It was here that Del and Tiger--she among the greatest of Northern sword masters, he a Southron warrior of legendary skills--must make their way to free Del from the life curse under which she traveled. For this was where she had slain her own sword master long before to blood her magical blade with the kind of power she needed to avenge the cruel destruction of her family. Outlawed by her action, she now had only a year to return to the Place of Swords to stand in sword-dancer combat and either clear her name and honor or meet her doom. Tiger, who had stood by Del through so many trials, would not forsake her now, and so, together, they begin the journey North. But between them and their rendezvous with destiny was a vast land replete with dangers of both sword and spell. And behind them stalked an unseen and deadly presence intent on stealing away the very heart and soul of their sword-dancer's magic....
Over a 40-year career (so far), Jennifer Roberson has published four fantasy series, including the Sword-Dancer Saga, Chronicles of the Cheysuli, the Karavans universe, and urban fantasy series Blood & Bone. Other novels include historicals LADY OF THE GLEN, plus two Robin Hood novels, LADY OF THE FOREST, and LADY OF SHERWOOD.
New novels are percolating in her always-active imagination.
Hobbies include showing dogs, and creating mosaic and resin artwork and jewelry. She lives in Arizona with a collection of cats and Cardigan Welsh Corgis.
Well that was an ending I did not expect! Wow! The author sure did a trick on us...
You see, after the first adventure of Tiger and Del, the Southern and Northern Sword-Dancers, who have been traveling together for 10 months now, I thought I had the measure of the two and was settling down for another regular "adventure of the week". I was write for the most part. Having somewhat completed her task in the Desert South, Del has to get back to the North, where she is to stand trail in front of her peers for the murder of her teacher. She has a year since the decision was made, but time is running short and the weather and horrible magic creatures which seem determined to make life difficult in every possible moment, are slowing them down. Del is being accompanied by her partner, both sword and bed, Tiger, who despite of all of his predictions of ill upcomings, and despite of the foreign cold doom of the North he feels hanging around them, nevertheless chooses to give his word to be her companion and "sponsor", which meaning he does not truly understand... The best he could interpret it is as a second, like in a duel...
Apparently Tiger, just as me, was feeling comfortable with his knowledge of the fair Del, who seems to be very honest and straightforward, albeit never giving out more information than she thinks she needs... Tiger is very attracted to the woman and likes her company, as well as the fact that they share the same profession and seem a perfect fit to roam the borderlands and take contracts, never truly settling down anywhere... Having this in mind, he has some vague plans of getting over the trail somehow and going back south, back with his Del and his stubborn Stud Horse, living day to day, no burdens, no responsibilities, no chains... Well, the road to the trail in the North is fool of evil northern magical creatures and the road back home is very disturbing for Del, since the places remind her of her slaughtered family and the people who killed them, enslaved her brother and did horrible things to her... I felt terrible about Del and her past, shaping her in a way which is very different than this of most women in this culture. It shaped her into a Sword with only one song - the Song of Vengeance!!!
Tiger understands her quest for vengeance, but he also sees how it warps her soul, making it hollow and empty away from this goal. I was a bit bothered by his constant questions of her as to what would she do next, after the quest/song is ended, since it seemed to me like he was pushing her to accept her "traditional role as a woman", and I think he would have disliked her had she been just another "regular" woman... However, the point was mute since she refused to think beyond that. Until she got to the settlement where her sword masters live and a very unexpected person becomes evident. This changes her views on things, and she does something very disappointing, which in most cases would leave you despising her... Only, I understand and I also know she is very, very young and there is a lot of more growth to be achieved for this character... Tiger is also left.... unsettled...
"...“Del’s face was ravaged. “Tiger, please—” I shook my head. “You told me once I loved you. Maybe so. Maybe I do. But right now, with all of this, I find it very hard even to like you.” Del, too shocked, said nothing. I turned the stud loose and rode.”..."
Yep, a hard time is to be had by all... And that ending! Darn it, you just want to know what the heck is happening now!!! Now I have no choice and will continue reading the series for sure! Very entertaining Fantasy-Adventure for sure!
Now I wish you all Happy Reading and may you always find what you need in the pages of a good book!!!
"There were many things unknown between us, many things unspoken, because we had both been shaped by circumstances far beyond ken or control. We were an odd amalgam, the woman and I; sword-dancers both; dangerous, deadly, dedicated, as loyal to the rituals of the circle as to one another. And yet denying, in our own independently stubborn ways, any loyalties to one another at all; preferring, for countless ridiculous reasons, to claim ourselves invulnerable to the normal course of human wants, needs, desires. And knowing, perfectly well, we needed one another as much as we needed the dance."
