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Once Walked With Gods (Elves #1)
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Once Walked With Gods (Elves #1)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  402 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
The elves have fled to Calius, seeking to escape the overwhelming power of the demonic Garonin. A desperate last stand in their own dimension saved the race, at the cost of 100,000 elves lost to the Garonin. The elf who led that fight, Takaar, is blamed for the losses and has gone into hiding. Now the weakened elf race is tearing itself apart in civil war, human mercenarie ...more
Paperback, 366 pages
Published 2010 by Gollancz
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Nov 26, 2010 Paul rated it really liked it
Being a big fan of the Raven series , I was very keen to read this. I find that there is nothing better to help me unwind from the stresses of modern life than a bit of high fantasy.

Set in the same world as the Raven books, but at a point 3000 years earlier, the long-lived elves are on the brink of an all-out civil war.

After a great inter-dimensional battle against the demon Garonin, the elves suffer massive losses and stranded from their home world, the surviving refugees make their home in Cal
Marc Aplin
Sep 28, 2011 Marc Aplin rated it it was amazing
Elves Once Walked With Gods was perhaps one of the most raved about new series in 2010. Author 'James Barclay' is indeed one of the most accomplished British authors in the genre and when you add his name to the word 'Elves' perhaps it was inevitably going to be an intriguing novel.

James is most well known for his 'Raven' novels, which earned praise pretty much every fantasy blog/magazine going as well as highly complimentary blurbs from the likes of David Gemmell and Maggie Furey. If you haven'
Nov 29, 2011 Noelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: barclay-james
A 5 star rating is certainly not overrated. In previous books, I always loved Ilkar. His character had just that itsy bitsy more than the others to get me, and keep me hooked. I Elves Once Walked With Gods, i could but continue to love the elves. This book is good. It is really good. It's got everything, love, action, betrayal, and politics. Lots of Politics. It is very clear from the very beginning that the elven world faces problems identical to the ones existing in the human world. I could go ...more
Guy Haley
Nov 26, 2015 Guy Haley rated it really liked it
Kung-fu rainforest elf mega-betrayal.

Barclay returns to the world of Balaia with the first in a new series concerning his Elves. Barclay’s extra-dimensional refugees aren’t the usual pointy-ears, they’re caste-ridden, unmagical creatures whose savage ancestry lurks just underneath their civilised exteriors. Barclay’s original approach so buckles the archetype’s trammels his elves might as well be called something else, but such are the strictures of modern genre fiction. ‘Elf’ is such a handy la
Aug 24, 2011 Ruth rated it liked it
c2010. Mr Barclay - what are you doing to me? Where did the humour go? I did find some humour when Takaar came onto the scene but much less is evident than in his previous books. This is a very dark tale with lots of fight action, great characterisation and an original world. For the first couple of chapters, I was, quite frankly lost, feeling that I should know the names and the belief system etc. However, perseverance paid off and the story started to gallop along. The moral of the story or th ...more
Sep 25, 2014 Nancy rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
David Gemmell had high praise for this series, and I enjoyed many of his books, so bought a copy of Barclay's Elves #1. I am trying to like it, but it hasn't grabbed me, and I am close to half way through. I do not think I will finish it. If you are looking for some action-oriented fantasy, try Gemmell instead.
Nov 30, 2015 Faith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story is complex but it held my attention. I love Takaar and Auum! Takaar constantly talking to himself cracked me up.
Lady K
Dec 20, 2010 Lady K rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy

Il est difficile de donner un avis sur un tel livre ! Je dois avouer que je suis assez mitigée … Le début est difficile à comprendre, le milieu est très entrainant et captivant, mais la fin est trop lente à mon goût. Je vais quand même essayer d’expliquer tout ça le plus clairement possible.

L’action commence tout de suite, seulement nous n’avons pas encore tous les éléments en main pour bien comprendre ce qui se passe. En effet, l’auteur nous éclaire seule
Feb 19, 2011 Aoife rated it really liked it
First of all: It would have been great if OWWG had had a cast-list like Barclays other books. It has at least as much characters as the Ascendants and if possible the names are even more strange and exotic. It makes sense for them to be that, as the elves are portrayed as very different from humans, but it just confused me a lot and I often needed some time to place the names corectly.

