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All the Windwracked Stars (The Edda of Burdens #1)

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  822 Ratings  ·  144 Reviews
It all began with Ragnarok, with the Children of the Light and the Tarnished ones battling to the death in the ice and the dark. At the end of the long battle, one Valkyrie survived, wounded, and one valraven – the steeds of the valkyrie.

Because they lived, Valdyrgard was not wholly destroyed. Because the valraven was transformed in the last miracle offered to a Child of t
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Tor Fantasy (first published October 28th 2008)
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Oct 18, 2015 Gavin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I really wanted to like this. Elisabeth Bear has been on my to-read list for years and she has a ton of books that have received decent acclaim. It also sounded like it would be a cool blend of fantasy, sci-fi, and Norse mythology. Sadly, I could not get into the story and found the book a total bore. Bear's distant writing style definitely did not help.

I persisted with this for as long as I could, but decided to quit around the 50% mark as I just had no desire to return to the book when I put i
When I read the first chapter of All the Windwracked Stars by Elizabeth Bear, I thought I would be giving it 5 stars. The language is beyond beautiful. The story is told in the manner of an epic poem, without the verse. This is the stuff of myth and legend and that is reflected in the style. The reader doesn't really connect to the characters, but can one really ever connect to legends?

I ended up downgrading this story by one star for a couple of reasons. First, about halfway through the book, I
Gamma Mouse
Occasionally, a novel can be greatly appreciated without being appealing. Like a piece of art in which one can enjoy the beauty and craftsmanship, but feel no connection with it. No matter how hard one tries, the novel and reader never engage each other; there is only an emotional flatness, a seed of a story that never germinates. Sometimes certain books don’t work with certain readers. This is not a criticism as much as an observation. What doesn’t emotionally connect with one reader could just ...more
"Welcome to "Books with Charactrs". The show, where xour favorite movie characters talk about the books they like. So let's get into it, shall we? First up, we have Luke Skywalker with us tonight."

"Thanks, host. May you live long and prosper!" said Luke.

"Oh snap, you're a funny one, aren't you? Spend a lot of time with Mr. Solo lately? So, what kind of book did you bring today?"

"I have a SF book for you. It plays in the far future, we have genetically mutated species, a university flying over th
Megan Baxter
Mar 22, 2012 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Bear is one of my favourite authors these days, but I struggled with the start of All the Windwracked Stars. I don't mind being plunged in at the deep end and left to figure my own way out, but this world was so alien, built on such different assumptions that just a tiny bit more of a roadmap would have been helpful.

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

In the meantime, you
All the Windwracked Stars is the first book in the EDDA OF BURDENS trilogy by fantasy and SF author Elizabeth Bear. The novel is a very original blend of fantasy, science fiction, steampunk and mythology, and while it has some weaknesses, its originality sets it apart in a genre that's all too often filled with cookie-cutter material.

Surprisingly, All the Windwracked Stars actually begins with Ragnarok, the final battle between the Children of the Light and the Tarnished. Muire, a waelcyrge (val
Maggie K
Apr 04, 2011 Maggie K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Elizabeth Bear has some of the most lyrical writing I have ever read, simply beautiful, and it puts you right into the can feel the snow, or the heat of the steed. I love a book that can simply transport me into a sense of place.

A take from the Norse pantheon, Muire is the lone surviving Valkyrie, doomed to immortality. But can she simply live out her days and watch the world end? WIll she have to do something to try and save it? I found her indecision very humane.
She finds another C
Ben Rubinstein
Jul 16, 2009 Ben Rubinstein rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci-fi fantasy lovers, late YA, mythos lovers.
What a great read! This one really was a winner. I admit that I'm a sucker for a female protagonist, especially of the gritty persuasion, and in that respect Muire doesn't disappoint. And talk about a flawed hero! She was the LONE Valkyrie to run away from the Ragnarok. The first one at least. This book is about her saving the world from the second. And it features a villain with human and justifiable motivations. How lacking in sci-fi/fantasy! My own quibble was that I wish it would have been a ...more
Paul Weimer
Apr 05, 2009 Paul Weimer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Bear is an audacious, difficult, and ultimately rewarding author. There are good reasons why she won a Campbell award, and a Hugo award. She's ambitious, writes characters who are all-too-human, and is very willing to take standard pieces of the F/SF genre, and rework them, remix myth and Story into it, and come out with books and stories that bite.

