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Shattered Pillars (Eternal Sky #2)

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  1,055 Ratings  ·  144 Reviews
The Shattered Pillars is the second book of Bear's The Eternal Sky trilogy and the sequel to Range of Ghosts. Set in a world drawn from our own great Asian Steppes, this saga of magic, politics and war sets Re-Temur, the exiled heir to the great Khagan and his friend Sarmarkar, a Wizard of Tsarepheth, against dark forces determined to conquer all the great Empires along th ...more
Hardcover, 334 pages
Published March 19th 2013 by Tor Books
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Jul 17, 2012 Scott added it
It's my reluctant policy not to give star ratings to books written by the woman I am dating. ;)

With that said, Range of Ghosts was a very good book, a fine opening to this trilogy, but Shattered Pillars tops it in every particular. It moves faster but sacrifices neither detail nor characterization. It's brutal, beautiful, and nuanced, marrying the pace of classic swords-and-sorcery with the numinous, expansive worldbuilding of contemporary epic fantasy. Bear's touch is as deft and her control is
The Shayne-Train
Jul 07, 2015 The Shayne-Train rated it really liked it
This book, the second in the series, did not let me down. So often the "middle child" of a trilogy is fundamentally lacking. But not so here, oh no. The characters you love return, and you're introduced to new ones that you begin to love as well. The plot moves forward, instead of spinning its wheels in a holding pattern and keeping all that good stuff for the final book.

And more Hrahima! She, if you don't already know, is a mysterious magical tiger-woman warrior. That should be enough to get yo
Mar 20, 2013 heidi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stop. If you have not read Range of Ghosts, preferably in the last year, then you're really going to be confused for the first quarter of this book. It does all sort out so that you don't have to have read the first on, but c'mon, it's great, you want to anyway.

Ok, that said: What an excellent second book. Unlike many middle books in a trilogy, this one is fast-paced, compelling, and full of character development. At no time did I feel like we were just marking time until the climax. It is just
Just so you know, everyone in this story is pregnant.

Ok, that's not true, but there does seem to be a lot of pregnancy among main(ish) characters. I guess it's like when the one woman in your circle is gravid and then everyone gets gravid.

I enjoyed this book; the story continues to be questy-fantasy but the environments, the world, it's all just so intriguing. I do not recommend waiting years between the first one and this one, though. I had forgotten so much and now I realize that I should pro
Mar 21, 2013 Reed rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sadly, I did not enjoy Bear's second novel set in her intriguing take on Earth's steppe nomads, as well as neighboring regions. While I adored the first book, Shattered Pillars suffered some of the the symptoms of second book syndrome:

--New characters that the reader is not connected with, because they are new.(duh)I spent most of the time thinking "Why can't I be reading about Temur,Sarmarkar, and Hrahima.

--An exploration of new places that aren't as nifty as previous ones.

--A feeling that the
Apr 20, 2014 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2014
4 Stars

Let me start by saying that I love Elizabeth Bear and can say that she is easily a five star writer. Shattered Pillar, book two in the Eternal Sky series is even better than book one. This book is filled with so much action, magic, and adventure that it was tough to put down. My only real gripe was I had a tough time remembering who was who, and who was a man or am beast. This book has many points of view that also was a bit tough to keep up with for the first third of this book. Once thi
Tudor Ciocarlie
Mar 22, 2013 Tudor Ciocarlie rated it really liked it
I love what Bear is doing with gender in this epic-fantasy series. There is a perfect equilibrium between men and women, between there roles and there support to one another, that is such joy to read. The thing that prevents Shattered Pillars to be the perfect novel that Range of Ghosts was, is the fact that, being the second book in a trilogy, we spend less time with Temur and Sarmarkar, and more time with some characters that are more generic epic-fantasy, but are necessary for the future conf ...more
Megan Baxter
Jan 09, 2016 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it
It's been a while since I read the first book in this trilogy, but it didn't take me long to slip back into this world, and I think I liked Shattered Pillars even more than Range of Ghosts, and I liked Range of Ghosts quite a lot. The characters have settled in, though, and the struggles they're facing are deadly and affecting.

Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you
“To say a thing is to make it so.”

Well-conceived and well-told epic fantasy. Bear’s created world breathes authenticity. Spared returning reader retelling the first book, though a new reader may not pick up the stakes and the players as quickly.

“Everything is lazy.”

Maintains the high standards of Range of Ghosts but still drifts a little sideways. Nothing requires a story stretch to three volumes if it can be told in two. Ends with the right mix of hope and despair.

“It’s easier to be shared tha
Mar 21, 2015 Robyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Solid instalment in the series - looking forward to reading the third!

