A quieter story than Written in Red, with a series of crises that get resolved before the next one comes, instead of one huge climax at the end. I lik...moreA quieter story than Written in Red, with a series of crises that get resolved before the next one comes, instead of one huge climax at the end. I liked it that way a lot, especially as it shows how Meg is learning to use her talent to help her friends without things needing to get waaaay out of hand (although that's happening elsewhere in the world).
Another excellent book by Anne Bishop. My only problem is that I wait and wait for the next book, devour it in a few days and then have to wait another year for the next one. I have such a hard life. :)(less)
REREAD #1: 13 January 2014 - 14 January 2014 (9/10)
I'm not quite sure why this was suddenly the book I wanted to reread. I've haven't been feeling lik...moreREREAD #1: 13 January 2014 - 14 January 2014 (9/10)
I'm not quite sure why this was suddenly the book I wanted to reread. I've haven't been feeling like reading paranormal romance for the last year or so (which is kind of annoying as I have series I still like and want to read that I'm getting further behind with). This series is fantasy romance rather than paranormal, but there's definitely a genre-style romance within the fantasy story.
I saw a notice somewhere (Facebook?) that Wilson's new book (a standalone fantasy romance called The Winter King) is now available for preorder and part of me was interested in buying it, but I felt I shouldn't when I'd never actually managed to finish this series. (I have all five books of it in ebook and the first four in paper, so I've put some money into it.) And over the following days I wanted to read this one again more and more.
I thoroughly enjoyed rereading it and I'm very glad I decided to do so. Yes, there's some romance tropes in here - and that's fine, I'm perfectly okay with romance tropes if I know I'm reading a romance and can expect them - and I was less engaged with those that I was with the slowly building fantasy story, but they were perfectly fine all the same.
I'm writing this review after finishing the second book as well and being a couple of chapters into the third book, so there's a little hindsight here. This first book is more of a genre romance than the others. I think a lot of that is because the romance plot can be jumped into immediately. Soul bond forms and we immediately have a couple. They have to build a relationship, but they've had a head start. On the other hand, the fantasy world and the growing issues, plots and conflicts are built up more slowly. By the end of the book we getting a much clearer idea of what's going on and, for myself as a fantasy reader more than a romance reader, the series (rather than the individual book) is coming into its own as I can begin to see the story that attracts me more.
As I said in my earlier review (below), one of the things I like very much about the relationship between Ellie and Rain is that the soul bond immediately links them, but they have to learn to know each other, love each other and trust each other. Even by the end of the book, when (not really a spoiler) Ellie has figured out she loves Rain, she doesn't know him well enough or trust him enough to complete the soul bond. That's going to take time. I like that. I like it a lot.
Just let me address one more point. For some readers, Ellie is going to a major Mary-Sue character. She doesn't think she's pretty, but she is; she's innocent and loving and thinks she's cowardly but she's not; she has a mysterious heritage and, guess what, she turns out to have magical powers; the Fey warriors all think she's wonderful and would die for her etc. You get the idea. I can see all that, but I can fall into the story and let it work for me, so I don't care. But if that's going to drive you bat-shit crazy this is probably not be the book for you.
It's weird, as intellectually I can totally see all that and that it's not the best way to write a story. But if everything around it is done right, it sweeps me away and I don't care. If the author pushes the right buttons with me, I'll happily let them get away with it and just enjoy the book. I guess I dreamed of being a special princess when I was a girl, too.
Off the top of my head, I can think of at least a couple of other series where this same thing happens. Rhapsody from Elizabeth Haydon's Symphony of Ages series gets away with it from me too, while the whole of Patricia Kennealy-Morrison's Keltia books get a pass because while really, the whole society is too perfect and the books are wish-fulfillment, the fulfill my wishes, so I enjoy them. (I didn't enjoy the last two so much, but that was a totally different issue I don't feel the need to go into here.)
Okay, that's enough rambling from me. As you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed rereading this book and went straight on to the next one and have started the one after that.
ORIGINAL READ: 2 November 2011 - 7 November 2011 (8/10)
This fantasy-romance debut features faerie king Rain Tairen Soul, a man tormented by age-old grief: a thousand years ago, the woman he loved was slain in battle, and in his rage he laid waste to half the world. Now his people are dying out and the evil mages of Eld are rising again. When Rain hears the call of his lost soul mate, Ellysetta, he journeys to the neighbouring kingdom to find her; when he claims a woodcarver's daughter as his mate, he scandalizes the nobility of her country and rouses the interest of Eld's wicked wizards, who come seeking her in order to get at Rain.
