prison, so that it looks like the bore never existed, is this the age in which that happens, or is it just another patch?

That’ll do for now.  I’ll come back and edit this, perhaps after each book going forward to see which questions are answered, and which new questions are posed and need answering.

Update 1: 25th August

Have now finished book 7.  The following questions come to mind (spoilers for book 7).

  • Once again, who’s Moridin?
  • Who’s in the second mindtrap?
  • What was going on with Liah in Shadar Logoth?  How did she survive so long?
  • Do we ever know what happened when the two balefire beams touch?

Jul 222013
 

Malice: Book One of The Faithful and the Fallen (Faithful & the Fallen 1) A black sun is rising … Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors under King Brenin’s rule, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will come all too soon. Only when he loses those he loves will he learn the true price of courage. The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed shields in battle, the earth running dark with their heartsblood. Although the giant-clans were broken in ages past, their ruined fortresses still scar the land. But now giants stir anew, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of giant wyrms. Those who can still read the signs see a threat far greater than the ancient wars. Sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield. Then there will be a war to end all wars. High King Aquilus summons his fellow kings to council, seeking an alliance in this time of need. Some are skeptical, fighting their own border skirmishes against pirates and giants. But prophesy indicates darkness and light will demand two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. They would be wise to seek out both, for if the Black Sun gains ascendancy, mankind’s hopes and dreams will fall to dust.

It can sometimes be hard to get into a story that starts being so spread out and includes multiple characters; especially when each chapter is often named for a different character and from their point of view.  There are six focal characters, the main one being Corban, and this structure continues for the whole book.  However, if you can get past that, the pay-off is so worth it!

John Gwynne manages to intricately weave a story that is essentially about good vs. evil.  A favoured fantasy trope to be sure but it’s the delivery and the writing that makes it stand out. There is so much here that makes fantasy great – epic battles, heroism, magic, betrayal and love.  Not to mention characters like Corban that you love, those that you love to hate and some that just plain make you cry, it’s all here in this wonderfully engaging first book.

I don’t think I could explain the plot if I tried, there is just so much and I find myself wanting to point out specific bits and go ‘See what I mean?’  The battle scenes were very well realised, gritty and visceral and my emotional response to some of the things that happened were audible and a few were downright teary.

Gwynne’s writing is very crisp and clean, and I loved the language style he used.  Not ye olde worlde, but not totally modern either, and it just fit the story perfectly.

The pace sometimes felt a little jerky due to the way the point of view switches.  There were also some short time skips but they didn’t affect my enjoyment, instead they allowed time in the story for some things to occur naturally, rather than being forced into the narrative.

The world is extremely well realised and steeped in history, and you learn most of it from a diary entry at the start.  The delivery made it more interesting and gave you a sense of how things came to be in a very short space of time.  The map also lets you envision it even further – who doesn’t love a good fantasy map.

I feel John Gwynne pays homage to several amazing authors; David Eddings, David Gemmell, Raymond E. Feist and George R.R. Martin, spring most to mind, but I also feel he doesn’t attempt to emulate them.

Reading Malice is like watching a finely balanced chess game being played out and I can’t wait for the next book in this series!

Malice is on the long lists for all three categories in the 2013 David Gemmell Legend Awards.  The long list poll is open until the 31st July.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: John Gwynne
  • Series: The Faithful and the Fallen (1)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Jul 052013
 

The Painted Man (The Demon Cycle, Book 1) There is a rush of excitement I feel when I start reading a book by an author I’ve not read before, and that sensation is doubled when I discover that there is something very special within.  I love a story that sinks its teeth into you and doesn’t let go until the last page, leaving you hanging on every word.  That’s how the Painted Man made me feel, and it felt good!

We get to meet a lot of people but the three main characters were outstanding well written for me.  Arlen, the poor boy, but what a man it makes him.  He knew what he wanted and he went after it, possibly costing him a normal life but even though he thinks the opposite, he is totally my hero! Leesha is sweet and caring, fearless in her own way and I admired her for not wanting to go with the flow as her skills were meant for much more in my mind. Rojer endures more than any child should, and is brash, funny and stubborn as hell.  I couldn’t help wanting to look after him though.

The magic system is quite brilliant and unique.  Not spells but wards and the uses for them range from the mundane to the fantastic.  The world Brett built for his story was just as interesting as the characters and magic, and provided a solid background for the story.  The history is rich and fascinating and yet terrifying as well.  The demons were well crafted and I thought they were pretty scary, given what the different types in the story can do.  The hint of personality some of them display was really well done and made their horror seem more visceral.

