Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor was one of my most anticipated books of 2017. I absolutely adored the DaOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor was one of my most anticipated books of 2017. I absolutely adored the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, and couldn't wait to get my hands on Taylor's latest - and it most definitely does not disappoint!
For me, as much as I loved the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, Strange the Dreamer surpasses it. Taylor is more than just an author, she's a storyteller; she weaves words in the most beautiful way, there's no chance of me not becoming completely enthralled. We knew this already, of course, but with this book, I can't help buy marvel at the world, the characters, the story she has created. Taylor completely captured my imagination, and I felt I was right there with Lazlo Strange; his childhood at the Abbey, his early adulthood at the library, his journey from Zosma to Weep with Eril Fane the Godslayer - and I was completely mesmerised by the mysteries surrounding Weep as Lazlo was, and just as dumbfounded by what he found there.
It's been a very, very long time since I've wanted to nothing but read, where everything else needing my attention - work, cooking, eating, bathing, shopping, sleeping - was a major inconvenience, but Strange the Dreamer is that book; the book you won't want to put down, the book you will stay up late into the night reading just a few pages more. Reading Strange the Dreamer, for me, was like discovering the joy of reading for the first time all over again. There's no greater compliment that I can give. It's so rare that books fill me with such a sense of wonder and so much delight over the simple pleasure of reading. And because it brought back that wonder, that joy and delight that I first experienced reading Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings as a 12-year-old, Strange the Dreamer felt like coming home.
All bookworms everywhere will relate to Lazlo, this young man who loves books and stories, fairy tales and myths, who is filled with the same awe at reading the books in the sublevel of the library as I was with reading his story. And through him, we learn the little that is known about the mysterious city of Weep; a city that outsiders were forbidden to go to, and executed as spies if they tried, a city from which the most beautiful and amazing objects came, to be traded around the world, a city that the world stopped hearing from two hundred years ago, a city who, 15 years ago, everyone forgot the name of - when they tried to say the city's true name, it was stolen from their minds, and all that came out was "Weep". Lazlo is passionate about Weep, and its two mysteries; what happened two hundred years ago that led to an end of all contact from Weep to the rest of the world? And what happened 15 years ago to steal it's true name from the minds of everyone? When Eril Fane, leader of the fabled Tizerkane warriors of Weep, arrives at Zosmos - the first contact with Weep in two centuries - seeking a delegation of qualified people to help his city with a problem Eril Fane won't go into, Lazlo is desperate to go, too. But what he finds there is beyond anything he could ever imagine.
I've not even covered the first third of the book, but the wonders and mysteries of Weep should stay that until you discover them along with Lazlo. There is a second protagonist, one who's third person narration joins Lazlo's once the delegation arrive at Weep. Her name is Sarai, a 17-year-old girl, who feels lonely, and trapped, and stuck. And that's all I will say about her.
Taylor has this incredible way of showing us the morally grey of people. Then there is fighting, a war, she shows there is no side that is completely right or completely wrong, no side that is good, no side that is bad. There are just people; people who are faced with impossible decisions, people who do the wrong thing to do the right, people who are trying to do what's best for their people, their safety, their survival. What is a god, and what is a monster? What is a hero, and what is a dictator? What is just and fair, and what is evil? The lines are blurred. At times you will abhor those you previously rooted for, and feel for those you hated. Were they right to do what they did, or were they wrong? It's a question Taylor forces you to ask yourself, but I'm struggling to work out what the answer is.
Strange the Dreamer ends on such a cliffhanger. One of the worst, because we have to wait until next year to read, but one of the best, because you won't be able to stop thinking about it, and the consequences, and where they will lead. Like with Lazlo himself, you're left with even more questions than you started with. Strange the Dreamer is one of the most incredible fantasy novels I've ever read, but it's sequel, The Muse of Nightmares, is undoubtedly going to be even more epic. With this book, I think Taylor has landed herself the position of my most favourite author.
Strange the Dreamer ruined my imagination for all other books.
Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for the proof....more
I had completely forgotten Starborn by Lucy Hounsom was winging it's way to me, so I got all excited when IOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
I had completely forgotten Starborn by Lucy Hounsom was winging it's way to me, so I got all excited when I rediscovered it once it arrived. I really want to get back in to high fantasy again this year, and discovering new authors, so I was so happy to have this intriguing story. But, although I really enjoyed it, I was a little disappointed over parts of it.
It's Inheritance Day for the town of Brenwym, the day teenagers coming of age look into the town's relic, which will tell them their true name and their calling. But when Kyndra looks into the relic - a shallow bowl filled with water - it reacts strangely before breaking into pieces. Kyndra doesn't know what her calling is, and nor do those who were still waiting to look into the relic. When a massive, dangerous storm kills a local, the town believe they're being punished because Kyndra broke the relic, and turn on her, planning to kill her. But two strangers with strange powers save her life and whisk her away. Brégenne and Nediah are wielders, people who can harness the power of either the sun or the moon, and due to the things they observed in the town, and on their travels, they believe Kyndra is a potential wielder, too. Kyndra knows they are wrong, she's just an ordinary girl, and believes herself proved right when they reach Naris, the secret home of the wielders, and the test, that brings forth a potential's affinity to solar or lunar energy, very nearly kills her. But Kyndra has been having visions of a past war, people are losing their minds, and the Breaking, the storm that destroyed Brenwym, is getting worse - quicker and stronger and more destructive. There are those who think these things mean something, and Kyndra must be tested again. What are Kyndra's visions? And why are people eager to help her pass the test?
I found the premise of Starbound to be really intriguing. I felt the pacing was off a little at the beginning, because things have and are happening, but it just dragged for me. Despite this, it soon picked up, and I was absolutely gripped by the story. In places it was kind of predictable and obvious where things would end up regarding Kyndra, but I was really interested to see how it the book would lead to that point. There's a lot of intrigue, and characters with their own agendas. There were elements that reminded me of other fantasies, which were kind of comforting in their familiarity.
