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Banewreaker (The Sundering, #1)
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(The Sundering #1)

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  4,078 ratings  ·  253 reviews
If all that is good thinks you evil... are you?

Once upon a time, the Seven Shapers dwelled in accord and Shaped the world to their will. But Satoris, the youngest among them, was deemed too generous in his gifts to the race of Men, and so began the Shapers' War, which Sundered the world. Now six of the Shapers lay to one end of a vast ocean, and Satoris to the other, revil
Mass Market Paperback, 512 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Tor Fantasy (first published 2004)
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3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,078 ratings  ·  253 reviews

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Dec 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
If all that is good thinks you evil... are you?

This was an interesting deconstruction of LoTR that turned the normally black and white tale of good vs. evil into a much more ambiguous and challenging one and it was really brought to life by Carey's typically lush and ornate prose which fitted the epic scope and grandeur of the story well.

The main premise of this series is the idea that what if, instead of being a the malice-driven force of pure evil spitefully trying to destroy all that is go
Pandem Buckner
Mar 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anybody with a pulse
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
(The date above applies to my most recent reading.)

If you're looking for epic battles, mighty and mysterious powers clashing in a fierce battle for survival, this book is a great place to look for that.

If you're looking for a battle with clear-cut, cleanly defined sides of good and evil. . .walk away. Run away. Fast.

This book and its companion, Godslayer, are the absolute greyest books I've ever read, by which I mean that the characters do not fall into such simple categories as merely "good" an
Jun 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
Another old review from the blog:

Just finished Banewreaker the other night. I honestly didn't think I'd like it this much. The characters are just great and everything's a nice shade of grey. It's really hard not seeing the struggle from both perspectives and thinking, well I don't know who to root for.

Thanks Ms. Carey for a fun read, on to Godslayer.

Full Review Here

When I heard that this book was basically The Lord of the Rings told from the perspective of the losing side, I had to check it o
Jillian Benavidez
Aug 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes fantasy
I picked up this book because I enjoy the author - Jacqueline Carey - and her other series, Kushiel's Dart. She is an extremely talented author and I have not yet read a book by her that has not been wonderful.

This book, of course, is no exception and has not failed the high standards I set when reading Carey for the first time. As far as I am concerned, she is one of the very best fantasy writers. In this book, she has embraced the all-too standard fantasy setting of heroes, magic, dragons, and
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A high fantasy novel but an epic tragedy rather than a heroic epic. This is closely based on the events in Tolkien's Silmarillion and the lord of the rings. But simply describing it as the lord of the rings told from Sauron's point of view would be doing it injustice. All the similarities are only superficial as the characters and the emotionally powerful prose add a lot of interesting nuances to the story.
Like in her previous books themes of passion and sexuality play an important part in the
Becky Koski
Nov 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Sundering is basically Jacqueline Carey's retelling of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but from the perspective of what we think of as "the bad guys". It's beautifully written with language that is reminiscent of Tolkien, but without being nearly as long-winded when it comes to descriptions of basic fantasy elements (race, class, politics, etc). Both this book and the sequel (Godslayer) do a marvelous job of blending shades of grey. The characters that should be "evil" are actually very likea ...more
Mar 27, 2010 rated it did not like it
Reasons I disliked this book:
1. Flagrant ripoff of LOTR plot, themes, and characters. I can appreciate some similarities but it got ridiculous when the Galdalf character was momentarily removed from the plot while trying to save the unsuspected small hero from detection and death (with the obvious implication that he would be back soon). A couple other ones:
- Deity organization of an overarching god (Uru-Alat from Carey and Iluvatar from Tolkien), who made a family circle of under gods (Shapers
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I firmly believe that fantasy novels should have magic and excitement and not just be a worse version of the War of the Roses. So Banewreaker totally fits the bill for an excellent fantasy novel, unlike a certain high fantasy novel where you have to wait 806 pages for the dragons to show up. (I'm gonna roast GOT til I die probably. Can't stop, won't stop.) Banewreaker is brimming with fierce battles, courtly love, and cool terminology & internal logic. And there are awesome talking dragons t ...more
Mar 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
oh my, it has been a long time since I read something so overwhelmingly pretentious.
Other people have mentioned in their reviews that this was a pastiche of the Lord of the Rings, it's not, it's more like the very old fantasy novels, the ones Tolkien had pretty much stamped out. For a reason.
The very first fantasy novel in print was not the lord of the rings, it was "The Well at the World's End" by William (Wallpaper) Morris from 1896. And his prose was like his wallpaper overwrought and heavy,
I have to admit that I have (provisionally) decided to put this book down (after reading perhaps 20%, because it is simply too boring.