It is not that I disliked the Sword-Singer, but I enjoyed considerably less than its predecessor, and so, to remain an honest reviewer, I am forced to award it with two stars. With an asterisk.
Once again we accompany the odd pair of sword-masters, Sandtiger and Delilah on their adventures. In the previous instalment, the odd pair met and traversed sun-burnt South in a search of Del's kidnapped brother. This time, the tale of revenge and retribution takes us to the cold uplands of North.
I welcomed the change of scenery, and more detailed world-building which goes beyond the cold-warm and sun-snow opposites. The North is a precarious mix of Scandinavia and Tibet, brimming with magic and magical creatures. Since Tiger is still our narrator, we learn about the land together with him, usually through nasty surprises of various disasters and near-deaths. There are few back stories and background information is usually dispensed by Del, and she is rather tight-lipped in this regard.
Truth to be told, Del is my main problem in this novel. Say good-bye to the calm, introverted but caring woman you remember from the Sword-Dancer. We have a withdrawn, egoistic creature bent on achieving her personal vendetta, regardless of its costs (or who is to pay the bill, for that matter). In fact, the series should be called Del and Tiger, because this instalment is yet again all about Del's story, Del's personal traumas and tragic choices, and Del's ambition to be seen as a person with a sword not a woman with a sword (except when in the climax moment of the book she takes a decision driven entirely by her sex and all its biological implications, which drove me bonkers). Tiger is just an addendum, an appendix with sword, a useful tool. I found this imbalance unsettling and unjust, especially that his past is a possible mystery even more interesting than whether or not Del will manage to kill those who wronged her and her family (because, duh!).
I am not liking Del in this instalment, I am not liking the focus on her, I am not liking the way main plot line is played out. Huge chunk of the book is taken by our main protagonists fleeing from vicious magical creatures (freed inadvertently by Tiger, because Del didn't even bother to warn him about possible dangers) that contribute absolutely nothing to the bigger picture. Tiger is still hilarious and likeable, and much more mature and compassionate than an average mercenary. His macho factor is considerably lower, but still I marvel at how Roberson managed to capture distinctively male way of perception and thinking.
Overall, an ordeal, but I persevered and I intend to continue.
* The rating does not mean the book is bad, to the contrary, it is a casual entertainment and my dislike is not based upon particular writing flaws, but rather personal preferences.
Amazing sequel, much better than book #1. Great characters, amazing interactions (the dialogues were full of content, discussions regarding trauma, gender roles and future of the main characters were just so passionate and modern) and great scenery. The deadly charm of the North is also an incredible part of the story. The plot is also incredibly paced, in terms of action and in terms of twists. Some that were difficult to foresee!
I wouldn't say this was a tough read, more like a frustrated read. Example....
Del and Tiger walking along, Tiger trips on a small stone.
Del: Look Tiger you tripped on a stone. Tiger: I tripped on nothing, I don't believe in a stone. Del: Open your eyes, it's a stone. Tiger: That is nothing. Del: *picks up stone* LOOK, it's a stone. Tiger: I see nothing in your hand, stones do not exist. Del: You are a fool. Tiger: I may be a fool, but a fool that does not believe in stones. Del: Then what did you trip over? Tiger: Nothing. Del: *thrusting the stone in Tiger's face* What is this then? Tiger: It's not a stone, they are not real. Del: *throws rock and hits Tiger with it* Tiger: Hoolies, what you do that for? Del: Why, you don't believe in it so it shouldn't hurt. Tiger: Well, I never meant it didn't exist, just that I don't believe in it.
And that's basically how most of the book went. Although I finished it and more than likely read the rest in the series.
I had forgotten how unlikable Del became in this sequel until this reread. She's so wrapped up in her own self that anything goes, and to any one at all. Especially Tiger.
Unfortunately she's not the same quiet but capable person that she had been in the first book. Now she is secretive, manipulative, inconsiderate, prickly, and harbors a chip on her shoulder the size of Mt. Rushmore. And I mean really manipulative. Tiger has become nothing but an object used to give her leverage. This while Del has full knowledge of his personal history. WTH? I don't understand the author's intent with these character changes. Another alteration: she had a kindness to her nature that also seems to be tossed aside in this book. And the worst part is that I don't think any of these changes were necessary. Revenge was a driving force to her personality in book one, but it didn't cause the intense dislike that I developed while reading this one. Maybe now that I'm older I am seeing things differently from my first go-around with this series. I have a deep aversion to manipulation, so it's kind of hard to root for someone acting like a selfish obnoxious twit.
