To be honest, it been a while (or years) since I read and , book 1 and 2 respectively from The Twelve Kingdoms series. While the world build4 stars
To be honest, it been a while (or years) since I read and , book 1 and 2 respectively from The Twelve Kingdoms series. While the world building is not magnificent, I did enjoy read Jeffe Kennedy's story and always search for a good fantasy romance. The Twelve Kingdoms is about three sister, Princess Andromeda or Andi, the shy and awkward that become Queen of Tala at first book. Then, Princess Amelia or Ami, a naive and too bright person that finally grow mature at second book. And now, now finally readers will get to know about the first daughter, the heir of Twelve Kingdoms, Princess Ursula or Essla, whom through the eyes of her younger sisters, depict as cold, ruthless and heartless woman. But, did she?
I always waiting for Ursula's story, since I'm a first daughter too. I often think that Andi and Ami's thought are unfair of her. I know that Ursula just want the best for her sisters, and especially the 12 Kingdoms. That's why it's hard to read her voice at first. She's so determined, too determined you are not sure to admire her determination or break her thick skull. Her loyalty to her father, Uorsin is beyond loyal and it will make readers question her sanity. If you already read book 1 and 2 (and yes, you must read it, because Talon of the Hawk is not stand alone), you will know that Uorsin is not the brightest character in the series. He's a tyrant, megalomaniac, and often make me question his capability as a king. Ursula unbreakable loyalty to Uorsin is beyond me. But, Kennedy show that Ursula's loyalty is not come by her heart, but mostly by her fear even she's not realize it at first. Kennedy peel Ursula's layer by layer, like an onion, show readers what hidden beneath this fierce and strong-willed warrior.
And boy, it's heart breaking to read! The reason why Ursula become herself, a cold and ruthless person, especially why she can't enjoy the pleasure of sex is already break my heart. Kennedy try to write it carefully, since it's too emotional to read and I know it's not easy to be told too. (view spoiler)[ At first, I think why Ursula can't enjoy sex is because her first time with her lover is not good. But see how traumatic she is to sex, it sadden me to read that she had raped by...yeah, by her own father! And what make me rage, Ursula think that it was her duty. Since her mother died, and she think she must produce heir, with her own father! I don't know what going on in Uorsin's mind. At that time, Ursula still 12, mind you! The fact that she harden herself because of that event and also can't enjoy sex is not easy to read. (hide spoiler)]
I'm glad to finally see the real Ursula, and see how she too, like Andi and Ami, change to become a better person. I like her relationship with Harlan, the mercenary. They are my favorite couple from 12 Kingdoms. Harlan is alpha, but with beta trait that will make you go..awwwww. I know it's weird to see how fast he fallin' over Ursula, hard. He's also pledge his heart and love to Ursula, from the first time he met her. I don't mind tho. Ursula already battered, body, mind and heart. She's tortured, and to pair her with another tortured person is useless. Ursula find her perfect match in Harlan, and that man didn't disappoint to try his best to heal Ursula's wounds. The sex also not as steamy as the previous books, but consider what Ursula had been through, I think it's okay.
The Talon of the Hawk is the conclusion of 12 Kingdoms, but not the last book. In this book, finally the three sisters unite and understand each other after they parting ways. The aspect of the three goddesses (Danu, Moranu and Glorianna) still there, and now it's Danu's time since she's Ursula's deity patron. The conflict now not just how Ursula safe her kingdom from a malicious witch that influence her father, but also help Ami save her daughter (event from book 2). My disappointment is..beside the world building that seems so simple, the court politic also simple, the conflict with Tala is too long, but, the last conflict with the witch and Uorsin feel anti-climatic. Maybe because the length of the book is limited? Since this one is categorized into fantasy (with romance), I don't mind a longer book, tho. Up to 500 pages maybe (okay, not all people can read all those pages like you, Ren!), so Kennedy can not just explore Ursula's character development, but also her confrontation with her enemy. Make it grandeur, perhaps. The conflict with Harlan's real identity also come too late, just for the sake for more drama that, imho, actually not necessary.