Peter V. Brett is a fearless author in that no character is safe, not even ones you come to love in a short time, and that is where the skill in his writing lies.  A cleverly worded paragraph can communicate so much about a character that you feel like you’ve known them a lot longer.  There are plenty of characters you love to hate and as in life, sometimes the bad guys get away with it.

The pacing of the story was very good and the switching between the characters never felt laboured or meandering.  The action scenes were fast, brutal and realistically written.  Brett’s blending of that with the magic created some intriguing fights.

There was one question I had that seemed to go unanswered until quite late in the book – who was the Painted Man from the title?  Maybe it should have been obvious to me but when I realised, I actually went ‘ohhh’ out loud.  Thankfully my husband is used to this and I didn’t have to explain!

I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next book in the series, The Desert Spear.  The first one didn’t end quite where I thought it would and an additional piece at the end had me reaching for the sequel immediately.  I had to force myself to stop and write this review so it would be fresh and not influenced by the next one.  If I didn’t have it to read… Oh my goodness I would have been antsy!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Peter V. Brett
  • Series: The Demon Cycle (1)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

May 222013
 

The Dragon's Path: Book 1 of The Dagger and the Coin The Dragon’s Path is the first instalment in The Dagger and the Coin epic fantasy series. It’s immensely rich in its own history, with a multitude of races and flawed but wonderful characters.  Just my cup of tea!

I was intrigued from the start, with an introduction to an apostate escaping from an ancient temple with a scary truth.  We don’t know who he is, but as the book progressed I started to have suspicions, but each time I thought I knew the truth I was cleverly deflected by Daniel Abraham.  In most fantasy settings, you often find one or two other races that are ‘typical’ but for this series, Abraham has created twelve and an extremely clever reason behind them (I mentioned the rich history already!)

It’s also a multi-faceted tale about people trying to do the best thing in the worst of circumstances and that means not always doing the right thing.  The major cast were brilliant. Marcus, Yardem, Cithrin and Master Kit were all characters that I really warmed to, even if I didn’t always agree with their choices. Geder, I felt for but wanted to shake and Basrahip… well, I don’t think there is a boot big enough to stomp on him!  Along with them are quite a few other characters, some you love and some you hate but they all felt extremely well fleshed out and very real.  I have to note the friendship and interplay between Marcus and Yardem, the first time they appear, made me laugh out loud and I knew I was hooked.  Daniel Abraham has quite the talent for creating his characters.

The plot can be quite complicated but not too hard to follow.  Explaining it however is another matter and I’m not even going to try.  I shall say instead that it is completely engaging and if you like a good epic fantasy that isn’t going to run to twelve books (I believe there is five in this series) then this will be right up your street.

The pace was good and I never felt it dragged, even when the characters themselves were being put through long journeys.  The action scenes were brutal and a couple of times I was open mouthed in shock but at the end of the day, that is not what the book is about.  The characters are what make it shine.

A great start to an epic fantasy series and I am eager to dive into the second book – The King’s Blood.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Apr 292013
 

The City The City is a fantasy tale of intrigue, deceit, hate and revenge, and yet it cloaks all of that beneath a layer of honour, loyalty and love.  The eponymous City is a vast and ancient state.  More than merely a single construct it covers many leagues, and it is at war.  Beneath the City, where the story starts, live the Dwellers, people who make what life they can living in the sewers, and it is here we meet the first characters in the story that is about to unfold.

I am challenged by stories which have many characters, especially when the story is then spread across them.  I prefer a small number of characters on which I can focus and understand in detail.  The City has a dozen or so characters of importance, and early on I struggled with my usual challenge, knowing who to like, who to root for, and who to hate.  Not because it isn’t always obvious what’s going on, but because the story has eight or nine people who could be considered the main protagonists.  The actual tale however is compelling, and that helped me work through my issue and I’m glad I did.  The story moves from character to character, or group to group, each progressing the narrative and revealing a little bit more of the history of The City, or the underlying war and rebellion in which everyone appears to be embroiled.  There are some leaps where things I felt were important happened ‘off page’, and I was sad for that, because Stella’s words are so graceful that I would have preferred to read them first hand, rather than hear them second hand through another character.

Stella’s prose is fluid, interesting and engaging.  Her touch is delicate, and her descriptions are vivid and long lasting.  I am left with a strong visual image of The City in my mind; it’s sprawling landscape and sewer system as much a character in the story as any of the people.  The pace throughout the whole story is even and measured, with only a gentle increase towards the end.  In some ways, I struggled with that, always expecting the story to explode and be driven forward at pace, and always being pulled back.  On reflection, I think it’s intentional, playing back the behaviour of some of the characters, and in particular a game in the story referred to as urquat in which great patience is required.

