I would never, ever suggest censoring any piece of literature, especially one as honest as this despite the fact that it's fiction. However, I would hI would never, ever suggest censoring any piece of literature, especially one as honest as this despite the fact that it's fiction. However, I would have given it four stars if only I could have stomached the brutality. That's my own failing, of course, but I wasn't exactly prepared for it, as about 75% of the book was probably about to my limit of violence, and then the jungle happens...
I do realize this was written in 1988 and as such does not reference anything happening in today's world, but good literature is often relate-able through the years, and I think the reason I had such a gut-wrenching reaction (really, to the point of nausea) is because of what is happening in the Middle East right now....more
[Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this e-book from NetGalley.]
4 stars instead of only 3, because I thought this one was *better* than Grave Mercy[Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this e-book from NetGalley.]
4 stars instead of only 3, because I thought this one was *better* than Grave Mercy (although my review may not show it).
My main problems with this book are as follows:
1. Sybella and Ismae have an almost identical voice. They wonder about different things, and are concerned with different aspects of their relationship with Mortain, but they "speak" exactly the same. Without having read the description of this one and simply jumping in as soon as I finished Grave Mercy, I was a little confused because it sounded like the same person speaking, but with a different background. A few paragraphs in I realized it was Sybella, not Ismae.
2. There is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much narrated angst. This bothered me in Grave Mercy, but having read Dark Triumph immediately after finishing the first one, it was overkill. I love getting inside a character's head, but Sybella and Ismae are almost *too much* in their own heads. And it's typical teen girl angst, because they are all of 17 or 18 (I'm not sure how old Sybella is but I am guessing around Ismae's age), and outside of planning how to kill someone, they don't stop to think things through. They immediately jump to the worst possible conclusion ("I'm a something-or-other, I'm an awful person, he must hate me, now that he knows who I am I'm not going to look at him because he probably hates me even though it's not my fault and I don't know that for sure and there's no way I can possibly talk to him about it because that would be too awful because he probably hates me blah blah blah.").
3. While Ismae's and Sybella's stories differ greatly in the details (Sybella's story is much more complex and tragic, and frankly, interesting), they follow almost the exact same linear path. They are thrust into an assignment they don't want, their plans get ruined, they end up taking a detour and falling in love, and they almost lose that love to death, and then (view spoiler)[Mortain shows up and tells them how much he loves them, their eyes are opened, and they can go back to battle with complete clarity, understanding who they are and what they need to do (hide spoiler)].
4. Again, the ending to this was no ending. I know, series, continuation, cliffhanger, blah-de-blah.
But I liked the story and I liked getting further into the historically fictional conflict. It was interesting and fast-paced and kept me interested for the couple of days it took to get through it. Recommended with reservations. Hopefully I'll get to read the third book, although I have a feeling it's going to be much the same as books 1 and 2.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
[Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the e-book edition from NetGalley.]
The Thirteenth Tower was actually a pleasant surprise. I've read some really[Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the e-book edition from NetGalley.]
The Thirteenth Tower was actually a pleasant surprise. I've read some really awful books that I got from NetGalley lately, and was expecting more of the same, which is probably why I ended up enjoying it as much as I did. Emelyn starts out as a servant girl, but ends up as so much more.
There is a lot good about this book. I mostly enjoyed the writing style, found it easy to read, and the dialogue wasn't as strained as I expected. There were moments where I found it wandering off into flowery territory, but for the most part it was appropriate and well-done. Emelyn isn't the greatest heroine, she's not someone I could see myself being friends with, but she isn't insufferable and her story ends up being quite thought-out.
The concept itself was interesting, and I appreciated the execution of the twists and turns of story. One thing I didn't like: it was absolutely completely predictable. It really was obvious what was going to happen; I think I figured it out about halfway through. And while that's a pretty nice chunk of book in which I was in the dark, it still leaves half the book for me to go "OK, when is [this] going to happen?" or "When is she going to figure out she's [that]?"