But there's a lot we're not told. What is the purpose of the wielders? Once you've completed your training and are no longer a novice, now a master wielder, what do they do? All these wielders living in Naris, what are they doing? I understand that the world no longer knows or understands what wielders are since before the war, and so now have to live in hiding, but what do they do?! I have no idea! Brégenne and Nediah are out to track and observe the Breaking, but otherwise, the wielders as a whole? I just don't understand. Speaking of the Breaking, I don't really get why the Breaking is here. We're told why it was caused, but that why isn't explained. I don't want to spoil the story, but it's as in, the Breaking was caused because X happened. Ok, buy why did X cause the Breaking? There are a lot of things like this in the book that aren't explained well enough for me, and it left me with a lot of questions.
There are slight spoilers below. But it's on a very serious topic, and so I feel it's important to spoil this element. However, if you'd rather go without spoilers, don't click below.
(view spoiler)[There is also the threat of sexual assault in the book. Which happens, so that's not exactly what I have a problem with. What I have a problem with is how Kyndra forgives these boys who were bullying her and threatened sexual assault when she was magically immobile, and becomes friends with her. WHAT THE HELL?! At first I genuinely thought the boys - and the girl who was part of the group, but not involved in the bullying/sexual assault - were spies for someone else, befriending her to get information out of her, but no. They were forced to work with her for a punishment, and friendship grew from there. And Kyndra lets it. She forgives the boys and lets it go. This is not true to life. This guy straddled her and kissed her when she couldn't move, and told her he could do anything he wanted. You do not just brush that aside and let it go and become friends with someone like that. You just don't. And I thought this whole element of the story was just completely misjudged. I think the friendship is supposed to continue in the next books, and how I'm supposed to get on board with that and like this guy, I just don't know. I really don't It left me raging. (hide spoiler)]
I was really surprised by the climax and ending of this book. Every major plot point for this story is wrapped up, which I'm not used to; normally, some things are left open to be read about in consecutive books, but it's all wrapped up in Starborn. It's the wrapping up that leads to what will happen in the next book. But the climax and wrapping up happens so quickly! Not in a rushed way, but just that everything is resolved much sooner than I expected. And it's actually brilliant. During the lead up to the climax, I was completely lost to who the "good guys" were, and who Kyndra should be putting her trust in. I was completely turned around and so invested, that the last pages just flew by. Although, as I said earlier, there were elements of the story that were predictable, there were a number of surprising elements I was completely blown away by.
I will probably read the second novel to see where things go, but I'm not sure it's a book I would rush out to read. I do hope the book gives further explanation in the second novel. I guess we'll see.
Thank you to Pan Macmillan for the review copy....more
As I said in my review of Fool's Assassin, I was unable to wait the whole year until the paperback of Fool'sOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
As I said in my review of Fool's Assassin, I was unable to wait the whole year until the paperback of Fool's Quest was released to read this book, so I borrowed the hardback. I'm partly glad I did, but at the same time, I now have to wait a year for the third, and it's going to be so hard! Fool's Quest was brilliant!
While Fitz rushed through a standing stone to take the Fool to Buckkeep to be healed, raiders attacked his home and kidnapped his daughter, Bee, and Lady Shun, a woman under his protection. Away from home, believing Bee safe under the care of Lord FitzVigilant and Lady Shun, despite not fully trusting them, his concern for the Fool deepen. Tortured to the point of being unrecognisable by his own people, the Fool is nothing like his old self. Fearful and in so much pain, the Fool's is slowly dying. But the Servants of Clerres are out for the Fool's Unexpected Son, heard of in prophecies, and the Fool is adamant that the Servants must be stopped before they find him, and pleads with Fitz to journey back with him to kill every single last one of them. But when the news of Bee and Shun's abduction reaches Buckkeep, Fitz's only thought is to find his daughter, and kill those who took her.
I've been struggling to write this review for a while now. Quite a few of the major events of the book are spoilery, but as big as the book is, there's quite a lot of time where not a huge amount happens. It's only a little before halfway through that Fitz even hears about Bee, and it's quite a while after until there's any clue as to where they might be. We get a few chapters from Bee's perspective, though fewer than we did in Fool's Assassin, and with the kidnappers is a young man who has a magic similar to the skill that can make people not notice them, almost like they're invisible, so it's a long time before there's any idea as to where they could be. So a large part of the story is Fitz and the Fool together at Buckkeep, Fitz learning about the Fool's story and what happened to him, and the Fool trying to get better.
Saying this, it's still absolutely riveting reading, even though it feels like not a huge amount happens for a fair while. It's a hugely emotional story, in lots of ways, and there are some fantastic revelations. There was a moment towards the beginning of the book where I was so emotional because of how happy I was. Something good for Fitz, something truly wonderful, and I was so happy there were tears in my eyes - it was brilliant!
I could be wrong, but there was a point in the novel where I felt quite sure this might be the last trilogy in the Realm of the Elderlings books, or at the very least, the last for Fitz and the Fool. There are moments that are similar to those we saw in the Farseer Trilogy, the very first trilogy, and it almost felt like things have come full circle. They were, themselves, bittersweet moments, small as they were, but really quite important, especially for Fitz.
Fool's Quest is also a book that shows us just how much time has moved on since the Rain Wild Chronicles. Without giving away too much, we got to briefly see some familiar faces from the Rain Wilds, and although it was just a couple of moments, it was wonderful to revisit them, and see how their lives had moved on. I'm hoping there's the possibility of seeing a few more in the final book in the trilogy, Assassin's Fate (ominous title!), but I don't know. I do think there will be some threads from all series that will tie up together, though, in some way. These aren't so much hints, but just a feeling I have, that the next book might be the last in this world, and I'm really quite sad about it. Whether it is or not, I have a strong feeling Assassin's Fate is going to be extremely emotional, and probably quite sad.