I can understand that it is a deliberate pastiche of Lord of the Rings, and similar fantasy works, told from the point-of-view of the "evil" characters. However, it simply doesn't have the quality of Jacqueline Carey's other works.

My strong suspicion is that this was her first attempt at writing a novel, which was rejected by publishers, and then picked up again a
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: related-books
This is probaly one of the most exciting books I have ever read. I usually skip alot of the descriptive parts, but not this book. I literally read every single word. I could not put this book down. I carried it with me everywhere. It's a highly addictive read if you like paranormal/fantasy. This book, which is book one, is appropriate for teens. There was no sex in this book.
It begins with the way the world came into extistence, followed by shapers who gave the earth and its children, gifts suc
Jul 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
i wish i could give this book no stars. i love love LOVE the Kushiel books. Phedre has got to be one of the most amazing female characters in all of literature. The Naamah books didn't click for me in the same way, but i still read them. This book... I couldnt finish it. I could barely start it. Its so overwritten that i wondered if it had the same author. There's so much backstory, its nearly impossible to troll through it to get to the actual plot.

I may decide to try it out again in the future
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is an awesome twist on typical fantasy fare. I've waited so long to read a novel like this one - I often sympathize with or at least wonder what's going through the minds of "villains" and this book satisfies that curiosity. Now I don't feel so weird wondering why it's "good" to just slaughter millions of orcs just because they are the protagonists' enemies. The scope of this novel is huge (i.e. from creation to the sundering to the present day to the future/perhaps the end of all things); ...more
Obaid Haroon
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great book. She aimed for Tolkienesque and she got it. Amazing characters and storyline. But that's par for the course with JC.

No not that JC the other one.

The Three were amazing and I really really hated the "good" guys. Aracus, Malthus, Ingolin to name a few. Blaise was alright. But he's no Blacksword.

Can't wait to read the next one. And I'll tell you I'll never be able to watch Lord of the Rings again without thinking "Have you tried listening to what Sauron has to say?"
Jun 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who want to subvert lord of the rings
Shelves: fantasy
This book is not my usual kind of favorite, but I think the author does a brilliant job of telling a story from an unusual perpective. Of course this story is the quintissential lord of the rings group adventure story, but the perspective is from the dark side. She gives this classic epic a great deal of depth and complexity. I love the second one too.
Rituranjan Gogoi
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A poignant and a intense tale written with heart-wrenching passion. This is pure classic epic fantasy, but, is more shaded in grey. It definitely bears the influence of Tolkien, and is done in a more humanely manner than its great predecessor. Many of the readers tend to dismiss it as a LOTR clone, and, I admonish the rest not to fall into this fallacy. Banewreaker is the unexplored potential of Tolkien's mythopoeia, a continuation of the grand legacy in a more profound and original manner of su ...more
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
The premise is a Tolkeinesque high fantasy told from the perspective of the "evil" characters, although the character of Satoris seems more influenced by Milton's Satan than by Sauron. It was really hard for me to get into this book at first. The author bombards you with info dump backstory in the beginning, with character switches every couple of pages. But with time, the world sucked me in and grew on me and I ended up really enjoying it. It does get a bit slow at times, and there are some pro ...more
Elspeth Artifex
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
a challenging and not particularly enjoyable(for me) read.
Feb 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pure-fantasy
Classic fantasy and rather derivative, but very strong characters. I really enjoyed that it is written from the point of view of the villain, so to speak. I rated the first book higher because the end (meaning the end of the 2nd book) was not... well, it ended badly for the side I was rooting for. I guess in that sense maybe it maybe reads as more realist than fantasy books generally do.

