Posts Tagged epic fantasy

Sacrifice (First Book of the Fey) – Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Worth looking for.

Stars: Three and three quarters out of five.

Review format: Note plus links.
Summary: Their armies have conquered half the world. Now they want the rest.
The Fey, known for their beauty and their warrior magic, have set their sights on Blue Isle. They should conquer the Isle quickly; its people, simple and religious, have never known war.
On the eve of the invasion, Jewel, the granddaughter of the Fey’s all-powerful Black King, has a frightening vision, one that ties her fate to the Isle forever. Still, she helps her father Rugar head the invasion force.
The force meets a surprising resistance. Nicholas, heir to Blue Isle’s throne, has always dreamed of battle. Normally, he would be no match for the powerful Fey. But Blue Isle has a secret weapon—a weapon no one understands, a weapon that could stop the Fey in their tracks.
Nicholas must find a way to harness this amazing power. Jewel must find a way to thwart him. To survive… what will happen? (quoted from publisher’s description online)
Provenance: Purchased ebook online.

Sacrifice – Kristine Kathryn Rusch: This is the first all-out fantasy I’ve read by Ms. Rusch, and it does not disappoint.

The narrative switches from one limited-first-person to the other.  At first I expected to follow Jewel extremely closely, but then I got more comfortable as the point of view spent almost equal time with Nicholas.  I very much enjoyed the twist on the usual trope of ‘the Fey.’ Here they are warlike and steadily conquering everything within their reach. Not at all wispy and ethereal 🙂  Hmm, Romulans?

The only hold-back from four stars is that I felt the pace slowed a little more than I wanted, as the important characters seemed to reach their intended locations for the end of this book. But, they’re set for act two now, and I am looking forward to learning what’s next.

Hooray for completed series!  I can read the whole thing as soon as I like, and I certainly will get going soon.

Linkage and spoilerly comments below

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The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the WindA Mighty Wind.

Stars: Four and a half of five.

Review format: Note plus links.
The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss.  Cover summary: So begins the tale of Kvothe—from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In these pages you will come to know Kvothe as a notorious magician, an accomplished thief, a masterful musician, and an infamous assassin. But The Name of the Wind is so much more—for the story it tells reveals the truth behind Kvothe’s legend. (from the author’s website)
Provenance: Purchased my own copy (trade paperback).  Re-reading in preparation for reading the 2011 sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear.

This is definitely an excellent book:  it gets better in retrospect, and even better on a second read.  The weakest part is the slow timing in the first hundred or two pages.

The first time I read it, it simply did not strike me as a young-adult book – probably because I was so convinced that the ‘real story’ was going to take place in the present day rather than in the flashbacks.  But, in the flashbacks, Kvothe is young: 12, 14, 16.

Really good reviews below

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Star-only reviews

Oh dear, I have a backlog of books.  I have not been so behind in reviewing in over three months.

These are the books that I’ve read during the past 30 days that still need reviews.

For now, here are the just the books and the stars:

  • The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss 4.5 stars
  • The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss 5 stars
  • Dawn – Octavia E. Butler 4.5 stars
  • Adulthood Rites- Octavia E. Butler 4.5 stars
  • Imago – Octavia E. Butler 4 stars
  • Blood Faerie – India Drummond 2.5 stars
  • Dark Angel – Charles De Lint 3.5 stars

I will (attempt to) slow my book consumption until I get more caught up. I’m currently reading a pair of short story collections: Darwin’s Bastards, and Fragile Things.  It is a lot easier to set aside a book after finishing a short story.

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Shadowheart – Tad Williams

Shadowheart by Tad Williams
Stars: Three of five
Goodreads summary: Southmarch Castle is about to be caught between two implacable enemies: the ancient, immortal Qar and the insane god-king, the Autarch of Xis. Meanwhile, its two young heirs, Princess Briony and Prince Barrick, are both trapped far away from home and fighting for their lives. And now, something is awakening underneath Southmarch Castle, something powerful and terrible…  Shadowheart  – Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists on Goodreads.

Shadowheart is the fourth and final book in Tad Williams’ Shadowmarch trilogy.

I read book one probably in 2005, so it’s taken me about six years to finish the series. I now try to defer starting one of these epic series until it’s at least half written – glaring at you now, G.R.R. Martin.  I embarked with enjoyment and high hopes, but that started deflating a little during the second-to-last book.

In the end I felt fatigued finishing this fourth book.  When I read the third book about a year ago I think I was plagued by a few deja lu feelings.  In this book, the symptoms are worse: we already know pretty much all the players, the important transformations and deaths have mostly all occurred, and the battle for Southmarch feels more like a siege.  If you’ve enjoyed the series so far then by all means finish it off with Shadowheart; but, if you have been losing interest to date, in my opinion this book won’t redeem it for you.

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