A wonderful book, with an unbelievable cliffhanger ending! I cannot wait for Assassin's Fate, and all that will be revealed in that final book!...more
Originally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase. I have been eagerly awaiting this fourth and final book in Robin Hobb's Rain Wild Chronicles, Blood of DragoOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase. I have been eagerly awaiting this fourth and final book in Robin Hobb's Rain Wild Chronicles, Blood of Dragons. I was expecting an awesome end to the series, but I should know by now that Hobb over delivers. This is a brilliant conclusion to the series!
The dragons have got to learn to fly and make their way over to Kelsingra, so they can reach the hot baths that will help them grow and fully develop into the dragons they always should have been. They also need to find the silver wells, too - desperately. Without it, dragons are likely to become more like animals. And they're not the only ones who need it; the Elderlings won't survive as they should if it's not found. There is an urgent search to find it; the dragons and Elderlings need it soon, but Malta and Reyn's sickly Elderling child needs it now. With Tintaglia out of reach from everyone, the only dragon who can save the baby, Silver in their only hope. What they don't know is Tintaglia is making her way to Kelsingra, badly injured herself, and almost at death's door. And still people hunt for dragon flesh for the Duke of Chalced, who will go to desperate lengths to prolong his life.
Blood of Dragons is such an incredible story! What I've mentioned above covers perhaps half the book, and only scratches the surface. It's one of those books that so much happens in, it's hard to believe it happens just in this one book - a lot is packed in to these 481 pages, and most of it is pretty epic. There are parts of this book that are really quite disturbing. There are those that are so upsetting, and others that are sickening. There's a fair amount of action in this novel, that we haven't seen much of in the others, and it's wonderful! The dragons don't take too kindly to being hunted for their flesh. There are also people who get what's coming to them, and it's brilliant to see!
There are also questions that are answered, questions that arose through this series, and questions that arose from the very first series in the Realm of the Elderlings. We finally understand what we first discovered in The Farseer Trilogy, with Verity creating his Elderling dragon with liquid Skill - the Silver that the dragons need to much are is what flows in what we know as the Skill river from Assassin's Quest. And with discovering this about Silver, we discover more about things we first learnt about in The Farseer Trilogy. We start to fully understand exactly who and what Elderlings were - and who and what the Keeper Elderlings will become. Again, it harks back to the things we learned about how the stone dragons were created - but in this book we realise what we learned in The Farseer Trilogy was just the tip of the iceberg.
Blood of Dragons is an incredible ending to a fantastic series! I finished this book sad at having to say goodbye to these characters, but even more eager to read Fool's Assassin, the first book in the next series in the Realm of the Elderlings, Fitz and the Fool. So looking forward to reading it, and I have a feeling we may not be saying goodbye to these characters for ever....more
I was so excited to read City of Dragons that I picked it up as soon as it arrived. So good, I am absolutelyOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
I was so excited to read City of Dragons that I picked it up as soon as it arrived. So good, I am absolutely loving this series!
The dragons and their keepers, and the crew on board the Tarman liveship that guided them, have arrived at Kelsingra. However, due to the deadly current of the Rain Wild River, they are on the opposite bank to the city, with no safe way across. Rapskall and Heeby did not die in the flood like everyone believed, and in their time apart, Rapskall has taught Heeby to fly, and have been exploring the city. Until all the other dragons can fly, they're stuck on the other side of the river. Captain Leftrin has returned to Cassarick to pick up supplies, and news of the expedition's success spreads quickly. There are those who are desperate to find out all there is to discover about the journey to Kelsingra so they can pillage it for the rare Elderling artefacts they can sell, and those who want to dragon flesh to sell to the Chalcedeans. The dragons' haven might not be safe for too long.
Not a huge deal happens in this book in comparison to the previous two. Kelsingra has been found, and until the river calms down, or until the dragons can fly, no-one can get across safely. The keepers try in their little boats, but it's not the safest way across, and the keepers find the city a bit eerie. Alise is flown across each and every day by Heeby, so she can explore and take notes about Kelsingra, to keep a record for those in the future - before the Rain Wilders inevitably start coming down the river towards the city and tear it apart.
Things do happen though, it's not a whole book of them all just waiting around. Malta and Reyn Khuprus, and Malta's brother Selden Vestrit, the Elderlings from the Liveship Traders series, get to narrate their own parts in the story, as does Hest, and Captain Leftrin continues to do so in Cassarick. We get to see how things are happening with them, and it's with those that more interesting things happen. They're not things I can talk about though without spoiling the story. Yet it's still pretty awesome seeing the lives of the keepers and the dragons in Kelsingra, seeing the city through their eyes, and the wonders it holds. And how it changes things.
There is a moment in City of Dragons that links right back to something that happened in Assassin's Quest, the third book in the Farseer Trilogy. All of these books are part of the Realm of the Elderlings story, and City of Dragons is the twelfth book, so I think it's so awesome to have a moment in the twelfth book linking back all the way to the third, a memory of good ol' Fitz, and it made me smile so much! I won't spoil it, but it's brilliant!
There really isn't a huge amount more I can say about this book without giving away huge spoilers. It is a fantastic book, though and I am so hugely excited to read the fourth and final book in the series, Blood of Dragons! It's going to be amazing!...more
This prequel novella to The Farseer Trilogy is just perfect! It reveals the truth behind why there is such dOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
This prequel novella to The Farseer Trilogy is just perfect! It reveals the truth behind why there is such distrust of and disgust for the Wit, and why so many people believe such awful, completely untrue things about what the Wit can do. And it all comes down to rivalry, which spawns jealousy, and leads to lies.