There's been a lot of buzz around the romance blogsphere about this book and its sequel, Lady of Light and Shadows (which is the second half of the story and I have on reserve from the library).
I was both interested to read it and a bit sceptical at the same time. On one level a lot of it sounded very same-old/same-old. There were shapechangers, an innocent girl with unexpected backbone, soul mates, magic and evil mages. None of it sounded new and unexpected. But after seeing good reviews I decided to see if my library had it. It didn't. But a friend pointed out to me that you could request that they buy certain books and she was going to do it with this one and its sequel. Inspired by this idea, I did the same (as we live in different regions of Auckland that have their own local government and therefore library systems).
I'm glad I did so as I enjoyed the book. It is different after all, and many of the differences are in the execution rather than the basic idea. First off, this book is slow. Not agonising and annoyingly slow, but delicately slow. Instead of rushing into a wild adventure, it slowly lets us get to know the characters as they get to know each other. This is a book about set up and I assume we'll get more plot in Lady of Light and Shadows which has just been published this month. I found the pace a little surprising as I'm so used to books that pack as much as they can into the pages, and often into just a few days of story time, but it was a pleasant surprise.
Instead of rushing into each other's arms as soul-mated lovers are wont to do (even if they are yelling about how much they hate it as they do it), Rain and Elly slowly get to know each other as Rain officially courts her and it is beautifully done. Wilson's concept of the soul-bond here is not as demanding and ruthless as they often are in novels of the kind. It's being demanding to Rain because he's already accepted it, but Elly has to take her time until she is ready to accept it - and that isn't choosing to say yes (or fall into bed), it's a gut-deep acceptance that she can't force. One that it is understood will only happen when it happens and no sooner. And she can choose to deny it if she wishes - although I'm sure she won't do that or it would all be a bit of a waste of story.
The worldbuilding is well done and the history of the world thought out and important to the plot. Wilson uses the device of having both a long-lived race and a short-lived one (and a couple of others that were mentioned in passing and may or may not turn up in later books) which allows for the conflict that grows between the Fey who cannot forget the war that raged 1000 years ago and the mortals who consider it ancient history and essentially irrelevant to today. Of course, it's going to be the Fey who are right as evil is rising again.
Which brings me to the villains, the main place where the book failed a bit for me. Really, the main villains of the piece, the Eld mages, are bog-standard fantasy fare. They seem to be evil for no real reason other than the fact that they're evil. They use forbidden, black, blood magic and are fundamentally nasty. Not only that but Rain and the other Fey are pretty much essentially unable to see there is any chance to them being any other way, a prejudice that we have been given hints is going to be tested. I didn't find the Eld to be particularly original or convincing villains and I didn't find myself greatly fearing the consequences of their actions.
On the other hand, Wilson includes a couple of minor villains who really creeped me out. Both are mortal and the reasons behind their actions are small, human and decidedly petty. They scared me a whole lot more than the mages and as they planned out their next steps I found myself really worrying about Elly (the focus of their plans in each case) and what might happen. While the mages failed for me, these two characters succeeded in a brilliant way because their evil was small and nasty and very real. They really worried me.
Be aware that Lord of the Fading Lands is not really a complete book on its own. The story pauses at a suitable place, but it is only a pause and the next book is required to finish the story of Rain and Elly's courtship. I suspect the bigger issue of the return of the mages will take even more books as I know another pair are being released (again in consecutive months) at the end of next year. But I liked that. I liked the slow development of their relationship, which felt so much more real than many romance books where everything thing happens so fast. It took me a couple of years to be sure enough of my feeling for and relationship with my now-husband to say yes, so I find the quick, quick pace of many books a little unrealistic. This was a lovely change for me.
All in all, this was a very satisfying novel, with two main downsides. One, as said above, was the mages. The other is that this is really only half a book. Part of what made it a satisfactory read was knowing that I'll be able to read Lady of Light and Shadows before too much time goes by. So I recommend this book to anyone who likes a nice, even balance of fantasy and romance, but make sure you'll have access to the next book to finish the story.
