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Harbinger of the Storm (Obsidian and Blood, #2)
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Harbinger of the Storm (Obsidian and Blood #2)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  255 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Death, magic and intrigue in this hotly-anticipated follow-up to Servant of the Underworld. A sumptuously-detailed Aztec world, which will appeal to fans of magical fantasy, historical drama, political intrigue and murder mysteries.

As the political infighting starts within the imperial court, Acatl, High Priest for the De
ebook, 432 pages
Published January 6th 2011 by Angry Robot (first published January 1st 2011)
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Sep 14, 2014 Carol. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Recommended for fans of Martha Wells, inventive fantasy, otherworldly detection

I loved researching and writing ethnographies in anthropology class; the idea of describing cultural norms in the hopes of understanding as well as to speculating on their function in society. A study of a culture’s biology, if you will. Aliette de Bodard’s series Obsidian and Blood (Bodard’s site) reminds me of an ethnography, but instead of the dry, pseudo-scientific tone discussing a culture in general, Bodard gives us the personal perspective of Acatl, High Priest of the Dead, as he seeks to
All of my reservations from reading the previous book re: potential appropriation and exoticisation stand, but in terms of the content and storyline, the way Aliette de Bodard brings the world to life, I am really enjoying these. There are a few spots of clunky exposition ("as you know because you have lived here all your life, [x] is the domain of [x] god"), but for the most part it's smooth sailing. I do like that there's a continuing narrative going on here, a story arc that carries between b ...more
Matt Brady
I cant say exactly why I didn't like this as much as the first book in the series. Maybe it's just slightly staler, maybe the mystery was a little too complicated, maybe the cast of characters is a little too small. It just didn't feel quite right. Like an undercooked meal. In a book like this, a murder mystery set in a fantastical version of the Aztek Empire, there's a bit of a delicate balancing act. You need a compelling mystery, because that's what's driving the plot, but the setting is so a ...more
Fred Warren
Acatl is Tenochtitlan’s High Priest of the Dead: coroner, funeral director, keeper of the unseen boundaries between the the world of spirits and the world of men--and reluctant detective, when the need arises. He’s a humble, soft-spoken man who’s grown considerably into his duties since last we met him, but now he’s confronted by a new and terrifying challenge.

The Revered Speaker, ruler of Tenochtitlan, is dead, and court intrigue swirls around the naming of his successor. Acatl would prefer to
Another superb book!

This story begins 1.5 years after our last visit to the great Tenochtitlan. Intrigue, treason, scheming reach new levels when the Revered Speaker dies.

Once again we join Acatl-tzin, the Great Priest of the Dead as he is dragged in to initially perform the necessary rituals and soon he discovers there is much more than meets the eye and it is something that could threaten the very existence of the Fifth Sun/Era.

I love the way the story is woven criss-crossing the mysticism, in
Cécile C.
I enjoyed Harbinger of the Storm even more than the first tome of the series. Unlike what happens to some trilogies, where the author sounds like she had only planned the first book and struggles to give it an interesting sequel, Bodard seems to have refined her style and writing technique in this one. The murder mystery structure probably helps (it's easier to write a whole new interesting book if you have some guidelines, like having to find a new victim, new political stakes, and a new dénoue ...more
Events were wrapped up neatly at the end of Servant of the Underworld and a year or so later Harbinger of the Storm begins with the death of the Revered Speaker, leaving the Empire in jeopardy. Political intrigues only impede a timely resolution to the Empire’s problems.

The parts of the book that really shined for me were the action sequences, dealings with the gods, and rich setting details. The overall reading experience was great, though at times for me the investigation dialogs and political
Some days I feel like an Angry Robot fanboi. Who am I kidding? I am a huge fan. This book continues the great run of books they have released.

This is the second book in a series and I highly recommend reading Servant of the Underworld first.
I found the beginning of the first book a little too slow and hard to get into for my liking, but I was right there in the story from the first page of Harbinger. The main protagonist Acatl is the reluctant high priest of the dead and is part of a triumvirate
The Revered Speaker of Tenochtitlan is dead, leaving a leadership vacuum at the heart of the Mexica Empire. As political factions battle over who shall be apppointed to replace him, malign spiritual forces gather to feed upon the leaderless and unprotected people of the Fifth World.

