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Ephemera #1


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A world of shifting lands connected only by bridges, Ephemera has been kept stable by the magic of the Landscapers. In one land where night reigns and demons dwell, the half-incubus Sebastian revels in dark delights. But then in dreams she calls to him: a woman who wants only to be safe and loved-a woman he hungers for while knowing he may destroy her.

But a more devastating destiny awaits Sebastian, for in the quiet gardens of the Landscapers' school, evil is stirring. The nearly forgotten Eater of the World has escaped its prison-and Sebastian's realm may be the first to fall.

436 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published February 7, 2006

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About the author

Anne Bishop

53 books9,849 followers
Anne Bishop lives in upstate New York where she enjoys gardening, music, and writing dark, romantic stories. She is the author of over twenty novels, including the award-winning Black Jewels Trilogy. She has written a new series, the Others, which is an urban dark fantasy with a bit of a twist.

Crawford Award (2000)

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

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5 stars
3,223 (32%)
4 stars
3,528 (35%)
3 stars
2,272 (22%)
2 stars
674 (6%)
1 star
222 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 435 reviews
Profile Image for Wealhtheow.
2,419 reviews537 followers
February 29, 2008
This was really terrible. Anne Bishop is known for writing id-fulfillment in fantasy novels, complete with as many abused Mary Sues as possible. I expected lots of fluffy titilation with very little substance (no real plot or cohesive world building, I mean), but I was annoyed at how boring and dull the would-be-titilation was. Sebastion is an incubus living in a world created specifically to cater to "dark desires", and yet all he does is have bland sex with women. No kinks, no gender-play, certainly nothing homoerotic (dammit)--the most depraved thing he does is eat cheesy bread shaped like sexual organs. The Den of Iniquity is supposedly terribly shameless and lascivious, yet all that apparently happens there is lame het sex. A single murder sends all the residents into a tizzy. And no one worries about money! Everything is provided by Gloriana Belladonna, a beautiful, abused-as-a-child enchantress. (Note: In Anne Bishop stories, *everyone* is abused as a child.) There's no tension or grit to this book. Even the big terrible monster is A)not scary in the least and B)clearly going to lose, undoubtedly due to some deus ex machina. Ugh.
Profile Image for Nicole.
247 reviews21 followers
November 26, 2008
The thing about this book is, several of the characters are (more or less) characters that existed in the Jewels books, but brought into a new story. It's like...if I were a fanfic writer, and really loved the characters in the Jewels books, but wanted to see them in a different setting, this is what I'd write.

Well, I love the characters in the Jewels stories, so spending time with them again is a lot of fun.

Did you like Daemon? Well, you'll love Sebastian!

Felt like Jaenelle was a little too everything - simultaneously innocent and wise, young but old beyond her years, powerful yet naive? Well, that's been resolved, because she's more-or-less been split into two characters here. There's the character with the romantic storyline and the character with the big ol' superpowers.

And Teaser has more than a hint of Lucivar in his character.

All that having been said, I enjoyed the heck out of this. There's a lot of bits that are OTT and sentimental, and I am continually frustrated by the "all of this group of people are BAD!" thing that happens in her books (can't we have more than ONE person in an organization that's doing bad things that has decent reasons for doing what they do? Can't we have an evil nemesis who is three-dimensional, who is doing the wrong things for the right reasons instead of just being a dumbass or hateful?), but it made me smile AND it made me cry. Hence, four stars.

Profile Image for Yodamom.
1,981 reviews195 followers
May 14, 2016
2 stars for the first half, I struggled to stay focused and interested. there was a lot of telling, lectures form characters, little action.
3.5 stars for the second half. All the issues they lectured about, talked about, worried about, wondered about stated happening. They happened fast, and the characters were forced to make a choice. I was engaged. I needed to know what this great evil thing happening was and how far it could go. Could it win ? It was bad, really bad, which I loved till the end when it did a major 360 in personality ?!?! I give that ending a 1.5 star for that wimp out.
I did download book 2. Why ? I may want to know what a certain group of tricksters is up to. May, I'm not sure if I'll continue with this series.
Profile Image for Pamela.
316 reviews221 followers
April 10, 2010
A friend lent me her copies of Sebastian and Belladonna after we had trawled a bookstore looking for good fantasy. I’d tried to read the first book in Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series several years ago and couldn’t get into it, so I was a little wary of the Ephemera books. She agreed that Black Jewels wasn’t her cup of tea, either, but she said that she loved the Ephemera series, so I decided to give it a try.