That's my rant, and I'm sticking to it ;). I'll probably re-read the rest of the series since the author is supposed to release another, I believe in the fall. I don't think that Del stays this awful from what I can recall. But who knows? They say the memory is the first thing to go!
After finally tracking down her long-ago kidnapped brother with the help of master sword-dancer Tiger, Del now faces the daunting task of returning to the North to finally pay the price for having slain her sword-master. Tiger isn't about to allow his basha to return to her homelands alone to face a trial and possibly death and so comes along for the ride. All too quickly however, he discovers that the North is nothing like his beloved desert South. Not only is he faced with an unfamiliar landscape and colder temperatures but demons and magic which Tiger stoutly refuses to believe exists. Even though the proof is right before his eyes. Frustrated with the whole venture, a miserable Tiger watches as Del becomes increasingly more detached and withdrawn even as she daily tries to prepare him for the uncompromising severity of her former home.
Well. Whereas Sword-Dancer left me extremely satisfied if not entirely hungry for more Tiger and Del, then its sequel, Sword-Singer left me astounded and downright DEMANDING for the next installment. After having already spent one whole book with these two outstanding characters, I thought I had a pretty good handle on their histories and motivations but boy howdy was I ever wrong. Clever Ms. Roberson had plenty more surprises up her sleeve in Sword-Singer. For most of the novel I truly felt like I was there, right along with Tiger, discovering detail after detail about the North and Del for the very first time. I sympathized with his frustrations and unhappiness even if I sometimes wanted to pop him upside the head. But then, Tiger wouldn't be Tiger without a rash response here or there.
Although once again, Del in her quiet yet unyielding way utterly stole the show and my heart in Sword-Singer. She is so fierce yet still feels every choice so deeply - even though she tries to hide that facet of her personality. I simply do not know how Del has managed to continue after enduring hardship upon hardship. But GAH!! How in heavens name could Jennifer Roberson end the book in such a way?!? Horrible cliff-hanger that it was, I'm still fuming at my mailman for taking over three weeks to bring me the next book, Sword-Maker. You can bet your sweet socks I didn't waste any time diving right back in.
I read but did not review the first book. (Sword Dancer) It was several months ago. Both books are about a Southren and a Northern Sword Dancer, Sandtiger and Deleliah (Del). Tiger, after 16 years as a slave won his freedom and his name by entering the cave of a deadly Sand Tiger who had been killing children and by killing the tiger. He then studied the art of Sword Dancing which is a ritual sword fight done in a circle drawn on the ground. Sometimes it is a fight to see who wins and the loser forfeits but other times it is a fight to the death. He is telling the story and describes himself, not as your romance novel hero, but as a big man, dark naturally but darker from a life on the sands of the desert, rough and with scars on his face from the Sand Tiger. He thinks and speaks with some humor and is pretty down to earth in both.
Del is from the North where Sword Dancing is even more ritual and refined and magic is in the sword of the advanced sword dancers. She came to the South in the first book on a mission of revenge for the massacre of her family and the cruelty she experienced. She is being hunted by her own people and in this book she and Tiger have been together for 10 months and are headed for the North for her to give herself up and be put on trial, perhaps put to death. She, as all Northerners is very blond and blue eyed and pale.
Throughout both books this is a story of danger from supernaturals and human...and from the elements of desert, storm, and blizzard. Tiger and Del have shared it all, saved each other many times and are bedmates as well. They have no spoken bond between each other. I should add one important character and that is The Stud, Tiger's horse. The Stud has no name, is not pretty but rather a tough hardy horse with a very bad disposition. I am sure Tiger would never even think that he loves that horse, but it is a true love/hate relationship and part of the story I enjoyed.
There is no way to explain the story and I should not anyway. What makes this book different and special is that is is really an evolution of the relationship between a man and a woman who have little in common other than the "dance" She hates the South, he hates the North. But he will go with her to wherever she takes him to the trial and stand as her representative. Their conversations, arguments and all they share are what makes this book for me. I thought in the first book that I understood her. I was wrong. There is so much more, and Tiger sees all of it even though she does not.
A really good author leads the reader into feeling one way or another about a character My feelings about Del changed as time went on and as Tiger understood more and more.
