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The Tempering of Men (Iskryne World #2)

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3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  647 Ratings  ·  83 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 brothe ...more
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published (first published August 16th 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,260)
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heidi
Aug 22, 2011 heidi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
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
...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
Kari
Apr 11, 2012 Kari rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
...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
Jamie Collins
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
...more
Kaje Harper
Aug 29, 2011 Kaje Harper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m, fantasy
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
E
Sep 07, 2012 E rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Amanda
Dec 13, 2011 Amanda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trashy-fantasy
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
...more
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)
...more
April
Aug 08, 2011 April rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
(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
...more
Renee
Sep 11, 2011 Renee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
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
...more
Yan
Mar 09, 2016 Yan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, lgbt
Mixed feelings on this one - I loved getting Skjaldwulf's and Vethulf's POVs (Skjaldwulf is kind of my favourite) but the book as a whole felt meandering, with a lot of set up for not much pay off.

(view spoiler)
...more
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
...more
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
...more
Abigail Hilton
Sep 28, 2011 Abigail Hilton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
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
...more
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
Joy
Aug 17, 2015 Joy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, scribd
Clearly a middle book--less focused and more set-up than the first book in the series, which I loved, but still intriguing. I can't wait for the last one!
Bernice Mills
I'm going to be honest with you, I'm a little bit disappointed in this book. I guess that's why it took me so long to do a review - I didn't want to say anything bad about it, but there really wasn't much to say.

Let me start with the positive - we get glimpses of other people's points of view this time, and I enjoy the break from Isolfr's somewhat whiny point of view. I like whiny heroes (Hi, Harry Potter) but sometimes it's nice to have a viewpoint from someone who is a bit more grown up, a bit
...more
Sarahz
I was glad that I went into this knowing that it's a middle book, because that aspect didn't bother me so much (I didn't feel tricked). I liked getting to see more of their society, and the contrast between how people live in the south versus the north.
I enjoyed this book, but it has a few differences from the first book that could be jarring for some people. While the first book covers a few years of time, all from a single POV, and includes an entire war from start to finish, this book has 3
...more
Denise
Mar 25, 2016 Denise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, read-2016
There are no more trolls in the lands of the Iskryne, but the men and wolves of the new wolfheall at Franangford won't be idle for long. For the defeat of the trolls has left the wyverns once under their control to run wild, and a new threat approaches from the south: An army of men from a far away empire, larger than any ever seen in these lands before, bent on conquest.

This book was somehow a far quicker read than the first one. By following the viewpoints of several characters rather than jus
...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 ^^
Kingderella
Jan 24, 2016 Kingderella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review assumes you've read "A Companion To Wolves".

"The Tempering Of Men" is enjoyable, but less concise than "A Companion To Wolves". The first book felt like a unique work that had a specific point to make; the sequel feels more like "let's hang out some more with those characters, and have a good time."

The plot isn't very satisfying in itself, since its main function is to set up a conflict that is presumably going to be resolved in the third book. It works well enough if you regard it a
...more
Sarah Castillo
Aug 20, 2011 Sarah Castillo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
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
...more
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
...more
Ruth
Dec 05, 2011 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nakki
Oct 04, 2011 Nakki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, au-world, pr0n
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
...more
Mayday (m.i.d.e)
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
Oct 18, 2011 DM rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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My pseudonym is Katherine Addison. Katherine reviews nonfiction. Sarah reviews fiction. Fair warning: I read very little fiction these days.

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 h
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More about Sarah Monette...

Other Books in the Series

Iskryne World (3 books)
  • A Companion to Wolves (Iskryne World, #1)
  • An Apprentice to Elves (Iskryne World, #3)

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