For Acatl it's a stressful enough time to be high priest of the dead. Things only get worse, however, when a member of the council tasked with choosing the next Revered Speaker is murdered by magical means at the hear
Harbinger of the Storm works much better than Obsidian and Blood's first installment.
This time, I could actually suspend disbelief and buy the settings's premise. And I don't think that's merely because I was already familiar with the setting (although that must have played a part, especially when it comes to comparing the beginning of the sequel with the beggining of the series which I thought was a rather difficult read). The issues the characters deal with as well as their attitudes are more
Since I really, truly got into reading genre fiction, particularly fantasy and science-fiction, a favorite personal game of mine has been: what would happen if I found myself transported into the world of the book I was reading? Would I be able to live in it permanently? Would it be a better to just go for a visit? Or is it so very unsafe that I wouldn't last a minute before something or someone killed me in a horrific manner? And since I got into historical fiction I've begun including time per ...more
When the Revered Speaker Axayacatl-tzin dies, the fifth world is left vulnerable. Without a ruler, the Mexica Empire is no longer under the protection of Huitzilpochtli, the God of War, but is at the mercy of flesh-eating stardemons, not to mention the politics of electing a new emperor.

In order to discover who is behind the deaths of a council member and the Guardian to the Empire, Acatl, High Priest of the Dead, must throw himself into the political melee that ensues. Discovering that a starde
Lauren Smith

It’s been one and a half years since the events of Servant of the Underworld, the first in Aliette de Bodard’s mythological mystery series, Obsidian and Blood. Book two, Harbinger of the Storm opens with the death of The Revered Speaker, ruler of the Mexica Empire, and with his passing the Fifth World is left vulnerable to destruction. The Revered Speaker acts as the agent of the War and Sun god Huitzlipochtli, and without him Huitzlipochtli has no means of giving the human world his protect
The Revered Speaker -- that is to say, the Emperor of the Tenochtitlan nation-state -- is dead. His potential successors are maneuvering for the throne like there was no tomorrow. There may in fact be no tomorrow, because the Revered Speaker is the mortal representative of Huitzilpochtli, and without one in place... the universe gets shaky. For example, somebody important is torn into messy little gobbets by star-demons. Our favorite High Priest of the Dead decides to do something about this, ov ...more
Harbinger of the Storm is the second book in the Obsidian and Blood series, and is an very good continuation of the series. For those unfamiliar, the series is a historical fantasy set in the Aztec Empire, an empire where magic is everywhere and common, and where the gods have an active part in life. It is also a series of murder mystery, but with magic. Like the first book, the story is told in first person from the point of view of Acatl, the High Priest of the Dead. Where the first book was a ...more
I have an embarrassing confession to make--while quite enjoy Aliette de Bodard's Obsidain and Blood series, I'm not sure I will continue reading them for one simple fact that I will get to in a minute. The author has written an accurate depiction of the Aztec empire, with the caveat that any kind of magic the Aztecs believed in exists for purposes of the story. This is a very cool take on a historical fantasy, and I love the way de Bodard depicts the truly bloody world of the Aztecs.

However, bec
Aliette de Bodard: Harbinger of the Storm

Another outing for Acatl, High Priest of the Dead in Tenochtitlan, the capital if the Mexica/Aztec world. This takes up the story begun in Servant of the Underworld, approximately one year later. Acatl is a little more secure in his job, though he still tries to avoid the politicking which the high priests of the other gods seem to revel in. Teomitl, the younger brother of the current Revered Speaker (emperor in all but name) has now taken up with Acatl's
Is it the end of the fifth world?
The Emperor is dead and so is the protection he provided for the fifth world now threatened by star demons, malicious summoners and inner strife.

It all starts when they find councilor Ocome cut to pieces by a star-demon inside the palace. The demon is on the loose and has to be found. The investigation into the councilor’s death starts to peel an onion of mystery with many surprising twists and turns to be enjoyed.