All the Windwracked Stars is the latest in that tradition. Informed and infused by Norse mythology, the novel begins with, paradoxically, a
I'm a little torn on this one.

I really liked what this book was trying to do: tell a postapocalyptic - or perhaps just apocalyptic - story based on a somewhat-modernized, somewhat-vintage version of the Norse mythology of Ragnarok. The semi-poetic language and worldbuilding through the eyes of someone who'd been around since the original Ragnarok (and therefore views technology through the lens of magic) was well-done.

Unfortunately, I have only a passing familiarity with Norse mythology in gener
Feb 21, 2014 Kat rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There was a lot of good and a lot of not-so-good here, and the good helped me get through the whole novel and the bad pretty much assured that I won't read another of Ms Bear's books.

The Good:
- Bear wields language skillfully and idosyncratically; her style is lovely in a way that is reminiscent of (but not really similar to) Patricia McKillip's.
- Once the story got moving, I had absolutely no idea where it was going or how it would end--suspense!
- The worldbuilding was a cool post-apocalyptic s
Dec 17, 2008 Samantha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've loved Bear's short fiction on Escape Pod, so was excited to get my hands on one of her full length novels. And I was not dissapointed! This is a sweeping, elegant story that meshes technology with ancient mythology. There's a bit of melodrama, but I think that just goes hand in hand with the whole "valkyrie" theme, and its really not overbearing. A quick spoiler-free synopsis: the last valkyrie, long coping with guilt and loss, tracks a sinister and ancient foe through a high-tech city. But ...more
Aug 26, 2009 Lawrence rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The premise of the book is fascinating: take an older mythology and extend it into the future. Mixture of fantasy and sci-fi. Interesting story ensues.

Wrong. Boring, slow, stories with overly weird writing and mythological terminology ensues.

I'm not so into fantasy these days, so I took a small chance on this one based on how much I liked one of her recent novels, Carnival. While that story turned culture on its head, it remained interesting. This one had almost no character development - or it
Jun 22, 2010 Seth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was very eager to read this novel, as I completed a Masters and some doctoral work in Old Norse mythology. The first few chapters seemed to confirm my decision, dealing as they did with the fallout from Ragnarok and the ensuing chaos. The scene then shifts to a far future, and the story rapidly deteriorates. Elizabeth Bear is a strong writer, ccertainly, but her vivid prose isn't enough to carry the flagging story. As a result, I didn't even finish the book.
May 13, 2009 Meredith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best, yet weirdest sci-fi books I have read in years. I had tears in my eyes at least twice, and though it reached a satisfying conclusion, and was the perfect length I wish it could have lasted forever.
May 23, 2017 Valerie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I did not finish this.
There is something about a post-apocalyptic/apocalyptic, Sci-Fi Fantasy story that does it for me – mix in some Norse mythology and it’s a win-win situation. Elizabeth Bear’s All the Windwracked Stars has all of the above and more. She uses mythology loosely to construct her world and if you are familiar with Odin’s crew of Gods and immortals, you will recognize their integration into Bear’s world, her characters and usage of language.

Our fantasy adventure begins with the end. It’s the end for t
Apr 23, 2012 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I loved the experience of reading this book, but find myself puzzled now at its end.

