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Passion Play

(River of Souls #1)

by
3.42  ·  Rating details ·  756 ratings  ·  204 reviews
Ilse Zhalina is the daughter of one of Melnek’s more prominent merchants. She has lived most of her life surrounded by the trappings of wealth and privilege. Many would consider hers a happy lot. But there are dark secrets, especially in the best of families. Ilse has learned that for a young woman of her beauty and social station, to be passive and silent is the best way ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Tor Books (first published October 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  756 ratings  ·  204 reviews


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Jennifer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Felicia
Oct 28, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nathan
Fantasy Review Barn

It is a rare thing for me to finish a novel and not have a good idea of what I think. I know people mull over a book for a time period before moving on to the next book; especially true of those who are then going to put their feelings down on paper. But it just isn’t my way, I like to start writing while the ideas are still fresh and while I may not know what I want to say about a book immediately I am always certain about at least my basic, overall impression.

Passion Play s
...more
Wendy Clark
Nov 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People who like gang rape
THIS BOOK SHOULD COME WITH A WARNING LABEL: Page 66 is where the gang-rape scenes start. I continued for another six pages and it only got worse, so that is as far as this review goes. I have NOT hidden this because it should be known in advance. It is a public service. If I had read it myself, I would never have picked up the book and the world would be a happier place. Everyone on Goodreads, you are welcome. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Plenty of fantasy has implied, threatened, or glossed-over scene
...more
Laurie Garrison
Oct 27, 2010 rated it did not like it

A teenaged Therez Zhalina is considered chattel by her wealthy, merchant father. Once she learns of her marriage contract her father has arranged, she decides to run away from home. She is able to join a caravan and changes her name to Ilse. Unfortunately, the caravan owner has his own agenda and takes advantage of 15 year-old Ilse. She escapes and ends up at a pleasure house owned by Raul Kosenmark, a duke.

This is one book where the title will fool you. I felt no passion from this one. Boring c
...more
Carolyn
Feb 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ages 16+
I really enjoyed this novel, with a few quibbles. First, I really like the magic system in this, and I love the fact that people can remember pieces of their past lives and that they have past and future lives is an accepted fact. Its very rare to see the concepts of past lives and reincarnation handled in such a matter-of-fact way. It's not mystical, it's not difficult, and it's not a secret or a big thrilling reveal. It's referenced several times throughout the book, and I really liked that as ...more
Aubrey
Sep 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fade
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What a terrible cover for such an excellent book.

So, the plot basics. It starts with what looks like a fairly standard fantasy trope: a young woman of a wealthy family runs away from an arranged marriage. But "running away" turns out to be much more complicated than it seems, and then it turns out that the story isn't really about the arranged marriage at all; that's merely the impetus for a whole cascade of complex events, in which our protagonist tumbles into, and then seriously starts acting
...more
Alisa Kester
You know, I really, really liked the first third of this book. I was very interested in the main character (Ilse) and her trials were nicely realistic and not glossed-over. However, after that point, the focus of the book suddenly changed to the political wrangling of the main characters - and that just wasn't nearly as interesting to me. It all felt so distant and removed from Ilse's life. We never, ever get to *see* any of the kings or courts that the scheming is about. There are mysterious 'j ...more
C Hellisen
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was exactly the book I was in the mood for.

In a way, I'd been avoiding Passion Play. I've known Beth online for a number of years, and while I knew she was a good writer (I'd read short stories of hers), I also liked her as a person, and that generally makes me antsy about reading someone's novels. There's always that awkward "oh god but what if I hate it?"

I'm so glad Tor finally made the ebook available in Africa, and that I took the chance. Because yes. This is the kind of fantasy I love
...more
Ranting Dragon
Feb 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: benni
http://www.rantingdragon.com/passion-...


Passion Play is the first book in the Erythandra series. We are introduced to Therez Zhalina (later Ilse), the daughter of a well-to-do merchant. She lives a privileged life but is dependent on the continued vitality of her father’s business. To ensure the family’s continued wealth and station, Therez’s father promises her hand in marriage to an older man, Theodr Galt, who is poised to help the Zhalina family.

Based on the rumors she hears about Galt’s brok
...more
Alice Janell
Jan 17, 2011 rated it liked it
When I first spotted this book back in October 2010, it caught my interest with its gorgeous cover. Then I found out that it was recommended for fans of Jacqueline Carey (who I absolutely love) --- I knew then that I had to read "Passion Play" by Beth Bernobich.

"Passion Play" is the story of Ilse Zharina, the daughter of a wealthy merchant who chooses to run away rather than stay and marry a man she despises.

Along her journey away from her home she is robbed and made into a slave. Eventually, Il
...more
Shana
Sep 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
I found this a frustrating read. The alternate world this novel is set in was fun to read about--full of magic, strong women, an androgynous, bisexual love interest and brown-skinned characters. Yea! And I enjoyed the plucky protagonist, 15 year old Therez/Ilse, initially. But her complete cluelessness as she discovers her father's plan to marry her off and then tries to escape made her difficult to like. I also wasn't interested in reading the rape scenes early in the book (although they were c ...more
Jessica
Sep 05, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gr-giveaways
I won this from a GR giveaway! YAY!

Passion Play is a story about Therez who is about to be sold into marriage by her father to an older, very cruel man. She tries to tell her father that she doesn't want to marry this man and why, but her father dismisses her concerns and tells her the wedding will happen whether she wills or no. After she reaches out to her brother and finds no help from him either she decides to run away. To live life on her own terms. This is the story of her adventure.

