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The Tempering of Men
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The Tempering of Men (Iskryne World #2)

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3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  488 ratings  ·  68 reviews

In Iskryne, the war against the Trollish invasion has been won, and the lands of men are safe again…at least for a while.Isolfr and his sister, the Konigenwolf Viradechtis, have established their own wolfhaell.Viradechtis has taken two mates, and so the human pack has two war leaders.And in the way of the pack, they must come to terms with each other, must become brothers

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ebook, 304 pages
Published August 16th 2011 by Tor Books
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(showing 1-30 of 946)
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heidi
My what a middle book this middle book is. There's nothing wrong with it, mind you. It's just, middly. We change focus from Isolfr, who was a pretty appealing character, to Vethur, who no one really liked in the first book, and Skajldwulf, who I kind of liked, and how they find comfort in each other. For a few pages at least, and then it's all roadtrip.

We see the problems of the third book building, how will they remake themselves, what are we going to do about the not!Romans, etc. I think the t
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Kari
While I liked learning more about the world, and what comes after the trolls, I had some big issues with this book that marred my enjoyment. Number one, it definitely falls prey to middle-book syndrome. There was no resolution, just more and more problems. Two, as much as I enjoyed the POV characters we get, Isolfr is not one of them.

And number three, and my biggie: WTF is up with Vethulf, Skajldwulf, and Isolfr? I get that Isolfr is uncomfortable with attraction to men, but in A Companion to W
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Kaje Harper
3.5 stars. I loved the first book in this series, A Companion to Wolves, (although be warned there is some dub-con sex in that one that is very disturbing to some people depending on how dubious you perceive the consent to be.) This book was more rambling, with the main characters separated again, delaying the emotional interactions that needed to happen to bind them into a working relationship. It is definitely only to be read after the first, or you will drown in the names and designations. Wh ...more
Wealhtheow
In Companion to Wolves, Bear and Monette presented a dark and grim twist on the classic fantasy trope of telepathic bonds with animals. Men were forced to give up their expected lives and occupations when one of the gigantic wolves chose them, and lived instead the fierce but short lives of troll-fighters. In Companion to Wolves, (view spoiler) In this sequel, the men are left with t ...more
Peggy
This book was a big disappointment. I'd been looking forward to it for awhile, and then it was just a blatant and entirely boring setup for the third book in this series. And look, the middle piece of a trilogy does not have to be bad - Two Towers and Empire Strikes Back are the best of their respective series. But this book was disjointed and, quite frankly, boring. It inexplicably did away with Isolfr's POV and introduced a handful of characters to tell the story. And I didn't really care abou ...more
Jamie
A pretty good read, but not as compelling as the first book. The point of view changes from Isolfr to that of Vethulf and Skjaldwulf, which I was looking forward to, but I was a little disappointed in the external view of Isolfr.

Plotwise (the sex is a minor element in this one) the wolf pack is worried that they’ll become obsolete since there are no more trolls to fight (another parallel with Dragonriders of Pern). Luckily a new enemy appears in the form of a pseudo-Roman invasion force. The end
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Trix
I was so looking forward to reading this! I was left astounded by the intricate relationship and story telling in the first novel. And having to wait the order the second novel to arrive felt unbearably long.

And now I kind of feel cheated of my expectations out of this book.(view spoiler)
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E
This follows directly on A Companion to Wolves, where a Viking-like society soul bond with wolves to fight trolls, and occasionally have Viking sex with each other. The sequel has lost a lot of the id-scratching appeal of the first book, it spreads out the POVs to three secondary characters from the first book and divides the narrative as well. There's an increased focus on world-building which was interesting, also I appreciated the attempts to deal with finding a purpose for our wolf pack afte ...more
April
(Originally posted @ CSI:Librarian.)

3.5 Stars - What both authors gave me was well worth reading and waiting for and everything about the book was solid and well-executed. And yet while virtually every page had something for me to highlight, applaud, commend, and/or appreciate in terms of writing or world-building skills... There just wasn't a lot that I could just flat-out love, gush, and/or rant about in a happy, gleeful way.

