Daggerspell (Deverry, #1)
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Daggerspell (Deverry #1)

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3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  8,068 ratings  ·  201 reviews
Even as a young girl, Jill was a favorite of the magical, mysterious Wildfolk, who appeared to her from their invisible realm. Little did she know her extraordinary friends represented but a glimpse of a forgotten past and a fateful future. Four hundred years - and many lifetimes - ago, one selfish young lord caused the death of two innocent lovers. Then and there he vowed...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published 1993 by HarperCollins (first published 1986)
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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
Daggerspell is an epic fantasy novel built on the idea of reincarnation. If we have failed to fulfill our destiny in one life, we are compelled to return to this life in another form to do that. As I read this novel, I was confronted with my feelings about that inalienable destiny. There are some people that you have in your life that seem only to bring pain and hardship, and the comfort is that when you leave this life, you leave that pain they cause you behind. In this novel, that is not the c...more
Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
Kerr's Deverry series is a classic in the epic fantasy field, and it's no surprise why. World building is excellent, detailed and consistent; she does an amazing job of bringing early, almost primitive, Welsh culture to life, albeit a culture with more magical tendencies than our own. From a village tavern to the women's hall in a lord's dun, to riding patrol through a forest, it feels earthy and real. The magical system is a kind of sophisticated spiritualism that is vital to development of the...more
Tatiana
The Deverry saga is a long fantasy saga, but the great thing is that the it is organized in cycles, the first one being the first 4 books ("The Deverry cycle"). And at the end of a cycle, you get a real ending.
So if you hesitate to buy this book, thinking that you'll have to wait too long to know the end, don't. You'll have a real ending at the end of book 4.

The story is set in an alternative 11th century, Kerr imagining a celtic culture having survived and evolved into the Middle Ages thanks to...more
Amanda
This is the first book in Katharine Kerr's long-running series about Deverry and the Westlands. It introduces the three linked characters of Jill, Rhodry and Nevyn. This book - and indeed the series - is set up in such a way that it will jump from future to past and back again. It can make for complicated reading and an issue with pacing, but it genuinely brings the events to life.

The idea is that in the year 643 Galrion (who is to become Nevyn) makes a series of decisions that causes his lady l...more
Mark
It has been 16 years since I first picked up the first Deverry novel, DaggerSpell, and here in am, 16 years later, about to finish the fifteenth and final one.

Has the journey been worth it? Yes. Was the wait too long? Yes.

I would not recommend anyone starts reading the Deverry cycle unless they intend to read them all, as the macroscopic story is at least as important as the microscopic ones, and as such I am reviewing the books as a set.

I almost give them 4 stars (excellent) but in the end I am...more
Stine
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ruth Macleod
Book 1 of 15 in total, the first in a long series it has a lot to live up to and a lot to accomplish, however it did just that. Daggerspell is probably one of my favourite books in this series as well as a favourite in general. Set in a sort of celtic time the world Katherine Kerr has created is both detailed and thoroughly real, you can immerse yourself in the culture seamlessly and the way she describes things such as the magic and peoples past lives is wonderfully detailed but still understan...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This book came highly recommended, so I’m sorry to say that despite its strengths, it has not inspired me to seek out the 15 sequels.

For a fantasy novel first written in the 80s, this has aged reasonably well, though not so well as another recent find of mine, the wonderful The Ladies of Mandrigyn. Daggerspell is listed as epic fantasy, though there’s no more than a hint of an Enemy--as opposed to a mere antagonist--in this volume. While Kerr incorporates some old-fashioned elements (I can’t rem...more
Misha
I had mostly eschewed reading fantasy novels before this one, unless it was written for younger readers, such as The Chronicles of Narnia or Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series. About the only exception I made for fantasy written for adults was Roger Zelazny's stuff because he didn't use the stock fantasy characters such as mages, elves, etc.

I can't recall what it was that made me pick up this book. I think it was that I had a good friend who loved fantasy and I wanted to understand what i...more
Jen3n
Look, this one is just ... it's not good. It's basically about the same five people reincarnating over and over and over and over again, doing the same stupid, awful things to each other over and over and over .... And it's all along the lines of Rape my sister? It seemed like such a good idea LAST lifetime! I think I'll do it again!

