Estara's Reviews > Fires of Nuala

Fires of Nuala by Katharine Eliska Kimbriel
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's review
Sep 30, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: ebook, read-in-2010, favorites
Recommended for: Fans of the Liaden, Atevi and Crystal Singer books

This was just such a lovely discovery of a great space opera book by an author I had only read fantasy (with an alternate history twist) of before.

It's a gripping story centered around two protagonists, one the clever outsider female planning the ultimate heist (for Robin Hood-like purposes furthermore, although Darame certainly wants her own share of the proceeds), and one the very competent, healer-gifted scion of a royal family-equivalent who never expected to be thrust into a role of prominence when a major intrigue is set off, killing most of the available contenders for the throne.

The book introduces outworlder Darame as the major viewpoint character, but Sheel, the ruler-to-be, gets a lot of point-of-view time as well. So do a few major side characters, all of them well defined and interesting as is the world, Nuala, that is the scene for all of this.

Really, I ought not to say space opera, this is more a science fiction of manners and intrigue (does that concept even exist? I've only heard it used with fantasy). The author has added lots of appendices at the end of the book (and lots of maps), but if you read carefully the strange names of important objects and concepts are explained clearly enough within the text without it turning into an info-dump.

That said, this isn't a high-action story, although the body count is high. It is intrigue and information gathering, so people speak to each other a lot. I prefer this kind of story. The action we get is effective and shocking in the right place.

The two protagonists develop very slowly into friends and eventually beloved, but don't read this for the equivalent of a current sf romance, because it isn't written that way.

K.E. Kimbriel has said that the other Nuala books to be re-released are still set on the planet but are standalone. On the one hand I'm happy to see more of this world in any case, on the other I would have liked to read more about Darame, Sheel, his sister Avis, his guuard Mailan and all the others.

Bonus points for lots of competent and dangerous women in a book that was first released in 1988. If you liked Ann McCaffrey's Crystal Singer trilogy, you should like this (Darame comes across as less self-centered than Killashandra, but the second Crystal Singer book has a similar situation to Fires of Nuala of a competent undercover heroine helping to solve a crisis situation on a foreign planet). Other worlds I was reminded of are the Liaden Universe and the Atevi Universe.
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Reading Progress

September 30, 2010 – Shelved
September 30, 2010 – Shelved as: ebook
October 4, 2010 – Started Reading
October 5, 2010 – Shelved as: read-in-2010
October 6, 2010 – Finished Reading
March 6, 2011 – Shelved as: favorites

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Sho (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sho I really need to sit down and read this book. I bought both books but haven't started yet!

message 2: by Estara (last edited Dec 07, 2011 09:20AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Estara Well, you read a lot and it's not an audiobook. I do think you'll like it - especially this one with the developing romance - it has a Basara/Dune sort of plot although there's no prophecy involved at the start, I believe. And we don't get to see as much outright fighting - a lot of that happens off screen.

If you eventually could post a short review of any kind to Amazon, too, whenever you read it (I have books I bought a long while back still on my TBR pile) that would be helpful.

message 3: by Sho (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sho When I finish it I will definitely write reviews here and on Amazon!

Estara That would be so great ^^ - I feel we need to nurture our niche authors, heh ^^.

message 5: by Hélène (new) - added it

Hélène Crystal Singer + Liaden + Atevi! I'm sold.

Estara Hélène wrote: "Crystal Singer + Liaden + Atevi! I'm sold."

Really, it's a fun ride. And the second book she rereleased even has a lot of the same characters. But you don't get any cliffhangers here, this is a full story in and of itself.

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