Wilson has said that there will be another two books late next year (again with lovely titles, King of Sword and Sky and Queen of Song and Souls) which I'm guessing may start dealing with the Eld mages once Rain and Elly are joined together. I have no idea if there will be more books after that or not. In a way, I hope not. I like the focus and slow pace of the relationship building and I don't want this to become a series where every character and his (or her) dog ends up getting a book of their own. I want this to be a concise and bordered tale with a clear beginning and end rather than something that goes on and on and on. Of course, what Wilson chooses to do has absolutely nothing to do with me.
Lord of the Fading Lands Tairen Soul, Book 1 C. L. Wilson 8/10 followed by: Lady of Light and Shadows (Nov '07) King of Sword and Sky (Oct '08) Queen of Song and Souls (Nov '08)(less)
I finished my first major reread of an old but favourite series today. And I loved it all over again. It can be such a dangerous feeling, going back t...moreI finished my first major reread of an old but favourite series today. And I loved it all over again. It can be such a dangerous feeling, going back to books you loved 25-30 years ago. Will they hold up? Will you get that same sense of wonder? Has the (as Jo Walton calls it in her blogs on Tor.com) "suck fairy" visited?
As I said in my review for A Dream of Kinship, I've been collecting up as ebooks my old favourites from my "hey day" of reading, which was my late teens and early twenties (also know as the mid-80s to mid-90s) as they are published as ebooks, sometimes as a self-published book by the author, sometimes as part of a publisher's backlist and sometimes as a first electronic release from a new publisher. I'm building up a lovely collection of favourite authors including such names as M.K. Wren, Kate Elliott, Greg Bear, Katharine Kerr, Melissa Scott and Barbara Hambly. And I'm going to try to make 2014 I really dig into that collection and get on with some rereading.
I will face down the suck fairy and hopefully it will retreat defeated.
This series totally did retain the wonder and I'm so glad I have indeed reread it. I don't know if I realised when I first read it (I was a lot younger then), that the trilogy as a whole is a study of how religions develop, struggle to survive and, if they do survive, codify into tradition that may or may not be a true and correct vision of the original revelation. It took me until this third book for me to realise it even this time, but once I did, I was more impressed than ever before. I immediately had to go back to the prologue of the first book, so see how what it said needed to be reinterpreted in light of the end of the third book. That must surely be the sign of something with some meat and depth to it.
One thing I find extremely fascinating is that, given the above reading of the theme of the trilogy, I find myself left to wonder what effect the new "revelation" at the end of this book will have on the world within it and if, as the epilogue suggests, that effect is major, does it simply start the cycle over again.
Of course, that is a question for the reader to ponder, not one for the author to give away. I doubt he ever had an answer (and it is too late to ask him as he died in 2002) and instead left this rhetorical question on purpose. After all, good books should make us think.
This trilogy is a lovely blend of a fantasy tale with references both to the past and the future of the world within the books. The "prologue" and "epilogue" help to expand the middle part of the tale into something much bigger than simply the adventures of the characters. It might be 30 years old, but it still packs a punch. The only reason this volume didn't get 10/10 is that I struggled with Tom's metaphysical/otherworldly journey. I got the point, but the prose was a bit of a struggle.
Just be aware that the Gollancz ebook edition of this is pretty terrible. It's full of scanning errors and the first page of the end matter of the book is inserted before the very end of the story, making the Kindle think I was finished and asking me to rate the book. I was okay because I'd read it before, but I was still heard to mutter "but that isn't the end!" in a disgruntled voice. I paged forward and suddenly the text returned to finish of the tale before going back to the rest of the end matter. The first two books in the trilogy had a few scanning errors here and there, but many old works do and I could live with them. The problems with this one were much worse to the degree that I feel I need to point it out. I had read it before and had my old paperback for reference, so I was fine. If you're coming to this cold, it might just cause confusion. As always, this doesn't alter my rating in any way, as that isn't fair on the story or the author, but poor work, Gollancz.(less)
I have thoroughly enjoyed the second book in my reread of Richard Cowper's White Bird of Kinship series. I don't seem to have anything deep or meaning...moreI have thoroughly enjoyed the second book in my reread of Richard Cowper's White Bird of Kinship series. I don't seem to have anything deep or meaningful (or critical for that matter) to say about it.
It is surprising compelling and when I sit down to read some, I find it hard to stop. I've made it through the first two books very quickly and I'm looking forward to starting the third, A Tapestry Of Time in the next few days.
