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The Tempering of Men (Iskryne World #2)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  782 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews

In Iskryne, the war against the Trollish invasion has been won, and the lands of men are safe again…at least for a while. Isolfr and his sister, the Konigenwolf Viradechtis, have established their own wolfhaell. Viradechtis has taken two mates, and so the human pack has two war leaders. And in the way of the pack, they must come to terms with each other, must become broth

ebook, 304 pages
Published August 16th 2011 by Tor Books
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Aug 19, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
My what a middle book this middle book is. There's nothing wrong with it, mind you. It's just, middly. We change focus from Isolfr, who was a pretty appealing character, to Vethur, who no one really liked in the first book, and Skajldwulf, who I kind of liked, and how they find comfort in each other. For a few pages at least, and then it's all roadtrip.

We see the problems of the third book building, how will they remake themselves, what are we going to do about the not!Romans, etc. I think the t
This book was a big disappointment. I'd been looking forward to it for awhile, and then it was just a blatant and entirely boring setup for the third book in this series. And look, the middle piece of a trilogy does not have to be bad - Two Towers and Empire Strikes Back are the best of their respective series. But this book was disjointed and, quite frankly, boring. It inexplicably did away with Isolfr's POV and introduced a handful of characters to tell the story. And I didn't really care abou ...more
In Companion to Wolves, Bear and Monette presented a dark and grim twist on the classic fantasy trope of telepathic bonds with animals. Men were forced to give up their expected lives and occupations when one of the gigantic wolves chose them, and lived instead the fierce but short lives of troll-fighters. In Companion to Wolves, (view spoiler) In this sequel, the men are left with t ...more
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
While I liked learning more about the world, and what comes after the trolls, I had some big issues with this book that marred my enjoyment. Number one, it definitely falls prey to middle-book syndrome. There was no resolution, just more and more problems. Two, as much as I enjoyed the POV characters we get, Isolfr is not one of them.

And number three, and my biggie: WTF is up with Vethulf, Skajldwulf, and Isolfr? I get that Isolfr is uncomfortable with attraction to men, but in A Companion to W
Jamie Collins
A pretty good read, but not as compelling as the first book. The point of view changes from Isolfr to that of Vethulf and Skjaldwulf, which I was looking forward to, but I was a little disappointed in the external view of Isolfr.

Plotwise (the sex is a minor element in this one) the wolf pack is worried that they’ll become obsolete since there are no more trolls to fight (another parallel with Dragonriders of Pern). Luckily a new enemy appears in the form of a pseudo-Roman invasion force. The end
Dec 12, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trashy-fantasy
Well, that was a quick and disappointing read. Despite my problems with the first book, I wanted to find out what happens next, especially to Isolfr and Viradechtis.


Also, gah. The plots were less developed and interesting this time, probably because there were three distinct plots going on. The characterization was also worse. Maybe it's because the POV swapped around too much for the authors to really get deep into
Kaje Harper
Aug 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m, fantasy
3.5 stars. I loved the first book in this series, A Companion to Wolves, (although be warned there is some dub-con sex in that one that is very disturbing to some people depending on how dubious you perceive the consent to be.) This book was more rambling, with the main characters separated again, delaying the emotional interactions that needed to happen to bind them into a working relationship. It is definitely only to be read after the first, or you will drown in the names and designations. Wh ...more
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This follows directly on A Companion to Wolves, where a Viking-like society soul bond with wolves to fight trolls, and occasionally have Viking sex with each other. The sequel has lost a lot of the id-scratching appeal of the first book, it spreads out the POVs to three secondary characters from the first book and divides the narrative as well. There's an increased focus on world-building which was interesting, also I appreciated the attempts to deal with finding a purpose for our wolf pack afte ...more
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
(Originally posted @ CSI:Librarian.)

3.5 Stars - What both authors gave me was well worth reading and waiting for and everything about the book was solid and well-executed. And yet while virtually every page had something for me to highlight, applaud, commend, and/or appreciate in terms of writing or world-building skills... There just wasn't a lot that I could just flat-out love, gush, and/or rant about in a happy, gleeful way.

