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Range of Ghosts (Eternal Sky #1)

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3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  2,779 Ratings  ·  450 Reviews
Temur, grandson of the Great Khan, is walking away from a battlefield where he was left for dead. All around lie the fallen armies of his cousin and his brother, who made war to rule the Khaganate. Temur is now the legitimate heir by blood to his grandfather's throne, but he is not the strongest. Going into exile is the only way to survive his ruthless cousin.

Once-Princess
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ebook, 336 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Tor Books
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Lightreads
Sep 30, 2012 Lightreads rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
So the draw here is entirely the worldbuilding, to my eye. And it is good worldbuilding; Bear didn’t just say ‘hey, I want to write heroic fantasy about them easterners instead of another damn western European retread,’ she actually thought it through. This is not worldbuilding that relies on exoticized stereotypes. This stuff makes sense, right down to the nutritional advice given to a woman who has just lost her fertility (eat soybeans, which is exactly the advice that would come out of a doct ...more
The Shayne-Train
I seriously could not get enough of this book!

The story was instantly engaging. That's always a worry for me. It can be the most amazi-crazy book in the world, but if the first 15 pages don't grab me, I may not be finishing it. I know that's kind of harsh, but I have an intimidatingly huge To-Read shelf, and if'n you wanna be in mah brainz, y'all needta come correct.

So often, fantasy novels come down to world-building. This is a new and foreign place to the reader, and the details of the way th
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Jason
Apr 08, 2012 Jason rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books, read-2012
4.5 Stars

Range of Ghosts is a great read that blends a fantasy with a fairytale. This is my first Elizabeth Bear read, even though she has been on my reading list for a very long time. After reading this one, I will surely be looking up her other works.
This book is magical. The writing is sublime. The prose is lyrical. The vocabulary is extraordinary. Bear’s writing style adds to the wonderful world that she pens on paper. This is a novel that is incredible because of the amazing writing itself.
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M.K.  Carroll
Apr 25, 2013 M.K. Carroll rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got up early so that I could finish reading this book while the house was quiet and I could be alone with it, and I'm glad I did. After reading the last page, I sat with my coffee and just sat and explored how deeply satisfying I found this story, and thinking about why.

There is a lot for me to love in this book - the worldbuilding is excellent, and the storyline is smoothly paced. What I love most about it, though, is that this is a well-written story in which I can picture myself as an ordi
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Sarah
Dear Elizabeth Bear and Tor,

I’m suffering from an epic bout of nerd rage, at the moment, and I feel as though the responsible parties should know what a torment I am going through. You see, Range of Ghosts was an absolutely stunning read in ever aspect. It’s easily my favorite book of 2012 so far and now it’s over.

It’s OVER and I have NOTHING to turn to because it’s the FIRST BOOK in a TRILOGY and the next books haven’t been released yet! Oh, the tragedy!

That’s the cause of my nerd rage. I need
...more
Timothy Ward
Oct 07, 2013 Timothy Ward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed at Adventures in SciFi Publishing - Podcast and Giveaway of Eternal Sky Trilogy

I have heard for years that Elizabeth Bear is a rare talent, and I wish I hadn’t waited this long to read her. Her ability to mesmerize me with her prose reminds me of Mercedes Yardley, but with her own flair. I highlighted many passages from Range of Ghosts, but I’ll start with the first paragraph:

Ragged vultures spiraled up a cherry sky. Their sooty wings so thick against the sunset could have been the col
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Mitch
Mar 31, 2012 Mitch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: most-memorable
It should be a crime for a fantasy to be this good. Somehow, Elizabeth Bear has created a world so richly detailed, so gripping, that I couldn’t put this book down for three hours, not until I finally got to that last page. And even after that, I was still thinking about this book an hour later (and not just to write this review).

I’m not usually a fan of elaborate settings and descriptions, but Bear really makes it work here. Maybe it’s because reading the same kinds of descriptions in that twen
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Megan Baxter
Apr 14, 2014 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Almost the only thing I don't like about this book is the title. It's just too nondescript, and I kept forgetting what it was. I kept telling my husband about this great Elizabeth Bear book I was reading....uh...what's-it's-title. I can remember the titles for the next two in the series much more easily, for some reason. But this one kept escaping my brain.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this deci
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j
Apr 29, 2014 j rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, 2014, horses
Really good except for the parts where I have no idea what is going on. She might as well just write "Blah blah blah politics."

