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The Hidden City (The House War, #1)
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The Hidden City (The House War #1)

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  959 ratings  ·  58 reviews
The incredible story that fans of The Sun Sword series have been waiting to read-the battle for control of House Terafin-from a writer of "talent and depth."*

Orphaned and left to fend for herself in the slums of Averalaan, Jewel Markess- Jay to her friends-meets an unlikely savior in Rath, a man who prowls the ruins of the undercity. Nursing Jay back to health is an unusu
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Hardcover, 624 pages
Published March 4th 2008 by DAW Hardcover
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,054)
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Oddmonster
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Starfire
Apr 16, 2010 Starfire rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who liked the Sun Sword set
Recommended to Starfire by: Orannia
Shelves: 9-10
Back when I used to post my book reviews on my LJ, whenever I reviewed a book by Michelle West (regardless of the name she was writing under at the time - West, Sagara, or Sagara West), I'd preface the review with a warning that this was my absolute favourite fantasy author *EVER* so the reader could take it as read that I'd love the book, and that any review that followed would be glowingly positive because... well... that's just how things are.

I wasn't *quite* sure if that would still be the c
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Sbuchler
Genre: Well, the series will be Epic Fantasy... but this book only sorta, certainly Heroic Fantasy ;-)

This book is set in the same world as the _Sun Sword_ series and the _Sacred Hunt_ series. In fact the heroine of this book, Jewel Markess, appears in both the previous series. The _Sun Sword_ books leave a 30-something Jewel on the brink of a lethal struggle for the rule of House Terafin. Unfortunately (since I really want to know what happens in that story line) this book revolves around the 1
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Aildiin
It's been years since I last read a novel by Michelle West and I had forgotten how good a job she does at making you like the people that populate her novels.
No big battle, no great quest in this novel, just the storie of a 10 year old orphan girl gathering others orphans around her. And was I enthralled..
I can see how this could not appeal to everyone but a solid 4 stars for me.
The only thing that bothers me is that I read the Sunsword serie more than 10 years ago when it came out and this new
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Cynthia Armistead
I love love love this book. If you haven't read anything else in this universe, you'll be just fine. I've read all the previous books, and plan to go back and re-read them as soon as this bit (duology? triloy? I don't know West's plans) is done.

The only thing that kept it from five stars was the repetitive nature of some characters' internal dialogues. I got the point right away, but I suppose some readers might need more. I don't know that anyone needs to be hit over the head with Rath, Jewel,
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Madeline
Much darker and grittier than the other novels under the West name, and there was some seriously dark stuff in some of those. I would definitely recommend beginning with The Hidden City, and not only because it is chronologically first. (So far. Oh dear...)

Coming to The Hidden City with knowledge of what happens to these characters - who lives, who dies, who changes, who doesn't - makes it a very poingnant read. It also makes it difficult.
Pamela ☼all cookie dough & chips☼ Tee
While the characterization is very good, it is the overall writing that makes this book extraordinary. So much so that I forgave the book it's somewhat hackneyed 'kids join together to combat evil' theme.

Btw, not a book for those who want happy-la-la endings. There is some grit here. Nice dark tones.

Shannon
So amazing. I am still shaky from the emotional involvement in this book. Character driven epic fantasy like this is hard to find, had to write well, and hard to pace properly - I feel like this one hit all the right buttons with me. I'm both excited and terrified of what the next book will bring.
Kaylee
The story itself was interesting and fun to read. That said, I needed a long time to get into the writing, and even then, I was jarred by the random sentence fragments. West definitely has a voice -- normally I nestle right into an author's voice; not sure why I struggled so hard to do that with this book.

Also, while the story is told from a narrator's point of view, it often focuses on one of the two main characters' perspectives. As the book went on, though, that focus would jump randomly to a
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Viridian5
I read Michelle West's Sun Sword series as it came out, which means that I read the first book in about 1997 and the final, sixth book in about 2004. Each book was huge. This means that I don't remember enough about Jay and her den to know how well prequel The Hidden City hooks into existing continuity. It stands on its own, though, which is a relief.