The mythology continues to evolve and intrigue. There are tantalising hints that this world might be more than it seems, which again, just makes me ready for the third. Despite that, the book is certainly whole in and of itself - all the pieces are now in play!
Tim Martin
Aug 11, 2013 Tim Martin rated it it was amazing
Djinn and rukhs and ghuls oh my! What a fun fantasy book in a not often trod setting, the dusty deserts and windswept steppes – along with the teeming, opulent, decidedly non-western cities – of the Silk Road. There was a lot to like about this second installment in a rather promising series; really evocative (but not over wrought) language perfectly describing the feel of this vividly described world is the first thing that comes to mind. I don’t think I have read in recent memory anyone who ha ...more
Matt Fimbulwinter
Sep 13, 2012 Matt Fimbulwinter rated it really liked it
Book 2 of the Eternal Sky trilogy. As is typical with Bear's books, I am in love with the characters, and find the villain threatening, but understandable. It was a fair bit of cognitive dissonance to read this while, in parallel, listening to the Game of Thrones audiobook. It makes the problematic shortcuts Martin takes with the Dothraki really, really stand out.

The only story line that I'm feeling shaky about is Edene's, but I won't know how I feel about it until book 3 when I find out how it
Aug 07, 2013 Vanessa rated it really liked it
I was blown away by RANGE OF GHOSTS last year, and was so excited to receive SHATTERED PILLARS in the mail, the second installment of Elizabeth Bear's The Eternal Sky trilogy. But before I start the review, if you haven't read GHOSTS, stop and read it before you continue. PILLARS will not make sense if you read them out of order.

With that out of the way, the question I'm sure you're wondering about is if the second is a good as the first. The short answer is: No, but only barely. However, PILLA
Jeremy Preacher
May 08, 2015 Jeremy Preacher rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Arrgh. I really like this series so far. It's got some great worldbuilding, beautiful imagery, and characters with well-drawn relationships - plus, ponies! - and this book in particular has some fantastic action sequences. But my feeling that maybe I should have waited until all three books were published remains, because dammit, I want to know the end. That's more praise than criticism, mind you - I am too old and cynical to look forward to the conclusions of uninteresting series, even if I kno ...more
Mar 25, 2015 Justine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-read
4.5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. There was so much going on and the it was written with a very different kind of intensity. Shattered Pillars essentially picks up where Range of Ghosts left off and continues to develop both the characters and the evolving storylines from there. While I really enjoyed Range of Ghosts, Shattered Pillars definitely turned things up a notch in terms of its complexity. I love Bear's use of language, which I find quite different from some of the other writers I h
Griffin Vanderschaeghe
Feb 28, 2014 Griffin Vanderschaeghe rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Worthy follow-up in the Eternal Sky trilogy. Even though it suffered from some pacing problems and the unlikely relationship between Temur and Sarmarkar, it delivers on prose. I found the story in Range of Ghosts slightly better and that's why I'm giving this book a 3.5/5.
Mar 07, 2014 Alice rated it really liked it
This is the second book in a trilogy that's turned out to be a real treat for me. I didn't know what the expect from the start, and it continues to be full of fun surprises. I have no idea what might happen next, but I'm going to enjoy finding out.

The Eternal Sky trilogy's mythology takes a departure from traditionally European fantasy worlds, and borrows from Russian, Central Asian, and Middle Eastern stories. The reason seemingly contradictory mythologies can exist is because each land's supre
Lydia Presley
May 16, 2013 Lydia Presley rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction, 2013
Picking up where Range of Ghosts left off, Elizabeth Bear dives right in with Shattered Pillars - action and strange names galore. Having just finished the first book of this series, I felt somewhat prepared and even more so, excited to see where the adventure would lead.

The development of Edene in this book is one of the most important storylines, I think. But in spite of its importance, it reminds me a lot of the storyline of a certain dragon lady in George R.R. Martin's popular series. No, Ed
Jul 20, 2012 Andrea rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Shattered Pillars is book #2 in the Eternal Sky series, and continues right where Range of Ghosts ended. Temur is still searching for Edene, the woman who was kidnapped by the Nameless Assassins because of him. He continues to travel with Samarkar, Hsiung and Hrahima, towards the fortress of the Assassins. But that's just one of the many PoVs in this lovely novel. We learn more about the state of things in Tsarepheth and the Citadel of Wizards, battling a demon-plague. We witness the Nameless' d ...more
Text Addict
May 18, 2013 Text Addict rated it really liked it
O how hard it is to find a second-book-of-a-trilogy that doesn't feel like a long, long middle of the story. I guess it's really hard to write one, too.