Still planning on going on to book two, because magical ponies and giant cat people.
Angela
Sep 27, 2012 Angela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to enjoy this book more than I actually did but, ultimately, it left me unfulfilled.

Bear’s world-building is, as always, superb. She has created a unique vision here, where the sky changes according to whose empire you’re in, and where moons wink out of existence as the human life they’re tied to is cut short. And Temur, Samarkar, Hrahina and their Nameless adversary are all intriguing characters who are worth getting to know.

The story itself, though, is where this one falters.
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Rob
Executive Summary: I enjoyed the last 25% or so, but that's just not enough for me to continue on in the series. 2.5 stars rounded up for a strong finish.

Audio book: I wasn't terribly impressed by Celeste Ciulla. I have a hard time deciding if some of the dialogue was bad, or if it was simply the inflections with with Ms. Ciulla read it. Overall she wasn't bad, but there were parts that made me cringe a bit/pulled me out of the story.

Full Review
I had been wanting to try Ms. Bear for about a ye
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Brad
I can easily say this is my favorite book by Elizabeth Bear. I liked the two main characters very much, the writing was smooth as silk, and probably most importantly, I loved the depth of the mythology.

I have a soft spot in my heart for stories within stories, and I have nothing but good things to say about Eternal Night and the Carrion King. The mythology works both as a gorgeous backdrop to the action as well as an excellent world-building tool.

Several images, like fields of butterflies along
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Jim
May 15, 2012 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After I finished reading this book, I spent several weeks trying to figure out how best to review it. I kept coming back to the word “thoughtful.” Everything from the worldbuilding and mythology to character to sentence and word choice.

The book opens to Temur, heir to the Khaganate, stumbling through a battlefield. His hand has gone numb from clasping the bloody gash along the side of his neck– You know what? Let me just give you a few paragraphs from the first page.

Beyond the horizon, a city la
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Bryn Hammond
Jun 09, 2013 Bryn Hammond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steppe-fiction
For me this book went by thirds: I loved the first third, slumped in the middle, then found the last very strong. That might be me: I noticed I liked it when they were on journeys, not in the palace and temple. The first third was most Mongolian, with a steppe journey and most attention paid to the horses (I missed them later); the last third had writing that wowed me and I was caught up in the climatic action. Had my interest been equal throughout, or had the scenes seemed to me more even, it’d ...more
Claudia
Sep 20, 2016 Claudia marked it as not-my-cup-of-coffee  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Way too repetitive with too many gory details right from the beginning. And too many details about horses (and I love horses). From other reviews seems to be a good one but I wasn't curious enough to pass beyond 8% to see, at least, what happens to the main character.
Sara Price.
Apr 12, 2015 Sara Price. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liked this a lot, very different than what I've read and the world building was pretty great!
Erica
I actually liked the book about 4.5 star's-worth but I found that I kept thinking about the story long after I'd finished it, so I give it a full five stars because it's stuck with me.
This is probably the most difficult book I've ever read for my own pleasure. It was like an intense hike, grueling and painful, but when you reach the vista, it was all worth it, even if you're thoroughly exhausted.
The author loves words and it shows but her writing style is tweaked just enough that I couldn't get
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Maggie K
Jun 05, 2012 Maggie K rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I truly love Elizabeth Bear's writing, and was not disappointed. She builds a beautiful and mystical universe, where Gods share the sky and the pantheons manipulate and cajole the lowly humans to keep chaos working in their favor.

Temur, the most likely heir to one of these kingdoms, is manipulated by honor into a quest to save his mate. Temur is a little difficult being so young, and is not defined very well other than the typical warrior type things, but that seems mostly because he hasn't defi
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Tudor Ciocarlie
The best fantasy novel I've read since Guy Gavriel Kay's Under Heaven with extraordinary characters, fabulous settings and interesting mythology.

I have read about many strange skies, but until Range of Ghosts I've never thought about what impact our sky had on our minds and souls. We are like this today because when humans first looked up they saw a blue sky and one sun in the day; we feel and think like this because they saw a black sky and one moon in the night.
Anya
Apr 09, 2014 Anya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
The audio is excellent, the world is so cool and unique, the characters diverse and strong. There is just the right of romance brewing, the friendships are great, the writing is gorgeous. Why didn't I read this trilogy sooner??
Alex Ristea
Got 200 pages in and had to put it down. Not for me.

