**spoiler alert** This is epic fantasy on the grand scale! A lost colony, artificial gods, bitterly divided humans, and lords and gods all stirring up...more**spoiler alert** This is epic fantasy on the grand scale! A lost colony, artificial gods, bitterly divided humans, and lords and gods all stirring up wars to suit their own ends. Great stuff, and the characters are a lot of fun. The goddess Fate seems to be the only one with a viable plan to get ahead, and she has to contend with her husband, who is the god of chaos. He seems to love her, but he also seems compelled to throw his dice across her best-laid plans all the time. I really like this character, and sad, lonely Fate, who knows she will never be loved by humans, but must always play out their destinies, no matter how much she hates it.
This book is really well-written and a good read. Bolich manages to weave together two separate tales into one seamless narrative. There are the gods of Sevakand, who are maneuvering for supremacy in their pantheon, hampered by the fact that most Sevakandis are agnostic at best, wary of priests and temples. There are the humans, who have been tossed into war by an ambitious lord, not knowing it is really at Fate's behest. And there is Alarion Aravon, the hero of the piece, who hates the gods but is an adept himself, though he doesn't know it. He just wants to save his House and his elder brother, who is not exactly a diplomat, from pitching them all into a war they can't win.
My only quibble is that the book was split in two to publish it, but if the next installment is as good as this one I'll be lining up to buy it. Definitely recommended.(less)
Okay, I admit I like this author's work and I keep an eye out for new stuff from her. This book is way different than what I've encountered from her b...moreOkay, I admit I like this author's work and I keep an eye out for new stuff from her. This book is way different than what I've encountered from her before, but I like it. I lot. I don't know the last time I read a book that took such an original look at death and grieving and didn't leave you depressed afterward. This is funny and sad, and a little bittersweet, but always entertaining. It's about ghosts but it sure isn't Ghost. It's a Civil War story about a young woman raised high on the Blue Ridge, away from people, who must cope with the "respectable" folk down in town when her husband goes away to fight. Lilith has a strange pa who clearly is magical in some way, and she is, too, but the neighbors don't really know that until her husband gets himself killed at Gettysburg. Then he shows up (but only to her), and Lilith lets slip his ghost has come home. Talk about your excruciating social faux pas. It just sweeps you away from there. This is an amazing blend of magic and paranormal and straight-up historical. I highly recommend it to anybody who just likes a good story.(less)
**spoiler alert** I re-read this book a while back, and it remains my favorite of King's works, a close toss-up with The Stand. It really has it all--...more**spoiler alert** I re-read this book a while back, and it remains my favorite of King's works, a close toss-up with The Stand. It really has it all--friendship, courage, hard choices, and terrific capture of what it's like to be a kid in a scary world made scarier by something unexplainable and deadly. King did an especially good job of recreating the lost era of 1958, when being a kid was a totally different experience than it is for kids now. And, because the "current" action is set in 1985 when the kids are all grown up, we have that snapshot in time as well. He did a great job weaving together the separate storylines of the adult versions of his young protagonists. I like the kids better, though.
The only thing I don't like about this book is the whole bit with the turtle. Yes, It can be extraterrestrial, but I got the impression that King had no real idea how to get his kids out of the jam he'd gotten them into, so the existential turtle that shat out the universe thing didn't work for me. And why, if they really killed It, do they have to sacrifice their memories at the end? That's a bit hard on the brave heroes.
Mostly, I just really like this book as an ode to friendship. May we all have friends as good at some point in our lives, and remember our promises as well as these young folk did.(less)
I wonder why Goodreads doesn't have the actual cover of this book up. Too bad,as it makes it look like some self-published thing, which it's not. It's...moreI wonder why Goodreads doesn't have the actual cover of this book up. Too bad,as it makes it look like some self-published thing, which it's not. It's the third book in a series I am finding hugely enjoyable. These books are about as far from traditional fantasy tropes as you can get, which makes them very fun. The author takes kind of a big chance each time by using a different main character, but it works. Each book is about a different clan, and since the clans have different talents for Fire and Wind and Water, each book needs new eyes to see through. I really like this one, which is pretty close to YA but don't let that stop you. The protagonist is young (22) but acts younger because she's never been off her family's ship in her life. Her family problems will look familiar to a lot of teens, but let's hope they don't have to resort to her solution to grow up! It's a big of a love story but not a romance, and the heroine is rather endearing in her insecurity despite the hugeness of her talent. We've all been at that awkward stage of feeling like the village idiot in new circumstances, and Bolich captures that very well. We want to cheer for Nes when she finally gets her act together.
This book starts a couple of months after the conclusion of the action in "Windrider", the second book in the series and comes as a direct consequence of the climax of that book. I won't spoil it but let's just say it's a logical set of circumstances. This author is very good at drawing a compelling, lived-in world where things happen for good reasons instead of just because the author needs them to. I especially like the fact that she makes me want to go stroll in the park afterward to pick up on all the sounds and smells and tastes of nature she manages to capture through the eyes of each of her protagonists. After reading the last one I sat out on my balcony and just listened to the wind. Now I will have to go listen to the rain and walk down by the river to hear all the voices of Water.