This is a gorgeous piece of writing, with some dazzlingly inventive conceits. Bear drops you right into the second end of the world, on a plain covered by dying angels. We then fast forward to a world devastated a second time, this time after a man-made apocalypse. The writing is lonely and poignant and lovely. The characters--Muire the Valkyrie who abandoned her comrades and so is doomed to watch the world end a
Clay Kallam
Jul 15, 2012 Clay Kallam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Elizabeth Bear has become the Robert Silverberg of modern science fiction:
A prolific author who suffers from that very strength, as too often her
work, like that of Silverberg, seems rushed, and begs for a little more

“All the Windwracked Stars” (Tor, $24.95, 368 pages) is one of her better
efforts, though, starting with the premise that “worlds take a long time
to die,” and that the final battle of the gods, when the Light went out of
human culture, was fought several thousand years ago. Now,
Oct 23, 2010 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
...It took me a while to grow into this book but nearing the end I realized this was one of the best books I’ve read in 2008. With Bear’s choice of themes it is not a happy tale. Desperation, a sense of loss and a good deal of guilt are present throughout the story. The characters don’t wallow in it however. They get on with their lives no matter what, and provide a measure of hope in the bleak word they inhabit. Norse legend, magic, strange technology and strong characters, I have high expectat ...more
Mar 22, 2010 Ellie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wanted to like it more. The story was disjointed and difficult to figure out who all the characters were and what they meant to the overall story. In the end I felt like I'd finished watching a really 'artistic' movie where all the really 'artistic' people got what the director was trying to say and I'm just thinking that I did not partake of the required psychedelic to see what they saw to be so excited about it.
Jun 17, 2009 Joy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If your looking for fantasy NOT based on Celtic mythology this one is a nice change. The last Waelcyrge (Valkyrie) is in the end days of Valdyrgard after 2 Ragnaroks. The world is dead but for one human city and a Technomancer is sucking the essence out of even the gods to keep it alive for only the few. Its a world one can relate with as the humans have killed all other life with virus wars and other horrible weapons, making this also sic-fi but still filled with magic.
Mar 11, 2009 Kara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A stellar, if difficult read from Elizabeth Bear. In a book with no clear villain, and a hero that is sometimes difficult to root for, the lines are hard to draw. Betrayal is the word of the day. Still, in the end, E-Bear pulls off a satisfying, happy, cathartic ending.
Jo Woolfardis
Feb 12, 2011 Jo Woolfardis rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bloody-cack, 2015
An interesting start though the Valkyrie concept had me confused: many names and words to learn about before you leap in to this world. Possibly for another time. (Yes, but Kindle.)
Casey Blair
Sep 28, 2012 Casey Blair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It started out slow for me, because the pacing is epic (the Beowulf/Gilgamesh kind of epic), but once I got into it, I couldn't put it down.
Feb 26, 2009 Tapley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I found this book very hard to get into. It did grow on me some, eventually, but I found her use of language to be a barrier to the story, not a gateway in.
Sep 20, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, dark, scifi, fantasy
Incredibly unique book with some fantastic writing. Read my full review here -
Rosu Aquabutts
"It was amazing."


This teeters pretty evenly between a four and a five star but I went with a 5 because of how much this book aspired to and how much it achieved. Rather than taking points off for the areas it didn't succeed, I went with my gut response and gave it all I had here.

All The Windwracked Stars is ... very difficult to describe. Mythology, cyberpunk, urban fantasy, actual fantasy ... it's a great deal of things. And one of those things is cha
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 18, 2013 Abhinav rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-read
You can read the full review over at The Founding Fields:

Shadowhawk takes a look at the first novel of the Edda of Burdens series, one of Elizabeth Bear's earliest novels. This is the twelfth in his Advent Review series and you can check out a full listing here.

"A story epic in scope with an uneasy marriage of technology and magic, All The Windwracked Stars is a novel with some fantastic world-building and some really intriguing characters." ~Shadowhawk, T
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More about Elizabeth Bear...

Other Books in the Series

The Edda of Burdens (3 books)
  • By the Mountain Bound (The Edda of Burdens, #2)
  • The Sea Thy Mistress (The Edda of Burdens, #3)

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