For example, I appreciated the importance of the wolves as well as th
I was so looking forward to reading this! I was left astounded by the intricate relationship and story telling in the first novel. And having to wait the order the second novel to arrive felt unbearably long.

And now I kind of feel cheated of my expectations out of this book.(view spoiler)
Sep 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
4.5 stars

A wonderful visit back to the Iskryne world. It's such a fascinating civilization. I love what Monette/Bear do with the sexual politics and gender roles. Yet while those issues never overtake the story itself, they greatly inform the plot and culture. Vethulf and Skjaldwulf's stories really shed a lot of light on their characters. It was great to learn more about them, and their relationship dynamics are so interesting. I found myself reading slower and slower as the book progressed, so
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didnt-finish
The was the middle-bookiest of middle books.

I came into this series kind of ass-backwards. I read the third one first, loved it and then went back and read the first book in the series. Hm, looking at my reviews that was about one and a half years ago. Then I got to this book.

I figured my way out through the third book with no problems- characters and relationships made sense and the authors did a good job with letting me know who they were without anything feeling like an infodump. In this boo
(This contains some spoilers.)

More wolves! More swartalfs! More territorial wolfjarl pissing contests, many many journeys, and not quite as much – but still quite a lot – gay wolf-bonded viking sex. Good times. I really like the unique premise of these books and that they don't play coy with some of the more controversial issues. And I enjoy the sly sense of humour shared by many of the characters. I could explore this world for quite a bit longer than the books actually spend playing in it (but
I really, really wanted to like this book. I love the idea of being bonded to giant telepathic wolves. I love the word the books are set in. I love how natural and accepted gay sex was in this book. But I just couldn't like this book. I stopped reading it later than perhaps any other book I've read: I reached 92% (one more night of reading and I would have finished it). I was just so beyond caring at that point though, I wanted to spend my very limited reading time on something I might like bett ...more
I started this book with equal parts eagerness and trepidation, because I truly adored A Companion to Wolves, so I was surely setting myself up for disappointment with unreasonable expectations. And I was right, kind of.

I did like this book. These are the same fantastic settings and characters that I loved from before, and we get to learn more about their fascinating world and follow on more of their crazy shenanigans. And there were some awesome new things; brilliant layers added to this alrea
Abigail Hilton
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have loved everything I've read by this pair of authors, including the short stories on which they've collaborated.

I really enjoyed this book, too, which is a credit to the authors, because it's pretty piecemeal. You get the idea that the authors thought they were done after one book, and the readers said, "More!" And the authors were like, "Really? Because what comes next isn't that exciting." And the readers said, "We want to know anyway!" So the author's said, "You got it."

This book deals
The Tempering of Men
We Ran Out of Trolls, Now What?

I find it interesting how A Companion to Wolves was a strong stand alone book, but The Tempering of Men is anything but stand alone. It leans heavily on both the first book and a book that hasn't even been written yet.

It's not that the plot is thin. The plot is quite thick. It's that the plot isn't remotely finished. Oh, we reach AN ending point by the time the book closes and its not even a forced ending. It's a fine ending. It's just not the
About 2/3rds of the way thru, I gave up on this book having any plot whatsoever. Still, the first book was largely character driven, so perhaps there was still hope. I'd say this book was character driven, but it was disappointing in that. The characters were just a bit loose. It was too far and between that we got good snatches of the characters. I think it was a mistake, separating Skaldwulf and Venthulf. Or at least for separating them for so long. I think we would have benefited from their s ...more
Mar 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, lgbt
Mixed feelings on this one - I loved getting Skjaldwulf's and Vethulf's POVs (Skjaldwulf is kind of my favourite) but the book as a whole felt meandering, with a lot of set up for not much pay off.

(view spoiler)
Still a fascinating read, how many books out there related a peace time after-war-story in which the hero are not needed anymore?

