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Daggerspell (Deverry #1)

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3.89  ·  Rating details ·  12,864 Ratings  ·  386 Reviews
Even as a young girl, Jill was a favorite of the magical, mysterious Wildfolk, who appeared to her from their invisible realm. Little did she know her extraordinary friends represented but a glimpse of a forgotten past and a fateful future. Four hundred years-and many lifetimes-ago, one selfish young lord caused the death of two innocent lovers. Then and there he vowed nev ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 454 pages
Published November 1st 1993 by Spectra (first published 1986)
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Mark Lawrence
Mar 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book over twenty-five years ago and have just finished my first re-reading of it.

Re-reading can be a troubling experience. Many of the fantasy books I loved from my teens and twenties have not withstood the test of time. They've grown dated either by style and focus, or simply by the quality of the writing. And of course as much as general reading tastes and expectations have changed, I've changed too. Dump a few decades on a man and that'll happen.

*However*, I'm very pleased t
...more
Carol.
Apr 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: epic fantasy fans
Kerr's Deverry series is a classic in the epic fantasy field, and it's no surprise why. World building is excellent, detailed and consistent; she does an amazing job of bringing early, almost primitive, Welsh culture to life, albeit a culture with more magical tendencies than our own. From a village tavern to the women's hall in a lord's dun, to riding patrol through a forest, it feels earthy and real. The magical system is a kind of sophisticated spiritualism that is vital to development of the ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Jan 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Epic fantasy readers
Recommended to Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) by: Carol
Daggerspell is an epic fantasy novel built on the idea of reincarnation. If we have failed to fulfill our destiny in one life, we are compelled to return to this life in another form to do that. As I read this novel, I was confronted with my feelings about that inalienable destiny. There are some people that you have in your life that seem only to bring pain and hardship, and the comfort is that when you leave this life, you leave that pain they cause you behind. In this novel, that is not the c ...more
Cait • A Page with a View
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: faeries
Uhh so I really liked the pretty setting and the idea of multiple lives buuuut totally missed the memo on how she gets raped by her brother in more than one of them. I'm definitely not here to sit through that. Plus, the writing and dialogue were kind of... off. They just felt unrealistic and like something a beginning or younger author would do in an initial draft. So there were some promising elements in this book, but I just wasn't a fan in the end.
Dani
Oct 20, 2009 rated it did not like it
So I'm maybe 100 pages into this book and I don't know... My first mistake was reading this after Robin Hobb a woman who can really suck me in. I understand her characters and what they think and feel and most importantly why they make the choices they do.

I don't understand any of the choices these characters make. The book reads like its some weird out of body experience. I feel like a shadow or ghost reading about these characters. I get a vague sense of their emotions sometimes but mostly it
...more
Barry Mulvany
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
That was a surprisingly good book. It's set in a Celtic/Gallic kind of alternate world in a fairly primitive society. Nobles and lords might only a have a few men at arms and a large battle involves only a few hundred people. It is quite cool to see these small scale battles rather than ones involving thousands of people. We have around five or six main POV characters, from nobles to mercenaries to healers.
What is really interesting is that in this world people have a 'Wyrd', a kind of fate tha
...more
Tatiana
The Deverry saga is a long fantasy saga, but the great thing is that the it is organized in cycles, the first one being the first 4 books ("The Deverry cycle"). And at the end of a cycle, you get a real ending.
So if you hesitate to buy this book, thinking that you'll have to wait too long to know the end, don't. You'll have a real ending at the end of book 4.

The story is set in an alternative 11th century, Kerr imagining a celtic culture having survived and evolved into the Middle Ages thanks to
...more
Benjamin Thomas
This is actually a re-read for me. I had read the first two books in this series way back, probably over 25 years ago. At that time I was a neophyte when it comes to reading fantasy fiction and I don't remember liking either book very well. They were more complicated than the easier-to-read Dragonlance-style stuff I was into at that time and I think I had built up a sort of negative attitude towards them. But over the years, through one form or another, I have accumulated the entire series with ...more
Helen
Apr 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the things I enjoy about this is the vocab. It's just so Welsh, reminds me of home.

