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Range of Ghosts

(Eternal Sky #1)

by
3.68  ·  Rating details ·  3,660 ratings  ·  542 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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Kindle Edition, 335 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Tor Books
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Christiane There is sex in chapter 4, when a young woman shows a young man what to do and how, spanning 3 minutes of the audiobook. Some might not call it graphi…moreThere is sex in chapter 4, when a young woman shows a young man what to do and how, spanning 3 minutes of the audiobook. Some might not call it graphic, but I daresay explicit: "She threw one round, soft thigh across his hips, so he gasped aloud when the rough wetness of her sex brushed the underside of his. She reached between them, and grasped his shaft, and he did more than gasp." It goes on in detail, but in a poetic way rather than lustful.
In later chapters, there is a little kissing, and allusion to sex. And there are bare breasts a few times, but not in a sultry context.

Sometimes authors get creative with swearing, but I don't remember any particular phrases in this, and think there were zero instances of our profanity.(less)

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Lightreads
Sep 30, 2012 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
Mayim de Vries
“This-this was how empires ended. With the flitting of wild dogs in the dark and a caravan of moons going dark one by one.”

I am afraid I cannot say many good things about the Range of Ghosts. It is a generic fantasy as bland as an unsalted porridge.

It is not surprising that with the saturation of the sword and sorcery fantasy set in Western quasi-mediaeval setting, the authors migrated Eastward to look for new pastures. The Eternal Sky series is also drawing upon the rich cultural and civilisati
...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
...more
Jason
Apr 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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Bradley
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
...more
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
M.K.  Carroll
Apr 25, 2013 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
...more
Mitch
Mar 31, 2012 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
...more
Timothy Ward
Oct 07, 2013 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
...more
Megan Baxter
Apr 14, 2014 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
...more
The Captain
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Ahoy there me mateys! This here be book one of the Eternal Sky fantasy series. I am slowly making me way through this author’s backlog while waiting for the red-stained wings to come out in May 2019. And this was such a fantastic read.

This story be inspired by 12th and 13th century Asia. Ye follow the tales of Temur, the grandson of the Great Khan and the former Princess Samarkar who gave up her title to become a wizard. Temur was mistaken for dead after a losing battle and struggles to find new
...more
Joel
Apr 29, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, audiobooks, 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.
...more
Claudia
Sep 20, 2016 marked it as dnf-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. ...more
Angela
Sep 27, 2012 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.
...more
Cendaquenta
I'm a little tired, so not especially eloquent. I'll just give the bullet points.
Are you interested in:
- epic fantasy with a unique setting, rather than medieval-Europe-with-magic
- lots of really cool female characters
- one of whom is a wizard
- another of whom is A TIGER
- Extremely Good Horses (one of which may be more than she appears...)
- beautiful beautiful covers, like really, just go to the series page and look at them

And, last but not least, speaking of series:
- an actually completed trilo
...more
Jim
May 15, 2012 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
...more
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
...more
Robyn
Oct 27, 2014 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. ...more
Phil
Mar 29, 2012 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,
...more
Bryn Hammond
Jun 09, 2013 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
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
...more
Joseph
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is so very, very much to love about this book. To begin, it's the start of an epic fantasy trilogy, but given that the first two volumes are in the 300-350 page range, I suspect the entire trilogy will be shorter than a single installment of [insert your own example here]. The setting is wonderful and well-realized -- an imaginary world, but instead of being modeled on quasipseudomedieval Europe it's modeled on 15th century(?) Central Asia, with room for all manner of different nations & c ...more
Maggie K
Jun 05, 2012 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
...more
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
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.
...more
Brian Staveley
Bear looks east for inspiration in this book - to Tibet and Mongolia (and more peripherally, China) -- with amazing results. The societies involved are richly imagined and powerfully evoked. I found the novel so compelling I was convinced she had spent time in that part of the world researching. As it turns out, she just has a computer and a staggeringly good imagination. The plot is complex and convincing. Top notch.
Anya
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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?? ...more
Sara
Apr 12, 2015 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! ...more
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 rated it really liked it
“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
...more
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: Range of Ghosts [Jan 25, 2018] 55 44 Mar 01, 2018 07:15AM  
Sci-fi and Heroic...: Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear 34 48 Jul 07, 2017 09:48AM  
The Not a Book Cl...: RoG: Part 3 - Chapters 11-End (Full Spoilers!) 12 20 Mar 19, 2015 07:21PM  
The Not a Book Cl...: RoG: Part 2 - Chapters 7-10 8 18 Mar 17, 2015 02:55AM  
The Not a Book Cl...: RoG: Part 1 - Chapters 1-6 56 32 Mar 13, 2015 05:45AM  

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What Goodreads really needs is a "currently WRITING" option for its default bookshelves... ...more

Other books in the series

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