Two men, vying for both the crown and the heart of the same woman. One oddly marked and in possession of the Wit, and rightful heir to the throne, the other the King's nephew, older, charming, and knowing how to work a crowd. An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth. Until there's only one final outcome.
It's great getting to see the whole story, not just because of what happened to the Piebald Prince, but because of what happened with his mother, Princess Caution. If things were different there, then maybe things would have been different with the Prince. There's so much to come out, and if only people in the present day Six Duchies knew the truth, how easier life would be for the Witted!
I can't really say much more, I don't want to spoil this awesome story! But it's fantastic to get to see the truth! And hopefully, the truth will come out one day......more
Although I really enjoyed Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb, it took me quite a while to pick up Dragon Haven. NowOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
Although I really enjoyed Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb, it took me quite a while to pick up Dragon Haven. Now, I seriously wished I had picked it up sooner, because it was so good!
The dragons, their keepers, the liveship Tarman and his crew are making their way up the Rain Wilds River to look for the long-ago lost city of Kelsingra. The dragons remember Kelsingra, a place that was once home to Elderlings, a place built to welcome and accommodate the dragons they loved. It's the only place these dragons will find any hope of room and some kind of independence. But it is a perilous journey, with discord among the keepers, with some on board the Tarman wanting to steal dragon parts to sell, with Tarman starting to make his awareness and opinions known. But the worse danger comes from their very environment. When an earthquake causes the Rain Wild River to flood, bringing a huge wave of acid down on the company, human and dragon are scattered in its wake, either lost or dead.
I enjoyed Dragon Haven so much more than I did Dragon Keeper, and I thought that was pretty awesome! All of the characters are together now, for the most part, so the narrators are not here, there and everywhere, seeming unconnected, like for most of Dragon Keeper. As they are all together, the overall story is coming together, and my interest grew, as they interact with each other, seeing the subplots of the various characters interconnect. However, having multiple narrations, we can see that some of the assumptions of the characters about others thoughts and intentions are often wrong, and misjudging is taking place. With the third person narrations, we get into the heads of most of the important characters, so we know the truth, meaning sometimes other characters assumptions are annoying. Alise can be naive about her "good friend" Sedric, yet Sedric himself is too suspicious and judgemental of others, especially Captain Leftrin.
With Thymara's narration, Dragon Haven is almost like YA. Thymara is one of the teenage dragon keepers, and the group of keepers for the most part keep to themselves, are almost separate from the crew on Tarman. The various teenage keepers feel like characters from a YA novel, and their subplot, although different from anything I've read in YA so far because of the world they live and the situation they find themselves in, still feels familiar. Being the teenagers of Trehaug heavily "touched" (read: deformed) by the Rain Wilds, they have been sent to be the dragon keepers. At home, they were on the receiving end of bullying for their scales and growths, and there were rules about what they could, or rather, couldn't do. Getting married and having children being the main one. "Mating" is completely out of the question. But there are some among the keepers who feel they can now make their own rules now they're away from Trehaug with no-one to tell them what to do. Being one of very few females in the group, Thymara is on the receiving end of a lot of unwanted attention, and has to deal with Greft, the self-appointed leader of the keepers, telling her she has to one of them to prevent fighting among the boys. It's a difficult situation to be in, and a lot of pressure to be under, especially when she feels the rules are in place for a reason
I love the LGBTQ subplot in this story! It was possibly spoilery to discuss in my review of Dragon Keeper, seeing as the gay relationship, if it can be called that, was between Sedric and Alise's husband, Hest, but it's fine to do so now. Hest is such a disgusting man, and treats both Alise and Sedric awfully, but Alise is stuck by her marriage vows, the contract she made, even being so far away and having developed reciprocated feelings for Leftrin, and Sedric is blinded by love. It's awful to see the things Sedric will do, how he'll betray his old friend Alise in so many ways, how he'll plot and scheme, just so he can be with someone in the end who feels nothing for him. Sedric's storyline in Dragon Haven is one of the ones I was so interested in, because so much happens to him. I really didn't like him in Dragon Keeper, but I think by City of Dragons, the third book, I might be a fan of him.
Before each chapter, there are notes that are sent by bird from Bingtown to Trehaug and vice versa. These are so cute and such a good idea! Not only do the notes give us a sense of time that's passing, with the date, but they also give us a rough idea of what's happening in Bingtown and Trehaug in the company's absence - including, in some, the reactions of Hest, Alise's family and Sedric's family over how long they have been away without news, and wanting to know where they are and what's happened to them. Also, the two keepers of the birds at each town, Detozi at Trehaug and Erek at Bingtown, send their own notes to each other along with those they are asked to send. Most of their notes are about various bird breeds and the speeds at which they deliver, but as the book goes on, they form a friendship through their notes to each other. I didn't think much of the notes in the first book as there didn't seem much point to them, no real connection to the story, but as Dragon Haven has gone on, I've been intrigued by their friendship, too, wanting to know how they were doing, and how they were affected by the flood and the quake.
Dragon Haven is such an awesome book! I enjoyed it so much, I've already bought the third book, City of Dragons, and I can't wait for it to arrive so I can dive right back in! ...more
Oh, I have been dying to read Fool's Assassin, the first book in the Fitz and the Fool trilogy, ever sinOriginally published on Once Upon a Bookcase.
Oh, I have been dying to read Fool's Assassin, the first book in the Fitz and the Fool trilogy, ever since I first heard Robin Hobb was returning to these characters! It's been out for over a year already in hardback, but it's such a big book, and I do a lot of my reading to and from work, and I didn't want to lug such a heavy book around. I patiently waited for the paperback, and oh my god, it was amazing! And now I don't know if I can wait for the second book to come out in paperback!
