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Talyn (Korre #1)

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  714 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
In a world where technology is magic, and war is the only way of life, Talyn is a soldier, one of thousands trained from childhood to protect her country from the monarchist Eastil, who would take away the personal freedoms of the Tonk.

Talyn long ago embraced her fate: to die in battle. This is a war of magic, not of swords, and the battles are fought deep inside the View,
Hardcover, 528 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Tor Books (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,631)
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The Holy Terror
Jan 07, 2012 The Holy Terror marked it as will-never-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: think-about
This book sounded really good, until I dug a bit deeper. Nothing original here.
Dec 15, 2010 Judah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fantasy
While there are some aspects of this book that are interesting...the way magic works, mainly, it stops there. Lisle creates an interesting character in Talyn...but then doesn't really do anything with her. Nada. After Talyn's initial development, it falls to hell.

**How can I do this when I know it's wrong???

But....I love him!!**

I'm sure it all wraps up into a nice and tidy ending, with Talyn overcoming her needs and saving the country, and I'm sure it was plenty interesting, but we re
Oct 08, 2009 Heather rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-scifi-pics
Eek, the things you find in a used bookstore. I grabbed this for a dollar because the premise seemed so interesting . . . and didn't notice until I was home that the back jacket described it as "erotic." So, unlike some other reviewers out there, I was, in fact, warned, and decided to take my chances. The advertisement of "erotic" on the back flap instead of the front made me think that publishers were half-hiding that confession, or wanted to promote the book based on that impression but weren' ...more
Mar 04, 2011 Thara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book by Holly Lisle I've read and I intend to find more. There are a lot of book with a similar premise that don't live up to their promise. Not this one. The writing was clear and precise, the characters well-developed, and the story well-executed. The society created by Lisle was utterly believable. Talyn is likeable, honorable, humorous, basically someone I felt like I could be friends with. Every once in a while, though, she makes a comment that forced me to realise that sh ...more
May 05, 2010 Nicole rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 10, 2013 Ruth rated it it was ok
Shelves: spec-fic
c2005: FWFTB: Eastil, Feegash, soldier, magery, Tonk. Again, this was a random recommendation that I wish, in a way, I had noted down so that I could discount future recommendations from this source in the future. Wordy in a word. Lots and lots of philosophising and explaining and history and world building. I didn’t ‘get’ the main character at all. I liked the 3rd leg of the ‘triangle’ but didn’t find the eroticism mentioned in blurb. Sex, yes, but erotic – nah!Ms Lisle certainly has an impress ...more
It was refreshing to read a book that is wholly complete in itself. I was beginning to think everything good in SF/Fantasy had to be a series or trilogy. This is a very good stand alone novel.

It was nothing like what I expected. Talyn, the lead character stayed true to her character. Whenever she felt weakness, she fought it with all she was. Her trials and tribulations were outside of the expected or ordinary. The storyline encompassed the best and the worst elements of religion and isolated co
Allen Garvin
Talyn starts imaginatively and interestingly: two countries at bitter war for 300 years, followed, within 50 pages, by a sudden peace. But, more importantly, it immediately gives a cast of sharply-drawn and fascinating characters, and provides great interaction between them and the storyline. Plus, it presents us with a moderately new magic system, and follows is persistently throughout the book to a logical conclusion based on that system. Certainly, other fantasy authors have given us similar ...more
Jul 04, 2008 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: epic-fantasy
When I first opened the book, I noticed the maps, and I love maps. In them, she lays out the foundation of an entire world and the island continent of Hyre. When I saw them, I thought the world map was a little much, but I was amazed that she was able to fit the names of almost all of the lands in the first chapter and not feel like I had been force-fed a lot of information. In this, I discovered that she was able to flesh out her world while advancing her story and introducing her characters. W ...more
Sep 05, 2008 Allison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People with a strong stomach
Recommended to Allison by: Holly Lisle Fans
A Friendly Warning:

I've heard of Holly Lisle for awhile, but it was until recently that I picked up one of her novels. The first book I read by her was called The Ruby Key, and was geared towards a very younger audience, but since I liked it so much, I decided to read more by her, and hearing that Talyn was a favorite, I decided to go with it.

