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The Aware (The Isles of Glory, #1)
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The Aware

(Isles of Glory #1)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  771 ratings  ·  55 reviews
A halfbreed's search for a mysterious slave woman leads her to a lawless land of dark dunmagic and an evil that poses a threat to all the Isles of Glory.
Mass Market Paperback, 318 pages
Published March 29th 2005 by Ace (first published 2003)
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Claudia McIntyre I think it is one of those knee-length robes with high thigh slits.

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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  771 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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Nemo (The Moonlight Library)
This review was originally posted on Young Adult At Heart

Blaze Halfbreed has been sent on a mission to retrieve the Cirkasian Castlemaid from Gortham Spit, a barely hospital strip of sand where only the lowest of the low and the most desperate congregate. There she discovers the filthy stench of evil dunmagic and realises a great evil has returned to threaten the whole of the Isles of Glory.

Blaze Halfbreed is citizenless in an island archipelago where citiz
The Captain
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Ahoy there me mateys! This book was part of the Maine book haul. I had never heard of the author or this book. Apparently this author is Australian. Hooray for non-US authors! The lovely cover is what drew me in:

I mean seriously – a kick-ass woman holding a giant sword and riding on a pearlescent sea creature for only 25¢. I had to have it. And I really really liked it. Interestingly, it was Shortlisted for the Best Fantasy Novel in 2003 at the Aurealis Awards for Fantasy and Science
Jul 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: july-reads
Adult. Some innuendo and mention of past sexual relationship.

The Aware is the first in The Isles of Glory trilogy by Australian fantasy author Glenda Larke. It tells the story of Blaze Halfbreed, citizenless in a world where citizenship is everything, abandoned by her parents as an infant, despised for her half-breed status, hired by the Sylvtalents as a spy-come-assassin-come-protector - for she is one of the Aware, one of the few people in the world who can actually see magic, and
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really great world building. I loved the characters immensely. It took roughly half the book to truly get invested, but when I did, I couldn't put it down.

The characterizations and reasoning behind some of the characters can seem lacking, but that is in part because of the style in which the story is told: as a series of interviews and recollections of some of the chief characters.

Larke created a very wonderful world that seemed very real, and her characters are very lovable while being very f
Anna Hepworth
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: before-2013
Not a real review, just some bullet point reactions:

• Larke has managed a story which has strong and believable female (main) characters while working within a somewhat feudal world setting.
• The romance sub-text is kept firmly under the carpet, and not allowed to take over any of the storyline.
• Both the first person narrative, and the interspersed letters from the ethnographer worked, individually and in their interaction.
• Despite there being a fair number of characte
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Jury is out. For the most part I really enjoyed; then, in the latter pages we got very YA. Redeemed itself, hence the “hung” jury. Blaze; blazing mistake towards the end there girl!
Annette Gisby
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Another imaginative start to a series by Glenda Larke. Rapidly becoming one of my favourite authors.
The MC started as a badass woman which got me really interested, but then she developed those relationships that were so weird - too quick and deep for that character. Not sure I'll pick up the next.
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book for its fantastic worldbuilding, unique magic system, and interesting characters - even secondary and background characters have personality and feel real. The world is rich with details and mysteries, leaving me wanting more. The Isles of Glory felt like real places that you could visit. The maps at the beginning were a fun and interesting touch.

However, I have minor quibbles with how one of the main characters [Flame] ends up on the receiving end of a lot of violence; she is
Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)
Trigger warning for sexual assault

The Aware is the first book in a second world fantasy series about Blaze Halfbreed. Blaze is searching for a mysterious Circasian woman on the spit, a lawless stretch of sand where the Isles of Glory send their unwanted. Along the way she encounters enough dunmagic, an evil form of magic that corrupts other magic users, to pose a threat to the entire Isles.

Blaze is one of the aware, people who can see and sense magic even if they cannot use it thems
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Isles of Glory have strict citizenship laws, and halfbreeds like Blaze aren’t welcome anywhere but the lowest of the low: Gorthan Spit, the lawless island where criminals go to hide. On top of being tall and lethally skilled, Blaze is also “Aware.” She can sense the magic of others and is immune to sylv and dunmagic. With her Awareness and fighting skills, Blaze is a powerful force to be reckoned with, and her years growing up in the street have hardened her. She works for the Keepers, the s ...more
Jul 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
An excellent book. In many ways a pretty straightforward fantasy novel, but with enough variation and coarseness to give it some edge. The word 'gritty' is often associated with this novel (e.g. on the front cover of my copy), and while I've seen grittier, it's an authentic, believable grittiness that adds some much-needed depth to Glenda Larke's mercenary world of back-alley politics.

I believe the Isles of Glory and Gorthan Spit in particular are portrayed exactly as Glenda Larke wa
Vanessa J
I bought 'The Aware' because I was impressed by Glenda Larke's other book 'Heart of the Mirage'. This one doesn't quite live up to the same standard, but it's a solid read that makes an effort at creative world-building instead of the usual medieval fare.

Larke has chosen a useful way of telling the story; from the perspective of a main character eighty years in the future to an outsider unfamiliar with their traditions. It takes some of the suspense out - we know the character is going to survi
Dec 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
It took me a while to work my way through this book. It had a decent enough premise - magic is outlawed and only outlaws use magic. Unless of course they happen to work for certain government factions, in which case magic is perfectly okay. I'm not sure if this was meant as a political statement, but it read like one.

Overall a decent story, even if the main character can't seem to think for herself. She has been cheated, mistreated and abused all her life and seems to think it normal
Chrissy Wissler
Oct 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Blaze Halfbreed has spent the last twenty years as an agent for the Keepers, working towards the dream of one day becoming a citizen. Her Awareness, an ability to sense magic, has granted her some measure of importance for the Keepers.