As reviewed on Amazon, January 2006:
Actually, I thought it was quite different and very compelling
I just fini
G.D. Burkhead
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
K. Lincoln
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Banewreaker is pure, unadulterated, Epic Fantasy. If you like Dungeons and Dragons, Lord of the Rings, Fionavar, The Belgarion, George RR Martin, etc, you will like this series.

I haven't been an Epic Fantasy fan since junior high. Somehow, after reading the aforementioned take on elves and orcs and dragons, the usual "quest for the magical object" and "politics of race" lack luster; it's all been said before.

And yet...Banewreaker manages to slog around in a swamp of cliches and archetypes and st
Sep 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love and miss Robert Jordan and he recommended reading Jacqueline Carey. I read Banewreaker and Godslayer together and thoroughly enjoyed them.
Seven shapers formed the world, Urulat, named after the world god Uru-alat whose death gave birth to it. Haomane, the Lord-of-Thought was the first born and his children, the Ellylon were shaped "before the final throes of Uru-alat's death and time touched them not... {he} wrought his children of pure thought." Second born Arahila the Fair, Born-of-the
Sep 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Jacqueline Carey's Banewreaker is nothing like her Kushiel books. It's written in third person, not first, which brings a lot of differences right there. You're not as close to the characters, for one thing, which makes it slightly less intense. The writing is still lovely, though. Less personal, more epic and Tolkienesque, but still nice to read.

It's an interesting concept, though: the epic like Lord of the Rings from the point of view of the bad guys, sympathetic to the bad guys. I think it's
Jul 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I found this story slow to start, but once I got in a few chapters it picked up and I looked forward to coming home from work to read.

This review may have spoilers for you. Proceed with caution..,

I've read some reviews that said this story was like Lord of Rings from the point of view of the bad guys. Well, I don't know about that as I have no interest in LOTR, but it was a very good story with dragons, sorceresses and sorcerers, gods and immortals, races of men and other creatures shaped by Go
May 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is fantastically interesting, and continues my love affair with the work of Jacqueline Carey. I short, it's a typical 'Epic Fantasy' but told from the perspective of the 'bad guys'. It's Tolkien influence is deeply felt, but here we get a work were the Monstrous creatures of the 'Dark Lord' have feelings, intentions, and a reason for what they do. Where the Dark Lord Himself is less 'bent on controlling the world' and more sees himself as a figure for freedom from his over-bearing 'bro ...more
Honestly, the story was 4 almost 5 stars but because Ms. Carey did not bother to provide an explanation of her strange terminology, I had to go with three. I have googled and binged trying to find out what a "rhios" is and there is no definition anywhere.

I was able to follow the story as long as I did not try to visualize anything beyond dragons, trees, weres, elves, trolls, and rivers. Everything else she went out of her way to make it complicated. She needed to provide two things that would ha
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
It's not often that you see an author flip the script as well as Carey has done here. In most fantasy novels the reader follows the hero and his or her comrades as they face whatever challenges come their way. The divide between good and evil is clear and the hero is always on the right side of that line, motivated by love, charity, integrity, or whatever other honorable character trait makes them uniquely qualified to face off against the Big Bad.

In this duology, the reader is invited to view
Oct 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
When I decided to read this, it was because reviews were saying this is The Lord of the Rings, but written from the point of the view of the vilain. I am a big fan of the LotR and this made me curious and excited.

When I read it my enthousiasm faded a bit. Yes, it is easy to recognize the characters of the LotR and this is indeed written from the point of view of the vilain, but he it isn't very exciting. I have to say the vilain, although morally ambiguous, is rather campy.

A like of excitement
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Jacqueline Carey (born 1964 in Highland Park, Illinois) is an author and novelist, primarily of fantasy fiction.

She attended Lake Forest College, receiving B.A.'s in psychology and English literature. During college, she spent 6 months working in a bookstore as part of a wo

Other books in the series

The Sundering (2 books)
  • Godslayer (The Sundering, #2)
“There are others. There will be others. Other heroes, other heroines. Other prophecies to fulfill, other adversaries to despise. There will be stories told and forgotten, and reinvented anew until one day, perhaps, the oldest are remembered, and the beginning may end, and the ending begin.” 2 likes
“A small kindness, a confluence of compassion, had saved his life. Was that strength, or a weakness?” 1 likes
More quotes…