I give this 4.5 and from this book I can see that the third book would be much much more intriguing than the first one, so, really looking forward to that ^^
Aug 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, scribd
Clearly a middle book--less focused and more set-up than the first book in the series, which I loved, but still intriguing. I can't wait for the last one!
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's really hard to talk about the Tempering of Men, without mentioning my thoughts on a Companion to Wolves, the first book in the series.

That book I loved when I first read it and on re-read it settled firmly on the 4 star range for me. It had a new take on the traditional hero's journey, the stakes were high and the world was introduced and developed in a plausible manner. The book was well written and there was a lot of thought put into it, even if some of the content may have been questiona
Jun 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

Same triumphs/mistakes as the first one, and though some of the new POVs certainly added to the story, some others felt somewhat superfluous and like they didn't add anything to the plot. Still though, I couldn't put it down until I finished it, so that's points in its favor.
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, lgbt
What a weird sequel lmao! At first I was really into Skjaldwulf and Vethulf as pov characters, especially the promise of seeing their relationship with Isolfr, but it didn't really go there. It went towards other places but didn't really go there either.

The whole thing read like the first 200 pages of a 1000 page fantasy book, rather than a sequel to a really tightly written, self-contained, fully realised 250 page book. It was so bizarre lol. It makes me just really curious where the next one
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found my self engrossed in this book. Yes, I got distracted every now and then, but refusing to dwell too much on other things. I kept thinking, why my brain refused to absorb those names and terms the author so boldly used. I remember (well, almost) every wolfcarls, trellwolves and wolfless men from the first book, but I can't remember the names, it's so hard since the names are all so weird to me but I am willing to understand Scandinavian. I only remember wolfcarls' and trellwolves' deed an ...more
Oct 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I agree with several other reviewers that Tempering felt very much like setting the stage, very different from the previous novel, which was the main event and had all the very high stakes and drama that comes with that. I knew from the start that for all the risky adventures and injuries, from a couple of battles with dangerous wild beasts, to the discovery of an unknown svartalf clan, to the capture of one of the main characters, there wouldn't be any hard losses or great victories or big reve ...more
Kristina Cecka
Okay, so in terms of world-building and writing, this book matches all of the standards of the first one. The world is every bit as interesting and complex - the trellwolves especially are great and I love the idea of pack-sense.

My problem with this book is more that the first book built up Isolfr, the protagonist, and then in this book we barely see him for five minutes at a time. I guess it's more of a personal thing - Isolfr was my favorite character in the first book and the most interestin
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book even more than the first.

I loved the politics, and the musings of what a warrior people do when their reason for warring is gone, in the form of Skjaldwulf awareness of his own age and how that makes him look at all the people around him. I love books about people growing into and learning leadership, which was what much of the first book was about, but here we have new leaders and new situations.

I was not expecting the Romans. I probably should have expected the Romans, but
Bernice Mills
I'm going to be honest with you, I'm a little bit disappointed in this book. I guess that's why it took me so long to do a review - I didn't want to say anything bad about it, but there really wasn't much to say.

Let me start with the positive - we get glimpses of other people's points of view this time, and I enjoy the break from Isolfr's somewhat whiny point of view. I like whiny heroes (Hi, Harry Potter) but sometimes it's nice to have a viewpoint from someone who is a bit more grown up, a bit

I've not finished this book (and may not), so maybe it gets better, but I'm seriously confused. Stylistically, this book is almost as different from the first book as it could be. The first book was a fairly incredible fantasy novel with a young hero torn from everything he's known, who comes to fit into a new position he wasn't ready for and find love in his wolf sister. This is some sort of romance novel that jumps between three characters' pov and doesn't always do a good job of letting
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My pseudonym is Katherine Addison. Katherine reviews nonfiction. Sarah reviews fiction. Fair warning: I read very little fiction these days.

I was born and raised in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, one of the secret cities of the Manhattan Project. I studied English and Classics in college, and have gone on to get my M.A. and Ph.D. in English Literature. My first four novels were published by Ace Books. I h
More about Sarah Monette...

Other Books in the Series

Iskryne World (3 books)
  • A Companion to Wolves (Iskryne World, #1)
  • An Apprentice to Elves (Iskryne World, #3)

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