I have to confess, I did some serious procrastination on school stuff so I could finish this book. It was beautifully written with well-developed, sympathetic characters and an engrossing plot. To put it simply, I enjoyed the hell out of it.

I’ll start with my favorite thing to talk about in fantasy books: worldbuilding. Ephemera is one of the most unusual settings I’ve ever read, and it’s actually pretty difficult to describe. Bishop thankfully doesn’t give you an infodump at the beginning that explains everything; instead, you learn about the world by experiencing it with the characters. It is fragmented; different landscapes are connected by bridges, magical sort of portals that either connect one place to another based on where they want to go, or as in the case of resonating bridges, take a traveler to a landscape that resonates with their heart. The idea of landscapes resonating with people, either everyday folk or the Landscapers, women who draw upon the Light currents to connect and shape Ephemera, is central to the storyline, for Ephemera is in danger of being destroyed by the Eater of the World, a dark entity that has broken free from its prison.

Sebastian, the title character, is the son of a wizard and a succubus who lives in the Den of Iniquity, a landscape where demons like Sebastian can live without fear of the humans who hate them. His cousin, Glorianna Belladonna, is a rogue Landscaper; she has more power than any Landscaper that has lived in a very long time, and when she demonstrated that power by creating the Den, she was cast out of the ranks and became an outlaw. Glorianna has the unique ability to actually create new landscapes out of Ephemera as opposed to simply changing existing ones, and her immense power frightens both the Landscapers and the Wizards, men who draw their magic from the Dark currents that run through Ephemera. When Sebastian discovers that the Eater of the World has been set loose, he must try to protect the Den and his new love, Lynnea, while Glorianna and her brother Lee try to find a way to protect Ephemera.

The plot is far too complex to try to summarize here (which is why my above summary is terrible, haha). Its complexity, though, is part of what makes it so engrossing. The book takes a little while to get started, but once it does, it was almost painful for me to have to put it down and do things that I actually had to do, like write papers and read for class. Bishop’s writing style is rich and complicated, and she uses it well here, weaving a story that is incredibly sensual and beautiful. This book does not really end on a cliffhanger, but it definitely leaves me wanting more. I had to run out and buy my own copy of Belladonna, just in case I don’t get a chance to finish it before I move away from Texas. I don’t want to steal my friend's books, heh. And honestly, if I didn’t have a couple of other books that I need to read for reviews, I would have dived straight into Belladonna the second I finished Sebastian. This is good stuff, very good stuff.
Profile Image for Chelsea Kumer.
681 reviews40 followers
December 27, 2011
Sebastian is set in the world of Ephemera, which is really a bunch of little self contained worlds that are connected by (for lack of a better term) magical bridges. The worlds are called landscapes, and they are subject to alteration based on the emotions of their residents. Landscapers (as I understand them) are women who can channel the power of human hearts to help shape landscapes. Sebastian is an incubus who lives in a landscape called the Den of Iniquity. The Den was made by a rogue landscaper named Glorianna Belladonna (some people shouldn't be allowed to name characters), who created it as a home for demons. Sebastian has a unique heritage that gives him a unique influence over the Den. This becomes important when an ancient evil known as the Eater of Worlds is released from captivity and threatens all of the landscapes.

Positive Comments:

The ideas are really interesting. The multi-world concept is well thought out. The underlying message of the power of the human heart really resonated me, and it felt like their was so much potential in that idea. I was reminded of the Kingdom Hearts games. Laugh at this comparison if you must, but the idea of multiple worlds in a universe where hearts have magic is well paralleled between the two. So it's not a new concept, but it is an interesting one that I will always be pleased to explore.

The language is pretty. The names and descriptions are incredibly vivid, and they really bring the story to life--even the boring parts. Yes, at times it strayed toward flowery. But overall, I could see that some genuine effort was put into this novel.

Sebastian and the other characters had so much potential. I hate using that word, because it implies that they didn't actually live up to some standard. Truth be told, the characters were perfectly believable and entertaining, for the most part. It's the story they exist in that falls short. Sebastian is demon with a really strong human side, struggling to reconcile himself to exactly who and what he is. His journey is believable and, to the right reader, emotionally touching.

