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King's Dragon by Kate Elliott
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May 21, 12

Read in July, 2010

Leading up to our wedding, Bethany and I both blazed through Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars series as fast as we could We both adored it. At long last, after five years, I'm returning to it. Prior to this, neither of us had been voracious readers of speculative fiction. So, my reread is for two purposes: 1. Refresh the great characters in my mind; and 2. See if it holds up. The first volume definitely did. King's Dragon shifts the narrative perspective frequently, relying on the observations of at least five characters. This number grows in the subsequent volumes. The world of Crown of Stars is much like central Europe towards the end of the first millennium A.D., with a great deal of myth and magic thrown in, but the countries, geography, and some features of history remain extremely similar. It primarily follows the stories of Alain, a young man who had been promised to a monastery, but finds himself serving a local count after the monastery is destroyed by raiders, and Liath, a young woman who had spent her life wandering the world with her father, gaining secret knowledge, until her father mysteriously dies and she is enslaved to a local priest. The majority of Elliott's characters feel real and are interesting, but for me the world is the highlight of these books. It is complicated, fascinating, and incredibly detailed. And I found myself just as interested in it as I was before, even if the narrative, spoiled by prior knowledge, wasn't as compelling. I still highly recommend these books to anyone who loves the fantasy genre.
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