The City is not a riotous novel of warfare and combat.  There are certainly moments of action, vividly described, but the story is more subtle than that, a deeper reflection of the motivations of the characters, and a slow reveal of the people who inhabit The City and those who wish them toppled.  The characters throughout the story are well rounded, real and solid.  There are touching moments between two specific characters that brought tears to my eyes every time.

Although this is a fantasy novel, there is little magic, and the small amount is revealed slowly over time.  The magic is sinister, and woven in carefully to make sure we know it is powerful, closely guarded and mostly reviled.

Stella’s first solo novel is intelligent, compelling fantasy fiction, with enjoyable characters, and moments of true emotion.  If I could have one thing it would be to have spent longer with some of the characters, to have enjoyed more of the emotional moments with them.  But it is a small desire amongst an otherwise entertaining and enjoyable read.

I find myself left wanting to know more about world, the people, the magic and the Serafim.  The City is like a dance viewed from the outside, where many dancers move in beautiful and unexpected patterns, eventually settling into a final position that is both satisfying and mysterious at the same time.

Caveat emptor: I personally know Stella Gemmell.  My copy of The City was purchased from Amazon.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Stella Gemmell
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Apr 192013
 

The Killing Moon: Dreamblood: Book 1 Gujaareh is a nation at peace.  The streets are safe, the people ruled fairly and wisely by the un-corrupt.  There is no sickness or poverty and the old die in dignity.  Ehiru brother, a priest of Hananja, is also at peace.  His job is to administer the holy laws that protect the virtues of the great city.

Too good to be true?  Follow Ehiru and his faithful apprentice as they uncover the truth behind Gujaareen power and the hand they unwittingly play in it, and then decide.

In The Killing Moon N.K. Jemisin introduces an intriguing new concept; the art of Narcromancy (not to be confused with necromancy).  Furthermore, she conjures a society based on euthanasia that somehow feels both just and civilised.  This alone makes for a good and interesting tale.

Add to the mix an adequately visualised setting, a clever calendar system and key characters that are both engaging and spinning in emotional turmoil, and you have here a jolly good read.  If I have one small criticism it is that the book lacks that little something in the ending that causes you to mourn its passing and wanting more, more, more.

PS.  The writer provides a glossary at the back of the book.  Why the back?  Best you know that before you start eh!  For me a map (at the front) would have been more useful.  I do so love a good map!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: N. K. Jemisin
  • Series: Dreamblood (1)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Apr 172013
 

Promise of Blood: Book 1 in the Powder Mage trilogy I will hold my hand up and say I was less than enthusiastic about this book based purely on a brief read of the cover blurb.  However, since I was still enjoying being on a fantasy kick and wanting something new to sink my teeth into I picked it up.

It was actually the strapline on the cover that rescued the book for me – “The Age of Kings is dead… and I have killed it.” I loved it, both powerful and intriguing and that alone was enough to turn the first page.

I’ve never been happier to have been proved wrong.  I was pleasantly surprised by the plot – while it might have seemed like a common fantasy trope at first glance, Brian McClellan managed to turn it on its head and shake it around.  The result is an amazing debut that entertained and engaged me, while giving me that tingle of discovering something good and very special.

The writing was descriptive without being too wordy.  I could clearly envisage the scenes in my head, even without extra padding and that made for easy reading that flowed right to the end.

The characters were superbly envisioned and no one was clearly cut out as good or evil, just varying shades of grey.  Believing you are doing the right thing is a powerful force even in the face of evidence to the contrary.  As the plot unfolded, my allegiances changed, time and time again and while I have to confess my favourites were Taniel and Adamat, both were very different characters but there was something special about them that really touched me.

The magic system McClellan conjured was just as intriguing as the story.  Magic is very common but in the majority of the Knacked population it’s very minor and often no more than a help to do their job.  The more powerful Marked are pretty dangerous and the top ranking Privileged are utterly lethal.  Then there are powder mages, those who can use gunpowder to augment their abilities, often making them unbeatable in a fight.  Of course that’s a very simplistic description of something integral to the story so I can only suggest you read and find out the intricacies for yourself!

The ending of Promise of Blood was nicely done even and sets things up solidly for the next book. As an aside, I really liked the fact that while I really want to read the next one, I’m not left feeling desperate due to a cliffhanger.  It was no less powerful an ending because of that either.