Critical Comments:

It's sloooow. For a book with a world eating monster, it gets pretty boring. It takes a long time for things to happen. A great deal of time is spent in talking, explaining, deciding, dreaming, thinking....It's not an action filled book by any means. If slower is to your taste, you will not have a problem.

It's repetitive. The same objects and people are described multiple times, the same concepts are repeated, and worst of all the same problems are outlined over an over. It felt like the author was writing to people with memory loss.

It's sexless. Yes, this is a fantasy novel and not a romance or erotica. And even if it were a romance, you can have a good romance novel without sex. However, the book is set up as though it's going to be filled with (or at least sprinkled with) sensual scenes. The main character is an incubus! He lives in a world full of other sex demons! They serve penis shaped bread! And, most importantly, there is a love interest, Lynnea, who really wants to get horizontal with him. But, when it comes down to that moment, we fade to black and cut to the next morning. I'm not asking for something graphic here. But, in my opinion, if you can't or don't want to write a sexy book, you shouldn't set up all these sexual themes. It builds expectations that it never delivers on.

Overall, this is a nicely written collection of lots of pretty words that add up to very little. If you like your fantasy slow and brainy, you may like this one. I ran the gambit of feelings toward it, and they all add up to neutral. 2.5 stars.
Profile Image for Tessa.
501 reviews40 followers
August 29, 2017
I really enjoyed this one. It had more of a romance feel than I expected though it was in no way a romance. I adored Sebastian. He was smart, a little dark, but the human in him truly made him something interesting. The world was different and hard to keep track of at first, but the differences between worlds made things interesting. I also adored how the Den of Iniquity really was a kid's heart and how the world changed to reflect Sebastian's aging. I definitely want to read the next book, Belladonna.

4 stars
Profile Image for Liliana Pinto.
144 reviews6 followers
January 9, 2014
Há muito tempo que eu queria ler esta saga de Anne Bishop. Conheci o Mundo Efémera quando li o conto "A Voz". Gostei desse pequeno conto, mas não me tinha apercebido do quanto ia adorar o primeiro livro desta saga.
Sabem o que é ficar obcecada por alguma coisa e não conseguirem fazer mais nada, nem pensar em mais nada? Pois. Eu senti-me assim relativamente a este livro.

Completamente viciante.

Anne Bishop cria um mundo completamente diferente de tudo aquilo o que já li. No início foi complicado perceber este mundo. Um mundo completamente desfragmentado em que, ao atravessar uma simples ponte, poderia ir parar a um pedaço do mundo completamente diferente. Isto mostra uma capacidade de criação que ultrapassa tudo o que já vi até agora. Há medida que as páginas iam passando foi entendendo melhor e melhor este mundo até não o conseguir largar. A escrita de Anne Bishop é de um vício inacreditável e as suas personagens são maravilhosas e únicas.

A única coisa de que não gostei no livro foi Lynnea. Não consigo explicar bem porquê, mas não fui muito à bola com ela. Pareceu-me demasiado frágil para ser protagonista e companheira de Sebastian (ahhh, Sebastian).

Depois de terminar esta leitura fiquei a salivar pela continuação "Belladona" que está ali na estante a olhar para mim. Mas tenho outros compromissos e não posso ceder a este desejo. Pelo menos para já!

Anne Bishop é uma escritora a seguir e, com toda a certeza, que vou tentar adquirir os outros volumes que estão publicados cá em Portugal.
Profile Image for Tutti Dolci.
223 reviews36 followers
September 26, 2015
Well...I expected this story to be a sexy Paranormal Romance.

It's not.

Instead, I got a Fantasy (with Paranormal elements) that included light threads of romance (and I mean LIGHT). Which left me wondering if this book belongs in a "clean"/sweet/philosophical sort of category. Sure, there are Incubi, demons, and "Phallic Delights" there. But as I read more and more, I couldn't help but feel that it was all a tool for teaching the reader about the nature of the heart and its resonance.

Lots of good quotables here too (for my fellow Quote Whore-ish friends), though mostly philosophical and pretty.