I didn't like the ending, there was too much going on in the final major scene and yet not enough. I felt like I was trudging through mud while reading the "battle" scene, and I still can't figure out exactly what happened. Also, I don't see anywhere on GR that this is a planned series, so the strange and abrupt ending has left me a bit confused. And while I appreciate Cobbe as a character, I still can't quite figure out her purpose aside from keeping them fed, and providing a little comic relief.
The one thing that has bothered me throughout the entire book is one of the opening scenes: when Emelyn gets swept away to the festival and finds instead the strange creatures, we see the following: (view spoiler)[ "The men were clad in well-tailored black waistcoats, the silvery chains of pocket watches glinting in the firelight. Below the waist the men were unclothed, their erect penises protruding from thatches of thick, dark hair. Both the men and women wore pale bone masks wrought in the likeness of animals - antlered deer for the women, snarling wolves for the men." (hide spoiler)]
This is the *only* such passage in the entire book. Throughout the rest of it there isn't even the barest mention of sex, the closest thing to describing a body part being Emelyn's attempts to figure out whether the small-folk are men or women. It stuck out in a bad way, because otherwise this book was pretty exclusively PG. I'm not saying it was inappropriate, but it didn't fit at all with the rest of the book or with the narrative style. I would consider removing it in future editions, only because I felt it interrupted the story for no reason whatsoever, distracting me from what was going on.
So there's room for improvement, and if it IS going to be a series that explains the ending. It's not fantastic high fantasy, but it was a pretty good read and I rather enjoyed it.
ETA 10/29/14 - I've been skimming other reviews just to see what others have said about this book. A lot of people have mentioned the lack of character development. Upon further reflection, I think I was a bit too generous in mentioning I felt that Emelyn was well-developed. Presented with passages and examples of her stupidity, I realize I had been thinking this all along. I think what changed my mind was at the end when she decides to embrace her powers and stop being so stupid. Maybe that blinded me to her faults (and there were many). It's probably why I said I didn't really care for her as a person, or wouldn't be friends with her. Anyway, I agree with other reviewers that most of the characters could have been more well-developed, with their motives a bit more clear, or noted at all.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
[Disclaimer: I read this book twice in beta and was sent a copy by the author when it was finished. My opinions are my own.]
***There are no spoilers i[Disclaimer: I read this book twice in beta and was sent a copy by the author when it was finished. My opinions are my own.]
***There are no spoilers in this post, unless you have not read book 1, in which case what are you doing?? Go read it now!!***
In the second installment of the "Runemaster" series, Maya and Tor are dealing with the aftermath of the accidental murder of Tor's uncle Nils. The book picks up almost immediately after the last book ended, with Maya worrying that the police are going to figure out she killed Nils, and come after her. Not to mention her brother is still in the hospital and not progressing with his recovery, she has a final project for her degree to work on, she's finally engaged to Tor, and they make the discovery that Nils had kids, one of whom makes contact with Tor regarding the will.
On top of all of that, there's a frost giant who keeps showing up in the driveway demanding the gold plaque that Tor won't give back, Tor is still a were-bear, and Maya is finally confronting the memories that can unlock her heritage and her powers. And Nazis! *dun dun dun*
Let's get one thing straight: This series is fan-freaking-tastic! I loved reading it all three times, and even in my final read I discovered new things and saw some minor changes that really illuminated the plot. I always have fun reading about Maya and Tor, they are a great couple of characters. And the addition of Joel, Tor's cousin, was a great way to show how Maya is becoming entrenched in the magical world. His disbelief was once hers, but now she's so involved that it's like she was never a "normal" person. Her heritage is even more engrossing, because we finally learn where she's from and how she got her "disease."
Obviously it's not true urban fantasy, and the author says as much in the note at the beginning. It doesn't really fit into any one genre, at least not completely. I consider it simply fantasy set in the modern world (which I normally don't like to read as much, but I find this set wholly entertaining). The writing style is pretty easy to read, because you can end up reading a huge chunk of the book and not realize how much until you check your page count! And it never gets boring. I highly recommend this series (definitely start with book 1, Sorcerer's Luck) to anyone who enjoys a fun but intense story about magic, runes, old gods, and some spicy romance....more