The next book, will tell readers story from Daphne Mailloux's POV, a librarian that accompany the three princesses since the start of the series. I hope her story will be good, since she's a scholar. A librarian too! As a fantasy romance, 12 Kingdoms series is very underrated. I think if you love fantasy with a good dollop of romance, The Talon of the Hawk is can't be missed. If you new to 12 Kingdoms series, I suggest to read The Mark of the Tala first, so you will get to know each sister personally. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Before you chase me with your pitchfork or burn me at stake and said "But, Ren, this is Brandon Sanderson's work!!" or "This**spoiler alert** 2 stars
Before you chase me with your pitchfork or burn me at stake and said "But, Ren, this is Brandon Sanderson's work!!" or "This novella is nominated into Hugo Award" (let me tell you, I don't care with award, tbh) ... I will said that, sadly, Perfect State is not perfect for me. Don't get me wrong. You will see that I rated Elantris very high and its become my top read this year. I like the concept of Mistborn, even how the story will ended already devastated me. The problem with Perfect State is..simply the length.
This is what happen when I read a novella. Its a hit and miss for me. Sometimes it work, sometimes not. With Perfect State, I know that Sanderson has a magic of his own when it comes to world building. But, for now, the world building is too convoluted. I feel like its try to crammed so many information to my head. It's not that bad actually. Sanderson make me guessing, what world that Kairominas live in. At first, I think he is a MMORPG player. I think this is a game, since Kai as Liveborn can be translated into player and the Machineborn is like NPC. And then, I realized that the world where Kai live and rule is more like The Matrix.
And this is when my headache begin, because so many question left, so few answered. I wondering, Sanderson write that the event in this novella happen because Earth's population is too high, they controlled it with a method that so much like The Matrix. The difference is...they just preserve the brain, that removed from its fetus and give it a life in some machine or I don't know what, then programmed them to be the most important person in their world. Utopia and dystopia combined, and Sanderson can pulled it with his unique take and concept. The question is, when this is happen? A many many millennials away? Is Earth already destroyed or all of the population already become Liveborn, spend their time inside the machine? And what with the concept of time? Kai said that he already live and conquer to hundred years. But, I don't think that he already live that long. I suspect that The Woze, the entity or organization or anything that controlled Kai and another Liveborn messed up with their time. What had been 300 years, can be just 3 years, months, hours, etc etc.
I already talk long for a novella that I hardly understand, lol! But, yeah, that's my problem. I want to read more, and sadly this just novella. The ending also left open, make me wondering when Kai question his entire life that based on lies, deceit and controlled by another being. Maybe he will become the next Neo? The ending did point that, with him contact another Liveborn. Start a rebellion?
Sanderson input so many of his insight regarding fantasy genre (mock the archetype, haha, really!), feminist value and the most important thing, the value of our life. I remember a song by a long deceased Indonesian singer, she said "The world is a stage", and that's what happen to Kai. He's a puppet, and his meeting with Sophie is what make he changed. What make me want to discuss Sophie. I like Sophie, she kinda like Katniss, with her rebellious thought and constant question about life as Liveborn. But don't we all sometimes feel like Sophie? Always question what our meaning in this world.
And...that when the twist come! Damn you Sanderson, master of twist! I never see it coming, huh! Sophie is..Kai's nemesis machination? When I already like her? It's like Sanderson shove a knife to my heart and twisted it why he laugh gleefully!!! I don't mean it, ofc :P. The twist with Kai, Sophie and Kai's nemesis, Mehdi is good. Sanderson show that love is not indifferent with hate, as shown with Mehdi. I have speculation that maybe Mehdi want Kai to rebel, because Mehdi see that Kai already controlled for too long?
Who knows *shrugged*
And I need explanation!! Many of them!! :(
I wonder if maybe, in the future Sanderson will expand Perfect State. But I won't hope to much, because I know this writer have a hectic schedule. *sigh*
See, too long review for a 2* novella, lol! So yes, I love to hate the concept. I love how the story make me think thoroughly but hate because so many questions left answered. I love the way Sanderson write but hate the length, because it's just a novella....more