**spoiler alert** Darkchild is the first in the 'Daughters of the Sunstone' trilogy and a very intriguing beginning.
Possibly the oldest book I've read...more**spoiler alert** Darkchild is the first in the 'Daughters of the Sunstone' trilogy and a very intriguing beginning.
Possibly the oldest book I've read in a while (published in 1982) that I haven't read previously at least, Darkchild is told from a variety of third person POV's and slowly chronicles the coming of age of both the title character, but also the young girl who takes him in and cares for him.
A fantasy with scifi leanings is a good way to describe much of the book. The immediate environs are, for the most part, pre-industrial. The only exception to this rule are the quarters of alien visitors to the planet, the Armini, who conduct studies of the peoples and planet.
Then also you have the over-reaching menance, who are technologically advanced and use Darkchild (and others like him) to gather intel on the planet they despoit them on to see if the planet is a viable planet for exploiting or if they can leave it well enough alone.
At times I was tempted to double check the internet to make sure the author wasn't a pseudo for Louise Lawrence who wrote books of a similiar trend.
I look forward to reading the next two books in the trilogy.(less)
Fantasy Quest is very much a Dungeons and Dragons game come to life, or if you prefer a World of Warcraft quest come to life. Our heroine, Astiria (as...moreFantasy Quest is very much a Dungeons and Dragons game come to life, or if you prefer a World of Warcraft quest come to life. Our heroine, Astiria (aside from having a very Fantasy-esque name) fights the good fight with a mixture of common sense 'real world' strategy (ie: kneeing a goblin in the groin is as effective as kneeing a would-be purse thief) and skills she learned from playing fantasy world games.
Lerik is amusing, charming and has just enough conceited male ego to be irritating, but not obnoxious. He definitely wins points in my romance hero book for being able to take a joke without getting huffy. The interactions between himself and his Wood Elf, Oopec (who looks literally like an Elf made out of wood) are funny and filled with affection.
Astiria can sometimes be a little too 'everywoman' for my tastes--her complaints are typical (about her physical appearance) and I think she dwells too long on whether or not Lerik would like her if he saw the 'real' her, but overall she was fun and snarky.
I would have liked to see more about how...creative Lerik and Astiria could be without breaking a rule placed on them, but I was enjoying the story too much to suffer from that. I'm glad the appearance of the Goblin King was kept to such a minimum.
My only real complaint is that the whole thing with Marsoon is kind of contrived by the end of the story. It starts out entertaining (how Astiria ends up in the situation is amusing), but ends up meaning very little since, as one of the characters remarks, leveling up to Level 10 in any RPG is the easiest task. It’s the later levels that give you trouble.
I also found it amusing that in the book Astiria tries to finish a novel titled 'The Stone Maiden', an earlier novel by Tina Gerow now out of print.(less)
Assassins, oh how I love assassins. It seems a rare thing for me to find a book series (or in this case trilogy) with an assassin as the main characte...moreAssassins, oh how I love assassins. It seems a rare thing for me to find a book series (or in this case trilogy) with an assassin as the main character.
The world of The Way of Shadows is as brutal as it is fascinating. Weeks seems to have meshed together some of the best and worst aspects of historical civilizations. You have the overly lavish and indulgent lifestyle of the French (before the Revolution) aristocracy sitting hand in hand with the bloodlust of the Arenas from the Roman Empire.
The book isn't a 'pretty' book. There are actions and motivations throughout that would make most people cringe. Characters with such unquestionable evil intentions and personality that you want to run them through. Then there are characters like Durzo (who only takes jobs he feels are necessary) and Momma K (an aging prostitute with rules over the brothels of the city) who have traditionally 'bad' professions, but aren't bad people with bad intentions.
Azoth falls into that category. He is a good person, despite his angst, and became a wetboy to not only save himself but to help his friends. Which to digress--there is a definite difference between an 'assassin' and a 'wetboy' such as Durzo or Azoth. Not just in their methods, but in how they are viewed. Wetboys are the accepted, if not condoned, part of the book's society. They train and perfect their skills. They leave deaders. Assassins however kill with little finesse or thought and leave bodies. In the latter half of the book a better illustration of these differences presents itself.
Overall I love this book and am eagerly looking forward to the next two. Not my normal run, I tend towards female leads not male, but I'm very glad I picked it up.(less)
Levine's books are always a treat for me to read. Ella Enchanted, her most famous work and The Two Princesses of Bamarre (my personal favorite) both p...moreLevine's books are always a treat for me to read. Ella Enchanted, her most famous work and The Two Princesses of Bamarre (my personal favorite) both proved that a heroine doesn't have to be perfect in ways that were easy to identify with. Fairest is no exception. Aza is very easy to identify with--not just because she is ugly, but also because the trials she goes through are trials everyone deals with.
I liked Aza, she was a honest open character who did her best to do what she says she will do. She cares about others more often then herself and has been able to rise above the pettiness of the inn's guests to feel that she was greatly gifted by her family. I didn't begrudge her the fact that she often brought up the subject of her looks, the other characters rarely let her forget how she looked after all.
Ivi, as is to be expected I guess, was a horror. Even before Aza realized, finally, what was going on with her I could have guessed it. I would accuse her of being bipolar, but honestly even when she was being 'generous' with Aza the fact was that you could hear what she wasn't saying out loud. 'I will give you this Aza, but mine is still better' or 'You look great in that Aza, but I still look better' seemed to be the theme of their relationship. Attention, of any kind, always had to be on her. Good, bad or even hateful it had to be directed at her. She was a vain birdbrain given to selfish tantrums (I honestly wonder what she was like before she married Oscaro. I can't imagine that as a peasant girl in Kyrria she could have gotten away with even a smidgen of what she pulled in the Ontio Castle).
Ijori...I really really liked him at first. He seemed like such a wonderful guy. But I don't believe he ever really got over his intial distrust of Aza--despite what he said. Too quickly did he decamp from her when it looked like things were stacking against her. Too harshly did he decry his feelings for her when favor turned against her. I wouldn't have faulted Aza for socking him.
In the end this book left me with more feelings of unease then Ella or Bamarre did. The moral of the story (any good fairy tale has one after all) seemed too forcibly hoisted on the reader. Forgive Others! Accept yourself! Be Confident in Yourself! I might have liked this better if Aza didn't accept herself after Ijori said he thought her looks were fine and he liked them better then ordinary beauty.(less)