The characters are all really underdrawn and playing on tired archtypes: The Girl is The Most Beautiful Woman in the World, with no opinions or ideas of her own and...more
Kate
Alright I admit to reading the whole series... and owning a fair chunk of them as well.

I know its not the stuff classics are made of and well not really high brow intelligent mind expanding stuff. Whatever - it makes for great bedtime reading.

Over the years I have enjoyed returning to lands beyond boarders with shape shifter type elves who weave in and out of years and dimensions. Along with some magical age defying humans in cold drafty castles that have special "dweomer power" plotting and fi...more
Jessica
In high school I discovered this series and was literally OBSESSED with this book. I wanted to marry one of the elves so freakin' bad! I would say their names over and over in my head, they were so beautiful and lyrical, and I wanted to have a mercenary's dagger, too. I loved everything about this book: the names, the characters, the storyline. I read it over and over, and I was thrilled with it every time! The series is excellent as a whole, but this first book will always be my favorite!
I'm Booked
I really enjoyed this book! After reading epic fantasy series by Goodkind, Jordan and Martin I was burnt out by the genre; It seemed like every new book that I tried paled in comparison to the GOT series. Luckily, a fellow lover of fantasy recommended that I check out this series and I'm very glad that I did! I enjoyed it so much that I felt that I had to pay it forward, in the hopes that someone else might read these words and decide to pick up one of the best fantasy novels that I've read in Y...more
Lin
Because who needs sleep...I ended up having a serious case of insomnia last night, and ended up reading into the wee hours of the morning.

Despite early confusion around time/flashback/chain of events (my fault) and repetition (author's fault--which got better as the book went on, but still came up), it was worth the time to finish.

As mentioned in an earlier update, it's been a while since I read a fantasy novel. It was a nice change, particularly since I'm having a hard time finishing the Steph...more
Toby Andersen
The opening Deverry novel, Daggerspell, struck me straight away as a unique take on the fantasy genre. An ongoing fantasy series by Katharine Kerr, the Deverry series employs a multiple timeline structure, but with the added nuance of reincarnation. in each timeline the souls of the core characters are reincarnated in ever different guises, forever trying to right the wrongs of their youths. only problem is that only Nevyn, the wandering sorcerer is aware of this. What follows is an extremely in...more
Benjamin Thomas
This is actually a re-read for me. I had read the first two books in this series way back, probably over 25 years ago. At that time I was a neophyte when it comes to reading fantasy fiction and I don't remember liking either book very well. They were more complicated than the easier-to-read Dragonlance-style stuff I was into at that time and I think I had built up a sort of negative attitude towards them. But over the years, through one form or another, I have accumulated the entire series with...more
Scarlet
Daggerspell is a very promising book, whether it meets the expectations or not is totally up to the person reading, for me I'm afraid I liked the book more at the beginning, but started to lose interest later.
I liked the timing of the story, while some people may not like it I absolutely loved the past/present switch, I actually got upset when it stopped, the notion of incarnation was also well played in the book.
The characters on the other hand weren't as good, my favorite character would have...more
Beth
I read this with a reading group and so have done a fair amount of pondering and typing about it already, so this review will be shorter than my usual.

The main thing I can say about it that I haven't elsewhere, is that Ms. Kerr's reach and her grasp are near perfectly matched. How often do you think "I can see what he/she was trying to do, but..."? I did not have that thought at any point reading this novel. I was especially impressed with how lean the writing is. Not in the sense of being spars...more
Jeff
I started reading this when it was new. That was about 20 years ago. In that time, the strength of the writing of these books have kept them in my memory, and much like a David Gemmel novel, these stories have chiselled out their own niche in an industry that is saturated with facsimiles

So what makes this so different? Well, Kerr's use of pre-roman celtic myth and her explanation of how they came to this other land is one thing that sticks out in my mind. Kerr herself is a scholar of tolkiens wo...more
David Shaw
Welcome to the world of Deverry, where the lives are made up and the points don't matter!