I do remember being annoyed that the latter books of the Sun Sword series stopped mentioning anything about the House War that had been a thread i
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WillowBe
Never let it be said, that Ms. West is an author who takes the easy way out. No, she takes you on the hardest of journeys, and shreds your heart in two. And doesn't put it back together again. Wait til ou get to the next book. All you people who complain that the author " Never lets the important characters die" Well, let's see how much you really like that sort of thing, shall we? but again, that's in book two, City of Night. The only reason I give it 4 stars is that like Rath, I'm not so hot o ...more
Rosa Aquafire
"I really liked it."

So very almost a five-star.

RRRRR I'm too braindead to write a good review right now and that sucks because I have so much to SAY about this book, but hopefully I'll come back to it later and flesh it out (I won't) (I never do.)

Super short version: it is VERY PONDEROUSLY PACED and MUCH LONGER THAN IT REALLY NEEDS TO BE, but I've been reading a lot of rapid fire short books and I WANTED something with a lot of padding and stuff. The writing style strays a liiiittle close to pur
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Veronica
I enjoyed it, but I'm not sure why. It felt like the very interesting first half of a book. The main character meets the plot point and takes care of her, being drawn into her way of doing things against his will or even notice. The plot point gathers a group around her. They are special somehow, chosen, obviously. The final piece arrives amidst the unveiling of the supernatural, and the plot point tries to make this jagged piece fit into the mosaic of their lives. And finally, through trial and ...more
Ken
This books takes us back to West's world which started in the Sacred Hunt series, and continued in The Sun Sword series. We are taken to revisit on characters history, Jewel Markess. We see how she found her Den and we see, I can only guess, the beginings of the Demon attack on the city mentioned in the Sun Sword series.
Again, I really enjoyed West writing style. She only concerned herself with Jewel and the Den, no real large overall threat to the world as we know it, just the safety of her kid
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Diana Glewwe
So, being a fan of the Elantra series, I decided to go back and see what else Micelle West had written. Picking this up as the beginning of a new series, I fell in love with her descriptions. This is not a fast paced, adventure but the slow build up of tension and characterization. I enjoyed it a lot but realized halfway through that this was written as a prequel to another set of books and happens at the same time a another 2 books so I am looking forward to lots of reading!
Mary-Beth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
S.A. Thorup
This book is an example of way too telling about a character and not enough showing. I couldn't picture the major setting of the city very well. Also, slow pacing. By he time it really started getting interesting 60-70 pages in, all the vulgarity turned me away.

I think this book needs an editor willing to chop out half of the character telling and replace it with showing.
Amélie
After several unsuccessful try with Broken Crown, I've finally managed to enter in Michelle's Essalieyan universe thanks to Hidden City. The worldbuilding is fantastic, with lots of details and fascinating characters that you can see grow slowly through the story; I've really become attached to Rath and Jewel.

I really love the ruin of the old city hidden under the modern one. It really gives a mysterious mood to the story that can sometimes become arrowing as we never know for sure what threat i
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Joy
This is a better than average Epic fantasy that follows almost cliche construction. The author's tendency to be overly cryptic in giving out the plot in bits and pieces; plus run on sentences, is annoying. Also I'm often confused as to which of MANY characters is delivering the dialogue. The Identification of WHO is speaking shows up half way through the exchange and It all makes for a choppy read.