The succession is far from as clear as it ought t
So far, a loose blend of mystery, historical fiction, and mebbe flesh eating demons. I am enjoying it as the antidote to 'The German Genius'. I like the Aztec bits;all that blood. A world run on blood, starting with getting the sun to rise. I have been an avid Aztec novel reader since Jennings' first Aztec novel.
The cover caught my eye in the sf section at the bookstore. I have jumped into a series as Blood and Obsidian: Harbinger of the Storm presumably is, being marked #2 and all. Jumping into
...I found Harbinger of the Storm to be a worthy successor to what I consider to be a very successful début. The emphasis in this book has shifted a bit from a murder mystery to political intrigue but the setting hasn't lost any of its appeal in the process. The novel zooms out a bit to allow room for more religious and political aspects of Aztec society to slip into the story. Despite my preoccupation with the historical aspects of the novel, Harbinger of the Storm is mostly a race against the ...more
This is second in a series, and if you liked the first one you will probably enjoy this as well. I've rated it a little lower than the first one, primarily because I found a couple of the plot points not as tightly woven. It may also be a little bit of spite on my part for a particular trope my favorite minor character had to go through. Those petty things aside, this is still a solidly good book. The pacing, worldbuilding, mythology, and characterization are top notch.
Tyrannosaurus regina
One the one hand, I love being dropped in the middle of the culture—everything is so rich and fully realised and elements of it so alien in the way that gods should be, existing outside of our morality. On the other, the book felt like a lot of shuffling characters around from place to place without it all entirely coming together overall.
Laura Christensen
A truly fascinating, well-researched historical fantasy set in the 15th century Mexica Empire. I have to say the star-demons and the Wind of Knives are my favorites, but the magic, mythos, and culture are quite fascinating as well, and the ending was satisfying. A political mystery set in an ancient, fantastic, little-known Empire? Heckyes, everyone should give reading this trilogy a shot.
This was, as expected, excellent. Murders abound in the ancient Aztec empire, where investigations get complicated when even the living gods and goddesses come up as suspects. (its actually even more complicated than that sum up) I only have one complaint for this second volume to the series: it spends the majority of the time in the palace, and there are next to none of the descriptions of the ancient world I can always count on Madame Bodard to evoke, and i really miss them. She can write anci ...more
I won this book from a Goodreads Giveaway - as it's the second Obsidian and blood book I had to buy the first before I read it. Harbinger of the storm is an engrossing read, and it's Aztec and historical context meant that it was something different to what I've read before.

The only issue I have with the Obsidian and Blood series is the names - I didn't know how to pronounce them and ended up skimming over many of them, which lead to me getting confused as to which character was doing what.

Ah, this is the Aztec high fantasy murder mystery I remember. I delayed reading the followup because I was afraid the first was a fluke, but that was clearly a mistake. My only complaint is that the book seemed rushed through editing: repeated explanations, inconsistent information, and poor flow in places.
Second in the series, still freaking good. Gotta love those crazy human-sacrificing Aztecs.
John Carter McKnight
The first Obsidian and Blood novel was a clever, original subversion of genre tropes in a well-realized setting. Harbinger of the Storm is even better, with a tremendous amount of worldbuilding, constant defiance of expectations, and a lot of real, incremental, believable character growth.

Just superb non-European fantasy-adventure, really as good as it gets.
A satisfying sequel.
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I am a speculative fiction author living in Paris, with a strong taste for history and mythology. Rice addict, tea addict and nước mắm addict.
My short fiction has appeared in various professional venues, and my Aztec fantasy series "Obsidian and Blood", Servant of the Underworld, is published by Angry Robot.
My next novel is The House of Shattered Wings, set in a devastated Paris where quasi-feud
More about Aliette de Bodard...

Other Books in the Series

Obsidian and Blood (3 books)
  • Servant of the Underworld (Obsidian and Blood, #1)
  • Master of the House of Darts (Obsidian and Blood, #3)
Servant of the Underworld (Obsidian and Blood, #1) On a Red Station, Drifting The House of Shattered Wings The Waiting Stars Master of the House of Darts (Obsidian and Blood, #3)

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