**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**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....more
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 characteAssassins, 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....more
I'll review each of the 15 stories separately (quickly) then my overall impression.
The Gift of Rain Mountain (Bruce Holland Rogers)-- This story startI'll review each of the 15 stories separately (quickly) then my overall impression.
The Gift of Rain Mountain (Bruce Holland Rogers)-- This story started off a little too slow for me. I wanted to punch the Main Character (Mactun) a few times because he irked me. The ending twist on what Mactun finally took from the Rain Mountain God as a boon made me grin with irony.
The Magestone (S.M. and Jan Stirling)-- I liked this twist on the mermaid/sailor tales. Though after reading what humans did to the wizard Shansu I felt a little queasy. The mermaid, Neesha, was kind of blood thirsty, but she thought she had the right way of thinking.
Eli and the Dybbuk (Janis Ian)--This was an interesting tale. Real quick--a dybbuk is from Jewish folklore and the gist of what they are is lost souls. They did horrible things in life and could not attain Heaven so they are stuck on Earth trying to possess unwary folks. I liked the moral of the story--brains over brawn (pretty much).
Heartless (Holly Black)--My first, my VERY FIRST, Holly Black story! What does it mean to be heartless? Holly Black explores this in a story about a young girl who follows army camps--doing the cooking, servicing etc. She remembers being someone else, but her mother had put her heart into her little finger bone (which Ada kept around her neck). Throughout the story Ada ponders the fact that she feels nothing and at the end she takes the greatest risk of all. Incidentally this is another story that involves a spirit--this time manes, in Roman mythology, were the deceased ancestors of people who were offered blood sacrifices.
Lioness (Pamela F. Service)--I have always enjoyed Pamela F. Service's historical novels, especially The Reluctant God (which is half historical, half contemporary). This story is about a young warrior princess, scared and worried about the Roman's continued push to take her kingdom (Kush), but determined to serve her god (the god of war Apedemek) and avenge her homeland. I cried a little, at the end, in relief because Tari (the princess) pulled through and proved herself capable.
Thunderbolt (Esther Friesner)--This is the story that led to the creation of Nobody's Princess and Nobody's Prize--two YA novels about Helen of SpartaTroy's early life. In this Helen recounts how it was really SHE who saved herself from the Athenian King Theseus, not her maybe divine (but really mortal) brothers. Helen was vastly amusing and I greatly loved how...manipulative she was. For a good cause (her freedom), but still.
Devil Wind (India Edghill)--Revenge! Age old classic theme. I liked how India wove both Hindu customs/beliefs with English religious beliefs. It made me a little sad though, reading about the fates of all those good people, but like the MC (Taravati) her brand of justice is well deserved and fitting.
The Boy Who Cried "Dragon!" (Mike Resnick)--Short and witty best sums up this 'true accounting' of the story never told. Geeky would-be knight meets geeky would-be fearsome dragon and a bond is formed over their innate geekiness. I found it cute when Melvin (would-be knight) bemoaned his pimples and Horace (would-be fearsome dragon) bemoaned not HAVING any.
Student of Ostriches (Tamora Pierce)--I always enjoy Tamora Pierce's writing to some degree. This short story was almost like hearing a legend actually. I would have never thought to study ostriches for learning combat, but apparently they have some wonderful moves. It did teach me to be wary of boys who kiss too easily however.
Serpent's Rock (Laura Anne Gilman)--I'll be honest this story went over my head. It began easily enough--a young boy wishes to help save his sister against BAD odds--but it then got somewhat confusing.
Hidden Warriors (Margaret Mahy)--It's important to note that the title is Hidden WarriorS not Hidden Warrior, the plural is important to remember while reading. This sometimes read like a fairy tale and sometimes read like a bard's song--it kept me interested and intrigued as it weaved the tale of a young magician who isn't sure who (or what) he is and a city that hides its true self behind friendship.
Emerging Legacy (Doranna Durgin)--This right here was a wonderful 'Surprises come in small packages' story. For anyone who was ever told that they were too awkward or graceless or klutzy to be useful, or if you were ever told that you were a disappointment as a child, this story is a wonderful salve. Kelyn is everything a warrior shouldn't be--clumsy, slow and prone to accidents if she didn't pay attention, but she used her brain and that in the end saved them all.
An Axe for Men (Rosemary Edghill)--Religious doctrine is something I have no patience for, but I do enjoy studying the ancient beliefs of civilizations long gone to the wind of time. Edghill's story is that of a young Priestess who, when seeing the only world she has ever known destroyed, learns the truth of that world. Her courage to find a new path for her people is what made this story so great.
Acts of Faith (Lesley McBain)--This story made me cry a little. I've been told stories of Ireland during WWII--just as I've been told stories of Italy and America from my other grandparents during the War--and the cant that McBain uses reminds me so strongly of how my Granny used to talk that I felt as if she was telling me the story.
Swords That Talk (Brent Hartinger)--Talking swords and a hero who laments being born during a time of enduring peace. This story was pretty funny and enjoyable to read for me. Quick like from an author I hadn't read before.