The ending...what can I say. The entire book is leading up to a climax and that is obvious. Will they get to the trial before the described deadline because if not, she is to die. What will happen then. Big reveals and big twists and surprises. I never saw any of it coming - not in a million years. The ending should have devastated me - it didn't. It ended like it had to and should. Good for the author that!
In this sequel to Sword-Dancer Tiger and Del are returning to Del’s homeland. She must present herself for judgement for the crime of killing her sword teacher at Staal-Ysta within the year or be declared an outlaw, with a price on her head that any may claim. But with bandits, evil spirits and magical hounds to contend with, the journey won’t be easy.
After the first book set in the southern desert homeland of Tiger, we’re exploring the snow and ice northern land that Del called home this time around. As ever, Tiger is our guide, and it’s amusing to see the confident macho sword-dancer dealing with the unfamiliar north with its climate and terrain that baffles him (he even catches a cold – poor Tiger!).
I enjoyed the story; it wasn’t quite as ‘light’ as the first one, although it still had touches of humour and rattled along at a quick pace, ending on a cliffhanger. Tiger seems to have grown some since the first book – he still has a lot of his old beliefs, but he has learnt that Del isn’t ‘just’ a woman. Del is still a lot more reserved and cooler, although we learnt a lot more about her background. I’m afraid as a result of her actions (of which I’ll say nothing here) I started to dislike her; I assume we’ll see something change in the future books.
Take it for what it is – a light sword and sorcery story – and you may well enjoy it.
Plot: Picking up shortly after the last book, we continue with Tiger and Del heading northward. Del has a limited amount of time to argue her case (as to why she killed her teacher) before she becomes fair game for any sword-dancer, and Tiger has decided to accompany her. Their journey is full of the dangers of the North.... while the South had more natural, nature-based dangers, the North has those plus multiple magical dangers.
Review: Wow, I really enjoyed the first book and this one did NOT disappoint. Tiger and Del continue as a really unique set of characters and continue to grow as the book goes on. The dangers are a bit episodic, but it's really fun seeing Tiger so out of his element (even starting with his experiences with both cold weather and colds.) Both characters are really developed well in this installment, as is their relationship. You can really see Tiger changing a lot, and the personal struggles that Del is going through. Yes, he's still Tiger and his mind often wanders to one thing, but watching his growth is really great. It's also in this book that a lot of smaller characters are introduced (Bellin the Cat, the Borderer family, etc.) and you start to get the feeling that the author wrote these with a long-term view. It's like these characters show up for a few chapters then disappear, but you get the feeling that they'll be back in later books. I like the idea that the author already knows where things are going because then you know everything has a reason...
Overall, I can say that I REALLY recommend this book and the entire series so far- really great reads.
i recalled this as being my favorite of the series, and rereading now i can see why. roberson comes into her own here. the pacing is under control. the characters are alive. the writing is focused. i wouldn't say this book is perfect, but it clicks together. the pieces fit. roberson works within the sword-and-sorcery tradition, and with a male narrator, to reimagine what is possible within the bounds of the genre and turns out an entertaining and successful story. it would be fun to see a good mini-series adaptation...
Oh Roberson, you scruffy little nerfherder, how dare you end on such a cliffhanger!!!!
As for the book itself, nice flip - last book Del was fish out of water in the South and now here Tiger is fish out of water in the North.
Del makes some questionable choices that leave the reader with little sympathy for her (at best, your left thinking this girl needs therapy, stat) but an exciting continuation of Del and Tigers adventures.
I like this book, but I was hoping that the sexist comments would cease in this book, but they didn’t. They weren’t is annoying as the first book but they were still there. Del and tiger definitely faced some interesting magical creatures in this book. They also came across some interesting people. They try to help a woman and her children, but they ended up being a little more than they expected. When Dell finally got to the place where she killed her teacher, there was a lot of surprises waiting there mostly for tiger. This book had a very interesting ending. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. I read this book on audible, and it was definitely the same narrator as the last book.
I found this a bit better than the first novel. Tiger and Del's relationship is quite unique. Both suffer from PTSD (Del especially and for good reasons) and both really struggle with relationships and the emotions that come with it. I found parts of it frustrating as they bicker and sulk, no matter how realistically it is portrayed. I didn't like all of the sudden magical creatures attacking Tiger and Del throughout their journey in the North. I found it really didn't develop the characters or worldbuilding, but just adding action to keep the pace. Not a series for me.
