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(Curse of the Bond Riders #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  750 ratings  ·  64 reviews
On the edge of a mystical border called the Limen, close to a beautiful canal-laced city, a humble candlemaker rescues a child whom he raises as his apprentice.

Years pass and the child’s unusual talents are revealed, the gentle art of candlemaking slowly transforming into something far more sinister.

Lingering in the shadows, enemies watch and wait - a vengeful aristocrat,
Paperback, 411 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Woolshed Press (RHA)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  750 ratings  ·  64 reviews

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Sarah (saz101)
Wow... I haven't had this little fun with a book in a long time.
Months ago I got three quarters of the way through Tallow, and couldn't make myself turn another page. I finally picked it up again and forced my way through the rest of it. It was unpleasant.

For the life of me I can't figure out why I didn't like Tallow. It's everything I normally love in a novel: mystery, intrigue, magic, and, of course, fantasy. It's well written enough, has an original setting, interesting characters, but I didn
Paula Weston
May 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
There’s been quite a bit of buzz in the Australian spec fic scene lately over the recent release of Tallow, the first book in Karen Brooks’ new fantasy series, The Curse of the Bond Riders.

Brooks is known in Australia as an academic, cultural commentator and young adult fantasy author. Tallow is her latest offering, and the first of her work I’ve read.

Set in a city very much like Renaissance Venice, the novel tells the story of Tallow, an orphaned child raised by a lowly candle-maker (hence the
Pat K
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to finish this book, I got to 50% but I just couldn't finish. I didn't like or engage with any of the characters. I usually love fantasy an I'm more than willing to suspend disbelief, but the world building fell short for me and I just didn't get what the world or the story was on about.
Nov 22, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: crap, my-books
I liked the concelpt of this book, I felt it had real potential! But after slugging through page after page of making candles and how they change your life, I could not bring myself to finish it. All though I don't agree with leaving a book unfinished I couldn't bring myself to continue reading as it was a total bore. However, this is only my opinion, it is not the sort of book I would usually read, and only decided to read it as it was highly recommended. I, however have no interest in reading ...more
Nov 30, 2009 rated it it was ok
Tallow is an Estrattore - someone who can extract emotions from or distill them into, a person or object. She is believed to be the last surviving Estrattore and the key to a prophesy that says she will free her kind. Yes free her kind, even though she's believed to be the last one.. so I guess she can't be.

Bond riders are humans, or more precisely ex-humans, who have pledged themselves to something or some cause in exchange for their lives. Their souls get split and they become kind of immortal
Kat at Book Thingo
I give props to Karen Brooks’s imagination. I love the idea of candlewax imbued with magic, which is released when lit. The book is set in Serenissima or old world Venice, and it’s always refreshing to read a fantasy novel with an unusual setting. It’s a world of artisans, political intrigues and superstitions into which Brooks weaves a story of magic, prophesies and immortal beings.

I know this is my personal reading bias coming through, but by the end of the book I felt that Brooks laid on a li
Apr 15, 2010 rated it did not like it
This is the first book I've never finished. I started reading it like a year ago and thought I'd put it down for a little while and come back to it later. But I couldn't bring myself to do it. I have this thing that I hate not finishing books because I think that maybe the rest will be better and I will actually like the book in the end. But I decided not to pick it back up in the end because there are books out there that I'll enjoy reading a lot more than this one. I'm really disappointed thou ...more
Oct 28, 2012 rated it did not like it
I persevered and unfortunately it wasn't that great. It clearly states that it is a part of a series but it didn't offer any resolutions or any great progress in the story whatsoever. Several characters motivations weren't really made clear and so I couldn't really get in to the story line. Not a series I will be continuing with, and thats saying someething.
Apr 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
This one kind of went no where for a while, then got interesting in the second half, and then ended on a abrupt cliffhanger, which annoyed me. Even books that are part of a series can at least wrap things up a little instead of ending in the middle of an interesting part.
Annabelle Amber
Oct 04, 2011 rated it did not like it
This is one of those books I literally had to bully myself into keeping on reading it.
It took me nearly two weeks to read it! Two weeks!
I respect that others found it immensely entertaining, but I have not been so bored with a book since Drowned Wednesday.
Jun 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-finished
I didn't finish this book I got a 3rd of the way through and hated it. Not much more I can say, it was unpleasant and I felt very depressed thinking it was going to be a great historical nov r l but it let me down.
Lynne A
Apr 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
What a great story. The characters were very believable and the historical fantasy atmosphere of Venice and the canals inspired me to find out more about the culture of this time and setting.
Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf, library
didn't necessarily 'give up' on reading it, but got about half way and had to return it... that was 2 years ago.. interesting, but not high on my list to read in order to finish.
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved it & am looking forward to Votive. ...more
Oct 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
I did not really enjoy this book, the begining I though that it was alright though by the time I was halfway through the book I had totally lost interest in it.
♥ Ashleigh ♥  contrary to popular belief i'm not actually mad!
I enjoyed listening to this book, but I can easily say at the end there was zero point of me reading it. Nothing really happens. From the sounds of it, all the exciting things happen in the next book.
This book was mainly following our MC, Tallow while she/he stumbled about the place making the same mistakes over and over again, while she/he maintained her crazy optimistic POV.
There was also an interesting make-out scene towards the end. When I say interesting, I mean THE WORST MAKE OUT SCENE I
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just one word: TERRIFIC!
Alisha Brook
3.5 stars
Emily Wrayburn
Review originally posted on A Keyboard and an Open Mind 22 August, 2016:

While this book definitely felt like a series opener, and a set-up for bigger things to come later, the setting and characterisation were both fresh and original and drew me in completely.

Tallow has grown up as a candle maker’s apprentice in Serenissima, a place we now know as Venice. Her strange eyes have always bothered people, but it’s not until a stranger shows up at their door that she learns she is one of the last Estr
Oct 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon . Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me, which appear on a timely schedule.

There's something about Tallow that sets him apart from other children. His luminescent eyes mark him as a extractor - but what does that mean for him and his family? When the plague comes, will he be able to combat it?

For the first few moments of the prologue, the reader can feel a little confused about what is happening. It's not immediately cl
May 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matilda Mayfair
Aug 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, reviewed
On the edge of a mystical border called the Limen, close to a beautiful canal-laced city, a humble candlemaker rescues a child, whom he raises as his apprentice. Years pass and the child's unusual talents are revealed, the gentle art of candlemaking slowly transforming into something far more sinister. Lingering in the shadows, enemies watch and wait ? a vengeful aristocrat, an exotic queen and the lethal creatures known only a the Morte Whisperers. They hunger after the child's ancient magic an ...more
May 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: some people who doesn't care for nasty famillies and almost non-existent romances
**One minor spoiler**

I loved Brooks for creating such a political and complicated world building.

The setting for the story is in La Serenissima, a beautiful canal-laced city that is kinda like Renaissance Italy.
14 year old Tallow, a candle maker's apprentice, is an Estrattore: someone who extracts human emotions and puts them into use. However, years ago, they were hunted down and killed, so that makes Tallow very valuable to others and the Morte Whisperers, ghoul-like creatures who takes people
Jan 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Tallow is a book that starts with some familiar tropes of Fantasy - a prophecy, an orphaned child destined to inherit magical powers, a shadowy enemy (literally) - but transcends these conventions to become an entirely different story. Brooks' ability to surprise the reader, particularly when we are beginning to feel comfortable with where the story is going, is perhaps one of her greatest triumphs. (Sorry, no examples, as that would spoil the reading pleasure.)

Set in Serenissima, a city probabl
Apr 16, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I'm afraid that this is a "did not finish" for me. I got about three quarters of the way through and realised that I couldn't force myself to read it anymore. There were several reasons why.

Firstly, perspective. The story kept hoping between first and third person, something that I found very annoying and that didn't add anything to the story. The author should have picked one perspective and stuck with it and saved the reader a headache. To add to this annoyance there was also these occasional
Anthony Eaton
Oct 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Okay - Confession time first: I'm probably a little biased about this particular book, because I was lucky enough to do some editorial work on it a couple of years ago; provide a readers report and a few suggestions. That said, the moment I read it, I fell in love with this world, the characters, and I *cannot wait* for the rest of this series.

Tallow is everything that good fantasy writing should be: it's smart, well conceived, believable, has enough links to the 'real' world to make it engaging
Mar 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
‘On the edge of a mystical border called the Limen, close to a beautiful canal-laced city, a humble candlemaker rescues a child whom he raises as his apprentice.’

The first book in a young adult fantasy trilogy, Tallow is the young apprentice of Pillar, the candlemaker. Tallow is an estrattore, an extractor, of human emotion, which she blends with the tallow she makes her candles with. These emotions are then released when the candles are burnt, and have great power to change people’s fate. In t
I'm not a big reader of fantasy novels, but I was given this by a friend I trust and the author is a good friend of a decade and a half standing: on two counts venturing into print on this is potentially difficult. So, I was delighted to really enjoy it. The back story and imagined Venice-like world is engaging, and sufficiently grounded in Venice-actual to resonate with the realist in me, while the notion of the world divided into zones by a series of non-traversible zones (although there are e ...more
Imo (Omnom Books)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
An audiobook read. Eloise Oxer did a very good job with this story. I will be looking forward to the other books in this series.

A sad, and yet, hopeful story. Tallow lives with much angst, deception and loneliness. She learns she is of a race which has been hunted for the past several centuries and is the reason she must go about as unnoticed as is possible... as a boy.

Fear of self - being noticed - getting caught - loosing friendships. Dressing and living as the opposite sex, for safety. Learni
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