The four stars is for imagination and the huge number of characters (well developed) through out th
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Frank Hintz
This is a prequel to another series, introducing one of the key characters. What I enjoy about that series and this book is that the heroes are not your typical fantasy heroes. For instance, one of the two main characters here is a 10 year old orphan. The storytelling gets pretty deep into the thoughts of the characters. I liked this overall, but sometimes the flow of the narrative did get a bit bogged down. There is action, but it really takes a backseat to character development. The plot itsel ...more
Brad
I don't know what this will be like for future readers who take all of these books in internal chronological order. Me, I've read all the other related series already. So even on the first time through, the plot was something like coming back to a book you've already read. If you're not someone who ever does that, maybe this won't do all that much for you. But why I reread books - why I'm rereading this one right now, actually - is for the writing and the characters. And the more time we spend w ...more
Laurla2
Mar 04, 2013 Laurla2 added it
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
"he was not speaking to her. she knew it. and wondered about whoever it was he was speaking to. her oma had told her that the past was like a whole other country, with different rules, and no way of changing anything. she saw that in him now."
"you're still alive. you're not bleeding. nothings broken. you've no scars. and you've lost nothing important but stupidity" i supposed its good to lose stupidity.
"damaged people were the people she best understood. it took little to see his wounds; it took
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Tara
Absolutely yes.

I loved this book. It's been a while since I've ready something that could suck me in to the point that the noisy restaurant I'm in fades entirely away and time rushes by without my noticing it. This book did that. I found the characters engaging and the world interesting enough that I imagined walking the streets of it myself. This is high fantasy, complete with the struggle of light against dark. It has grit and hope. It has small, personal actions with ripples that travel well
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Alex
Wow. This book was great! It was full of adventure, mystery and a lot of emotion. I have to admit, the ending really tore at my heart, but no one I loved died so I guess that was the upside. Haha, well I fell in love with the characters and the messages each one carried to the reader. Ultimatley I found myself cheering on some characters and urging others to change. Like I said, the ending was bitter and sad, but as the book often emphasized, it's part of life and no road is smooth. I can't wait ...more
Cody
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ann
This is my first entry into Michelle's "West" books. I've read all of the "Cast" novels published under her Sagara surname.

I very much enjoyed reading Hidden City, and I'm looking forward to exploring the universe of these novels. It is different in scope and writing style from the Sagara novels. There's more description, and the plot arcs have a grander and more epic feel.

But certainly well worth the read.

Wtfwombatsaim.com
AHHH.

My advice: skip this book, read the rest of the series, then read this one either last or before Battle. SO MANY FEELS.

This book tells the origin stories of the Den from Rath and Jewel's perspective. Everyone is so little and scrawny and there are a number of allusions to the 'future' books which make reading it out-of-order even more delightful. Take my advice, and you won't regret it.
Dr susan
I was going to say I enjoyed The Hidden City, but 'enjoyed' feels wrong. The House War saga is darker than the Chronicles of Elantra, and the multiple points of view made it difficult to find a character to which I could relate. Perhaps I was enthralled, since enthrallment can be a shadowed thing. I am glad my love of Sagara's Silence led me to Elantra, and then to the House War.
Danu the GODS of  Writing
This entire series is without doubt the best in fantasy I've read in the last 30 years. It is so far beyond the realm of sword and sorcery that predominates, and even litters, the genre as to be more than refreshing. I counted the days until Battle was released and was jonesing for the next volume immediately. Michelle Sagara West is a major talent and I hope she never stops writing.
Whitney
This prequel to West's Sun Sword series was as carefully and brilliantly written as every other book I've read by West. West's characters are dynamically written. Her writing thrives on subtlety and inference in many cases and that's not every reader's cup of tea. But for this reader "The Hidden City" was high fantasy at its most satisfying.
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See also:

Michelle Sagara West
Michelle Sagara

Michelle is an author, book­seller, and lover of liter­ature based in Toronto. She writes fantasy novels as both Michelle Sagara and Michelle West (and some­times as Michelle Sagara West). You can find her books at fine booksellers.

She lives in Toronto with her long-suffering husband and her two children, and to her regret has no dogs.

Reading is one of h
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More about Michelle West...
The Broken Crown (The Sun Sword, # 1) The Uncrowned King (The Sun Sword, #2) The Shining Court (The Sun Sword, #3) The Sun Sword (The Sun Sword, #6) Sea of Sorrows (The Sun Sword, #4)

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“Trying," he said at last, "is good. It always is. But failing? Everyone fails, one time or another. It's how you deal with failure that counts, in the end. It's the successes that you're known for-but it's the failures make you what you are.” 12 likes
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