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Canticle (The Psalms of Isaak #2)

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  922 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Come back to the Named Lands in this compelling sequel to Ken Scholes amazing novel Lamentation.

It is nine months after the end of the previous book. Many noble allies have come to the Ninefold Forest for a Feast in honor of General Rudolfo’s first-born child. Jin Li Tam, his wife and mother of his heir, lies in childbed.

As the feast begins, the doors of the hall fly open
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Hardcover, 384 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by Tor Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,518)
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Dirk Grobbelaar
As unpredictable and dynamic as Lamentation was, things get even more twisty here. Scholes takes his POV characters into unexpected directions and it becomes clear that the repercussions of the Desolation of Windwir are much greater than the first novel hinted at. New threats emerge. Or are they really new? How much of it ties into the Windwir incident? It's also very clear that nothing is quite what it seems. Scholes reveals more of his world here, and what we get to see is tantalizing. I'm sti ...more
William Gerke
Scholes second outing builds on the powerful groundwork laid in "Lamentation." While this work appears to suffer on the surface from a bit of "destiny-itis", Scholes seems to be laying the groundwork for his characters to free themselves from the metaphysical chains that bind them.

Be warned, this book features the most horrible thing I have ever seen done to a character and what was, to me, one of the most gut-wrenching scenes I have ever read in a book. It's not gore or violence that does it (a
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Joel Pearson
Writing: 4.5
Story/Plot: 5
Depth/Detail: 5
Enjoyment: 4.5

Why more people have not been reading and talking about this series is absolutely beyond me. I read Ken Scholes' Lamentation based upon the fact he's a local author, seemed like an upstanding fellow, and based on the personal recommendation of a friend who is associated with Ken's writing. I couldn't possibly have been happier with the result - Lamentation was a triumph, a truly unique, well written and engrossing tale, a hybrid fantasy with
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Algernon
this book confirmed the good impression made with Lamentation. The story of the Named Lands is expanded and what seemed clear cut in the first volume is turned on its head and further complicated by the introduction of new threats. Prophecy is used extensively here, hinting at a greater conflict and darker days to come in the next books. The characters remain appealing and the technique of the author competent and easy to follow.

some of the issues from the first book continued to be minor annoya
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Melissa Hayden
I have really been taken away by this series so far. There are going to be five books in all. The characters are well developed and you really get a feel for them all, even the ones you think may be the "bad" guy or girl. The world that is created in these first two books is amazing. You have different cultures, religions, believes and gods. All well done to give you just what you need to understand the rules and what is going on, yet enough to keep you with the feel of mystery.

I think Ken Schol
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Mike
Canticle by Ken Scholes follows up the author’s debut novel Lamentation. Canticle opens up six months after the desolation of the city of Windwir with the various characters we were introduced to in the previous novel having moved forward into their new roles in the suddenly changed world. Like Lamentation before it Canticle splits the narrative into several pieces each following one of the main characters in the story while most of these perspectives follow the overarching thread of a single co ...more
Hank
Going deeper into the story of the Named Lands was a bit challengeing at times. As the plot and action became more complicated and the author's descritpions of the reveries of the characters lengthened I got a little bogged-down. I am still not clear on all the mystical beginnings of the different people-gorups represented in the story. The story now is one of "the life is in the blood" whether for good or evil which, unsuprisingly, is the basis for what is true of our existence. With blood pree ...more
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Nov 19, 2009 Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides marked it as decided-not-to-read
Shelves: fantasy-fiction
I saw this at the library and thought, why not, even though I was not terribly fond of the prequel. There are a lot of things about Scholes's writing that are good. But somehow this just doesn't have ... it: the proper mix of all the elements and techniques available to a writer makes you care about the characters and/or the story, or at least makes the journey pleasant. With this series I'm just not feeling it, although I'd like to. (It probably doesn't help that I can't shake the feeling that ...more
Bukminster
Hmmm. After being so impressed with the complexity of Lamentation's world and its potential -- I found myself diappointed in the scope of this second book. The story was interesting enough, I guess, but the overall narrow focus was a lost opportunity in my opinion. Canticle was also for the most part a joyless journey -- very dark. Still, some fun scenes, and intellectually stimulating -- worth a read, but I'm hoping for more from book #3.
Kyle
The first novel in this series had some quality world-building with interesting little flourishes like an emphasis on non-verbal communications (i.e. secret sign languages) but the promise of the first one is only partly delivered here.

All the characters return for what is mostly a filler novel that spends a good 380 pages setting up things for the next novel in Scholes' planned five-part series. Lots of ancient prophecies and unknown enemies abound throughout the book but it still has a few set
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Chris Bauer
"Canticle" by Ken Scholes is the second book in this series and picks up where the first novel finishes. As with his first work, Scholes does an excellent job of world-building and populating it with interesting people.

