First off, I do think this book deserves five stars. It completely absorbed me, and it's a remarkable feat of storytelling. And yet I'm left not quitFirst off, I do think this book deserves five stars. It completely absorbed me, and it's a remarkable feat of storytelling. And yet I'm left not quit knowing what I think about it, even after 900 pages. It wasn't what I was expecting and I don't quite know how to describe what it was.
It is an epic fantasy, I suppose, with touches of romance. Although I don't normally read either romance or fantasy (at least as they're typically done). It was much less romance and erotic fiction than I expected. The whole first part of the novel is about sex and S&M-type kink, but it's never actually explicit. The majority of the book is really just a fantasy epic with a female heroine who happens to enjoy sex and pain. So I still have a problem with the feeling that these books are marketed to women as "erotic" but then there's a bait and switch and you end up with a wonderful epic. I don't know why this bothers me so much.
But on to what is fantastic in the book. The characters are great, wonderfully rounded out and developed as the story progresses. The world building is among the best I have ever read, period. The history of the world, the cosmology, religion, philosophy, politics, etc, all is top-notch. The books does such a fantastic job of drawing you in, making you familiar with the entire universe, that everything starts to make wonderful instinctive sense. The reader becomes attached to characters, several times causing genuine grief and even anger when bad things happen to them.
It's difficult to decide what to compare this book to. As nearly all fantasy must, it draws comparisons with Lord of the Rings and mostly holds it's own in that company. Other comparisons made by the blurbs in my copy include Dune which is a accurate, and even Gone with the Wind,also a surprisingly apt comparison. I would also add The Mists of Avalon as a book with a similar feel....more
This is one of my new favorite books. It's so original, well-written, and engrossing. Set in an alternate history Victorian England in which the demonThis is one of my new favorite books. It's so original, well-written, and engrossing. Set in an alternate history Victorian England in which the demons of hell repented and intermarried with humans, creating an under-race called the Prodigals. I adored everything about this book. The romance between a Prodigal and an Inquisitor of the Church is wonderfully and subtlely handled. Also, this is a male/male romance, although it's not the romance novel or erotic fiction I expected. It's not explicit and far more literary than that....more
There's not much to say about this book, other than to describe the basic premise. It's the Napoleanic War, but with dragons used for aerial combat. TThere's not much to say about this book, other than to describe the basic premise. It's the Napoleanic War, but with dragons used for aerial combat. Temeraire the dragon is delightful and this proved to be a fast and immensely fun read....more