Range of Ghosts (Eternal Sky, #1)
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Range of Ghosts (Eternal Sky #1)

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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  1,156 ratings  ·  245 reviews
Temur, grandson of the Great Khan, is walking away from a battlefield where he was left for dead.All around lie the fallen armies of his cousin and his brother, who made war to rule the Khaganate.Temur is now the legitimate heir by blood to his grandfather’s throne, but he is not the strongest. Going into exile is the only way to survive his ruthless cousin.

Once-Princess S...more
Hardcover, Cover art by Donato Giancola, 321 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Tor Books
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Community Reviews

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Lightreads
So the draw here is entirely the worldbuilding, to my eye. And it is good worldbuilding; Bear didn’t just say ‘hey, I want to write heroic fantasy about them easterners instead of another damn western European retread,’ she actually thought it through. This is not worldbuilding that relies on exoticized stereotypes. This stuff makes sense, right down to the nutritional advice given to a woman who has just lost her fertility (eat soybeans, which is exactly the advice that would come out of a doct...more
Jason
4.5 Stars

Range of Ghosts is a great read that blends a fantasy with a fairytale. This is my first Elizabeth Bear read, even though she has been on my reading list for a very long time. After reading this one, I will surely be looking up her other works.
This book is magical. The writing is sublime. The prose is lyrical. The vocabulary is extraordinary. Bear’s writing style adds to the wonderful world that she pens on paper. This is a novel that is incredible because of the amazing writing itself....more
Timothy Ward
Reviewed at Adventures in SciFi Publishing - Podcast and Giveaway of Eternal Sky Trilogy

I have heard for years that Elizabeth Bear is a rare talent, and I wish I hadn’t waited this long to read her. Her ability to mesmerize me with her prose reminds me of Mercedes Yardley, but with her own flair. I highlighted many passages from Range of Ghosts, but I’ll start with the first paragraph:

Ragged vultures spiraled up a cherry sky. Their sooty wings so thick against the sunset could have been the col
...more
M.K.  Carroll
I got up early so that I could finish reading this book while the house was quiet and I could be alone with it, and I'm glad I did. After reading the last page, I sat with my coffee and just sat and explored how deeply satisfying I found this story, and thinking about why.

There is a lot for me to love in this book - the worldbuilding is excellent, and the storyline is smoothly paced. What I love most about it, though, is that this is a well-written story in which I can picture myself as an ordi...more
Sarah
Dear Elizabeth Bear and Tor,

I’m suffering from an epic bout of nerd rage, at the moment, and I feel as though the responsible parties should know what a torment I am going through. You see, Range of Ghosts was an absolutely stunning read in ever aspect. It’s easily my favorite book of 2012 so far and now it’s over.

It’s OVER and I have NOTHING to turn to because it’s the FIRST BOOK in a TRILOGY and the next books haven’t been released yet! Oh, the tragedy!

That’s the cause of my nerd rage. I need...more
Joel
Really good except for the parts where I have no idea what is going on. She might as well just write "Blah blah blah politics."

Still planning on going on to book two, because magical ponies and giant cat people.
Angela
I really wanted to enjoy this book more than I actually did but, ultimately, it left me unfulfilled.

Bear’s world-building is, as always, superb. She has created a unique vision here, where the sky changes according to whose empire you’re in, and where moons wink out of existence as the human life they’re tied to is cut short. And Temur, Samarkar, Hrahina and their Nameless adversary are all intriguing characters who are worth getting to know.

The story itself, though, is where this one falters....more
Mitch
It should be a crime for a fantasy to be this good. Somehow, Elizabeth Bear has created a world so richly detailed, so gripping, that I couldn’t put this book down for three hours, not until I finally got to that last page. And even after that, I was still thinking about this book an hour later (and not just to write this review).

I’m not usually a fan of elaborate settings and descriptions, but Bear really makes it work here. Maybe it’s because reading the same kinds of descriptions in that twen...more
Beth
Range of Ghosts reminded me of The Way of Kings in some ways. It's not the plot, though both are arguably fantasy epics; it's the way the plot unfolds, the way the characters are treated within the plot. I usually like books heavy on characterization, and neither of these two titles focus primarily on that. There is characterization, of course - I don't think I'd care about the books if I didn't care about the people in them - but the focus isn't on their lives and choices. Rather, it's on their...more
Tim Martin
I love non-European settings for fantasy novels! There are simply not enough of them out there. Nothing against Tolkien, noting against a setting based on medieval France or Britain or Germany, or the Vikings, or even ancient Greece or Rome…but I adore well written fiction based in southern, central, and eastern Asia (or other areas for that matter outside of Europe). Here the setting has a very clear basis in the Arabian Middle East, China, Tibet, Mongolia, and the lands of the Silk Road, with...more
Bryn Hammond
For me this book went by thirds: I loved the first third, slumped in the middle, then found the last very strong. That might be me: I noticed I liked it when they were on journeys, not in the palace and temple. The first third was most Mongolian, with a steppe journey and most attention paid to the horses (I missed them later); the last third had writing that wowed me and I was caught up in the climatic action. Had my interest been equal throughout, or had the scenes seemed to me more even, it’d...more
Jim
After I finished reading this book, I spent several weeks trying to figure out how best to review it. I kept coming back to the word “thoughtful.” Everything from the worldbuilding and mythology to character to sentence and word choice.