Characters have been set up, action started and appetites whetted. Initially, the time changes were confusing but you quickly get to grips with this. Part two to follow.
Amanda
Feb 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is the first book in Katharine Kerr's long-running series about Deverry and the Westlands. It introduces the three linked characters of Jill, Rhodry and Nevyn. This book - and indeed the series - is set up in such a way that it will jump from future to past and back again. It can make for complicated reading and an issue with pacing, but it genuinely brings the events to life.

The idea is that in the year 643 Galrion (who is to become Nevyn) makes a series of decisions that causes his lady l
...more
Stine
May 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, wizards, magic
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen
Ohhhh....yippeee!!

Another epic fantasy series that I can get into!!

Wonderful world building and I love how it flips back and forth....and the premise of the book??

So freakin' unique and out of the box!

I have been having such a hard time trying to find a decent epic/high fantasy that isn't one dimensional and with a female protagonist. I honestly think I read them all until I came across this series!
Beth
May 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this with a reading group and so have done a fair amount of pondering and typing about it already, so this review will be shorter than my usual.

The main thing I can say about it that I haven't elsewhere, is that Ms. Kerr's reach and her grasp are near perfectly matched. How often do you think "I can see what he/she was trying to do, but..."? I did not have that thought at any point reading this novel. I was especially impressed with how lean the writing is. Not in the sense of being spars
...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This book came highly recommended, so I’m sorry to say that despite its strengths, it has not inspired me to seek out the 15 sequels.

For a fantasy novel first written in the 80s, this has aged reasonably well, though not so well as another recent find of mine, the wonderful The Ladies of Mandrigyn. Daggerspell is listed as epic fantasy, though there’s no more than a hint of an Enemy--as opposed to a mere antagonist--in this volume. While Kerr incorporates some old-fashioned elements (I can’t rem
...more
Ruth Macleod
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favourites
Book 1 of 15 in total, the first in a long series it has a lot to live up to and a lot to accomplish, however it did just that. Daggerspell is probably one of my favourite books in this series as well as a favourite in general. Set in a sort of celtic time the world Katherine Kerr has created is both detailed and thoroughly real, you can immerse yourself in the culture seamlessly and the way she describes things such as the magic and peoples past lives is wonderfully detailed but still understan ...more
I'm Booked
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pure-fantasy
I really enjoyed this book! After reading epic fantasy series by Goodkind, Jordan and Martin I was burnt out by the genre; It seemed like every new book that I tried paled in comparison to the GOT series. Luckily, a fellow lover of fantasy recommended that I check out this series and I'm very glad that I did! I enjoyed it so much that I felt that I had to pay it forward, in the hopes that someone else might read these words and decide to pick up one of the best fantasy novels that I've read in Y ...more
Carly
Mar 26, 2012 marked it as dnf
I didn't finish this book, so I can't rate it. I got approximately 75% of the way through, and it is actually revulsion for aspects of the plot that caused me to stop.

Books whose major themes are rape and incest bother me.

This is a book in which the major characters are reincarnated over and over, typically as family members, and each time they are reincarnated, rape, murder, and/or incest results, from brother-sister to (ughh) father-daughter. Reincarnation is an interesting idea, but I don't r
...more
Sarah Mac
Eh. It's alright. The Deverry universe is essentially Celtic reincarnation role-play fantasy, complete with elves & gnomes, though it also borrows heavily from standard Tolkien tropes. Some parts were good, other parts tedious as hell. The magic & the cheesy elvish stuff was fine (& frankly, I'm surprised how many people are put off by the bad-karma incest -- y'all so squeamish, it's more like Shakespeare than George RR Martin >:P). But the MCs were flat, the pacing was awful, &am ...more
kaśyap
May 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
An interesting start to an epic fantasy series. The setting is a very well realised Celtic/Gaulish world. It follows a set of characters over centuries through their various rebirths and one character who lives through the whole period. Its pacing is not in a linear time.
I felt that Except for Nevyn and Brangwen/Jill the other characters haven’t been very well realised. Especially Rhodry who seems to be some kind of prophesised saviour comes off as very annoying and childish. Nevyn and Brangwen’
...more
Mark
Apr 15, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has been 16 years since I first picked up the first Deverry novel, DaggerSpell, and here in am, 16 years later, about to finish the fifteenth and final one.

Has the journey been worth it? Yes. Was the wait too long? Yes.