I can't even begin to summarise this book like I do all others because there's so much that would be such massive spoilers. As it is, the description above only covers the first two chapters. Seriously. But I will try and give a vague and bare-bones summary.
An aged Fitz. A Fool gone for decades. A strange, mysterious child. Two apprentice assassins; one failed, one entitled, both in danger. Two messengers, visiting years apart; one disappearing and presumed dead, the other mortally injured. Fitz's quiet and contented life as the Holder Tom Badgerlock of Withywoods, with his wife Molly, is to be disrupted, and he will have to fall back on lessons learnt long ago. The assassin FitzChivalry Farseer is needed once again.
Vague enough? Reviewing this book is going to be difficult because a large part of this book revolves around a character who to discuss would just be the biggest spoiler. But I shall do my best.
The very last line of the description from Goodreads - which is also on the blurb - is a little misleading. The book spans a number of years, starting when Fitz is 49, ending he's around 61. So although Fitz is suddenly thrown into a upheaval, it happens several years after the missing and presumed dead messenger comes to Withywoods. There is this huge event that happens that changes Fitz life, though not how you would think, about a quarter to a third of the way in. As soon as it was mentioned, I knew what it meant. As soon as I read the words spoken to Fitz, it was clear to me just how important this news was, on a wider scale than the immediate smaller scale, before the events that followed. And it had me so excited!
However, from about half way onwards for a fair while, I was questioning whether something else of consequence was going to happen in this book. There were smaller things happening, the arrival of various characters into Fitz life, and the mystery surrounded them that I cared about less and less as they became increasingly more unlikable, but nothing major enough to warrant a book this long. Or so I thought. Having finished the book, I understand why the book was written as it was. Although it might not seem so at the time, it's all very important.
There were moments when I wanted to prod Fitz and get him to wake up, and say, "Come on, Fitzy Fitz!" (as the Fool once called him in the very first book, Assassin's Apprentice, during a tongue-teaser of a prediction). There were things happening that he didn't seem to question, or at least not very long, when he most definitely should have, and a conversation should have been had. Events were similar enough to things he had experienced before for them to ring a bell for him, and at the very least, he should have been concerned for a character's sanity, but it didn't really happen. I understand that it probably didn't occur to him, and he had so many distractions in his life, but I do think there should have been at least some worry on his part. If only Fitz had thought about it, he might have worked a few things out sooner. But I guess, then, we would have a completely different story. It just seemed odd; I know he's a lot older now, and it's proven he's been away from an assassin's life so long he's not quite as sharp as he used to be, but it's still Fitz! It just didn't seem like him.
The last quarter of the book is incredible! The pace picks up, and I was turning the pages as fast as I could read them, dying to get through it quickly, because time was definitely of the essence, and I needed to know what would happen! And then, unrelated, something also huge and terrifying happened, because of course it would, Fitz, how can you be so stupid! Such joy and fear and terrible anguish and sadness, and then the book ended! And I am so desperate to know what's going to happen next! The ending so made up for the parts I thought were flagging - even though, as I said, I now know how important they were - and, oh, I have fallen in love with Hobb's mastery all over again! And these characters, I love them so much, and it's so amazing to have a new story to immerse myself in, new adventures to share with them! It's fantastic, and I know, I just know, I will bear the weight of a heavy tome in my work bag to discover what happens next. Incredible story! Robin Hobb fans will not be disappointed!...more
Originally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase. The Shining Ones, the second book in The Tamuli, continues the story awesome story set in the Tamul Empire oOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase. The Shining Ones, the second book in The Tamuli, continues the story awesome story set in the Tamul Empire on the other side of the world, and things are getting more interesting!
After the failed coup on the palace, Sparhawk and his friends now know it was an attempt to discover their resources and their weaknesses. They also know that it's not the Troll-Gods who are behind it all, but Cyrgon, god of the long-thought extinct Cyrgai. There is no choice but to retrieve Bhelliom to counter Cyrgon's powers. Led by the whimsical Child Goddess, Aphrael, Sparhawk and his companions return to where the sapphire rose is hidden. Back in the captial city of Matherion, Queen Ehlana has taken Emperor Sarabian underhand and is teaching him the game of politics. It seems a fair few of the people in his government have been plotting against him, and they turn the whole government on its head through subterfuge to find out just who is guilty of treason.
Once Bhelliom is back in his hand, Sparhawk makes his journey back to Matherion, discovering more about the enemy as he goes. Sparhawk soon discovers that they mythical Shinging Ones aren't quite as mythical as everyone thought, and their danger is very real. And with that discovery is it revealed that not all are who they seem.
As with The Elenium, there was very little I remembered about the story of The Tamuli, so there was a lot I found surprising as I was reading. This trilogy has so many layers to it! Just when you think you know which way is up, something else comes along to confuse the issue - bringing danger along with it.
While Sparhawk is away, this book jumps back and forth between him and his companions to Ehlana, Sarabian and the people with them. I have to say, as amusing as Ehlana and Sarabian are together, I found Sparhawk's journey more exciting. I found them trying to infiltrate the government took too long for my liking, and became a little tedious for me, however, I can't deny that a huge amount of work went into the detail of finding out just what was happening is amazing. Eddings really did have a clever imagination.
Sephrenia goes through something terrible in this book, and it's shocking to see the woman she becomes when she comes to face-to-face with what causes her so much anguish. You hardly recognise her. It's so surprising to see loving, calm Sephrenia so full of hate and anger. But it's also wonderful to see what this does to the story, to the relationships, and what it eventually leads to.
I did remember the shocking revelation that is discovered in this book, but I had forgotten why. Reading about that again was really, really disturbing. But how that changes things on the gameboard is pretty exciting, seeing what it means to the others - personally and with regards to fighting the enemy, you just know there are exciting things to come!