The book opens to Temur, heir to the Khaganate, stumbling through a battlefield. His hand has gone numb from clasping the bloody gash along the side of his neck– You know what? Let me just give you a few paragraphs from the first page.

Beyond the horizon, a city la...more
Maggie K
I truly love Elizabeth Bear's writing, and was not disappointed. She builds a beautiful and mystical universe, where Gods share the sky and the pantheons manipulate and cajole the lowly humans to keep chaos working in their favor.

Temur, the most likely heir to one of these kingdoms, is manipulated by honor into a quest to save his mate. Temur is a little difficult being so young, and is not defined very well other than the typical warrior type things, but that seems mostly because he hasn't defi...more
Stefan
Early on in the novel, after being transported from all she knows to a new setting, a character muses that “she had fallen into a story.” That line also describes the experience of reading this novel: it’s a book you can sink into. It’s also that rare novel that feels longer than it is in a good way: barely 330 pages long in hardcover, it imparts the same sense of richness and immersion you’d expect from a doorstopper, but distilled into a tighter, more concentrated package. I cannot recommend R...more
Erica
I actually liked the book about 4.5 star's-worth but I found that I kept thinking about the story long after I'd finished it, so I give it a full five stars because it's stuck with me.
This is probably the most difficult book I've ever read for my own pleasure. It was like an intense hike, grueling and painful, but when you reach the vista, it was all worth it, even if you're thoroughly exhausted.
The author loves words and it shows but her writing style is tweaked just enough that I couldn't get...more
Ranting Dragon
http://www.rantingdragon.com/review-o...

The Grandson of the Great Khan, Temur, awakens on a field of dead men, having just survived a bloody battle in a civil war his uncles have perpetuated. Abandoned and alone with no family and no friends, Temur finds a pony and begins to ride away from the dead. After finding a lover, Edene, among the people of the plains, the wizard Al-Sephr steals her away in a storm of ghosts, and Temur vows to bring her back. And south among the mountains, the once princ...more
Lydia Presley
If I had not received the sequel to Range of Ghosts from the publisher, I can honestly say that Range of Ghosts would never have entered my radar. I'm fairly picky when it comes to my high-fantasy, and one of the qualifications is that the strange-name to familiar-name ratio be fairly balanced. Range of Ghosts was definitely not balanced.

However, I took the leap and purchased Range of Ghosts because I am unable to just dive into the second book of the series without having read the first. To be...more
Jared Millet
I'm not sure if there's a movement toward Central Asian epic fantasy, or if it's just coincidence that I've recently picked up two books on that theme. Range of Ghosts isn't quite as captivating as K.V. Johansen's Blackdog, but Bear tells a tighter story and is better at detailing the various aspects of the many cultures she introduces, with touches of Tartars, Mongols, Tibetans, Arabs, and Chinese. The plot is nothing out of the ordinary for fantasy, but Bear's characters shine and her pace nev...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
The best fantasy novel I've read since Guy Gavriel Kay's Under Heaven with extraordinary characters, fabulous settings and interesting mythology.

I have read about many strange skies, but until Range of Ghosts I've never thought about what impact our sky had on our minds and souls. We are like this today because when humans first looked up they saw a blue sky and one sun in the day; we feel and think like this because they saw a black sky and one moon in the night.
Fantasy Literature
A reviewer could easily describe Range of Ghosts, the first book in the ETERNAL SKY series, as typical high fantasy: a team of unlikely heroes assembles in order to fight a rising evil empire, while simultaneously restoring the rightful heir to the throne and engaging in romantic hijinks. That reviewer might remark that Elizabeth Bear used the Eurasian steppe as her setting, rather than some species of the Shire, and leave it at that. But that reviewer would be a very dull person indeed, and utt...more
Vanessa
After the Great Khan's death his heirs fought over his empire, wiping out entire armies. A grandson of the Khan, Temur is left for dead on the battlefield and miraculously survives to join the refugees fleeing the Steppes. But in order to avoid notice by an enemy that would kill him, he hides his identity.