I would not recommend anyone starts reading the Deverry cycle unless they intend to read them all, as the macroscopic story is at least as important as the microscopic ones, and as such I am reviewing the books as a set.

I almost give them 4 stars (excellent) but in the end I am
...more
James Latimer
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women
Loved the classic nature of this story, with real echoes of Celtic Britain and some interesting twists of its own. Also loved the fact that it was fantasy for adults, unlike some of its contemporaries. Feel this is now completely overlooked and underrated, which is a shame.
Kathi
Apr 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
9/10
Magic, reincarnation, romance, battles, betrayals, and a definite Celtic feel to the story--what more could you ask?
Joyce
Dec 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
Meh.
Joy Pixley
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I can see why this series is such an enduring classic. I really enjoyed the worldbuilding and rich descriptions. The settings and lives of the various characters felt real, and I appreciated the contrast across the various time points. I also appreciated how magical the magic seems; I never quite understood the rules of it, but the special effects were good enough that I let that slip. I liked the central concept, that the characters have a wyrd or destiny that they had to fulfil and kept reinca ...more
Allie
For the love of God ----- whhyyy??

I made it to page 101. Everything about this book sounded good to me, and it was good, up until the (view spoiler)

No. Just NO.
Stef Rozitis
Aspects of the world-building were cool (like the names and stuff), but apart from that there was little I could like about this book. Anyone who considers reading it might want a "trigger warning" that is glamorises abuse, rapey behaviours and portrays incest.

Over 500 pages is a big commitment to ask from a reader, and I would have liked the writing to be tighter and more to the point. There were several places where a word was used that seemed anachronistic to the time and type of culture bein
...more
Megan
Jun 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What better way to start off the new year than with a re-read of my favorite fantasy series? It is so great getting back to spending time with the characters I've loved for years. Daggerspell is a wonderful start to the long-running and many-volumed series that leaves you wanting more and more and more.

Back when I was in high school, I picked up The Fire Dragon without realizing that it was book #11 in this series. I started reading it and was all, "Who are these people? What is going on? Why do
...more
Scarlet
Mar 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, fantacy
Daggerspell is a very promising book, whether it meets the expectations or not is totally up to the person reading, for me I'm afraid I liked the book more at the beginning, but started to lose interest later.
I liked the timing of the story, while some people may not like it I absolutely loved the past/present switch, I actually got upset when it stopped, the notion of incarnation was also well played in the book.
The characters on the other hand weren't as good, my favorite character would have
...more
Férial
Oct 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first, when I started this read, I feared it would be something like J.Vance's Suldrun's Garden. At least, as far as the writing and the "abrupt" way of telling the story were concerned. Yes. "Feared" is the word. I am sorry to say that I didn't like Vance's "style".

But, there was no need to fear. This book was something different and gradually, I started to relax.

I have loved Daggerspell. The story is based on 5 characters whom we follow through their different reincarnations (3 so far). Som
...more
Misha
Jul 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I had mostly eschewed reading fantasy novels before this one, unless it was written for younger readers, such as The Chronicles of Narnia or Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series. About the only exception I made for fantasy written for adults was Roger Zelazny's stuff because he didn't use the stock fantasy characters such as mages, elves, etc.

I can't recall what it was that made me pick up this book. I think it was that I had a good friend who loved fantasy and I wanted to understand what i
...more
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1,013 followers
Born in Ohio, 1944. Moved to San Francisco Bay Area in 1962 and has lived there ever since. Katharine Kerr has read extensively in the fields of classical archeology, and medieval and dark ages history and literature, and these influences are clear in her work. Her epic Deverry series has won widespread praise and millions of fans around the world.
More about Katharine Kerr

Other books in the series

Deverry (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Darkspell (Deverry, #2)
  • The Bristling Wood (Deverry, #3)
  • The Dragon Revenant (Deverry, #4)
  • A Time of Exile (The Westlands, #1)
  • A Time of Omens (The Westlands, #2)
  • Days of Blood and Fire (The Westlands, #3)
  • Days of Air and Darkness (The Westlands, #4)
  • The Red Wyvern (The Dragon Mage, #1)
  • The Black Raven (The Dragon Mage, #2)
  • The Fire Dragon (Deverry, #11; Dragon Mage, #3)

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“By the Lord of Hell’s hairy balls!” 1 likes
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