Definitely an author to watch and highly recommended for any fantasy fan.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Brian McClellan
  • Series: Powder Mage Trilogy (1)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Jan 072013
 

This is by no means a comprehensive list of releases this year, just ones we are particularly looking forwards to.  I’m sure there are others we’ve forgotten and new authors that we will discover along the way.  As you can see, between Tracey and I, we have a pretty eclectic taste in books ;)

January

A Memory Of Light: Book 14 of the Wheel of Time: 14/14 A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time Book #14)
Don’t Want to Miss A Thing by Jill Mansell
Dream Eyes by Jayne Ann Krentz (Dark Legacy #2)
Ice Forged by Gail Z Martin (Ascendant Kindoms Saga #1)
Angel’s Flight by Nalini Singh (A Guild Hunter Collection)
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah Maclean (The Rules of Scoundrels #2)
The Zombie Whisperer by Jessie Petersen (Living with the Dead #4)
Ever After by Kim Harrison (The Hollows #11)
Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole (Shadow Ops #2)

February

A French Affair by Katie Fforde
The Daylight War by Peter V Brett (The Demon Cycle #3)
Calculated in Death by J.D. Robb (In Death #36)
Touch & Go by Lisa Gardner
Edge of Dawn by Lara Adrian (Midnight Breed #11)
The Queen is Dead  by Kate Locke (Immortal Empire #2)
Crystal Cove by Lisa Kleypas
Devil’s Due by Rachel Caine (Red Letter Days #2)
Hellhole Awakening by Kevin J Anderson and Brian Herbert (Hellhole #2)
Forged in Flame by Michael R Hicks (In Her Name: The First Empress #2)
Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt (Maiden Lane #5)
Cloak & Silence by Sherrilyn Kenyon (The League #5.5, unconfirmed release date)
The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines #3)
The Coldest War by Ian Tregillis (The Milkweed Triptych #2)

March

Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb (The Rain Wild Chronicles #4)
And Then She Fell by Stephanie Laurens (Cynster Sisters #4)
Lover at Last: Number 11 in series (Black Dagger Brotherhood) Lover at Last by J.R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood #11)
Immortal Ever After by Lynsay Sands (Argeneau Vampires #18)
Poppet by Mo Hayder (Jack Caffery #6)
Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #7)
Shadow of Freedom by David Weber (Honor Harrington #18)
Wild Invitation by Nalini Singh (A Psy/Changeling Collection)
Kitty Rocks the House by Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville #11)
Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse #12)
Written in Red by Anne Bishop (A Novel of the Others)

April

The Rising by Kelley Armstrong (Darkness Rising #3)
The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After by Julia Quinn
Inferno by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Chronicles of Nick #4)
Whisky Beach by Nora Roberts
Necessary Evil by Ian Tregillis (Milkweed Triptych #3)
Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson (Jessica McClain #2)

May

Once Upon A Tower By Eloisa James (Happy Ever After #5)
Forever by Jacquelyn Frank (World of Nightwalkers #2)
Fall of Night by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires #14)
Abaddon's Gate (Expanse) Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey (Expanse #3)
Leopard’s Prey by Christine Feehan (Leopard People #6)
Eternal Demon by Laura Wright (Mark of the Vampire #5)
The Tyrant’s Law by Daniel Abraham (Dagger and the Coin #3)
Magician’s End by Raymond E. Feist (Riftwar Cycle)

June

The Sum of all Kisses by Julia Quinn (Smythe-Smith #3)
Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch (Rivers of London #4)
Darkness Unmasked by Keri Arthur (Dark Angels #5)
The City by Stella Gemmell

July

The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh by Stephanie Laurens (Cynster Sisters #5)
My Notorious Gentleman: Number 6 in series (Inferno Club) My Notorious Gentleman by Gaelen Foley (Inferno Club #6)
Rise of the Gryphon by Sherrilyn Kenyon & Dianna Love (Belador #4)
Daughter of Blood by Helen Lowe (Wall of Night #3)
Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson #5)

August

Omens by Kelley Armstrong (Cainsville #1)
Terminated by Rachel Caine (Revivalist #3)
Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Dark Hunter #18)
Posession by Kat Richardson (Greywalker #8)

September

Kitty Rocks the House (Kitty Norville) Chosen by Benedict Jacka (Alex Verus #4)
Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb (In Death #37)

October

The Arrangement by Mary Balogh (Survivor’s Club #2)
Tempt the Stars by Karen Chance (Cassie Palmer #6)
Bound by Night by Larissa Ione
Cold Blooded by Amanda Carlson (Jessica McClain #3)

November

Daylighters by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires #15)
Dark Witch by Nora Roberts
Eternal Sin by Laura Wright (Mark of the Vampire #6)

December

Born of Fury by Sherrilyn Kenyon (The League #6)