Man, I love it when an author leaves me wanting more! Go read this series. This is a great book, and one you can safely read to your kids.(less)
I liked this book, though not as much as some of Berg's other work. It seemed more simplistic, but that could be because it was her first book. It's a...moreI liked this book, though not as much as some of Berg's other work. It seemed more simplistic, but that could be because it was her first book. It's a good story and well-written, and definitely worth a read, but the ending left me vaguely "meh" and unsatisfied, which is why I gave it three stars instead of four. That could just be me, however, after so thoroughly enjoying the Collegia Magica series, which was more complex and I liked the characters better.(less)
I really, really like this series. Bolich is quite a gifted writer, blessed with an eye for description that doesn't overwhelm and yet puts you right...moreI really, really like this series. Bolich is quite a gifted writer, blessed with an eye for description that doesn't overwhelm and yet puts you right into the scene. The story picks up where the previous book, Firedancer, left off, but with a new protagonist, which is fine. The series seems to call for it, since the writer is switching from one elemental to another, and therefore focusing on the people who can control it. In Firedancer, Old Man Fire was out of control; in this one, it is Wind. Actually, Wind is the gentle one; she has a schizo sister, the Hag, that is causing all the trouble. I love the idea of storms that think and fire that lurks. I wonder what is coming in the next one, Seaborn?
These are wonderful reads, fast-paced, beautifully written and satisfying. The characters grab onto you, even the lesser ones. Reth is a jerk but you get to see why. Wyth makes me snort with his total I-don't-give-a-damn rudeness. Jetta, though a lesser figure in this book, still comes through as a strong female itching to take charge. And I love Settak. I just do.
It is fascinating to see Jetta from a different angle here, unable to make things happen because Wind just isn't her element. She has to learn to trust someone else to get the job done. It's cool that her character continues to grow despite not being the protagonist of this book. I like Sheshan as a character as well, and I was happy to spend time in his head. He's not macho but neither is he weak, and I confess to some really anxious moments during the climax. Bolich is not above killing off characters I like!
I highly recommend these books, and I hope this series goes on for a long time.
This is the first, and so far the only, of Kay's books I've read. I like the setting and the ending. Some of the dialog was just...awful, and the obtu...moreThis is the first, and so far the only, of Kay's books I've read. I like the setting and the ending. Some of the dialog was just...awful, and the obtuse nature of the relationships among the adults was maddening. There was never a clear answer given as to why there was such a big brouhaha in the past that drove the siblings apart that the young hero now has to mend. The threads between past, present, and ancient past are somewhat shaky in places, but I like the storyline, and the ending was beautiful. Not a great book, but a bad one, either.(less)
It took me awhile to get into this one but once I did, wow, was I hooked. I was not at all familiar with Berg's work prior to reading the first book i...moreIt took me awhile to get into this one but once I did, wow, was I hooked. I was not at all familiar with Berg's work prior to reading the first book in her Collegia Magica series, which I liked a lot. So while waiting for the second one to come out, I found these. Like all of Berg's stuff I have encountered thus far, the characters are incredible. I have never encountered a character like Valen, who is so unrepentant in his self-centered quest to look out for #1, and yet so engaging he's actually lovable, if somewhat dim on demand in the beginning. I mean, honestly, doesn't he think the monks just might be so eager to let him in because of his book of maps?
This is an excellent read. Berg can not only tell a great story, she can really write. This was a bit slow in the beginning, but once past the initial exploration of the abbey, the pace picks up and then moves like a shot. I highly recommend this. (less)
I was happy to see a full-length novel by this author, after encountering some of his (her? Why do people use just their initials?) short stories here...moreI was happy to see a full-length novel by this author, after encountering some of his (her? Why do people use just their initials?) short stories here on Goodreads and elsewhere. This was a really satisfying read, smoothly written, with beautiful descriptions and a main character who is fun to spend time with. She is not a Mary Sue, the dread I carry into any work where the character is probably going to save the world. Jetta, the MC, has her share of problems, including a peculiar cluelessness when it comes to men. Mourning her own life mate, she seems unable to believe that anyone else would be interested, and horrified to discover that she is being quietly pursued. I like it that Bolich does not have everyone leaping straight into each other's arms. Both parties to this slow-motion love affair are in mourning, both fighting feelings of betrayal of dead lovers and fear of committing to someone else, both being in somewhat dangerous professions. It is quite plausible and beautifully done.
The setting is well drawn, and the enemy is quite different than found in most fantasies. I confess to flying through this, fascinated by the concept of fire that is able to plot and plan its attacks on a village that has never been forced to confront it before. The concept of the Firedance is pretty cool, as is the rich detail that Bolich brings to every encounter. The book is well able to bring the reader into each scene, a talent I find lacking in a lot of fiction these days, and so I appreciate it where I do find it.
All in all, I recommend this. It's an easy read, but not simplistic in any way.(less)