I very much enjoyed this read. I finished it quickly, in about 3 days. I do not read much Fantasy, but this was only minimally Fantasy. Yes, there is...moreI very much enjoyed this read. I finished it quickly, in about 3 days. I do not read much Fantasy, but this was only minimally Fantasy. Yes, there is an Elflord, an enchanted sword and a monster of legend, but after all it is set in the New York City of a few years ago and no one believes in magic.
I believe the most entertaining stories are Mary Sue stories. The main character, Ruth, is a library science graduate student, and the author has library science degrees. I found the trivial details about day to day lives of graduate students at Columbia University to be a refreshing grounding for the high adventure story that is going on.
It was such a relief to me to read a story with words or more than 2 syllables. All popular writing today is dumbed down for about 3rd grade reading levels. Shakespeare would never be able to be published today. "Shakespeare, why do you have to use such difficult words, you will lose your audience!" I could identify with the central characters because they are graduate students and I am a graduate student.
The flow of time in this fantasy felt more real to me compared to most modern fiction. Modern writers know they must plot their stories like a 40 minute television drama. The tension must rise as the action accelerates and the plot points are reached with perfect timing. Of course, no real life adventure occurs like that. Time speeds up unnaturally under threat and stress, while at other times boredom is more dangerous and powerful than the enemy. The time flow in this story varied in ways the characters could not control and they were tossed like dolls in the vortex of events beyond their understanding.
Decisions have consequences, loyalties are tested, broken and reformed. I enjoyed the old fashion Rett Butler type of romance that slowly unfolded in the story. I wanted the characters to live and find happiness. While this is not a grim dark type of story, it has dramatic tone and some tragedy comes to some characters.
Unfortunately, as much as I enjoyed the book, I worry about other readers. There are big words, there are references to other historical literature. The characters do not behave as if they read the script. It is frustrating when characters make mistakes. It is frustrating when characters don't trust their companions and are not completely honest. The characters were not well cast for this fantastic adventure they find themselves thrust into. I suspect the likely readers while have some college classes under their belt and able to tolerated a story that does not move from one predictable plot point to the next. I found it alot of fun and a fast read, I hope others find it and give it a try.(less)
This is book four of a series about the Steerswoman, Rowan. This amazing series might have one or two more books, if and when they get published. This...moreThis is book four of a series about the Steerswoman, Rowan. This amazing series might have one or two more books, if and when they get published. This fourth book is similar to the previous books in the series. We follow Rowan in her search to uncover the mysteries with the wizards and the guidestars.
Rowan comes to Donner and does what Steerswomen do. She questions people who might have known the wizard at the time 4 decades earlier when the guidestar was brought down. She finds the Donner connection to Slado, the head wizard she suspects of being the lead enemy.
Again, I admire the descriptive detail of the author in the day-to-day lives of the characters. When a town is visited in the books, you know what the town looks like, and especially what it feels like in that town.
When people are threatened with danger and death, you know why they die and why they live. I love the way the characters are real in this book, like the scenery. Each person we are introduced to has a back story and motivations. Even the villains have reasons for why they do things. This kind of writing is not what we are used to. There are world famous rich authors who are cranking out books, and getting huge movie deals, with no idea how to represent realistic characters or story world.
There is one major aspect of the book that would be a spoiler if this were book one. If you have not read the three previous books, skip this paragraph of my review, This aspect I was not aware of when I first picked up the first book to read, Steerswoman. I was not sure I wanted to continue reading that first book. I don't often read fantasy books. The series has 'wizards', 'dragons' and 'magic.' Someone reviewing the first book revealed the huge spoiler that actually the books are not fantasy. Rowan and the characters in the books think magic exists, but actually when they investigate, in the proper way, they find understandable explanations for all marvelous events. I think this series would be useful in schools to teach students about scientific thinking and methodology.
I only have two reservations about this book. First, the description of the search for the dragons was very long, running over many pages. Second, this book ends with a great need for a sequel. I approached the last pages of the book dreading the ending without a next book to pick up. I will buy the next book, as soon as it comes out. Many mysteries in the series are revealed in this book, but the tension in the long term story has not been resolved.
Who will appreciate this book and series? Unfortunately, the universe of readers who will like this type of writing may be limited. Probably readers have to have experienced enough in their lives to appreciate descriptions of real events in a fictional book. The plot is not driven by action and violence. Occasionally violence and action happens. Those incidents occur because someone makes a mistake, miscalculation or coincidences happen. Readers have to enjoy reading for the sake of character development, not for action alone.
I think this is one of the most interesting series ever written and hope new people can discover it. Enjoy! ( ) (less)