A worthy second book about the -southron sword-dancer Tiger and the northern sword-singer, Del. The development of the characters are well done with a surprise or two inbetween as we travel North with them towards the 'Place of Swords', where Del learned her skills. The world is fraught with dangers and the main characters are hard people. We find out how hard in this good second book.
This book couldn't get past my 100 page initiation that I give most books I read. I couldn't finish the first one in the series and this one is the same. I love Roberson's Cheysuli series, but this one I just can't like... Hearing about how attractive Del is on every page gets old....and I get that the North is different from the South...okay...move on.
The sequel is better than the first because the characters are known to us and the magic in this installment is very present. Del is annoying (but with good reason) and Tiger becomes more likable with every page. Ends with a cliff hanger.
It's hard to read books in hindsight (i.e. knowing what happens in the sequels), but somehow, this book is all the more powerful for knowing what happens after. I haven't lost myself in a series the way I have in the Tiger and Del books in a long time.
Better. Character growth and more story pace that seemed to keep me wanting to read. Ended in a way that actually makes me want to pick up the next because I want to not because I feel like I should (begrudgingly).
I liked the travel in part of this book. It felt weird, however, how much magic is everywhere in the North and almost an afterthought in the South. I disliked the cliffhanger at the end, and these books should be read together as a whole.
I suppose this was meant to parallel Sword-Dancer: instead of a journey through the South, with the Sandtiger the native and Del the obstreperous fish out of water, this was a journey through the North, with their roles reversed. The problem, then, is one of reader expectation: Sword-Dancer explicitly establishes that it's going to be about such a journey, that it's the story of Del's search for the whereabouts of her long-lost brother. But both the end of that book and the beginning of this book set up Del's trial in the far North as the next step, as the beginning of Sword-Singer, not its end. So it's not until you're almost halfway through Sword-Singer that you realise that the delays and side trips Del and the Sandtiger are encountering on their trip back North aren't just a prelude to the book's story proper, but are rather the story itself. This makes the whole book feel slow-paced. The obstacles they encounter seem tiresome, and the characters they meet seem pointless, since not a one of them sticks around any longer than mandated by their immediate plot function, until, finally, our heroes arrive at the site of Del's trial.
Ordinarily, no matter how good the dialogue or characterisation, that would mean this would be a three-star book at absolute most. But the real strength of the Tiger and Del books is the gender dynamics between the two protagonists. Roberson does a brilliant job of capturing the voice of the Sandtiger, a male chauvinist who's never had his assumptions about men and women challenged before, as he's confronted with a woman he simply cannot handle, because she refuses to be compatible his understanding of how women fit into society and doesn't care that that makes him unhappy. And in Del, she does a better job than any male author could of giving us the woman he finds so confounding and treating her as an actual person than as a tool for lessons in gender relations. The Sandtiger and Del are both flawed individuals. Both have blind spots, and both have the grudging respect and affection for each other that's been borne out of each one coming to see how competent the other is.
In this book, we continue to follow Del and Tiger's adventures as they journey through the cold North. I was debating whether to give this book 3 or 4 stars. Just like in the first book, the story is pretty good, the dialog is witty, realistic and engaging and characters, magic and mythology are all pretty deep. Despite this there were several things I didn't like.
First of all, I really hated Del in this book. She does a few odd choices and I never really cared about her. By this point, her whole "tough girl" attitude was starting to get old pretty fast. Second, much of the book is just filler. We meet a lot of characters and creatures through out the book, but the encounter with them doesn't really affect the overall story so much and they could have easily been left out. Also, Tiger's stud gets a ridiculous amount of attention which is ludicrous, since he is only a HORSE. Third, a lot of answers aren't really answered in this book , and the book ends in a cliffhanger which I found annoying. Fourth, in some instances Tiger talks like he is 10 years old (For example time, schmime) which wouldn't be so weird, except he never talked like that in the first book. And finally, it seems that Jennifer Roberson is obsessed of various hues of colors when describing things and landscapes:
In the South, the colors are predominantly browns and golds and oranges; here it was blue and gray and lavender, gilded with silver and gold.
Each shelf spilled a fall of flowers and vines, all tangled against the stone. Reds and blues and purples, dappled canary and copper and lime.
It simply fades to deeper blues and bleaker grays, until the sun is replaced by moonlight, holding luminous court against pallid black.
You may find this charming and poetic, I just found it annoying.
In the end, despite this flaws, I still liked the book, and I do plan to read the next one, so 4 stars it is.