I know I haven't raved about this in a "you must read this book" kind of way, but I really, really do recommend that you give the books a try. They're worth it.
I've enjoyed rereading (or at least collecting) old favourites from the 1980s as their authors assert that electronic rights and publish them as ebooks. I keep telling myself I need to share out rereading my old favourites with the new ones, but I'm seriously considering making 2014 my year of old favourites and just throw in the new reads when I feel like it or an auto-read author comes out with a new book. I'm not going to make it an absolute goal as such things don't work for me, but I'm certainly considering it as a strong guideline.(less)
I read this series back in the 1980s. Going on the sense memory of one passage and the room I feel I was in, I can figure it was when I was at univers...moreI read this series back in the 1980s. Going on the sense memory of one passage and the room I feel I was in, I can figure it was when I was at university, probably about 1987 or 1988. I know I enjoyed them and when I saw they were no available as ebooks, I was delighted to buy them and plan a reread. It's taken me a few years to decide this is the moment, but I'm really glad I did.
I had thought they were published in the 80s too, but a look at the copyright dates (I went and found my paper copies for that - much easier) show that the two halves of this book were both first published in the mid-1970s. I was already impressed that an author of that time had chosen a rise is sea level as his apocalypse, but I find it more so now I see when the stories were written. Nuclear war was a much more common apocalypse at the time.
I really enjoy this book all over again. I don't think it's dated much (except for the "current day" sections had a bit too much smoking and "taping" things) and the future world still works well for me.
I finished this and went straight on to the next book in the series (A Dream of Kinship). I'm hoping to read all three over Christmas.
(After reading this, I also find myself with a hankering to read Isobelle Carmody's Obernewtyn series, but after reading the first four, I promised myself I'd wait until it was finished before I went back to it. There's still one book to go. What a dilemma!)(less)
This was a surprisingly good story - it was promoted as YA urban fantasy (which I'm not convinced it really is) and I wasn't sure how McKinley would m...moreThis was a surprisingly good story - it was promoted as YA urban fantasy (which I'm not convinced it really is) and I wasn't sure how McKinley would manage that.
But I really enjoyed it and won't complain if she writes more about this world (not that I'm holding my breath).
I just wish McKinley's book were available as ebooks outside the US as I found reading the library hardcover to be quite difficult. This really slowed my reading progress and there were times I found myself looking at the book and not wanting to pick it up - not because of the story but because managing the physical item was hard work.
All the same, it's a good story. Give it a read.(less)
It started off well, but settled into something that while perfectly satisfactory, wasn't quite my kind of story. So not for me, but nothing major wro...moreIt started off well, but settled into something that while perfectly satisfactory, wasn't quite my kind of story. So not for me, but nothing major wrong with the book.(less)
I wasn't sure about this one. I heard a lot of good things about it, but I just wasn't certain I wanted to read it. When I saw it on sale for the vast...moreI wasn't sure about this one. I heard a lot of good things about it, but I just wasn't certain I wanted to read it. When I saw it on sale for the vast sum of 69p, I took the opportunity to buy it, figuring that at that price, it didn't matter if I read it or not.
I'm very glad I did decide to give it a go, as I enjoyed it a lot. I liked the version of a secret magical world, which was quite different from many other books, and the story held together and kept me wanting to find out exactly what was going on and who was behind it.
At first, I found all the letters from the original Myfanwy to feel a bit like a series of infodumps, but they imparted a lot of important information, both to the reader and the Myfanwy who is the protagonist of the novel. As I grew to get to know original Myfanwy (that's confusing, let's call her Thomas like the book does) I found I liked her and her voice and I enjoyed reading her letters. I didn't completely get over the feeling that it was very convenient she had thought the write about the very things Myfanwy needed to know, but I'm okay with it. It worked pretty well.
So yes, I'm glad I read it and I'm interested in a sequel. Apparently Daniel O'Malley has completed a first draft, so I'll add him to tmy he mental list of authors to watch out for and keep an eye out for another book.
This took a long time to really get going and I found the section where Calli first arrived to be a bit by the numbers. Once she and Marrec started di...moreThis took a long time to really get going and I found the section where Calli first arrived to be a bit by the numbers. Once she and Marrec started disagreeing the story started moving much better and the final section was excellent.
