Maia is the fourth son of the Elven emperor, Varenechibel IV. After the airship carrying his father and three older brothers crashes, Maia is thrust oMaia is the fourth son of the Elven emperor, Varenechibel IV. After the airship carrying his father and three older brothers crashes, Maia is thrust onto the throne, a role for which he has no training. In fact, after the death of his mother, a Goblin princess, Maia has lived in isolation with his cruel and abusive cousin. Here we have a main character who is profoundly lonely, socially awkward, has no experience of the world into which he’s plunged, and who has internalized his abuser’s insults.
This is very much a character-driven story. Very little actually happens, so those looking for huge battles or “gritty reality” of the grimdark sub-genre should walk away. Yet, despite the lack of action, this is an utterly engrossing story. Maia doesn’t need to save the world or vanquish The Impossible Evil™, he has his hands full with courtiers trying to depose him, assassins trying to kill him, and the investigation into the crash of his father’s airship, all while trying to figure out how to survive life at the Elven court.
Maia is one of the best fantasy characters I’ve had the pleasure of “meeting” in a very long time. Utterly lovable, and despite being unsure of himself and how he’s going to handle the difficulties he faces, he doesn’t simply go for the easiest decision and he stands by his convictions. He wants to be better than those who’ve hurt him, and refuses to be cruel or capricious. I hesitate to call this a “coming of age” story, yet it is definitely a journey into self-assurance for Maia and how he can balance his need for companionship with the necessary aloofness of his position.
Addison’s world building is top-notch. The language is a bit dense, both the English and the invented Ethuverazhin, but it feels organic and no single archaic English word is overused (I’m looking at you, George R. R. Martin, and all your leals, niellos, neeps, nightsoils, serjeants, japes, and nuncles).
I would heartily advise anyone who’s going to read this book to flip to the end first and read the section titled “Extracts from a Handbook for Travelers in the Elflands”, and to remember there is a “Listing of Persons, Places, and Gods” in the back. Normally I eschew this portion of novels, but in this case I wish I’d read it before starting the novel proper. The various forms of address for individuals can be confusing.
All in all, a great story that will leave you with the warm fuzzies after....more
Repetitive, boring, repetitive, no character development, repetitive, so purple it makes purple look white, repetitive, and far too repetitive.
If I haRepetitive, boring, repetitive, no character development, repetitive, so purple it makes purple look white, repetitive, and far too repetitive.
If I had to read the words, "the fields we know" one more time, I swear I was going to break my tablet. The phrase only appears 108 times in 203 pages. (I'm talking about real pages here, not accounting for the cover, table of contents, introduction, etc. The actual prose of the book, 203 pages).
This may be the precursor to much of modern fantasy, but that doesn't mean it's good....more
I'm honestly not quite sure how to rate this. On the one hand it was entertaining and a decent story. On the other, it was so poorly written I thoughtI'm honestly not quite sure how to rate this. On the one hand it was entertaining and a decent story. On the other, it was so poorly written I thought I was reading the work of a third grader.
It bounces around between first and third person narratives while simultaneously bouncing between present and past tense. (I personally loathe both first person and present tense). All the characters are written the same, which is sad considering some of the characters given "voice" are animals.
I am looking forward to the miniseries on CBS, however. As long as the writers only use the story in the book as basis for their TV adaptation....more
While the first three books in this series were each a hero's journey, this fourth installment was more about the inevitable war andRambling review...
While the first three books in this series were each a hero's journey, this fourth installment was more about the inevitable war and clash of cultures of the Thesans and Krasians.
Unfortunately Arlen and Jardir, arguably the main characters of the previous books, were woefully lacking in this book. Leesha and Inevera are not my favorite characters and I found each of their personal dramas here dull.
While there is nothing particularly wrong with this installment in the series, I didn't really care overly much for all the politicking - either among the Thesans or the Krasians. In a book titled "The Skull Throne" though you know there's going to be plenty of politicking.
Brett has a gift for describing battle sequences, and that holds true here. However, the battle sequences in this book are almost entirely humans vs humans... I'm trying remember if there were even more than two humans vs demons battles... Perhaps I was simply hoping for more demon killing, but I got slightly bored with all the swordplay and hora wielding.
A few new characters are introduced, some old characters are expanded on, some characters depart. I won't spoil anything or give you my feelings on any of that as that in itself would be a spoiler.
Overall, I liked this book well enough, though for me it was the weakest in the series so far. Definitely not "amazing" and deserving of 5 stars, but better than "ok". ...more
What an incredible disappointment. Other than one drug-induced hallucination, there isn't anything remotely scary about this book. I suppose maybe itWhat an incredible disappointment. Other than one drug-induced hallucination, there isn't anything remotely scary about this book. I suppose maybe it could fit into the gothic horror (e.g. Flowers in the Attic) category, but don't be fooled; any "horror" you feel will be revulsion at the descriptions of Calcutta in this novel.
I found it incredibly depressing and repetitive....more
As I said after reading The Strain, Guillermo del Toro is a good storyteller but not a good writer.
This book suffers from far too much exposition, andAs I said after reading The Strain, Guillermo del Toro is a good storyteller but not a good writer.
This book suffers from far too much exposition, and details delivered in a deadpan tone. Several inconsistencies and plot holes. A lot of repetition, a lot of repetition, a lot of repetition, a lot of repetition.
No doubt if this were a movie, or season two of a TV series, it would be far more enjoyable....more
Ugh. I was hoping for a cool story about a snow vampire. What I got instead was a love story with sappy, stilted language and pages upon pages of twoUgh. I was hoping for a cool story about a snow vampire. What I got instead was a love story with sappy, stilted language and pages upon pages of two characters declaring their affection for each other again and again and again and again. I'm all for a bit of bromance, but this was so saccharine it made my teeth hurt....more