I had heard amazing things about this series, and I was always on the look out for a new tome in which to lose myself, so I picked up a copy. What I f...moreI had heard amazing things about this series, and I was always on the look out for a new tome in which to lose myself, so I picked up a copy. What I found inside was derivative and dull, even to my little 13 year-old mind. I read the whole thing, just to make sure it didn't get better; it didn't and I never looked back.(less)
It's a shame one of the darkest, most exciting entries in the series has some of the ugliest, brightest and silliest cover art.
This book benefits from...moreIt's a shame one of the darkest, most exciting entries in the series has some of the ugliest, brightest and silliest cover art.
This book benefits from further examinations of the history of the Patryn/Sartan conflict as well as the nature of Patryn magic (which is actually a sort of quantum probability manipulation -- something I did not recognize when I read these as a boy). Also the conflict between the Lazars and the truly living beings is wonderfully disturbing.(less)
This is the best thing Brandon Sanderson has written to date. It's rich, exciting, the world-building is complex, and he avoids all of the tropes whic...moreThis is the best thing Brandon Sanderson has written to date. It's rich, exciting, the world-building is complex, and he avoids all of the tropes which typically ruin his novels. There were several characters I expected to wind up as typical Sanderson Mary-Sues/Marty-Stus, but in each and every case he inverts or subverts the reader's expectations; what is more, he actually creates a world that feels like it's populated and that it is more than simply a stage upon which his characters can strut and speak. It feels like an actual PLACE -- something I could never say about the settings for any of his other novels. I have NEVER been so unreservedly fond of a book by Sanderson, but here we are. I can't wait for the next novel in this series! (less)
Not quite as brutal as the previous volume, but still startlingly violent, this volume of the "Ga'Hoole" novel builds on the foundation established in...moreNot quite as brutal as the previous volume, but still startlingly violent, this volume of the "Ga'Hoole" novel builds on the foundation established in the first 7 books. Lasky does not pull punches in depicting animal predation and conflict, and one does wonder how it all makes it past the censors! Lasky's recovering from whatever authorial funk she was in when she wrote the previous volume; this entry's prose feels less clumsy and the characterization more even. What is more, she appears to have fully committed to this being a fantasy series! In the preceding six volumes there were elements of fantasy, most notably the "scrooms" (owl ghosts) and the visions which various characters had, but everything else could be written off as potentially natural phenomena which were simply seen as fantastic to the animals. I feel this commitment has actually improved the series and the setting, as it makes the whole less frustrating. Good stuff!(less)
This book begins the second "cycle" in the owl-centric Ga'hoole series. Soren & co. are all grown up, his evil brother and the Tytonic Order of Pu...moreThis book begins the second "cycle" in the owl-centric Ga'hoole series. Soren & co. are all grown up, his evil brother and the Tytonic Order of Pure Ones defeated. Things should be looking up. Alas, the Pure Ones have a plan B, the titular hatchling who is Soren's nephew by Nyra, the Pure Ones' matriarch. Far away, in the barren canyons of what was once St. Aggie's, she is raising her hatchling to be the perfect soldier and to hate his uncle. But Nyroc the hatchling has a dangerous gift, one that threatens to ruin everything his mother has planned for him.
"The Hatchling" is every bit as brutal as the earlier books in the series (apparently you can get away with having a character kill a child and eat his heart if neither character is human), but there are spots (especially in the beginning) where the prose seems clumsy -- almost as though Lasky had forgotten how to write in this setting. Nyroc strays dangerously close to Marty-Stu territory, especially when compared to his uncle from the previous "cycle". Nyroc's superior flying skills make sense because of the way his mother raised him, and his fire-sight makes sense because this is a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by talking animals. I understand that a willing suspension of disbelief is required. However she takes great pains at one point to explain that Nyroc instinctually mastered acts and techniques which even a well-trained owl could have failed at, and that he does so the first time he tries them. The whole scene would have been richer and more believable had she simply described what he did without trying to contextualize it - the comparison makes him seem too perfect and that weakens both the story and the characterization.
Aside from that, this was a good entry in the series and prepares us for what i assume will be further exciting adventures.
It's also worth noting that this book discusses more about what happened to humanity than any previous book. We know humans existed because there were still a few shattered ruins dotting the landscape in previous books, but this one establishes that there was a (second) great ice age and that some of the mega-fauna may have survived it. Not a full explanation, but probably as close as we're going to get. It's almost as though the second ice age hit during the middle of the medieval period...or humanity had re-ascended to medieval levels of culture/technology before they disappeared for good. Interesting! And bleak!(less)
I loved "Shadow Moon", but detested "Shadow Dawn" so much that I couldn't bear to read the third installment. I think enough time has passed that I ca...moreI loved "Shadow Moon", but detested "Shadow Dawn" so much that I couldn't bear to read the third installment. I think enough time has passed that I can finally give "Shadow Star" a try. (less)