[Copied across from Library Thing; 22 September 2013](less)
A good next book in the series. It has the feeling of a something of a transitional book as the Folly moves from being an anachronism with no future t...moreA good next book in the series. It has the feeling of a something of a transitional book as the Folly moves from being an anachronism with no future to a part of the police force that is needed and known about, even if no-one is willing to admit to the latter.
I saw a reviewer complain that the book started slowly and had a bunch of unnecessary stuff that bogged down the first half. Certainly, the ceremony with the rivers didn't immediately seem obvious, but the fact that both "factions" turned up together and asked the Folly to provide security for the even add to that feeling that the Folly is re-establishing itself as a valid part of modern policing, even if most Londoners have no idea it, or magic, exists. So while I can see the reviewer's point, I think I disagree and consider that apparent non-sequitur of the Spring Court actually to be very relevant.
There's one enormous transition in particular that leaves the book on a very major cliff-hanger and I really want the next book NOW. How dare Ben Aaronovitch still be writing it, or even only researching it? How will I survive? (By reading lots of other books of course; for example, having read Aaronovitch's mate Paul Cornell's London Falling, I am now hanging out for its sequel too. At least it has a title and is starting to show up on various book sites. See, it's called The Severed Streets and comes out around the beginning of next year.)
I really only had one niggle about the book, and I can see why the author did it, but it annoyed me no end and tossed me out of the story for a moment each time it happened, which I found very frustrating. It is established in the text that Peter has set about to annoy Nightingale by intentionally misusing the bit of grammar "me and X". That would be fine if it was only in dialogue, but since Peter is the narrator, Aaronovitch has used it in the narrative text as well. I kept getting "me and Lesley did this" or "me and Toby went there" where the correct usage was at the very least "Lesley (or Toby) and me" but much more likely to be "Lesley (or Toby) and I". It read badly and continually threw me out of the sentence I was reading because it was wrong and my brain knew it was wrong and therefore kept tripping over it. It drove me nuts.
Of course, it's always easier to rant about the one little thing you didn't like than it is to praise all the bits you did like. I liked this book. I liked it a lot and I'm really looking forward to the next one - whatever it is going to be called and whenever it is going to come out.(less)
A fun story. I wasn't absolutely blown away, but I certainly enjoyed the ride. I'll plan to pick up another in the series when that the sort of story...moreA fun story. I wasn't absolutely blown away, but I certainly enjoyed the ride. I'll plan to pick up another in the series when that the sort of story I want to read.(less)
The first time I tried to read this, I didn't finish it. Since then, as the series has continued, I've seen plenty of people saying the books get bett...moreThe first time I tried to read this, I didn't finish it. Since then, as the series has continued, I've seen plenty of people saying the books get better around #2 and #3, so I decided to give it another go.
I was kind of surprised at just how much I enjoyed it. If this is the weakest book, then I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. I've bought the next one and hope to get to it before too long.(less)
This was a brilliant book, that hit all my buttons. Urban magic being discovered by the police and their techniques used to try to figure it all out....moreThis was a brilliant book, that hit all my buttons. Urban magic being discovered by the police and their techniques used to try to figure it all out. Awesome.(less)
I loved rereading this. I'd forgotten just what an amazing series this is. I've bought a copy of the next one and I'm trying to decide if I wait on Ai...moreI loved rereading this. I'd forgotten just what an amazing series this is. I've bought a copy of the next one and I'm trying to decide if I wait on Aidan and Kate's reread of it or rush on and keep going. I'm reading some non-fiction now while I try to decide, but I suspect I will succumb to temptation and keep reading.(less)
I'm going to sadly call this one a DNF. I'm unhappy to do this as I remember loving this when it originally came out and I was so delighted to find it...moreI'm going to sadly call this one a DNF. I'm unhappy to do this as I remember loving this when it originally came out and I was so delighted to find it (and its sequel) in ebook form.
But, to be honest, I'm finding myself kind of bored. I like it when I read some, but once I put it down I find I have no urge to pick it up again. I think it's largely a case of "it's not you, it's me" as I'm struggling reading anything right now (damn ME/CFS) and I'm just not coping with the present tense.
It's a kindle ebook, so even if I stop reading it and take it off my device, Amazon will remember where I was up to. So I'm hoping that when I'm feeling better (please, let it get better) I will be able to pick it up again and find the magic. Right now, it's eluding me.(less)