For example, I appreciated the importance of the wolves as well as th
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Renee
4.5 stars

A wonderful visit back to the Iskryne world. It's such a fascinating civilization. I love what Monette/Bear do with the sexual politics and gender roles. Yet while those issues never overtake the story itself, they greatly inform the plot and culture. Vethulf and Skjaldwulf's stories really shed a lot of light on their characters. It was great to learn more about them, and their relationship dynamics are so interesting. I found myself reading slower and slower as the book progressed, so
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Loki (of Smartassgard)
Please, may I have some more?

I love the intricacies of the relationships, the realistic struggles with purpose and attractions, the choice between right and wrong and the grey areas that are neither.

When these two authors get together on a project, something wonderful comes out of it!
Amanda
Well, that was a quick and disappointing read. Despite my problems with the first book, I wanted to find out what happens next, especially to Isolfr and Viradechtis.

HAHA say the authors, TIME FOR LOTS OF POV CHARACTERS, NONE OF WHICH ARE ISOLFR!

Also, gah. The plots were less developed and interesting this time, probably because there were three distinct plots going on. The characterization was also worse. Maybe it's because the POV swapped around too much for the authors to really get deep into
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Aldi
(This contains some spoilers.)

More wolves! More swartalfs! More territorial wolfjarl pissing contests, many many journeys, and not quite as much – but still quite a lot – gay wolf-bonded viking sex. Good times. I really like the unique premise of these books and that they don't play coy with some of the more controversial issues. And I enjoy the sly sense of humour shared by many of the characters. I could explore this world for quite a bit longer than the books actually spend playing in it (but
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Abigail Hilton
I have loved everything I've read by this pair of authors, including the short stories on which they've collaborated.

I really enjoyed this book, too, which is a credit to the authors, because it's pretty piecemeal. You get the idea that the authors thought they were done after one book, and the readers said, "More!" And the authors were like, "Really? Because what comes next isn't that exciting." And the readers said, "We want to know anyway!" So the author's said, "You got it."

This book deals
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Meg
The Tempering of Men
OR
We Ran Out of Trolls, Now What?

I find it interesting how A Companion to Wolves was a strong stand alone book, but The Tempering of Men is anything but stand alone. It leans heavily on both the first book and a book that hasn't even been written yet.

It's not that the plot is thin. The plot is quite thick. It's that the plot isn't remotely finished. Oh, we reach AN ending point by the time the book closes and its not even a forced ending. It's a fine ending. It's just not the
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Gardavson
About 2/3rds of the way thru, I gave up on this book having any plot whatsoever. Still, the first book was largely character driven, so perhaps there was still hope. I'd say this book was character driven, but it was disappointing in that. The characters were just a bit loose. It was too far and between that we got good snatches of the characters. I think it was a mistake, separating Skaldwulf and Venthulf. Or at least for separating them for so long. I think we would have benefited from their s ...more
Azh
Still a fascinating read, how many books out there related a peace time after-war-story in which the hero are not needed anymore?

I give this 4.5 and from this book I can see that the third book would be much much more intriguing than the first one, so, really looking forward to that ^^
Eisheth
I started this book with equal parts eagerness and trepidation, because I truly adored A Companion to Wolves, so I was surely setting myself up for disappointment with unreasonable expectations. And I was right, kind of.

I did like this book. These are the same fantastic settings and characters that I loved from before, and we get to learn more about their fascinating world and follow on more of their crazy shenanigans. And there were some awesome new things; brilliant layers added to this alrea
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Sarah Castillo
The sequel to A Companion to Wolves, The Tempering of Men by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette​ deliver another emotional, action packed and thought provoking novel.

Everything I liked about the first book was in this book. The subtle politics of the wolf pack, the exploration, and the sensitive portrayal of gender-queer and homosexual individuals make this book a real stand out.

In this book another interesting gender topic comes up. The introduction of sworn-men; an analog of the Sworn Virgins of
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Althea Ann
I feel a bit bad giving this a less-than-great review, because I kind of didn’t expect to love it: I read the previous volume, A Companion to Wolves, and wasn’t captivated – perhaps it was unfair of me to read this at all. However, I love absolutely everything else that Sarah Monette has ever written, and read this out of a tendency toward completism. (I find Bear hit-or-miss.)