On assignment, Blaze's travels have taken her to Gorthan Spit, a lawless island where the worst of the criminals go, and where she's hoping to find a slave woman the Keeper's are looking for. Instead of finding the Castlemaid and earning herself quite a
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rather enjoyed this debut novel. :) Will write a review soon.

Edit: I was really surprised with this book, and it's so awesome that the author is from Western Australia (mah home state!) and is doing rainforest conservation...

Anyway trailing off aside, this book was really good. The lore and magic system was great and fairly simple to understand, the world was a little different than what I am used to reading in fantasy and the main characters were quite interesting and we
Kelley Ceccato
I've been reading a number of fantasy and science fiction novels lately that place a high emphasis on female friendship, and this is one of them. Such books are not many, and they are to be treasured.

Strengths: a wonderfully complex and intriguing protagonist with a distinct first-person narrative voice; superb world-building; a romance subplot that does NOT make one gag; and, of course, the aforementioned friendship between the two central female characters.

Weaknesses: well, there
Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
I read the Last Stormlord before this, so it felt like a bit of a let down. Larke's writing has improved tenfold since this book. I almost gave up around page 200 or so, but a cyclone locking me inside encouraged me to finish the book in a day a week later. I think I'm glad I did. It gets better as it goes along, but still very cliche, pointing out the obvious, praising the lead role too much for little reason, telling instead of showing... etc

I have the rest of the series, so shall
Lian Tanner
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Very enjoyable fantasy. I haven't come across Glenda Larke before, but will definitely read more. I liked the way she took a more nuanced view of magic than is usual, with the recognition that it places non-magical people at a serious disadvantage, and that even 'good' magic creates a two-tiered society and is open to abuse (for all the best reasons, of course!). The trilogy seems to be aiming towards a point where the islands have lost their magic altogether - which in most fantasy would be mou ...more
Tully Mack
Apr 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing. it's one of those books you think about and "ponder" the storyline for days after....or is that just me? i was kind of let down though when i saw the next book in the series wasn't about blaze (i hate side series) but i thought i'd still buy the book and give it a try. so far i have read 8 pages of feather and cannot get past it, even though i bought the book a year ago. i'm just wondering if anyone has read both the aware and gilfeather and thinks it's worth reading gilfe ...more
Jun 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
I read this a few years ago. It had so little impact I can barely remember it now. You have a world composed of several islands, and everyone needs citizenship. The main character is a warrior woman with some kind of magic (I don't even remember how it works). She is sort of a slave to some kind of society that uses her for her gifts and has offered her citizenship at the end of her service. She's tracking some evil magic user who's hiding in this pretty nasty city. Not the worst book I've read, ...more
Jan 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
It took me ages to get into this book - the setting, the evil dunmagic, the swashbuckling lead character (who is at least a woman, which makes the genre a little fresher), but I kept going with it, and it grew on me. It's a little cliched in places, and the evil is a little too utterly evil for my taste, but I enjoyed it enough by the end to think about getting the second book in the trilogy.
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This series is one of the best fantasy series I've read for a while, a very well-realised alternative world, and an interesting one, based on an archipelego, with plenty of the diversity found on islands, but without overdrawing the differences in cultures. It also includes a reasonable amount of detail on boats and sailing, making this a very nice change from conventional fantasy tropes. Interesting and engaging characters.
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kate Willshaw
Refreshing epic fantasy, with believable female characters who actually get to TALK to one another! Fancy that eh? The plot (of all 3) is pretty good too and Larke doesn't cop out with any easy, 'and they all lived happily ever after' endings. It's all reasonably believable. Also has a nice frame story which tells you what happened, while the main story fills out why and how with some twists along the way.

Recommended to all, but especially women after good female characters.
Apr 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As a newer reader of Ms Larke, I am yet to see if she has a destinct writing style. As an Anthropologist, I must say, I really loved how this was written as a case study. The story flowed and the little Anthropological letters in-between some of the chapters was a real treat! I can't wait to sink my teeth into book 2!
Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
You know the saying, "don't judge a book by its cover"? This is a good example of why not.

I'm about halfway through, and the book is SO much better than the cover had lead me to expect! It's definitely gritty, but to my mind not gratuitously so, and I really like some of the characters and the plot thus far.

I'm looking forward to reading the other books in the series.

Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women
A fantasy novel with a shades-of-grey setting, featuring both rollicking adventure and multi-faceted characters. Very well done, though at times it felt like the third draft of a novel that perhaps should have had four: a few too many monologues in places. I will seek out the next in the series with anticipation.
Dec 05, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I had a hard thing getting into this at first - it's the same problem I often have with fantasy, in the sense that, the first book of a trilogy or of a serie always has to put so many things into place that it sometimes feel like it's a long time before the story actually.

That being said, once I really got into it, I couldn't stop. I'll definitely be reading the next two, eventually.
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved it even more on my second reading. Blaze is a great character hard where and when she needs to be, with just a the tiniest squishy bit enthralling tale set in a magical world made up of good, evil and all those grey bits that make it just a little bit real.
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book (my first Glenda Larke) - the Awareness concepts are very interesting, and you can't help but love the main character, Blaze Halfbreed. I thought the characters in general were pretty compelling, and I look forward to checking out the sequel.
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Glenda was born in Western Australia, the daughter of a farmer. She was educated at government state schools and the University of Western Australia, where she obtained a degree in history and a diploma in education. Married to a Malaysian scientist, she has grown-up children, and now lives in Malaysia, where she is actively involved in rainforest conservation.
Author of The Isles of Glory trilogy

Other books in the series

Isles of Glory (3 books)
  • Gilfeather (Isles of Glory, #2)
  • The Tainted (Isles of Glory, #3)