In this second book, many mysteries alluded to in the first are more fully explored, while new questions are raised.

Overall, I enjoyed it, but found it to be much darker than the first, with less sense of wonder. The body count was surprisingly high as well and I'm not sure I agre
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Lily
Awesome! The Psalms of Isaak is a very good series. (READ 'EM ALL NOW!) This book is a lot darker than the first one, and I loved every moment of its bitter scenes! Y'know, I never thought I would feel sorry for Vlad Li Tam. That whole cutting scene involving him was terribly heart wrenching! I think that was the darkest moment in the story, as well as my favorite. I won't go into much details about it though, 'cuz it'sa spoilerz. 8)

I'm looking forward to where this story will go in volume 3. Th
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Kevin
If you're reading this review, you probably liked Lamentation, but you aren't sure if you should continue reading Scholes's series. After all, 5 books is a serious commitment and it's hard to keep the excitement and momentum of such a great debut going in series sequels. The answer, however, is yes, you should continue reading the Psalms of Isaak.

Scholes admitted that he did not use an outline to write this book, unlike with Lamentation and Antiphon, and I think this is apparent in the pacing of
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Mary-Elizabeth
This is a much darker and more disturbing book than the first volume,
Lamentation. I still enjoyed it, but not as thoroughly as I had hoped. The descriptions of cuttings (aka torture) are the stuff of nightmares and the forces that seem to be sweeping this world without check make me wonder if free will exists in this place. I'm glad there are more volumes to follow and I'm hoping for more relationships involving real friendship and puzzles that seem a little less demonic.

Description:
Things are
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Travis
Canticle by Ken Scholes- This is the second book in The Psalms of Isaak series. The first book is Lamentation, the third book is Antiphon and was recently released September 2010, the fourth book, Requiem, and the fifth book, Hymn, are yet to be released with no set release date at the time of this review. Ken Scholes has written only one other novel called Last Flight of the Goddess. He has written a number of short story and even has a book of his collected short fiction called Long Walks, Las ...more
Ashley
For about the first half of this book I was confused, angry, and disappointed. A large part of this might have to do with the fact that I hadn't read the first book in the series in over a year, and had forgotten a lot of things, but a lot of it was also the fact that there is absolutely no exposition in this book. Names and dates and plot points are just thrown out there like facts, sometimes not to be explained for hundreds of pages, and you just have to trust that they will be explained event ...more
Beth Cato
When the previous book, Lamentation, began, the mighty city of Windwir succumbed to a maelstrom of dark magic. In an instant, the Great Library and a millennia of labor by the Androfrancine Order was rendered to dust. Nine months after the Named Lands fell into chaos because of Windwir's fall, Canticle resumes. The Gypsy King, Rudolfo, expects his firstborn son. Petronus, the former Pope, is content in his fishing village as he tries to unravel the political machinations that brought down Windwi ...more
Debbi
Just blazed my way through Canticle, Book 2 in the Psalms of Izak series by Ken Scholes. I really enjoyed the way this book made many twists and turns, forcing the characters to go in directions you would not have foreseen (well, I certainly didn't forsee it!). I find the characters compelling; the primary ones are Rudolfo, definitely the hero, his wife Jin Li Tam who is forced to choose between her father, her extended family (a very extended family!) and her husband, son and new people. In his ...more
Cheryl
This is the second book in the Psalms of Isaak series, and once again it concentrates upon a series of interesting characters, primarily Jin, Rudolfo, and Isaak. The mysteries encountered in the first book deepen; I won't say more than that because I don't want to give anything away. [return][return]If you have not read the first book of the series I suggest you start there. The Psalms of Isaak stories are engrossing, fascinating and beautifully written; the stories are post-apocalyptic (set in ...more
Viccy
Windwir, capitol of the Named Lands, lies in ruins. The City States of the Delta are in revolt against the authority of the Overseer, trying to establish democracy. Rudolfo, the Gypsy King, and his wife, Jin Li Tam, are in the Nine-Fold Forest, trying to re-create the great library of the Androfrancines that was destroyed in Windwir. Jin Li Tam is pregnant and delivers a son that may not survive. During the Firstborn Feast of this son, blood-magicked, invisible assassins kill the heir to the thr ...more
Brian Taylor
How do you top a stunning debut novel? If you’re Ken Scholes, you release a sequel, titled Canticle. Canticle is the second installment in Ken’s The Pslams of Isaak series, the first being Lamentation. If you haven’t read Lamentation, I would strongly suggest you do. Not only does Canticle surpass Lamentation in every possible way, but, in my opinion, cements Mr. Scholes as one of the best Fantasy authors walking the planet today.