A fantastic second book in a superb trilogy!...more
After Sparhawk released the Troll-Gods up in Atan, they took bOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
The final book in The Tamuli! And what a book!
After Sparhawk released the Troll-Gods up in Atan, they took back control of the Trolls and turned them against Cyrgon and his Cyrgai. Being butchered and eaten by the Trolls, the ranks of the Cyrgai fall, causing Cyrgon to do the unthinkable - release Klæl. The brother and opposite of Bhelliom, Klæl is a monster beyond all imagining, and Cyrgon is a fool to think he can control it.
Unbeknownst to Sparhawk, while up in Atan releasing the Troll-Gods, his wife was abducted by Scarpa, son of the traitorous Styric, Zalasta. If Sparhawk is ever to see Ehlana alive again, he must follow the strict instructions given to him in messages which will lead to an exchange - Ehlana for the Bhelliom. But without the Bhelliom, there's no way to defeat Klæl.
This is more like the Eddings I know! I mentioned in my review of The Sapphire Rose that I was a little disappointed that there was more politics than action, but that's not the case in The Hidden City. There is a still a lot of political intrigue going on, but Sparhawk and his companions take massive steps to fight Cyrgon and Klæl. He and his companions devise ways to combat the various forces across the Empire, and split up to do so. Skirmishes here, infiltration there, disguises and disception pretty much everywhere. It's awesome!
There's a lot that happens in this book, and a lot to discover, so I don't want to go into it in too much detail. But I pretty much flew through this book, and I loved every second. Something I found interesting was the things I remembered about the trilogy. There are scenes or moments from the story, images that stood out vividly in my mind before I re-read them. Although I had forgotten the general plot of the story, I remembered these images because they really impressed on me at the time I first read them. It was amazing to see this time round that the images or moments that I remembered so clearly could be just a paragraph or two long. There were several of them in this book, and I was amazed to see how short they were. It's amazing what the brain holds on to, isn't it?
I finished this book with a heavy heart. There are only two trilogies featuring these sets of characters, and although this was a re-read and I knew it would end, it still left me feeling really sad to say goodbye to such well loved characters. Although my memories of the stories wasn't quite right, and I was disappointed with some aspects, the characters themselves are awesome, and I fell in love with them all over again. The monachs, the knights, the criminals, the government officials, the gods - or rather, the goddess; Aphrael will steal anyone's heart. I'm really sad to have come to the end. Has me itching to re-read some of Eddings other novels, but I think I might wait for a short while.
A fantastic to end to another great trilogy full of wonderful characters you can't help but adore. ...more
WARNING:This is a follow up trilogy to David Eddings' The Elenium. The events in these books take place seOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
WARNING:This is a follow up trilogy to David Eddings' The Elenium. The events in these books take place several years after those in The Elenium, with the same characters. Therefore, this series - and so also my review - discusses things revealed in the previous trilogy. Read no further if you plan on reading The Elenium but don't wish it to be spoiled for you.
Domes of Fire begins six years after the end of The Sapphire Rose. Queen Ehlana is back on her throne, married to Sparhawk, with a daughter of six - who we know to actually be an incarnation of the Child Goddess Aphrael. Annias, Martel and Azash are no more, and the Bhelliom is at the bottom of some unknown sea off of some unknown coast. Apart from Sparhawk wearing a few too many hats for his liking - Prince Consort and Interim Pandion Preceptor - and feeling stretched thin with all the political goings on that requires his attention, all in Elenia is fine.
However, strange things soon crop up in Lamorkand, talks of rebelling against the King and that the return of a long dead local hero from centuries past. With the arrival of an emissary of the Tamuli Empire, Foreign Minister Oscagne, at the Basilica in Chyrellos with grave news of turmoil in the Empire, Sparhawk is called by Archprelate Dolmant to hear the trouble Oscagne's homeland is having at his request. It seems all over the Empire, people are stirring up the countrymen to revolution, announcing the reappearance of ancient heroes come to free them from those above them. The Emperor is failing to stamp down on the revolts as he normally is with the help of the Atans, Tamuli warriors, what with whole armies of centuries past being raised from the dead and supernatural monsters being spotted. Having heard of Sparhawk's proess and achievement against Azash, Oscagne has come to plead that he journey to Tamuli and help save the Empire.
Domes of Fire is the first book in a second trilogy following Sparhawk and his friends. I enjoyed their company so much in the last trilogy, I decided to continue reading about them in The Tamuli, despite feeling a little disappointed at the end of the last. The majority of this story covers the journey from Chyrellos to fire-domed Matherion, the capital of the Tamuli Empire, and it is an incredibly long journey. Saying that, there's still a lot that happens. Now aware that the books about Sparhawk are more political intrigue and strategy based, I enjoyed Domes of Fire much more than I did The Sapphire Rose, simply because I wasn't expecting more.
There are various different peoples occupying the countries that make up the Empire, with their own culture and beliefs. Each country that Sparhawk and his companions travel through, bar Atan, have seen their own evidence of the people wanting to revolt. Information is gathered and introductions are made along the way - Queen Ehlana's presence helping to smooth things over with the royals met, her wonderful personality making easy alliances for when action is needed as the story goes on. Much is afoot in Tamuli, and someone really wants to cause trouble. But more than that, there is some supernatural element behind it all, or allianced with the people, something with enough power to raise the dead... something that strongly hints at a God or Gods. And with the arrival of a familiar dark shadow, Sparhawk and his friends begin to strongly suspect the Troll-Gods.
