Barb in Maryland's Reviews > Range of Ghosts

Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear
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Apr 12, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: sf-f-goodies
Read in April, 2012

The book jacket description, quoted above, barely begins to describe the wonders awaiting the reader. The author has packed riches into a mere 325 pages by using prose where every word is important. There is lyrical description when needed, sharp characterizations, romance, derring-do, deep magics, and vast terror. In short, a feast for the reader.

It was nice to read a fantasy with a different world view. The main landscape and cultures correspond to our medieval central Asia. Temur's people are horse centric people of the steppes. Samarkan-la's people live in mountain fortresses. They belong to two different empires that have been not-so peacefully co-existing for hundreds of years. There are other empires to the west, of course. And there is a great trade route, the Celadon Highway, that spans thousands of miles. I found the most interesting detail to be the sky. The sky overhead, the moon(s), the stars, even the direction of the sun's movement(!), varied depending on which empire ruled the location in question. How cool is that?! And the bad guys (the Nameless)are a blend of the Assassins cult (from the time of the crusades)and ninjas; their leader is very scary, playing a very deep game.
I was intrigued by the tales in The Arabian Nights. Reading this book was like finding a long-lost volume of those stories.

Several notes of warning: This is the first book of a new series. It has a cliff-hanger-ish ending. If I have to wait a full year for the next book I shall be very unhappy.
But if you do decide to read it now, give yourself several uninterrupted hours to do so. I got so absorbed in the story that I resented having to put the book down in order to deal with Real Life.
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