In short, not at all what I was expecting, but not disappointing, either. In fact, it was a nice change of pace.
Profile Image for Rosana Maia.
125 reviews
January 6, 2015
Já tinha ouvido falar muito bem de Anne Bishop, no entanto ainda não tinha surgido a oportunidade de ler algo da autora. Felizmente, na Feira do Livro do Porto deste ano, os livros que compõem a saga “O Mundo Efémera” estavam a um preço muito tentador :). E como não sou diferente de tantos outros leitores, a verdade é que caí na tentação.

Como é a primeira obra que leio da autora, não a irei comparar com a sua anterior trilogia “As Jóias Negras”. Independentemente de tudo, acredito que sejam muito diferentes.

E agora, como começar a falar de Efémera? Se calhar por partes, aos pouquinhos!

FANTASIA! Esta palavra com tanto poder não poderia ser melhor aplicada na escolha do género literário em que a obra é incluída. A verdade é que no meio de tantos livros que tenho por ler na minha estante, tinha saudades de ler um livro de fantasia, isto é, um mundo diferente, mágico, único, capaz de descrever o nosso mundo real. E “O Mundo Efémera” é isto mesmo. Lembro-me de ao fim de meia dúzia de páginas fechar o livro e dizer para mim: “Ah! Como é bom voltar a ler fantasia”.

EFÉMERA! É um mundo criado por Anne Bishop composto por várias paisagens – criadas pelas paisagistas - que estão ligadas por pontes – construídas pelos constructores de pontes. E como qualquer mundo fantástico, as paisagens e as pontes têm um significado. Digamos que Efémera foi criada para que a maldade do coração humano (a escuridão) não destruísse a bondade deste nosso coração (a luz).

PERSONAGENS! Sebastian, Lynnea, Nadia, Lee, Glorianna Belladonna, Ente, … Claro que poderia aqui falar sobre elas, mas não o vou fazer. Seria uma tentativa falhada e inútil tentar caracterizá-las e deixar o que elas significam para mim.

Em “Sebastian” somos introduzidos a este mundo “Efémera” de uma forma bastante suave. Com a mestria das palavras de Anne Bishop somos confrontados com este novo mundo e com as diversas explicações sem nos cansarmos de cada uma delas.

Já me perguntaram o que achei do livro. E estaria a mentir se não dissesse que estava à espera de mais. No entanto, a verdade é que não houve uma única página que não despertasse o sorriso que há em mim, o bom que há em mim.

Talvez se tivesse lido esta obra com uns aninhos a menos tivesse gostado mais da mesma. Mas como já disse, não posso dizer que não tenha gostado. Como já me dizia a bloguinha Sofia, não podem existir apenas livros brilhantes e arrebatadores, aliás, não existem. E isso significa que também não devemos apenas ler esses livros 5 estrelas. Não, este livro não ganhou as minhas 5 estrelas no goodreads, no entanto, ganhou um cantinho especial no meu coração, não fosse ele sobre aquilo que há de mais belo: o coração humano.

"... o coração humano consegue criar tanto - e destruir tanto."

Profile Image for Donna.
69 reviews5 followers
July 25, 2011
I loved Anne Bishop's Black Jewels series and was looking forward to reading more of her work. I was certainly not disappointed with this first book of the Ephemera duology.

I loved so many things about this book, my favorite being the world of Ephemera. Anne Bishop has done such an amazing job of bringing to life the magic of the world itself, Ephemera is created by the feelings and beliefs of the residents, and crossing a bridge will take you to the landscape that reflects the person you truly are inside.
In order to stop the darkness of human feelings from overwhelming the world, landscapers shape the magic of Ephemera into building different types of landscapes, interweaving the light and the darkness into cities and farmland and everything in between.
The conflict begins when "The Eater of the World" escapes from where its been confined for centuries and begins trying to influence the minds of everyone toward the darkness, tipping the balance and changing the face of Ephemera. Only one landscaper is powerful enough to stop this from happening, Belladonna, the cousin of Sebastian. Sebastian is a half wizard half incubus who has struggled to find a place where he belongs, that reflect those two very different sides of his nature. Along the way, he meets Lynnea, who is also searching for a place she can feel safe. The romance between them is not overdone, however, I didn't connect with them as much as I would have liked.
Belladonna is a much more interesting character, escaped from being walled into her garden by the wizards at the landscapers school, Gloriana Belladonna learns what it means to be who she is.
The Den of Iniquity has a variety of fascinating characters, from the bulldemons to the demoncycles, to the pub owner who's specials include Stuffed Tits and Phallic Delights.
What keeps me from rating this a 5 star is that I didn't connect with the characters as much as I would have liked. However, I still truly enjoyed this book and will definitely be reading the next.
Profile Image for Shelby.
2,626 reviews79 followers
July 25, 2022
I read this book an eon ago, but I don't remember much about it. The basic ideas I recall, but not the particulars. It was a lovely return to go back to this world. I love how the intricacies of Anne Bishop's worlds. She writes with such depth and detail. Ephemera is no different. I love how every one of her series' deals with some dichotomy of balance, this time Light & Dark, and as always finding the balance between the two. Both are necessary for balance, but you always have a choice in which you choose.