Phew!  It’s going to be a busy and entertaining year :-D

Oct 042012
 

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy 1) If there was ever a book I regret not reading sooner, A Discovery of Witches would be it.  I didn’t think it would be quite my cup of coffee as time travel romance wasn’t really my thing and the comparisons I’d seen to Twilight put me off a bit.  I wholeheartedly say how wrong I was (and also not sure how *anyone* can compare this to Twilight!)  I was going through a bit of a reading slump at the time so was finding it hard to get enthused about many books.  That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it ;)

The first thing that grabbed me was the attention to detail.  I didn’t know at the time that Deborah Harkness is actually an Historian and that many of the things she wrote about, she knows on a professional level.  Her love for the subject showed through her writing and that same love was displayed in Diana, the female lead character.  Diana Bishop is a witch that has turned her back on her abilities and chosen the route of science and history in academia, a specialist in the subject of Alchemy.  She is a great character, level headed but also has good reasons for the denial of her heritage as a witch.  I loved seeing her work through her eyes and the curiosity that drives her.  When she finds a magical manuscript in the course of her work, life takes an unexpected turn.  Matthew Clairmont is a vampire geneticist who has been observing Diana and realises she is in trouble when the supernatural community take notice of her too.

The supernatural world is split into four types.  Humans, daemons, vampires and witches.  It should be noted that Daemons are not the Christian version of a demon but instead are creatures that are incredibly unstable and talented geniuses.  Humans are, or should be, unaware of the existence of the others but the other three can tell each other apart instantly.

When the lost Ashmole 782 manuscript, rumoured to hold the key to the origins of all three types of creature, is discovered and awoken by Diana, the long journey for her and Matthew really begins.

This is not a fast paced, action packed book, it takes its time to get where it wants to be and I actually liked that a lot.  I had time to get to know the characters, their habits, to get a good sense of who they are.  The romantic side was slow paced as well and while I am a girl that enjoys a good sex scene, I felt the gentle approach really suited the pace of the story. It was sweet and romantic and the concept of bundling was fascinating.  The gradual development also made for a good long build up to a solid relationship between Matthew and Diana.  That the pace of the story is slow didn’t make it any less enthralling and I found it very hard to put down.

It’s quite a long book and Deborah’s writing style can be very descriptive but for me, it just added depth to the story.  It also made me want to drink a lot of tea ;)  As an aside, look out for the house which is almost a character in its own right… I so want it!

All in all, a wonderful story, full of rich detail and characters who while may not be human, still make mistakes and are not perfect.  I can’t wait for book two, Shadow of Night!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Jul 252012
 

Green Rider Karigan G’ladheon is at a crossroads in her young life.  Suspended unjustly from the university where she was studying, she rashly decides to return home rather than await judgement.  It’s on the way home she finds her destiny waiting for her, in the form of one of the King’s Green Riders, dying on the side of the road, having been shot by two sinister black arrows.  F’ryan Coblebay begs her to take up his burden and carry his message to the King in Sacor City for it was a matter of life and death.  What message could be so important that it means one of the legendary messenger’s trusting a stranger on the road and begging for her help, even as he lies dying?

I first read Green Rider in about 2002 and have read it a couple of times since.  Having the third book unread on my shelf prompted me to pick it up again recently, remembering what a wonderful fantasy story it was.

Kristen Britain creates a vivid and well realised world for her characters to live in and then populates it with people you not only love, but get exasperated with, want to smack and who also make you laugh. The evil and the selfish characters are also well written, sometimes hidden amongst the good and at times you are kept guessing as to their true natures.  The battles and violent scenes can be stark, brutal and at times incredibly sad, but I thought they were entirely appropriate for the setting.

One of the things I enjoyed most about it was that it led me back to my love of epic fantasy.  I love all the genres I read, but with the amount of urban fantasy and paranormal romance I’ve read recently, the romantic scenes in Green Rider seemed gentle.  It reminded me of Guy Gavriel Kay, David Eddings, Gail Z. Martin where some acts were alluded to rather than laid out in descriptive glory (and don’t get me wrong, I love that too but this approach also has a special place in my heart).

The story is gripping and the history built around it is superb.  The actions of a madman and the solution used to stop his reign of terror now dwell in the depths of history, a thousand years ago.  Memories of that time have now fallen to legend and result in complacency, which I found all too realistic.  Now those safeguards are failing and it takes the ingenuity and heroism of a few remarkable individuals to bring that danger to light. Karigan is landed in the middle of it all and the snarkiness and spark that Britain gives her, makes her a heroine to love (and get fondly exasperated with).

I highly recommend this to anyone who loves a good epic fantasy that breaks out of the usual mould.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Kristen Britain
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