Overall the collection pleased me greatly, with only a few corkscrews that I could have done without. I also found several new authors to obsess overread more from. If you haven't already picked this up, then do so!...more
I had read this book a while back. I was like sixteen I think, which marks me closer to the age of our heroine. The book is a quick, light read that iI had read this book a while back. I was like sixteen I think, which marks me closer to the age of our heroine. The book is a quick, light read that is delightful, but it suffers from being so short. A lot of time is spent before the 'trouble' of the book even begins and the detail is well placed there. We learn about the daily lives of the people, of Ariella and a lot about the Harvest Time.
Unfortunately when her father dies and her life changes the nature of the book changes. The action happens quickly and the resolution even quicker. I think if this had been a book of Lackey's normal length we would have been given better details as far as the feelings and thoughts of Merod and Ariella are concerned. As it is 128 pages is just too short a novel to richly imagine the world and circumstances....more
Sailor's Moon by Merline Lovelace: This was my favorite story of the whole set. The ending was a little rushed feeling, butI'll review each separately
Sailor's Moon by Merline Lovelace: This was my favorite story of the whole set. The ending was a little rushed feeling, but all in all I felt that it was the most well rounded of the three. I especially liked Lady Stanton, Elizabeth. She was simply unrepentant about her ways--the only thing she really regretted was her lack of foresight. But moreso then her brash attitude and devil-may-care regard for society, I thought it was refreshing that she didn't prove her 'wildness' through being a consummate wanton. As for the American, Richard, I liked him as well. It was also a nice touch that there was so much history explained--Lovelace didn't just assume the reader knew the particulars of that time period's strife.
White Fire by Susan King: Pretty straight forward lovers reunited tale. I admit to being a little confused on how Simon expected to be both the Law Enforcer and keep his (adopted) kinsmen out of trouble as free traders. He made a big deal throughout the story of needing to do things because he was the 'excise man', but would reassure the Colvins (Jenny's family and the family that raised him) that they were safe from the law. I liked Jenny, she was a spitfire and romance needs more of her ilk in historical novels. Simon was well enough, but he was wallowing in self-recriminations and pity a bit too much for my tastes.
The Devil's Own Moon by Miranda Jarrett: The synopsis made this sound sort of like a combination of the two other stories, but I oddly didn't care for this too much. It needed more fleshing out and might have made me happier.
I did enjoy reading two new authors that I hadn't before read in the genre (King and Lovelace) and look forward to finding more by both....more
This was an impulse buy with a giftcard from the holidays, but one I'm happy about. The Arabian setting, even an Arabian inspired fantasy, was vastlyThis was an impulse buy with a giftcard from the holidays, but one I'm happy about. The Arabian setting, even an Arabian inspired fantasy, was vastly interesting. Of course we always hear about the intrigues of the harem, its all women and whenever you put together such a large amount of women in a place dedicated to ambition and ruthlessness there is bound to be fun stories to relate, but I think Mallet's take on the all those Princes in line for the throne is equally entertaining. Just like in any socially dominant setting groups are formed, cliques are found and the 'in group' pushes around the 'out group'. Only in this instance it doesn't pay to be in either group quite frankly since anyone could be a rival for the throne. Amir's approach to just hiding, staying low and blending in works perfectly well.
The novel does begin slow and tends to follow threads of storyline for a little while before a new one begins and it follows that one instead. Sometimes it will go back to the previous storyline quickly, but often several chapters run by without significant development on the major plot threads. It wasn't much of a problem for myself, since I read this in one sitting in a four hour period of time, but I could feel the frustration that others might feel if they read a few chapters, put it down and returned to it the next night. Some of the threads became so confusing and convoluted that I ignored them in favor of the more interesting ones. Such as the intrigues between all the Brothers in the Cage or the mystery that surrounded Erik, Amir's half brother.
The book is told from Amir's first person POV and ordinarily I don't like reading from a male's point of view. I can't get into it as well I suppose. Amir however is different--his silent observations and caustic remarks were amusing and kept me from feeling like I was swimming in male territory. Though he is labeled as nineteen in the book, I can't quite believe that much of the time. He acts more like he's in his mid to late 20's. As a character he takes a while to 'like'; he prefers the 'head in the sand' approach to life and keeps to himself mostly. This wouldn't be so bad, except he spends a lot of time acting more like a child who's been left out of a group then a loner who thinks its a better idea to be such.
The friendship he builds with Erik is fun and a little quirky as Erik definitely is more intelligent and personable of the two, but has no common sense and a complete blind spot to failings of those he cares about. The intrigue surrounding their Brothers' suspiciously magical deaths only occasionally pops up--usually just before one such Brother dies--and its resolution is part of the confusing and convoluted plotlines I mentioned. It makes sense, mostly, but to get to that sense you have to wade through a lot of petty half-secrets and explanations.
The only other complaint I have is that sometimes the author would have Amir tell us what has happened rather then have us view it as its happening. The adventure that prompts the second book, The King's Daughters, for instance is merely relayed to us as a momentary aside instead of seeing how the decision came about. Regardless I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the second one (which I also bought for christmas) and hope to see a third one sometime soon! ...more