Sebastian is a wonderful character, one who worries that his nature makes him dark and not suitable to be among the light. Yet, he has a better soul than most full humans despite being half inccubs. I love the fact that he's not perfect, but that he's going to fight for what's right even when he thinks he doesn't deserve any of that goodness for himself. He inspires those around him to strive to be more to do better, to not let their nature dictate what side of the line they land on. The Den of Iniquity isn't an evil place, it's just one that allows for the darker elements to be touched in a safe way. You can find your vices here, but nothing truly evil. And that's because of Sebastian's heart. So of course he finds himself drawn to only the most innocent and naive of women possible. Lynnea though has a spine of steel that she's only just discovering. I loved that Sebastian wanted to help her find her inner tigress even if it was so he could push her away from him.

Of course in a story of light and dark there has to be pure evil and the Eater of Worlds is just that. It's creepy and wants nothing more than the destruction of the light and the death of its' champions. I can't wait to find out how Belladonna will deal with her destiny in the next book. I'm pretty sure I read it, but it's been so long that again I have no idea what's happening next.
Profile Image for VMom.
465 reviews45 followers
July 10, 2007
This was a sweet read. I like the concept of Ephemera, which is reminiscent of C.S. Friedman's Coldfire (one of my favorite fantasies). It's not very scary or dark for a gothic fantasy -- pretty much a straight romance. But the world is intriguing. The Eater of the World is promisingly menacing.

One of my quibbles -- most of the characters get familiar names, western-sounding names -- Sebastian, Lee, Glorianna. Except the bad guy -- Koltak. Heck, even Koltak's brother is named Peter. I guess his parents doomed him to evil by naming him that. /snark
Profile Image for Shari-amor.
211 reviews27 followers
August 1, 2014
Like a 3.8 because it started out just ok to me and there was so much information to process. Once it got going, I could appreciate and love the world building. The story was fantastic and inventive. I've never read anything like it. Anne Bishop is quickly becoming a favourite author. I cannot wait to read the other books in this series and her other work.
Profile Image for Tricia.
1,488 reviews12 followers
November 3, 2020
A different series from the Black Jewels series the author is best known for.

I didn't think the book was as good as the Black Jewels novels. It took me a long time to get into the characters and I really struggled at the start. There was a lot of scene setting that got a bit monotonous. The second half of the book I found much better. The characters seemed to develop a bit more and had a bit more motivation than "I am a bad person so belong in the Den" thinking.

It is fairly light so you don't have to think a lot.
Profile Image for Allison Sesame.
325 reviews
May 17, 2019
Light and fun and vaguely sexy. Probably more of a 3.5 stars at this stage. It could have had more passion and probably more world building. But it was quick and enjoyable enough for me.
Profile Image for Shannon .
1,221 reviews2,133 followers
August 9, 2009
Ephemera is a world of fractured landscapes linked by stationary or resonating bridges that take you where your heart wants to go more often than where your will intends. It is a world of humans, demons, wizards and Landscapers, a world that listens to the hearts of its creatures all, resonating with those hearts and responding to them. It is a world of Dark and Light and a long history of manipulation, ambition and trouble.

Sebastian is a demon, half incubus and half human. He lives in a landscape created by his cousin, the powerful rebel Landscaper Glorianna - known, and feared, as Belladonna. Called the Den of Iniquity, it is a nighttime landscape of pleasure and debauchery - but something in Sebastian wants more than his lonely existence, more than giving pleasure to countless females through dreams or in the flesh. His heart's wish resonates with the heart wish of a young woman in another landscape, Lynnea, and Ephemera draws them together.