I th
...more
Catherine
Nov 14, 2010 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Liviu
Jun 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Passion play was my most expected debut of the second half of the year so i came to it with extremely, extremely high expectations; and they were mostly satisfied though the book was not quite what i expected it to be based on the pre-release blurb and other marketing material.

The comparison with Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel Dart debut is somewhat misleading because that novel was an epic saga with a large cast and with romantic and explicit elements on the side in some ways, while Passion play
...more
Jenne
Aug 16, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fantasy
Ok, I started out absolutely loving this.
But then it did this thing where...okay--there are two main things that make books interesting, right? There is Plot, and there is Character.

And in a perfect world, both of these should be equally awesome, and you would have a book like, say, The Sparrow.

Or sometimes, one or the other is the main thing, so you might have a book that's all plot, e.g. Beau Geste, or one that's all character, e.g. Weetzie Bat.

And that's all well and good. The problem come
...more
Erika Williams
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
I watched some tips from netgalley on how to make a better and more interesting review. For the most part it was some really great advice. For instance, it said no matter how you feel about something, you have to say why. You can't just say, "I loved it" or "I hated it" without giving the reader and to some extent the author some reason. It's just common sense. For one thing, author's aren't going to know what's working and what's not unless somebody tells them. The other piece of advice that st ...more
Mrs Giggles
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
When Passion Play was first released in hardcover back in 2010, it had a far more accurate cover art than this mass market paperback reissue. This particular cover indicates an action heroine in the usual "stare at my butt while I wield a dagger and glare angrily at you for staring at my butt" cover, when the heroine is less... exertive.

Therez Zalina is the daughter of an iron-willed and ruthless merchant who learns shortly after the story begins that she is to be married off to a guy that she f
...more
Edward
Oct 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Passion Play is a strong start for a new fantasy series by Beth Bernobich. It kept me up to the wee hours of the night, compelling me to see how events turn out. As any first book in a series, it ended with some major plotlines open, making me wish that I could click “BUY NOW” and get book two right away. However, there was a measure of completion to one journey for the main character. Living a privileged life of a wealthy merchant’s daughter, Therez Zhalina finds herself suddenly a bargaining c ...more
Penny
Nov 21, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
It's totally unfair to cloak a political book with a very weak fantasy storyline. I felt cheated into reading it. I stopped reading once the political bullshit got hot & heavy. ...more
reed
Jan 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Meh. Each time I thought of quitting, another tiny little spark of a promise of something interesting happening would convince me to go on. But it never delivered.
Dawn
Feb 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
The book would have been much better if the main character wasn't a bisexual man who owns a whore house. Odd, indeed. ...more
lielabell
Dec 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle (In Libris Veritas)
First off before I even start the review, I’m sorry I didn’t read this sooner. It’s an absolutely delightful book and I do wish I had started it as soon as I received it.

I was a little hesitant to give this a full five star rating because it's something I don't give out lightly, but when it came down too it I just enjoyed it way to much to give it a mere four.

The beginning is a bit slow and I had a hard time getting into it, but once I got around chapter three and the set up was nearly completed
...more
Lexie
I read Passion Play through in one sitting. I saw the book advertised for an author signing at Book Expo and knew I had to have it. The cover is gorgeous, the synopsis sounds tailored for my interests and most importantly, I wanted to read it.

The book starts out giving us a a good sense of what home life is like for Ilse (and to avoid confusion, her name is originally Therez, but she changes it when she runs away). An imposing restrictive household, a society that doesn't leave young women many
...more
Benni
http://www.rantingdragon.com/passion-...

Passion Play is the first book in the Erythandra series. We are introduced to Therez Zhalina (later Ilse), the daughter of a well-to-do merchant. She lives a privileged life but is dependent on the continued vitality of her father’s business. To ensure the family’s continued wealth and station, Therez’s father promises her hand in marriage to an older man, Theodr Galt, who is poised to help the Zhalina family.

Based on the rumors she hears about Galt’s brok
...more
Heather Jones
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Passion Play is the first in a fantasy trilogy (but soon to be completed by a fourth story) set in a complex and imaginative pre-industrial secondary world whose linguistics has Slavic and Germanic resonances but which is not a direct analog for any specific historic culture. The most overt fantasy elements are supplied by magical practices and artifacts that can do anything from speed healing to granting functional immortality. As the story unfolds, the reader is introduced in passing to hints ...more
Nerine Dorman
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First off, many thanks to Cat who told me to go read this book. I was not disappointed at all. Passion Play is a glorious, slowly unfolding fantasy epic that drew me into a world so well realised it left me breathless.

Central to the plot is Ilse Zhalina, the daughter of a well-to-do merchant, whose disastrous attempt to run away from an arranged marriage brings her to the doorstep of the pleasure house owned by Raul Kosenmark, and into a world of intrigue.

First off, there were so many things t
...more
EA Solinas
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
The setting of "Passion Play" was enough to get me to pick up Beth Bernobitch's debut novel -- a sort of medievalish Renaissanceish Italy-Spainy kind of world. But there was also a lot in it that nearly made me put it down, ranging from the cliches of the fantasy genre to the flimsy storyline (which has more than enough time to flesh itself out).

Therez Zhalina is the daughter of a rich but unhappy merchant family. Then she meets the much older man that her father has decided for her to marry, an
...more
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Beth Bernobich is a writer, reader, mother, and geek. She loves to tell stories.

Other books in the series

River of Souls (3 books)
  • Queen's Hunt (River of Souls, #2)
  • Allegiance (River of Souls, #3)

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