We see a lot more of Mirtai in this book. Mirtai, an Atan warrior, was introduced to us in the last trilogy, but she didn't get much page time. "Given" to Queen Ehlana by Platime, leader of the Elenian crimals, Mirtai becomes Ehlana's personal bodyguard, and takes her job very seriously - even going so far as to bullying the Queen into doing what she thinks is best for her health and safety, and pretty much everyone else too. She is a formidable woman of about six feet, but one dearly loved by all who know her well. Especially Kring, the Domi of the Peloi, the horse people of Pelosia. It's awesome to see how their relationship develops. It's even more awesome to learn more about the Atan culture while in Atan, and come to understand Mirtai a little better. Again, kudos to Eddings for his strong women!
We meet a number of new characters in this book, two being Baroness Melidere and the maid Alean, ladies in waiting to the Queen. Both are so much more than they seem, and both are brilliant. There are political advantages to having their perspectives while in Tamuli, but it's also wonderful to see them plan to rope in several of Sparhawk's male companions. I do love me some romance! We also get to meet Oscagne, Norkan, the Tamuli ambassador in Atan, and Emperor Sarabian. These characters! They add much humour to a story already quite humourous, what with Kalten, Tynian and Ulath continuing to make an appearance. there is a lot of politics involved, but there is also a lot of humour. These characters really know how to banter!
A fantastic start which looks to be a really exciting trilogy - and if I remember rightly, I won't be disappointed!...more
Continuing to re-read this trilogy, and I'm still loving it!
The Ruby Knight picks up right where The Diamond Throne ended. After talking to the late King Aldreas' ghost, Sparhawk now knows the only way to save Queen Ehlana after she was poisoned is to find Bhelliom, the sapphire jewel carved into the shape of a rose. Infused with the power of the Troll Gods, Bhelliom is practically invincible, and can do anything. However, Bhelliom has been lost for around give centuries. Sparhawk must again go out to find Bhelliom, which was last seen in the crown of King Sarak, who died during the Zemoch invasion 500 years ago. Travelling with his companions to Lake Rendor, where the majority of the battle took place, they discover a creature of darkness sent by evil Sytric Elder God Azash hot on their heels, the search becomes more desperate to find Bhelliom, before it falls into the wrong hands.
Sparhawk's journey is long, and with each month that goes by, another knight dies, handing over his sword to Sephrenia. Sparhawk begins to get frustrated and melancholic, and finds he has doubts about their journey and what it will accomplish. Is it just a fool's errand? Will they ever find Bhelliom, and will they even find it in time to save the young Queen? The danger is somewhat amped up in this book with various groups of people trying to hinder their search, and it's absolutely wonderful!
In this book do some of the events I remember take place. Fights with senseless people, raising the dead, an encounter with a crazy woman with insatiable blood lust! It's just incredible! I love the moments when Flute finally speaks and astounds them all, and when they discover the truth about who she is. And I love how we get to know some of Sparhawk's companions better. In The Diamond Throne, he is joined by Tynion, Bevier and Ulath, three brilliant Knights from the other three orders of Church Knights, and they're such great characters. Bevier is so devout and proper, but has no problem loping off someone's head if the situation arises. Ulath is strong and quiet, but has exceptional wit when he does speak, and works wonders when it comes to getting their enemies to comply. Tynian is like Kalten, another humourous, happy-go-lucky Knight, but built as big as an ox, and just as intimidating with a sword as how he looks.
A wonderful second novel, and loving where the final book is going - I've already picked it up. Really can't recommend these books enough!...more
The final book, and an awesome conclusion to what is a pretty great trilogy.
With the Bhelliom in his possession, Sparhawk travels back to Elenia and to his Queen, equipped to cure her from the poison coursing through her veins. Back to perfect health, Queen Ehlana can now take control of her kingdom. But Primate Annias still has his sights set on becoming the Archprelate, and even with Ehlana back in charge, his schemes have already been set in motion. And so Sparhawk the Church Knights make their way to the Basillica at Chyrellos to do what they can to thwart his plans. But Annias' has had renegade Pandion Martel stirring up the peoples of Rendor and Lamorkand, and marches armies to lay siege to the Holy City. Now Bhelliom has resurfaced, the evil god Azash is doubling his efforts to have the sapphire rose fall into his hands with his alliances with Martel.
Oh, how I love Queen Ehlana! What a woman! At only 18-years-old and Queen of the kingdom, she's quick, sharp, and knows how to get her way. She has perfected the art of oration and is a fantastic actress. She can use other's sexism and ageism against them, by planning up to their expectations, and managing to get what she wants. She comes across as girlish and maybe even slightly foolish, but she has a strong and intelligent mind behind her winsome smile, and can talk anyone round. She's a political genius, and just such a strong woman! She also has a wonderful sense of humour, and doesn't pass up the opportunity to take the mick out of anyone.
Another wonder in Flute. Now her identity as the Child Goddess Aphrael, one of the Younger Gods of Styricum, has been revealed, her moments on the page are dazzling. She's small and looks to be around six, but she has a towering personality, and she takes charge of those men in steel like they're the children. Completely wonderful! Also with a wonderful sense of humour, a little more offensive than Ehlana, but absolutely devoted to those she loves - and love our varied group of heroes she does. She's a treasure, and it's no wonder she always manages to get her way. She doesn't make as much of an appearance in this book as she has done previously, but when she does, you can't help but smile. I absolutely love how Eddings puts such strong female characters into his novels! With him putting them in a sexist setting, it's really quite wonderful seeing them come out on top - and says really a lot about his own view of women. I would not be surprised to find out that Eddings was a feminist.
Surprisingly (it's been a really long time since I last read these books), the siege at Chyrellos takes up the majority of the book. Considering this is the last book, and everything must come to ahead - the confrontation with the evil god Azash, and what that will lead to - I kept thinking "How long is this going to take?" while reading. I knew they had to move on at some point, I just didn't know when, or how, or even why. And I was getting closer to the end.