Now, I'm not one to read back covers (they always give away the best parts of the plot, in my opinion), but maybe if I had, I would have expected what hap
Jan 10, 2014 Derek rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like Diplomacy of Wolves, it is thick with invention--political, cultural, magical, personal, and so forth--to the point of being too much. The book starts with layers of history and culture and background that roots the continent of Hyre and the long war between the Confederacy and the Republic, and it's clear fairly soon that the situation is not entirely black-and-white.

I was looking forward to a complex resolution to the endless war by these entrenched opponents (I apparently did not read t
Jan 20, 2009 Ruhegeist rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The blurb on the back was a little misleading. Still glad to have read the book. Probably should have ended about 100 pages earlier as I got a little tired of the story and some of what I found over the top unnecessary rants of the "here we come to save the day," "I love you but you're so wrong for me", "woe are we," destiny variety. The world Lisle created was well done in the first half but did suffer later. The culture and religion well thought out. In the end was still good vs evil. I prefer ...more
This is a hard one to rate.

Four stars for the world building. Interesting take on society, religion, politics and law. Nicely divided worldview between various countries. In spite of the presence of magic, humanity remains very human. The magic itself was limited due to human limitations and not mystical ones, which gave quite a bit of leeway. I really liked the feel of this world.

Three stars for the characterizations. While supporting characters were barely more than one-dimensional, we still d
Shiloh (Fantastic Reading)
The Tonk and the Eastils have been at war for hundreds of years, with neither gaining significant ground. Then come the Feegash, noted diplomats, promising peace and prosperity. Only a few people notice that along with that peace comes a complete disarmament and a troubling migration of their people away from their land. One of the Feegash takes an interest in Talyn, seducing her with dark magic until she no longer recognizes herself. She breaks free of his influence, only to discover just how w ...more
Leona Wisoker
Aug 01, 2010 Leona Wisoker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew I loved Holly Lisle's ebooks on how to write, but I was terrified I wouldn't like her fiction writing. Finally, I borrowed a copy from a friend, and found that I had nothing to fear: Lisle is an EXCELLENT writer. And good at writing smoking hot scenes, too ... this book held me captivated, and I couldn't stop reading until I finished it all. Around 2 am, if I recall....
I seem to be having some bad luck with fantasy lately. This is the second book in a row that seemed to have an interesting premise and had good reviews that just didn't grab my attention. Bummer.
Jun 10, 2014 Bree rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
it was a pretty long drawn out book. had a hard time finishing it
Apr 15, 2011 Lila added it
I'm approaching this one cautiously since Tanith Lee's Paradys caught me by surprise. So far... I'm liking it.
FINISHED! (Exciting, since this is one of the few books I've been able to finish in my medical school career T.T)

My review is up ahead - there's no spoilers per se, but rather a general gist of the book. I do give my impression (without giving away) of the ending, so if you don't want to know - don't read ahead.


A very interesting novel. Definitely was not e
Jan 25, 2016 Madelyne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: YES
Recommended to Madelyne by: LibraryThing
I posted a more in depth entry on my blog (link:, but here is part of it. I don't think I gave any spoilers...

Today I finished Talyn by Holly Lisle. Have you read it? Go now, find a copy, read, and tell me is it not splendid?! I came across this book on LibraryThing. The cover intrigued me (of course), but I read very little about its plot. I immediately went to PaperBackSwap and procured my copy. I didn’t read it right away (damn library books).

I’m not
Jan 19, 2016 Katie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
Better on the second read-through, and better, in some respects, than its sequel Hawkspar. Where I found Hawkspar more intricately plotted and sometimes more exciting, I found the worldbuilding and characterization of Talyn much deeper. This is a good, thick fantasy book with an amazing world and a rewarding story. I highly recommend it.

SORT-OF SPOILERS: the first time I read Talyn, I thought the evil of the villain was over the top, that no human could be that evil. I was only seventeen at the
May 01, 2009 April added it
"Prolific fantasy author Holly Lisle has honed her craft to perfection with Talyn. From the first sentence to the last word, this tale of war and relationships is unpredictable and shocking. Honor is everything and magic is normal in Talyn's warrior society. When honor is put to the test and magic becomes anything but normal, Talyn's choice is between the love of everyone and everything she holds dear, and defending her country, even if it means violating every principle she has sworn to uphold. ...more
Jan 19, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I was thrilled to find a hardback copy of a Holly Lisle book which I had not read at Half Price Books. (At half price, the price is always right.)