I presume if you're reading this you already know the synopsis of the book, so I won't bore you by rehashing it. I simply wanted to state, as a huge, huge fan of the Deverry series, please don't be put off by the fact the series is 15 books long. While all the books do take place in the same land, the series is split into story arcs of three or four books each. You will see recurring characters and places, b...more
Emma
I motherflippin' love this book. I don't even know how many times I have read the first four Kerr books, but I am pretty sure it's an embarrassing amount.
I first read Daggerspell when I was little, and I am 110% sure it's the single reason I love fantasy novels so much (don't worry though, I totally didn't get to the later books with the whole ritual man rape thing until a few years later- think Mum forgot about that bit when she was recommending them from the bookshelf for the smaller version o...more
Tracey Alley
Katharine Kerr has done something extremely difficult in fantasy writing - come up with something truly original and absolutely outstanding. This was a wonderful novel from start to finish, great characters, fabulous plot, excellent pacing - I honestly couldn't fault it and couldn't wait to get my hands on the rest of the series. I've since read them all and cannot recommend her highly enough to fans of fantasy fiction. Actually even if you're not really a fan, this is a great place to start as...more
Lizzie Newell
Daggerspell is made up of the usual fantasy trope and at times seems derivative of either Tolkien or Dungeons and Dragons. It's got your elves, dwarves, and wizards. It's also is told by third person narrator who gives long paragraphs of description from an omniscient point-of-view. Ugh! Strangely although setting and characters are over described, this narrator never steps in with observations regarding philosophy.
Much of the story is told in flashback to previous lives of the characters. Coupl...more
Lacey
Love love loved this book. Best fantasy I have read in awhile. Has everything. Magic (that is believable and not over done), love, betrayal, revenge, chases, escapes, and reincarnation. I love the reincarnation stuff. It made the book so interesting to see the different dynamics between the characters and how they change through time. So interesting. I will defiantly be reading the rest!
Nerine Dorman
Katherine Kerr’s Deverry Cycle probably had a lot more influence on my writing than I’ve previously considered. This is an epic saga of swords and sorcery that employs many of the classic hallmarks but also subverts them (for instance the “damsel” is perfectly capable of showing the boys up). The basic premise is based on how entangled the fates of individuals are so that each time they are reborn, they must work through unresolved issues.

The story begins with young lord Galrion who is drawn to...more
Alex Mauer
Would-be epic fantasy. Made-up words sprinkled liberally throughout. Really suffers from the unusual euphemism. Very forgettable.
Monica
I read this on my kindle and that was a mistake. I did not know that there was a glossary at the back or a comparison of the characters as to who they are in each life. If I had been able to refer to that I may have liked this book a little better. While I was reading I found this book very confusing. There were too many made up words. It went back and forth between characters and their reincarnated lives. There also was not a very good ending. I felt myself just wishing that the 400 plus pages...more
Rebecca
Although I've given this book a rating of three, it really wavers between three and four.
I adore the magic behind the story, the idea of the characters' "wyrds" wildfolk, & dweamor.
The language of the story is charming- after reading the book, I found myself adding the word "truly" to my thoughts every now and again.
I also really like Jill, the main heroine.

On the other hand, I was very annoyed by the other male characters' overshadowing of Jill and her past selves. Nevyn had entirely too...more
Dani
Jun 09, 2014 Dani marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
So I'm maybe 100 pages into this book and I don't know... My first mistake was reading this after Robin Hobb a woman who can really suck me in. I understand her characters and what they think and feel and most importantly why they make the choices they do.

I don't understand any of the choices these characters make. The book reads like its some weird out of body experience. I feel like a shadow or ghost reading about these characters. I get a vague sense of their emotions sometimes but mostly it...more
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Story vs. Style 6 59 Sep 12, 2013 09:41PM  
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Born in Ohio, 1944. Moved to San Francisco Bay Area in 1962 and has lived there ever since. Katharine Kerr has read extensively in the fields of classical archeology, and medieval and dark ages history and literature, and these influences are clear in her work. Her epic Deverry series has won widespread praise and millions of fans around the world.
More about Katharine Kerr...
Darkspell (Deverry, #2) A Time of Exile (The Westlands, #1) The Dragon Revenant (Deverry, #4) The Bristling Wood (Deverry, #3) Days of Air and Darkness (The Westlands, #4)

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