I love this series because it is creative and beautifully written. But this second book (like so many middle books!) moves, oh, let's count them as four intersecting plots forward step-by-step, all the pieces moving on the board and the stunning backdrop of varied cultures and difficult, conflicted, foolish, wise, cruel, saintly, and heroic char
Apr 07, 2013 Rbette1299 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, epic
I am enthralled with this vivid story. I was amazed at the designed world in Range of Ghosts, entranced with the devious plot and hopeful of the developing primary characters yet Shattered Pillars took everything to even more complex, beautiful and brutal heights. The world deepens and darkens, the story twists and twists, and the characters blossom each uniquely and it was all I could do to take an occasional break while reading non stop to the end. I had hoped that with this second novel I wou ...more
Fantasy Literature
May 03, 2014 Fantasy Literature rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Bear’s entire ETERNAL SKY trilogy is now sitting in a neat row on my bookshelf. I adored the first book and consumed the second one so quickly it went by in a blur of semi-divine horses and cool but unpronounceable names. Before I read Steles of the Sky(released on April 10th), it’s worth pausing to reconsider the middle book in what might be one of my favorite fantasy series in recent years.

In Shattered Pillars, Temur and his band of loyal and enigmatic followers continue their quest.
Aug 26, 2014 Joseph rated it liked it
Let me start off by saying that I like the plot of this book, the main characters, and I think Ms. Bear is a wonderful writer. That being said I still had issues with the book. I found the book to be rather slow, and it took me longer then usual to read because of this. Not much happens through out the book in terms of plot advancement until the last twenty pages or so after a long building process and in my option the pay off just wasn't there. It was much like the first story were the book end ...more
Elizabeth Bear is one of my all time favorite authors, and I could go on for days about all the qualities in her books that set her apart from everyone else, but I really don’t need to. Bear makes her own case for her grandness with this series. Range of Ghosts will hook you. Shattered Pillars will blow you away. Bear is an author to watch. She redefines genre and blows convention out of the water. Epic truly is epic in her hands and this series is one stunning showcase of incredible, formidable ...more
Arref Mak
Apr 25, 2013 Arref Mak rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book exceeds my expectations (and I thought the previous the best read of 2013 so far!)

It is nearly without precedent that I will respect the Evil Opposition, but I found such grudging respect here for the very potent forces arrayed against the Protagonists.

I also really enjoyed the friendships and mysteries of the band of protagonists, in their desperate travel to 'catch up' with events moving across many countries and skies.

Such a 'wow' book, that it will be a long discipline to wait on t
Oct 10, 2015 Bart rated it it was amazing
Click for the full review on Weighing A Pig Doesn't Fatten It.

It’s always a thrill when the second book you read of an author turns out to be as good as the first. Thrilling, but sometimes daunting too, since it usually means my TBR-pile grows with a substantial number of titles. 26, in the case of Elizabeth Bear. Shattered Pillars is even better than Range of Ghosts, the book it is a sequel to.

Apr 09, 2014 Anya rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
What a lovely trilogy this is! This middle book is a bit hard for me to separate from the first since the quest flows directly together, but I enjoyed my listening experience. There is more romance and a bit of sexy times, a lot of development of Temur's plot line, world-building of new and terrifying areas, and a lot of beautiful phrases. I don't love the narrator's male voices always, but audio is otherwise a great way to read these books!
May 10, 2015 Kara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy

Last book was a lot of set up, which pays off beautifully here as it is all action all the time, with the bonus of unexpected action - every time you think you see where something is going another twist or WHAM moment shows up. Great reading!
Jan 16, 2017 rivka rated it liked it
Definitely a middle-of-the-trilogy book, but still quite good.
Jul 22, 2014 Kam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Stories come with different speeds. This is something anyone learns once they start engaging actively in any kind of storytelling medium, whether it’s television, movies, or printed media. There are slow stories, and fast stories; there are stories that start really fast and then slow down; and then there are stories that start slow and then pick up speed. A story’s speed is often determined by a number of factors: it’s genre, for instance: action stories tend to be very fast-paced, while dramas ...more
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What Goodreads really needs is a "currently WRITING" option for its default bookshelves...
More about Elizabeth Bear...

Other Books in the Series

Eternal Sky (3 books)
  • Range of Ghosts (Eternal Sky, #1)
  • Steles of the Sky (Eternal Sky, #3)

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“What was a book? Not just ink and fiber and stitchery: a series of processes. To a wizard, it was not a static object--but a human thought caught and bound, made concrete through sacred technology. Magic, then, and a deep form of it.” 7 likes
“Djinn,” she said. “We go to review the troops. Clothe me as befits a queen.”
“Silks and satins?” he asked, eyes sparkling like sapphires. “White brocade?”
“Armor,” she said. “And flame.”
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