The writing is good and the Mongol-themed worldbuilding is neat, but I wasn't captivated enough to continue.
G33z3r
Volume 1 of this trilogy is mostly about worldbuilding and character development/motivation: getting the band together for the noble quest. It's a pretty interesting world with a variable sky (I have to confess the astronomy geek in me often finds this disconcerting.). The world feature horse-clan peoples of the steppe, a bit different from the usual European middle-ages clone. I'm not sure Bear has done enough to wrap me in the characters' plights, though. I don't know if I'm going to take the ...more
*Absorbed in Countless Worlds*
The worldbuilding here seemed to promise to prepare for a nice read, but after all it just didn't deliver. Sadly so. It all felt a bit rushed, sketched even, and the story just lacks "flesh wrapped around its bones". Also, the characters remained quite two dimensional, with no real depth to them, which made it quite hard to care for any of them. So, it's all owed to the worldbuilding and setting that i'm still planning to give book two a try - desperately hoping it will get better there!
Phil
Mar 29, 2012 Phil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's a extract from my review, full link: http://afantasyreader.blogspot.ca/2012/07/range-of-ghosts-review.html

Elizabeth Bear is a renowned author but Range of Ghosts is her first work that I picked up. After a few chapters, I realized one of the reasons for her success; a smooth and imaginative writing style, not poetic but still, with a rhythm that make the prose feels personal, even passionate. Even with High Fantasy involved, the prose is taken up-close and feels a bit confining. However,
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Tim Martin
I love non-European settings for fantasy novels! There are simply not enough of them out there. Nothing against Tolkien, noting against a setting based on medieval France or Britain or Germany, or the Vikings, or even ancient Greece or Rome…but I adore well written fiction based in southern, central, and eastern Asia (or other areas for that matter outside of Europe). Here the setting has a very clear basis in the Arabian Middle East, China, Tibet, Mongolia, and the lands of the Silk Road, with ...more
Ron
Dec 17, 2015 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“It’s not a sacrifice if it doesn’t mean anything to you.”

Attention to detail evokes a world and culture similar to ours, yet not. Details large and small meld with details realistic, mythic and unlikely to suck the reader into the spell of her story. Sprinkled with aphorisms. (Too bad she italicizes them; heavy handed.)

“Different skies, different gods.”

Excellent depiction of the impact of beliefs on perceptions. Most modern fantasy dismisses all religion with a wink and a smirk. Bear takes it
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Beth
Sep 02, 2012 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Range of Ghosts reminded me of The Way of Kings in some ways. It's not the plot, though both are arguably fantasy epics; it's the way the plot unfolds, the way the characters are treated within the plot. I usually like books heavy on characterization, and neither of these two titles focus primarily on that. There is characterization, of course - I don't think I'd care about the books if I didn't care about the people in them - but the focus isn't on their lives and choices. Rather, it's on their ...more
Stefan
Early on in the novel, after being transported from all she knows to a new setting, a character muses that “she had fallen into a story.” That line also describes the experience of reading this novel: it’s a book you can sink into. It’s also that rare novel that feels longer than it is in a good way: barely 330 pages long in hardcover, it imparts the same sense of richness and immersion you’d expect from a doorstopper, but distilled into a tighter, more concentrated package. I cannot recommend R ...more
Robyn
Oct 27, 2014 Robyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I thought this was a beautifully written beginning to the series; Bear deftly weaves together Central Asian history and mythos and adds her own imaginings to it. I love the two main characters, and the wonderful details that Bear adds - she has an ethnographer's eye when describing the peoples of her world. Really, 4.5 stars.
Becky
This book was phenomenal. I had been looking for something like this, a book with this intense blend of fantasy and almost fairytale or folk tale, where the world itself was immersed with magic rather than just having people who could utilize magic. I wanted a story that would drip with an innate magic than emanated from the land itself, and that’s what this book is.

I would say the only “flaw” this book has is that it takes a bit of time to really get into the story, mostly because of the naming
...more
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What Goodreads really needs is a "currently WRITING" option for its default bookshelves...
More about Elizabeth Bear...

Other Books in the Series

Eternal Sky (3 books)
  • Shattered Pillars (Eternal Sky, #2)
  • Steles of the Sky (Eternal Sky, #3)

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“If you could disagree with kings, were gods so far above?” 15 likes
“She said, "You're a warrior. So how do you kill without rage?"
"In compassion. Because of necessity." Hrahima set the empty water bowl back in Samarkar's hands. "The same way you carry water.”
13 likes
More quotes…