Darker things are afoot in the world, though. The Eater of the World, trapped in its own barren landscapes for generations, has been freed. The wizards work to their own agenda and turn Belladonna into the enemy - and she is the enemy, the only one who can fight the Eater of the World. As she comes to understand what Ephemera truly needs, that it needs Dark as well as Light, that both have a place, she above all understands that demons like Sebastian are just as important to Ephemera's existence as those humans who are "good".

Anne Bishop is an excellent writer of edgy, original fantasy, the kind of fantasy that speaks to the potential of the genre to delve into the nature of what it means to be human, as well as the nature of the world we live in. She creates fascinating, intriguing worlds that push us out of our comfort zones and confronts common assumptions and prejudices. Her work is refreshing and unique, approachable rather than alienating, and contains characters who feel very much alive.

Sebastian is written in a similar style to her Black Jewels trilogy, from the perspective of several different characters who offer different angles to the story, and embeds localised plot lines within a larger, more fundamental story arc (in this case, the Eater of the World). It worked superbly well in the Black Jewels, but here it was more scattered, and made it harder to ground myself in the book. Especially considering the title character, Sebastian, doesn't figure as prominently in the story as you'd think, given that the book is named after him. It's simply a case of having expectations and being a bit disappointed.

I hate to continue comparing this to the Black Jewels, but the latter did establish a pretty high standard. The characters of the Black Jewels were strongly drawn, diverse and interesting and endearing, and very sympathetic. I still think of them from time to time. The characters of Sebastian are paler in comparison, less solid, more clichéd. There was a degree of cheesiness - especially with Sebastian and Lynnea, whose romantic relationship was a bit corny and formulaic at times - that made me cringe a bit, and Sebastian wasn't as charismatic as he could have been.

That's not to say I didn't thoroughly enjoy this book, but I did feel it was a bit lacking and not her best effort. Still, top marks for originality and giving me something to chew on.
Profile Image for Tita.
1,885 reviews179 followers
April 9, 2009
Neste livro, temos um mundo diferente das Jóias Negras, com regras e raças diferentes – Mundo Efémera.
No início, senti-me um pouco perdidas com estas paisagens (Mundos) e personagens, mas logo fiquei presa à leitura e não queria parar.
Tudo começa quando o Ente (ou Devorador do Mundo) é acidentalmente solto. Este Ente é uma criatura maléfica, que se aproveita dos medos, fraquezas e receios dos habitantes, tornando-os realidade, com o objectivo de tomar Efémera. A partir daqui, temos uma luta entre o bem e mal.
Achei as personagens muito construídas, tendo cada uma o seu papel importante na história.
Sebastian é um incubo, muito sensual, mas que trava uma luta para se manter fiel aos seus princípios.
Lynnea é uma mulher que demonstra uma grande coragem e que fará tudo por amor.
Provocador, é também um incubo, cheio de humor e com um grande sentido de amizade.
Gloriana Belladonna é uma paisagista proscrita muito poderosa.
Lee é um construtor de pontes e irmão de Belladonna.
Nadia é uma paisagista, mãe de Belladonna e Lee e tia de Sebastian.

Este é um livro cheio de humor, sensualidade, amor, amizade, misturado com uma boa dose de cenas horripilantes.
A única coisa que sinto falta nos livros de Anne Bishop, é de uns mapazinhos para me poder orientar com tanta “região”.
5 reviews8 followers
January 14, 2008
Nowhere as good as The Black Jewels Trilogy. I count the last book in that statement.

Bishop recycled a lot of themes from the Black Jewels trilogy: innocent girl misunderstood and abused by family, sexually experienced man falls for innocence. There are more, but I can't think of them right now.

I disliked it in part because its moral stance allowed for no grey areas. The protagonists were all very firmly on the side of Good, and anybody who was remotely mean to them had to be Evil. Case in point: the antagonist was only ever called 'It'; Lynnea's adoptive family didn't understand her, so they were all abusive, etc.

What irritated me most was that there were so many throwaway POVs, brought in just to show how stupid the other side was.