I have to admit: the cover was right. The world Holly Lisle has created is enthralling. (Pun intended.) I loved the characters, hated what happened to them, and enjoyed their growth through their experiences.

I had a hard time putting the book down to sleep.

It's a good read!
May 23, 2015 Petrina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
As far as organizational structure goes this book is quite good. Lisle developed a military system that is functional, not to complex, and realistic. There is a deffinate appeal to those in the military profession but it also appeals to lovers of classic good and evil stories.
One thing I would have to say I would have liked is a little warning in regards to teh sex scenes in this book. It has been stated in previous reviews, and I completely agree, that a little warning would have been nice.
Aug 25, 2015 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an amazing, powerful novel!!! A clash of societies, a long war, a devastating peace, fierce loyalties, interesting magic, and a deep love that crosses boundaries of culture and patriotism. So well written, and with wonderful characters, this is one of the best books I've read this year...and one I'll read again.
Mar 18, 2013 Elyce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes sciene fiction or fantasy
Shelves: fantasy
Talyn is a tremendously interesting book. I couldn't put it down!

The story starts fast - you're thrust into a vibrant world with well-defined, intricate cultures and believable characters. Look for your traditional fantasy elements elsewhere, because Talyn has about as much in common with high fantasy as Shakespeare has with James Cameron.

The plot is not predictable, and it will keep you turning the page to see what happens next. There is a romance element that turns in on itself. There is a ma
Nov 17, 2011 Nathalia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book has everything that I want in a Fantasy book and much, much more.

- Amazing world building.
- Unique and quite complex magic system.
- The author has an amazing ability to make you "feel" what the character is feeling, and also makes you go through some very uncomfortable situations. Definitely not for kids!
- Great characterization.
- A rich plot that will always keep you guessing.

- The author has a habit of repeating herself, especially in the beginning. However, I suppose
May 13, 2011 Kaydern rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By no accounts was this book perfect, but I'm willing to forgive a book a lot more if it makes me laugh. Right from the start the main character, Talyn, has a fantastic sense of humor that would have kept me interested in a much worse book. Talyn is a character I think most people can empathize with. She's straightforward, proud, and vivacious. Right from the first chapter I cared a lot for her, and I was emotionally invested in what happened to her.

More at:
Apr 15, 2015 Stacy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. I am looking for more by the author
A little slow to start but it gets faster paced as things progress and it's worth the first slow pages. Lisle doesn't give anything away which makes you pay more attention to the details she provides and that makes you understand the characters better.

The magic explaination can be complex and may require a second look but they are interesting concepts.

The ending was slightly abrupt, finished in under 20 pages after 500 of build-up but the end is what you are expecting by the time you get to it.
Jun 06, 2011 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
At times I really didn't want to keep reading because of all of the horrible stuff that is happening. I love how she first makes us love or hate characters and then due to what happens in the book you see you were wrong and you go from no that couldn't be to a totally different feeling about the same characters. The end is a bit rushed because the author wants to tell us what happens after but wants to do that in a limited number of pages.
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Holly Lisle has been writing fiction professionally since 1991, when she sold FIRE IN THE MIST, the novel that won her the Compton Crook Award for best first novel. She has to date published more than thirty novels and several comprehensive writing courses. She has just published WARPAINT, the second stand-alone novel in her Cadence Drake series.

Holly had an ideal childhood for a writer…which is t
More about Holly Lisle...

Other Books in the Series

Korre (2 books)
  • Hawkspar (Korre, #2)

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“Guilt is a good friend, isn't it? It will stand at your back when every other friend has abandoned you, and in the face of all reason it will stay by your side, and even when you tell it, "I am moving on now," it will say, "I shall never leave you; never."
If only I could find a lover as faithful as guilt.”
“Which would be at about shoulder height. Apparently, in Pada’s search for her path, the Saints needed to be sure that they had nothing important to say that lay toward either the ceiling or the floor, or she would render them mute.” 1 likes
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