Now for the book: I really liked the premise: Elves not as a big unified mass but -at least in that aspect- a lo
Oct 27, 2010 Mark rated it liked it
After the somewhat climatic ending of James’s mercenary group, The Raven, in Ravensoul, we now return to the beginning. James latest book starts from a time pre-Raven, though focusing on one of the much-loved (and long living) groups – the Elves.

Set about three thousand years before the arrival of Barclay’s The Raven, here we have the tale focused on the Elves and their previous history.

For the uninitiated, the mere mention of the word ‘elves’ may bring up thoughts and images of Tolkien’s Legol
Blodeuedd Finland
This is the start to a new fantasy series set in a world the author knows well. He has written other books that take place 3000 year after this one and now he has gone back to look at the history of the elves. Or what I felt it to be, the massacre and destruction of them.

The elves have one big enemy, themselves. They are made up from different threads, let's just say races, and those will now start to fight between themselves and they especially go after the leaders. Their world is breaking apar
May 14, 2013 David rated it it was ok

I had high hopes reading this book. I love stories about elves. They're my favorite fictional species. The title alone grabbed my attention and the plot sounded interesting. Sadly, the story falls far short of what I hoped it would be. It basically follows a fallen elven hero's redemption while his people are on the verge of a civil war. The world of the elves fails to grab the imagination as those of R.A. Salvatore's Mezoberranzan or Graham McNeil's Ulthuan. Those were explicitly-detailed s
Robin Carter
May 07, 2012 Robin Carter rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
When the last Raven was complete i thought it was the end of an era, where would, where could James go next?
Don't get me wrong he is no one trick pony, his Du-ology Cry of the New Born and shout for the dead are brilliant. But while more accomplished technically as pieces of writing, they lacked the heart and soul of the Raven.

Once walked with Gods is a return to that passion, this is obviously where James love of writing comes to the fore, this isn't a Job for him its a passion, and it comes ac
Sep 27, 2013 Molly rated it did not like it
This book was one of the few that was actually hard for me to read. I just wanted to put it down and say 'screw it!' This book felt like a sequel when it fact it is the first of its series. In other words it lacked a lot of information as well as having excess information is such a way that made you feel like you should have already knew this. It wasn't the story at all! The story would have been great were it not for the scrambled facts strew about it. The characters were vibrant and multilayer ...more
Paul Nelson
Feb 01, 2012 Paul Nelson rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-books-read
This is a fast paced and relentless action novel. Some interesting concepts a warrior cast elven race called the TaiGethen against the human mages and swordsmen. A past hero returning to aid in the battle and the turncoat elves who assist the humans until they find out man wants to rule and destroy some of the elven clans.
My only small critisism would be the lack of feeling created for the characters, theres no exploration of the characters and you dont really care who lives or dies.
That aside
Aug 25, 2016 Cat rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned, fantasy
Did not finish: Also winner of the title: Book that made me the Most Angry 😠. I love elves, I love books with elves in them, I don’t mind what kind of elves – traditionally LOTR elves, faery elves, I’ve even read a version of steam-punk-ish elves, I’ve read them and enjoyed them. They’ve all got the pointy ears and magic and that’s about it for essential elvish-ness. I do have my limits however: Elves are NOT a thinly veiled version of Inca/Mayan civilisation, in the tropics, with (?) alien tech ...more
Richard Kellum
Oct 01, 2012 Richard Kellum rated it it was amazing
A superb read that lets up only long enough for you to take your next breath before plunging you headlong back into dizzying action. Having said that, some of the fight sequences do at times become so kaleidoscopic as to disorient. Nevertheless, this is grown up fantasy at its best. The characters are fully realized and faced with difficult choices that will challenge your loyalties. And don't be fooled by the title. These elves have nothing airy about them; unless, that is, they're leaping into ...more
Fainne J. Firmin
Mar 09, 2015 Fainne J. Firmin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I finally gave up on this. I didn't even finish it. I got a hundred pages in and there was simply no reason to keep going Takaar was the only one interesting, but he'd didn't get enough time to make the book worth my while.
It felt like I needed a book that takes place before hand. There were a bunch of references that were kinda interesting, but I'd have liked some explanation by the point I reached. And people kept on appearing and then dying, and that was just annoying. It was like "here's thi
Mark Farbrother
Aug 02, 2011 Mark Farbrother rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
If you are a fan of the world of The Raven, and loved the TaiGethen Elves introduced in Elfsorrow, you will love this book. Set 300 years before the events portrayed in The Raven books, but does contain a few familiar Elven faces, Auum being one. It is true Heroic fantasy at it's best, a real page turner. I won't give too much away, as the book isn't released until August 19th 2010, but you will love some Elves, hate some Elves, and hate the humans, especially the magic bearers. The best heroic ...more
Mel Grimwoode
May 21, 2014 Mel Grimwoode rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hated
It was a tedious book to read. Mainly because it begins with a war with minimal context and because it's really just one battle scene after another divided by dialogue here and there.