Also, the fact that Sebastian spends most of the book referring to his love interest as a 'rabbit' leads you to some wince-worthy conclusions about what his love life must have been like outside of all the incubus activities. (Not to mention it led to some peculiar mixed metaphors about rabbits becoming tigresses.)

On the other hand, overlooking the faults in the plot and the characterizations, it's readable.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for DemetraP.
3,696 reviews
February 21, 2015
I read Sebastian last night. It's by Anne Bishop (who wrote Written in Red) It's book 1 in the Ephemera series. It was pretty interesting. There are "landscapes" which are different villages or sections with a village or town. Then there are "landscapers" who can create connections to those landscapes and keep them stable. Because people's thoughts can change the landscape. Good or bad thoughts.

Sebastian is a half wizard/half incubus who lives in a landscape called the Den of Iniquity. They have bread with a very suggestive name, made in a very suggestive shape. That little detail kept cracking me up. All Sebastian wants in a real relationship. And when you put that thought out into the "landscape" that wish can come true.

The story was very interesting. But the intimate scenes were very closed door. Like one sentence long. A real letdown.

I read the book in a few hours because I couldn't put it down. Overall, it was enjoyable.
March 2, 2013
This book is horrible. I couldn't get past the first page. It reads like a very badly written episode of Buffy the Vampire slayer, with the character openly conversing about being a succubus. It's hard to suspend disbelief. Whoever edited this should be fired, as the author decided (for no reason I could see) to spell the word "coffee" two different ways on the first page. Why is it spelled "koffea" and then "koffee" two sentences later? This seriously turned me off, as well as the author's blatant ploys to get my attention by making Sebastian seem like a dimestore novel whore. Usually goodreads is right on the nose with their suggestions for books I would like, but on this one, they were so, so very wrong. Shame on you, Anne Bishop. Quit your job and go back to watching Buffy. Stephanie Meyer is better than you, and that's pretty embarassing.
Profile Image for Catherine.
184 reviews8 followers
January 8, 2014
I grew extremely frustrated with this book (even more so when I bought the sequel at the same time. I loved the Black Jewels Trilogy in spite of all the faults, so I thought it'd be the same with Ephemera. I shouldn't have assumed). I wish Bishop had at least sort of explained what Landscapers and Bridges did early on so I didn't have to read the entire book before I realized what the heck they actually did (it was just handled very clumsily, and if she did explain it sooner I completely missed it).

I didn't much care for either of the main characters, and the big bad villain didn't really seem to be all that interesting either. I give it two stars for an interesting idea, though I probably should have put 1 since I never plan on rereading this and the interesting idea didn't come across in the prose at all.
Profile Image for Ann Gimpel.
Author 180 books648 followers
September 5, 2014
This book has gotten its share of spotty reviews, but I loved it. Anne Bishop's strength is in her world building and this book didn't disappoint. Ephemera is one of the most complex UF worlds I've come across and Bishop handled it with great consistency. I had no trouble visualizing the shifting landscapes and the different types of bridges between them. I also appreciated Ephemera's link to people's emotional state.

Sebastian is a great character. Part incubus, part wizard, he comes into his own as the book progresses in a satisfying character arc. Glorianna, Lee, and Nadia are well-drawn characters too, as is Lynnea.

There were a few side-threads to the plot that probably didn't need to happen and a few I'd like to have seen expanded. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it for UF fans who like the unusual in a genre that often repeats itself.
Profile Image for Debrac2014.
1,883 reviews10 followers
December 6, 2017
Good story about Ephemera, a world of landscapes connected by bridges, where it listens to hearts wishes and responds! It's a world of Light and Dark! The beginning was slow and the story didn't grab me until halfway thru.
142 reviews35 followers
July 27, 2009
Considering this was the very first book I've read by Anne Bishop, I found this book to be very complex and brought new meaning to the hearts true desires. The war between light and dark forces in this world set a strange balance in my views of good and evil.
Profile Image for Arden.
234 reviews37 followers
June 14, 2018
Currents of power dance through Ephemera, this living, ever-changing world. Some of those currents are Light, and some are Dark. Two halves of a whole. Nothing has one without some measure of the other.
That is the way of things.
And there is no vessel for focusing the Light and the Dark that can compare to the human heart.
How do we tell people, who are still shaken by the horrors the Eater of the World set free in Ephemera, that this thing they fear cannot be destroyed completely because It was manifested from the darkest desires of their own hearts? How can we tell them they planted the seeds of this war that shattered the world? How can we tell them it was their own despair during this fearsome time that changed rich farmland into deserts? How can we tell them that, even with our guidance and intervention, the link between Ephemera and the human heart is unbreakable, and the world around them is nothing more or less than a reflection of themselves?
We can't tell them—because, despite the dangers that exist within it, the human heart is our only hope of restoring Ephemera someday. Nor can we let people completely deny the part they play in the constant shaping and reshaping of this world.
So we will teach them this warning: Let your heart travel lightly. Because what you bring with you becomes part of the landscape.
— The Lost Archives

