I absolutely love this series, and I actually enjoyed the second book more than the first. The first took its time to establish the world with which,...moreI absolutely love this series, and I actually enjoyed the second book more than the first. The first took its time to establish the world with which, as I mentioned in the other review, I’ entranced. The world and magic system are so entirely consistent, comprehensive, and logically laid out that it’s worth the wait for the second book where the action totally takes off.
I love the expansion of Jardir and Inevera, as characters. The air of mystery surrounding that culture in the first book is deconstructed to make a much more complicated plot line. Renna is a fantastic protagonist; I personally like her even more than Leesha. It’s always nice to find authors that can write different types of people of both sexes.
Most of all Arlen’s character transformation is worrisome and exciting. I simply cannot wait for the next book to come out. This is hands down one of my favorite fantasy series! (less)
The Warded Man is now one of my all time favorite fantasy novels.
As an avid student of history (I have several –useless- majors in various eras) it is...moreThe Warded Man is now one of my all time favorite fantasy novels.
As an avid student of history (I have several –useless- majors in various eras) it is nice to see a realistic world created by a fantasy author. Here me out on this- if you’ve studied European history Roman through medieval, you know that while country to country there can be major cultural differences there does tend to be an underlying theme. In the end people are people, unless they are politicians, in which case they’re, well, you *know* what they are. Despite being a fantasy book Peat creates a very realistic environment. Hell, he could have even made the populations more diverse being that they were so secluded from one another, but instead he kept it generally uniform. The peasants of Italy and the peasants of Britain, if there had been no language barrier, probably could have agreed that the largest problems facing them were not some insult to the throne but if they were going to make it through the summer/winter/to harvest/past the plague/into Heaven etc. Anybody being plagued, will generally act in a specific environmentally induced way no matter where they are from- and that is why the social indoctrination of the Krasians is so important. If you’re a soldier you’ll recognize several ways basic training reflects Krasian morality, and you can easily see in a post-apocalyptic narrative just how the military would expect you to act in order to survive. Humans need to be trained to kill, and when you do that, you inherently (and perhaps unfortunately) take on several new personality aspects. It’s necessary. If you haven’t done it, or don’t know what I’m talking about, read Grossman’s “On Killing, the cost of learning to kill in war in society” and you’re eyes will be open to a whole new world. That’s where the ultimate difference between the Krasians and the Greenlanders come in, and it’s true to the core.
Brett’s realistic, uniform, world is subdued and magnificent. It is fully flushed and consistent. It’s like another layer to a fine wine- you may not be able to pick out all of the flavors in a merlot, but you know you like it, perhaps even love it, and you don’t need anyone else to tell you that you do, or why. Too often in author’s first novels, the world takes a backstage to characters. It’s like they get too excited and want to have a little bit of everything- ninjas, jihad/crusade, black priests, holy lighters, et all. In the simplicity of the world comes its magnificent complexity. Honestly, I can’t wax about the world he created enough.
Also I’m a huge fan of low-magic. Everything costs. Killing another costs. Hunting costs, harvesting costs, everything has give and take and so magic should too. That’s why I like the idea of wards so much, and of lost knowledge. Everyone can write wards, some aren’t as good as others, and there is a particular art to it. I imagine some of the larger cities looking like a present day Hagia Sophia with its beautiful large golden Arabic letters etched across its magnificent surfaces. The wards with their flow, and magic (lighting up, bursts of flame) evoke so much imagery that is taken for granted in a lot of magic-scenes these days. In a world where you expect every decent thing to be turned into a movie (and yes, I’d totally love to see this as a movie) you inundated with bright flashes, smoke and mirrors, and light saber-esque effects. It is so refreshing to see magic that is hidden, lurking, silent until a giant demon comes running at it. And then WHOOSH. The magic. Its fantastic.
