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Isles of the Forsaken (Isles of the Forsaken #1)

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  104 ratings  ·  22 reviews
The Forsaken Isles are on the brink of revolution. Three individuals are about to push it over the edge and trigger events that will lead to a final showdown between ancient forces and the new overlords of the land. Spaeth Dobrin is destined to life as a ritual healer—but as the dhotamar of the tiny, isolated island of Yora, she will be caught in a perpetual bond between h ...more
ebook, 312 pages
Published April 15th 2012 by ChiZine (first published January 1st 2011)
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Tahlia Newland
‘Isles of the Forsaken’ is an excellent book, beautifully written and rich with meaning. It’s a unique and unpredictable story full of surprises, interesting characters and mysterious forays into the world of the spirit that lingered long after I put the book down.

This book is essentially about overlapping cultures and the frictions between their beliefs and practices. Carolyn Gilman creates a vivid world of four races. The Innings are the colonialist rulers of the Isles. They have no gods and
Lydia Presley
One of the biggest gripes I have when it comes to fantasy is how difficult it can be to get involved in the world. I mean, think about it - when you open a fantasy book you are giving yourself over to that author, that creator of the world and you are trusting them to explain to you just what exactly is going on. Strange words, names, places, things - all these are in abundance and on top of that.. there's a story they have to tell and importantly, that you have to follow.

That paragraph is exact
Excellent part one of two. Culture clash, written by someone with considerable understanding about how these things unfold. Ancient, fading culture meets rising imperial technocracy. Superb.
Isles of the Forsaken by Carolyn Ives Gilman was one of those books that I picked to review because I thought I was going to like it. Then I nearly didn't. Then I read it all in a big clump, because I had to find out what happened. And about two-thirds of the way through, I realized that the author couldn't possibly loop all the holes in the pages remaining. And she didn't. Dammit, there's a sequel.

The story starts out in very familiar territory. A young man, Nathaway Talley, is the youngest son
Barry King
Isles of the Forsaken tells the tale of a socio-political conflict between cultures, without the pathos and bias that usually mars this kind of narrative. Gilman's prose is clear, clean, and accessible, and proceeds at a fast pace to bring out a story of a clash between irreconcilable realities, not only irreconcilable points of view. The story cascades from one character to the next, bringing a well-made-world to life, touching lightly on the greater powers at work that frame the conflicts they ...more
This is an ambitious book with some complex world-building. The characters are strong and the plot is (mostly) unpredictable. The lion's share of her energy was spent on creating a world with a deep political structure as well as developing a maritime-colony based plot. I am looking forward to the next installments -- this is a terrific story with intrigue and adventure and I can't wait to see what's going to happen with her characters.
This one started off a little slow and rather strange, but as the story became progressively more intricate, I understood the necessity for background. I still am not totally clear on what happened, but I was intrigued enough to follow it through to the end, and will probably seek out the sequel, Ison of the Isles.
Brian Taylor
2.5 stars. Another fantasy book that takes too long to get going. I understand the need to get pieces into place and set up your world, but significant action needs to happen along the way. Don't get me wrong, the book is well written...but, the first half was tough to get through. By the time readers get to significant action, at least in my case, they're already bored. Isles of the Forsaken portrays racial division in a painfully accurate light, which was well done. This book has some really g ...more
Chris Shaffer
Darn it all anyhow, there's a sequel. It's not a complete story, but there's no warning of this on the cover. I hate that.

A good read, gets better as it goes along, and really develops some empathy for the characters.
A fantastic read of a book that takes a look at issues of Imperialism, Politics, and Magic in ways that I haven't seen done before. The book was... refreshing in a number of ways.

It's set in a world you believe, but that isn't a direct 'reflection' of any particular aspect of ours(say unlike some worlds you can't directly 'map' the cultures onto Earth cultures). The Inning are an Imperialist Group who have conquered various Islands and intend to bring their 'culture' of 'Law' to all. The idea of
The book is set in a rough analogue (very rough) of American colonial times. Probably more Caribbean than continental America. Not much about geography is similar, it's more that there's an imperial culture which is now considering moving in more closely on a little island chain called the Forsakens.

I thought that the author did a good job of having POV characters with very distinct voices and philosophies. We have the idealistic, naive,restless young scion of a privileged family who decides to
Michael Drakich
Overall, I liked the book. The writing was good, and to me the characters were identifiable. The magic was excellent. A couple of the scenes where the magic was running wild were some of the best I'd ever read. The main plot wavered some and felt like the changes occurred more by the author getting stuck and writing in something to fix it, that was never foreshadowed, than it being planned that way.

I did have one big gripe but it did not get reflected in the rating. When I bought the book, I was
The concepts of bandhota / dhota / dhota-nur are rather nebulous and make it difficult to understand the nature of the relationships with the Lashnura. That's about my only complaint. It's a beautifully written book and very captivating. I feel like there's some metaphors in there that I'm not getting but I don't even care.
Tyrannosaurus regina
I was actually surprised by how quickly and thoroughly this drew me into its world; pure fantasy has been a harder sell for me lately than it used to be, but the complexity of the political situation and the limited geography really appealed to me.
Zachary Jernigan
OBJECTIVE RATING (my best stab at looking at the book's merits, regardless of whether or not I enjoyed it all that much): 4

PERSONAL RATING (how much the book "worked" for me personally): 4

A few months back, I rated this a three. Since then, I've thought of this book on occasion and realized that it influenced me far more than I'd originally thought. I still won't say it was the most enjoyable read of my life -- it is not a book that concerns itself with "likable" characters -- but its examinatio
The author's short stories are often exquisite gems, but I'm just not feeling this novel, sorry to say.
Nov 26, 2014 Karl marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chizine-own
This is copy 13 of 24 signed numbered copies.
I really wanted to like this book a lot. The world building is amazing, but I had a hard time liking any of the characters. The story does continue in a sequel, but I didn't really feel involved enough to keep reading.
2.5 stars

Was just pretty meh. Nothing exciting happened, and I didn't really care about any of the characters. I didn't realize it was the beginning of a series, but I don't plan on continuing.
Not my cup of tea. I couldn't get past the sample.
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Carolyn Ives Gilman has been publishing science fiction and fantasy for almost twenty years. Her first novel, Halfway Human, published by Avon/Eos in 1998, was called “one of the most compelling explorations of gender and power in recent SF” by Locus magazine. Her short fiction has appeared in magazines and anthologies such as F&SF, Bending the Landscape, The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Realm ...more
More about Carolyn Ives Gilman...

Other Books in the Series

Isles of the Forsaken (2 books)
  • Ison of the Isles
Halfway Human The Ice Owl Arkfall Ison of the Isles Dark Orbit

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