Anne Bishop seems to be a fairly polarizing author, but I happen to be a fan of her particular brand of saccharine wish-fulfillment fantasy. Sue me. I love the angsty bad boy that's not actually a bad boy at all. I love the intricately worlds Bishop imagines, so different from our own but for that fragile undercurrent of humanity. I get cavities from all of it, but it doesn't make me love it less.

I will say, however, that this was not a romance. This was a fantasy novel where one of the characters happens to be an incubus pining for love. There are no overly explicit sex scenes, and despite the fact that many scenes take place in land literally named the Den of Iniquity, nothing overly crass or disgusting happens.
Profile Image for Kathy Martin.
3,337 reviews73 followers
January 1, 2020
The main character in this story is Sebastian. He is the child of a wizard and a succubus whose mother gave him to his father to raise. His father hates him because he is the living proof of the mistake he made sleeping with a succubus. Luckily, he has an aunt and cousins who try to make up for his father's abuses.

Sebastian's cousins are a Landscaper named Belladonna and a Bridge named Lee. His cousin Belladonna runs afoul of the wizards by being too powerful and also for creating a landscape that is perfect for Sebastian and is exiled. However, she is the only one who might be able to combat an old evil that has escaped its imprisonment and now wants to conquer Ephemera.

Meanwhile, Sebastian meets a young woman named Lynnea who has undergone her own kind of abuse at the hands of a woman who found her wandering as a child and took her home to be a servant and her whipping boy. When Lynnea throws a hard-earned penny into a wishing well, all she wants is to find a place where she can be safe and be loved which leads her to Sebastian's landscape even though Sebastian isn't at all sure that he's right for her.

When the evil entity called It convinces the wizard to find Belladonna so that she can be destroyed, Sebastian is chosen as the bait to draw her in. Only Sebastian and Lynnea's love for each other can save them and Belladonna from the wizards and It's horrible plan.

I enjoyed the world building in this story. The idea of shattered landscapes that can only be reached by bridges that may or may not take you to your intended destination but often take you to the land your heart desires was intriguing.

This is the first book of a trilogy. One advantage of catching up on an author's earlier works is that I don't need to wait for the next book or books to be published. They are waiting for me on my Kindle. I can't wait to read them.
Profile Image for Isis A..
18 reviews
August 18, 2018
First of all, I loved this book! But it’s a little hard to express an opinion regarding this book because I understand it as two different tales. Obviously there is the sweet tale of a couple that manage to met against all odds which is very cute and lovely! But what truly put an spell on me was this world, the way Ephemera’s characteristics lay open people’s heart wishes. This world will take you to where you belongs and will force you in the path of your heart, it’ll show you only what you can see and lead you to your journey. Even though it’s such a true world it’ll also full of prejudice and pride, of ignorant characters to blind to see beyond theirs own beliefs and some who are not afraid to look inside themselves and understand theirs own light and darkness.
In my opinion it’s highly recommended to take a trip in this world, you’ll certainly find some answers (if you are ready to see it).
Profile Image for Devyn.
614 reviews
April 8, 2017
Sebastian is surprisingly clean for a book that features an incubus as the main character. I expected some hot, dirty, detailed sex because of the book cover (and my own presumptions) so I'm kinda disappointed there wasn't any. I mean, come on, he's an INCUBUS.
But I'm not entirely heartbroken over it because of the sweet, lovey dovey feel good sensations this book pumped into my system. Add that with all the genuine funny bits and the simple fact that this is a fantastic read with a complex plot... I guess I'll let the sex thing slide.
Bring on book number two!
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