With that said, I would say I might have enjoyed it better if the context was explained (even briefly) and if there was more background content during the scenes that didn't involve fighting.

Ya know, for those of us that aren't familiar with the Raven series. I might try reading the Raven series, but it's unlikely
Feb 12, 2014 Helen rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up-on
I couldn't get into this book, let alone finish it. Despite it being a prequel, it felt like there was so much I needed to know to understand what on earth was going on and who everyone was (this was my first James Barclay book, so I didn't know about the world he was writing about). The way it was written I found confusing, particularly when people were conversing with voices in their heads. I also had no connection with any of the characters, although I suppose I probably didn't give it enough ...more
Aug 31, 2011 Colin rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-reads
When I started reading this I thought it was going to be another slow plodding book that I was going to put down and NOT pick up again. However once I'd read more and the characters got sorted and you knew who was who it really picked up.

These elves are not like any elves I have read about before, IE: from the likes of the Lord Of The Rings, they are bunch of violent viscous cast ridden race.

By the end of the book I was left wanting more but I don't think Im in any hurry to read any sequel.....
Aug 20, 2016 Anne rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Disturbing. Amazing. Barclays elves are really well crafted: they have different races, and Barclay has carefully created their culture. Parts of it are different based on the race of the elves, and parts are the same for all elves. What sets this book really apart from almost all the other fantasy books is how Barclay portraits the elves. They are not amazingly good and kind, but can instead be cruel, vindictive and irrational. He also describes well how this isn't something exceptional but ins ...more
Feb 07, 2010 Matt rated it liked it
Starts quite slowly with a lot of PoV characters; once the scene is set it picks up the pace into something more like I would expect from Barclay - lots of action.

Hampered by:
- being the "setup" book for a new series
- none of the elves being that likeable ... They are all so traditional, noble and self sacrificing
- not giving very clear signposts to what's different between these elves and those of the raven's time (no magic, no claw bound etc).
Non Corporeal
Feb 17, 2014 Non Corporeal rated it it was amazing
Shelves: darkness
Dive in and gasp for breath when you have the chance to surface.
Elves Once walked with Gods will have you crashing on a turbulent journey where you will sink or swim as you sweep along with the action packed story.

I found this book almost painful to put down, just one more page…

I read and enjoyed The Raven many years ago; reading Elves Once Walked with Gods has me looking through my boxes of books still in the shed from my last move, I feel it’s time to visit the Raven again.
Sep 02, 2015 Rowan rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, but it was very slow going for me and it continually felt like a sequel. I didn't get enough information about Takaar and his history, nor with the history of the elves. The threads were confusing and were not given enough information to separate them... but I did enjoy this book!
Well, I didn't hate it. But I didn't get a feeling of other or time from the elves, I also didn't really get to know any of the characters and care if they lived or died, except Takaar and he wasn't on stage often enough to engage me.

Humans come to Elf-land to help Elves who want to restore caste (thread) system, humans take advantage a la Diarmud McMurrough and the Normans in Ireland.
Aug 14, 2015 Leila rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, abandoned
I really tried with this book as I had been so looking forward to it but I simply could not get into it at all. I found it totally confusing. As many readers seem to have enjoyed the series this is probably a personal viewpoint. I will still give his other series a try as they are all on my shelf at home.
I found this rather difficult to get into. The Elves were not portrayed in the way Elves usually are, but that was OK. I had trouble working out the different threads of Elves and thought that it could of been explained more.
Saying that, I did enjoy the book and will read the rest of the set.
Kelly Flanagan
Jun 16, 2014 Kelly Flanagan rated it it was amazing
this was a shockingly excellent read! Shocking in that I have never heard of this James Barclay, and I love me a good book!
Can't wait to read the next in the series, so I' gonna try another series by him as well.
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