Samarkar, former princess and now a widow, is close to completing her training to become a wizard. But despite great sacrifice, there's no guarantee that she will actually be able to wield magi...more
Phil
Here's a extract from my review, full link: http://afantasyreader.blogspot.ca/2012/07/range-of-ghosts-review.html

Elizabeth Bear is a renowned author but Range of Ghosts is her first work that I picked up. After a few chapters, I realized one of the reasons for her success; a smooth and imaginative writing style, not poetic but still, with a rhythm that make the prose feels personal, even passionate. Even with High Fantasy involved, the prose is taken up-close and feels a bit confining. However,...more
Joseph
There is so very, very much to love about this book. To begin, it's the start of an epic fantasy trilogy, but given that the first two volumes are in the 300-350 page range, I suspect the entire trilogy will be shorter than a single installment of [insert your own example here]. The setting is wonderful and well-realized -- an imaginary world, but instead of being modeled on quasipseudomedieval Europe it's modeled on 15th century(?) Central Asia, with room for all manner of different nations &...more
Brett
Range of Ghosts is probably one of the best fantasy books I've read in awhile. Would recommend to anyone looking for a good fantasy with strong characters, especially the many female characters, and a strong realized world.
Janny
Nov 02, 2013 Janny added it
My favorite from Elizabeth Bear so far - Rich world, well rounded characters. Now to wait for the sequel.
Crystal
(My rating would be more like a 3.5.)

Between reading "Acacia: War with the Mein" and "Range of Ghosts" this year, I'm starting to worry that I'm losing my taste for epic fantasy. I very much feel that if I'd read this book 10 years earlier, I would have loved every bit of it. My tastes are a little different now, but there's no doubt that Elizabeth Bear has created one helluva story.

My favorite aspects of this book:
- The word building is fantastic. It's neat that there are so many different cult...more
Sue CCCP
My full review: http://coffeecookiesandchilipeppers.b...

As I began to read, I was not at all sure about this book for the first few chapters. I liked the unusual setting because it is great to see a fantasy title that is not immersed in European mythology and culture, but the beginning seemed somewhat slow and almost ethereal. One problem I did have right at the beginning was the names of the characters associated with the Scholar-God’s cult. They all have very similar names and so I found mysel...more
Reed
Well I must say, my first experience reading Elizabeth Bear was a good one! I'd give this book 4.5 stars if I could, as it was nearly perfect (for me, at any rate).

Range of Ghosts is a fantasy that says "to hell with doorstop European-based swords and sorcery by-the-numbers fantasy", and I am most grateful that Bear chose to use a setting inspired by the Mongols and surrounding areas such as the Middle East, China, and India.

While the main characters are somewhat stereotypical for an epic fanta...more
heidi
You have to love a man who names his heroic horse "Dumpling".

You have to love a princess who trades her broodmare status for the hope of power.

You have to love a quest group that consists of three women and a dude who respects them all.

If you go to describe this story, it is easy to get tangled in the A plot and the B plot and trying to figure out what's about to go on, but when you're reading it, it's very seamless. As you realize that all these plotlines are converging, the story seems to pick...more
A.E. Marling
Come where moons trawl through the sky, one for each of the prince sons of the great khan. Where mist dragons haunt the hills. Where warriors shoot arrows from horseback. A land of hardship and myth and monster birds, with disgruntled humanoid tigresses, djinn, and legends that walk in disguise among the living.

Elizabeth Bear has written a fantasy in an original setting. I am all for exploring new cultures, of increasing the representation and scope of the genre. The protagonists in this story s...more
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Elizabeth Bear was born on the same day as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, but in a different year. This, coupled with a childhood tendency to read the dictionary for fun, led her inevitably to penury, intransigence, the mispronunciation of common English words, and the writing of speculative fiction.

She lives in Massachusetts with a Giant Ridiculous Dog. Her partner, acclaimed fantasy author Scott Lynch...more
More about Elizabeth Bear...
Hammered (Jenny Casey, #1) Dust (Jacob's Ladder, #1) New Amsterdam (New Amsterdam, #1) Blood and Iron (Promethean Age, #1) All the Windwracked Stars (The Edda of Burdens, #1)

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“She said, "You're a warrior. So how do you kill without rage?"
"In compassion. Because of necessity." Hrahima set the empty water bowl back in Samarkar's hands. "The same way you carry water.”
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“If you could disagree with kings, were gods so far above?” 8 likes
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