It has been awesome re-reading this trilogy, but now I've come to the end of it, I have realised I remember a whole lot more happening in it's pages than actually does. There is a lot more political scheming, intrigue and plotting to combat enemies than there is actual fighting and confrontation. It's a bit like chess, maneuvering and strategising to stay one step ahead of the other. While interesting and fascinating, with each book hitting aroung the 500 page mark, and expecting a lot more action, I finish this series a little disappointed. My own fault though for misremembering.
Political intrigue is absolutely fascinating, though, and I still love this trilogy dearly! A wonder from David Edding's and his fantastic imagination!...more
I've been having trouble with reading lately, with nothing quite grabbing my interest or seeming to have incOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
I've been having trouble with reading lately, with nothing quite grabbing my interest or seeming to have inconsequential problems in relation to what's going on in my own life. So I decided to pick up The Diamond Throne by David Eddings, the first in the Elenium trilogy, and re-read series I knew would allow me to escape my own head and bring me comfort.
After the death of her father, Queen Ehlana is now on the throne, and so Sparhawk, Pandion knight and Queen's champion, returns from exile to serve his Queen. Only upon his return he finds Ehlana ill, on the verge of death, and kept alive through sorcerery, encased in diamond on her throne. Primate Annias of Cimmura has named Ehlana's bastard cousin Lycheas Prince Regent, and has a firm hold on him and his hands in the royal coffers, plotting, scheming and bribing to make sure he's elected as Archprelate of Elenia when the current Archprelate Cluvonus dies. It's a race against time to find a cure for Ehlana and stop Annias, but a cure is hard to find. The more Sparhawk and his companions search, the more they unearth about how far Annias has gone and that evil is stalking the land, and Sparhawk, once more.
Oh, how I love these books! It must be over ten years since I last read this trilogy, and so, although I remember the general story arc of the series, I had forgotten the finer details of each individual book. So re-reading The Diamond Throne, apart from a few aspects, was almost like picking up a completely new book. I do love the intrigue and politics that Eddings is able to weave into his high fantasy, along with the magic and the fighting. Edding's truly knew how to write an epic story.
The Diamond Throne is very much a character led story, and the band of characters we have here are awesome. Sparhawk, our protagonist, is strong and sometimes ruthless, but he's got a good head on his shoulders and is deeply loyal to the Queen and his faction of knights. Kalten, a fellow Pandion and Sparhawk's childhood friend, provides most of the humour in this book, being one who doesn't take life too seriously. Kurik, Sparhawk's squire, is strong and dependable, a solid, responsible (ish) man. Talen, a young thief that falls into their company along the way, is so funny, sneaky and cheeky, but good at what he does. Berit, the novice knight who's heart is in the right place, but sometimes makes mistakes. The magical element of this story is that all church knights are taught the secrets of Stricum, the Styrics being a race that practise magic. Sephrenia, the Pandion knights tutor in the secrets, is a wonderful, wonderful character you can't help but love; small and motherly, she cares deeply for those around her, but is incredibly powerful! And then the mysterious, mute little Styric child they call Flute. She's adorable! And I'm really looking forward to discovering more about her (again!) in the books to come! And a few other knights from the other Church knights factions join them, who are also pretty amazing.
The Diamond Throne is 496 pages long, but from what I remember of the trilogy, it seems this is just starting the trilogy off. Saying that, though, a lot does happen in this novel, and I was gripped all over again. Such a fantastic trilogy, so looking forward to continuing it!...more
The final book in what is a series I absolutely adore!
Garion is no longer the ordinary, orphan farm boy he once was. Now, he is Belgarion, King of Riva, Overlord of the West, Guardian of the Orb, and a sorcerer. He now fully understands who he is, and his destiny; he is the Child of Light, the instrument the light Prophecy of millenia foretold would be born to set the universe back on the course it should be on - if he succeeds. To succeed he must duel Torak, the Child of Dark, and instrument of the dark Prophecy, who prophesises that the universe should go on a different course. And so he travels towards his meeting with Torak in the place where he lays stirring from his centuries long sleep, awaiting his arrival. Ce'Nedra leads her army of those from the West to draw away the Angarak's from Garion's actions. She fears her army will fail, and bears the guilt of persuading these men to fight when she believes many will die. But Garion is the man she loves, and if it will keep him alive, if it will save the world, she'll march them all to their death. She dinally understands her part in the prophecy, and the army marches onward to meet their fate, whatever that may be...
Ooooh, I LOVE this book! It is the end, it wraps it all up, and brings everything together. Garion is his true self, and has grown and matured so much from the boy we met in the first book. Ce'Nedra has now accepted how she feels about Garion, and more than that, will walk into fire for him. Danger and uncertainty lie ahead, and the tension is amped up tenfold in this novel as armies clash, and as the inevitable duel draws ever closer. There are some terribly sad moments in Enchanter's End Game, but some very beautiful ones too. Oooh, it's just so awesome! And I don't think there's much more I can say without spoiling the story!
But I will talk about my experience of re-reading this series as an adult. There is so much that feels so different. I remember a lot of the events that happen within the pages of these books, but my reactions to them are a lot different to how they used to be. I view these books with a great deal of affection, I will love them always and will continue to re-read them. But I smile as I read at the reactions of my younger self who was so in awe of these books and the magic within. She was blown away. And now, as an adult, I still enjoy these books immensely, but with time the shine that made these books so amazing has faded. They're still amazing, but in a different way. I've grown and matured as a person, I've lost some of my innocence, and I'm now reading these books with the experience of an adult, and I read them differently. these books aren't at all bad, not at all. This isn't a negative. It's just an observation on how strange but cool it is that we read things in the context of who we are and where we're are in our lives, and how we react to them can be different. It was an interesting and awesome experience. I will always love these books and think of them fondly!
I will be having a break now, though, before I move on to the Mallorean series. But I'm really looking forward to it!...more