I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking for their next fantasy fix. It’s a harsh reality of violence mixed with humanities amazing ability to constantly adapt to new situations. Humans have a penchant for getting on with life when they need to, and I find this book to be an excellent exploration of that fact. (less)
Margaret Sanger is the heroine of an often-forgotten war on women’s rights. Until recently the dissemination of birth control information (pills, cond...moreMargaret Sanger is the heroine of an often-forgotten war on women’s rights. Until recently the dissemination of birth control information (pills, condoms, you name it) was strictly forbidden, it was punishable under the Obscenity act, and nurses and doctors were frequently jailed for helping women prevent childbirth. Margaret Sanger, a nurse, stepped out in the fight, hoping that importing birth control and other information from Europe, where it had been proven both viable and was legal, would lead to a new, stronger generation of Americans. Sanger hoped that by choosing when, where, and how many children to have, motherhood would be liberated in such a way, that the personal development of American women would be able to resume again. She hoped that women would no longer be slaves to their legions of unwanted children that they had no means to provide for. Sanger’s thesis in this work revolves around the idea that limited numbers of children would put an end to abortion (which she abhorred), sweat shops, world wars, and imbecility. It’s an illuminating text because this tragic war, when so many women died from the burdens of birth (many women were giving birth to 20 children in their lifetimes), the sorrows of your child’s death, and from abortions performed in secret alleys or by dropping flour bags repeatedly onto the stomach, is so largely forgotten. It is also fascinating because it reveals how closely the birth control/woman’s rights movement was tied to the eugenics movement and the labor movement. More than that, puritanical forces in government repeatedly tried to block women access to knowledge of their own bodies, and while todays so-called “war on women” can scarcely compare to the battles that Sanger fought, many parallels will shock and concern the modern reader.
It got four stars because even though I think her argument is at time weak, or exaggerated, its a very important social/historical text that is rarely attended to.
The book is provided for free by Librivox.org.(less)
The fight for birth control was such a magnificently important one, it was so wrapped up in the feminist movement and race rights, but it has been tr...more The fight for birth control was such a magnificently important one, it was so wrapped up in the feminist movement and race rights, but it has been tragically forgotten. America needs reeducated on this subject, only by knowing our history can we make informed decisions about the future. You cannot know where you are going if you do not know where you have been. This is a primary source. Margaret Sanger was one of the most brilliant heroines in the fight for birth control. She worked as a nurse in low income neighborhoods for years, and after seeing women dying from the distress of large families, of hard pregnancies, and the lack of solution she began her crusade. The numerous lost children of such slums were her inspiration. She was jailed for importing birth control, missing the death of her daughter while she was in exile, and did so much for women that she should never be forgot. This is one of the books that she wrote as an argument for the legalization of the pill. It will probably surprise most people to see how tied up in the “creation of a better species” that it is. Then again, I suppose it will surprise most people that it was a fight at all.
Women, you need to read this book. You need to understand what others went through so that we could have the privilege of family planning hat we do today. (less)
Though I realized I have a TON of Norton/North books to get through, this is my favorite one to date. I read a lot of maritime history, and the worst...more Though I realized I have a TON of Norton/North books to get through, this is my favorite one to date. I read a lot of maritime history, and the worst thing that could happen when you’re halfway between to points is either a fire or a disease. If you stop to think about it, there really aren’t that many differences between a maritime vessel in the 1700’s and the spacefaring vessels of the future. Each planet would have to have strict rules to prevent the spread of other-worldly diseases. If you had a ship malfunction in the middle of nowhere, well, we all know the saying “In space no one can hear you scream.” While this book is your typical space opera, it has a lot more realism to it than some of the others. Norton does an excellent job of describing the fear of the crew as the disease seems to be claiming more and more lives. It really lets you connect to the characters. Also, I find it refreshing that the main character is actually not the one calling all the shots. You don’t see that often, and it was interesting. I’m looking forward to reading Voodoo Planet, another book about the Solar Queen. Plus there was some good humor and good one liners. I need that kind of comedic break up in a book. Jellico (awesome name) was probably my favorite character for this line alone: “Jellico's habitual distrust of the future gathered force.” This audiobook was provided for free on Librivox.org. (less)