From the publisher:

Come back to the Named Lands in this compelling
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Bill
I'm not too happy with this series. There are aspects to it that are very attractive and make me want to read all the way through to the end. I think the author has created a fascinating world filled with fascinating characters and stories. I just wish that he would get out of the way and let the characters and stories come through.

One problem is that there are plenty of hints that there is a lot more going on than meets the eye, but very few of these hints get born out into fulfilled promises.
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Jessica Strider
Pros: political intrigue, plot twists, tense atmospheres

Cons: many aspects of this book are merely set-ups for the next in the series

***Minor Spoiler Alert***

Canticle is book 2 in the Psalms of Isaac. It's been 9 months since the events of Lamentation and a celebration is under way to welcome Rudolfo's heir to the Ninefold Forest Houses. When tragedy strikes, the people of the already devestated Named Lands learn that the outside threat they feared is closer than they think.

All the principles ar
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Alan
I debated back and forth between a 3 and a 4 star rating for this one, finally settling on 4 stars because, apart from the fact that I did enjoy reading it, I still think the series has some interesting unique elements, such as the communication system the nations have developed and the abilities and limitations of magic among that nations' inhabitants. Also, I appreciate the greater level of mystery involved in the story than one typically finds. To be sure there are many classic fantasy elemen ...more
Alex Telander
In his debut novel, Lamentation, Ken Scholes set the stage for his five-book epic, bringing his complex cast of characters together to the catastrophic ruins of the once great city and library of Windwir. Now, in the second book of the Psalms of Isaak, Scholes sends his characters off in opposite directions, on their own quests and journeys, each with different goals. Along the way, some will meet as friends, some as enemies, some as lovers. Readers will also learn more about the incredible worl ...more
Nathan
I listened to the audio-book version of this because that was the only edition my local library had. The book was read by several different readers--Scott Brick, William Dufris, Eliza Foss, and Peter Larkin--with each reader performing the sections for one or two characters. Unfortunately, I found I disliked almost all of them, with the very notable exception of the reader for Petronus. The reader for Neb and Rudolfo was especially bad. He made every sentence sound like it ended in a sigh. He ma ...more
Katie Daniels
A strange mix of science fiction and fantasy--Ken Scholes is the only author I know who can take gypsies, mechoservitors, blood magicks, wizard kings, alchemy and enough political intrigue to fuel an empire and weave it together in a seamless tale that confounds even while explaining and leaves you begging for more even as you wish it would just finish already and be explained. The riddles written into the "Psalms of Isaak" series rival those of Patricia McKellip's, and I can only hope that the ...more
Adam B.
(11/3/09) Scholes has created a fascinating world I want to keep reading about. Canticle is a great blend of mystery, sci fi, and fantasy. It's a great story and I can't wait to read the next 3 books.

UPDATE (2/2/11): If I could give this book 4.5 stars I would. It's an improvement over the first book, which is saying something because Lamentation is quite good. Having now read The Weeping Czar a couple times and Antiphon once, there is much that was clear on this reading that was unclear on the
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Rupe
Jun 01, 2011 Rupe added it
Reading this book gives you a weird feeling and the previous one, Lamentation, was much the same. I think I was annoyed until about the halfway mark--lots of introspection in response to the events of Lamentation, and maybe it feels a little repetitive recounting details of that book.

Then halfway through it turns awesome. Lots of tension and action and that feeling that this fantasy world got bigger, maybe scarier, and much more interesting.

Characterization is odd. You don't get to know characte
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Michael Cummings
Lamentation, in my opinion, was a little rough to start off, but by the end you knew you had a decent tale you were dealing with. Certainly a good show for a debut. Canticle takes that precipice that Lamentation left off on and just hurls you into the stratosphere. It feels like you are constantly pumped up on scout magicks as the novel races across the landscape of the Nine Lands (and a glimpse beyond). Book two of the arc is largely a book of reveals, where our perception of the characters doe ...more
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1325446
Ken Scholes grew up in a trailer outside a smallish logging town not far from the base of Mount Rainier in the Pacific Northwest.

Baptized into Story at a young age, he fed himself on Speed Racer, Time Tunnel, Land of the Giants and Marine Boy sprinkled with a generous dose of dinosaur picture books. One day, his parents brought home two science fiction books -- Trapped in Space by Jack Williamson
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More about Ken Scholes...
Lamentation (Psalms of Isaak, #1) Antiphon (Psalms of Isaak, #3) Requiem (Psalms of Isaak, #4) A Weeping Czar Beholds the Fallen Moon Long Walks, Last Flights & Other Strange Journeys

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