Now, believe-you-me, I am all in favor of gay Vikings. I’m not opposed to psychic-companion-animals. It’s just that thes
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Ruth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nakki
OMG, A SEQUEL!!!!!!!!! *runs off to buy*

Oh I love this series! The 1st book was left open ended but with a great conclusion so it didn't even occur to me that they would be writing another book. This one only spans a couple month, whereas the first spanned many years, which isn't a bad thing. The narrative shifted between three different characters (none of them Isolfr) so the shortened time period was necessary to cover all that went on in three different locations. This book greatly expands th
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Mayday
I found my self engrossed in this book. Yes, I got distracted every now and then, but refusing to dwell too much on other things. I kept thinking, why my brain refused to absorb those names and terms the author so boldly used. I remember (well, almost) every wolfcarls, trellwolves and wolfless men from the first book, but I can't remember the names, it's so hard since the names are all so weird to me but I am willing to understand Scandinavian. I only remember wolfcarls' and trellwolves' deed an ...more
zjakkelien
To be quite truthful, I didn't really need this book. Don't get me wrong, it was nice. But I loved the first book. This book was less brutal than the first and less harsh, but it also missed some of its beauty. The world is expanded and we get to know more about the humans in the warmer south. The wolfheallan need a new purpose now that all the trolls are gone and this book is about them rebuilding their halls and finding a purpose, as well as identifying a new (human) threat. Unfortunately, I w ...more
DM
I agree with several other reviewers that Tempering felt very much like setting the stage, very different from the previous novel, which was the main event and had all the very high stakes and drama that comes with that. I knew from the start that for all the risky adventures and injuries, from a couple of battles with dangerous wild beasts, to the discovery of an unknown svartalf clan, to the capture of one of the main characters, there wouldn't be any hard losses or great victories or big reve ...more
SA
Very uneven, and a book that would have benefited from a stronger editing hand. It feels like a bridging novel--like something SM Stirling would do in his epic, eight-part books--except this is a trilogy, and the story doesn't really work better for widening the lens of influence.

All that to say, I did like Skjaldwulf and Vethulf, but the whole thing was just an exercise in lack of follow through from the authors. Why set up this whole relationship at the end of Book 1 if you're going to spend
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Meredith
I was so glad Monette and Bear teamed up to write a sequel to A Companion to Wolves, which was a fantasy novel that--while in no way perfect--stuck around with me for far longer than most books do. I think the best fantasy novels are the ones you still think about long after you've read them--maybe you inhabit the world in your daydreams, or imagine what the characters would be doing right now.

This is clearly the middle book in a trilogy, so don't expect a resolution. What surprised me (happily
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Miss
Definitely suffering from middle book syndrome. I liked it though. A lot of it was build up for what I presume will be the battle against the Rheans in the next book but it was competent build up that kept my interest. It's a bit strange in that I believe one of the threads was supposed to be Vethulf and Skjaldwulf coming to an understanding and stabilizing the new co-jarl relationship they have after the events of the last book? Except it plays out as about thirty pages of relationship dramaz, ...more
jess7ica
I love Sarah Monette, and I adored the first book of Iskryne, A Companion to Wolves. I didn't dare hope that we would be gifted with more novels from this world. It's a fantastic setting with dynamic characters. There are a lot of homo-erotic aspects to the story, which I only say because I know that such depictions are not to everyone's taste. I never found the sex in the novels gratuitous. It always felt right and necessary and fitting to me. It was also an interesting change to see this world ...more
Kate O'Hanlon
Second book problems, so many second book problems. Beware all those of little tolerance for second book problems, we will be focusing on previously supporting characters almost to the exclusion of our former heroes, the main players will be split up to go on their own meandering quests, there shall be many mini-bosses to be slain, including a bear (!), and we will largely be setting up for the final book.

Yes, Tempering trades heavily on the assumption that the reader has already bought into the
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128570
My pseudonym is Katherine Addison.

I was born and raised in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, one of the secret cities of the Manhattan Project. I studied English and Classics in college, and have gone on to get my M.A. and Ph.D. in English Literature. My first four novels were published by Ace Books. I have written two collaborations with Elizabeth Bear for Tor: A Companion to Wolves and The Tempering of Men
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More about Sarah Monette...
Melusine (Doctrine of Labyrinths, #1) The Virtu (Doctrine of Labyrinths, #2) A Companion to Wolves (Iskryne World, #1) The Mirador (Doctrine of Labyrinths, #3) Corambis (Doctrine of Labyrinths, #4)

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