Patrick's Reviews > Nightseer

Nightseer by Laurell K. Hamilton
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's review
Nov 07, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: reviewed

Laurell K Hamilton, now widely known for her Anita Blake series, started off her career with the stand-alone novel called Nightseer. For a debut novel, it certainly has its flaws, but one cannot deny the graces it also possesses.

The main character, Keleios, is a sorceress and a dream prophet. She is a half-elf whose mother was killed by an evil witch named Harque. Judging from the back of the book, the storyline is a bit unclear considering is only gives a hint of what the main storyline is. The story may not be different from several other fantasy works out there, but Hamilton makes her best of the storyline and creates a very memorable work.

From the beginning of the novel, the readers get a good taste of what the magic system in Nightseer’s fantasy world. Hamilton shows Keleios trying to start a fire and boil water with her magic. Later, she details the buildings, religion, swords and moons of her fantasy world. While it is a lot to absorb at once, it’s easy to see Hamilton’s passion in creating her own niche in the fantasy genre. Nightseer’s system of magic and character hierarchy is well thought out and detailed as Hamilton invents many interesting character types, deities and spells. The magic scenes in particular are wonderful and (no pun intended) spellbinding to read. A particularly exciting aspect of the novel is Keleios’ dream prophecies where she imagines a library being set aflame.

As anyone can clearly see, Hamilton has a passion for good action scenes. The action scenes in this book are very well thought out and detailed throughout several chapters. In fact, I’d say that the action almost seems continuous through some of the beginning chapters. Hamilton’s word-building makes is very easy for the reader to imagine vivid and epic battles that are full of exciting dialogue and suspense. Her battles are much more detailed and entertaining than many other fantasy novels I have read. Some of them were so vivid and exciting, that I simply didn’t want to stop reading. Read chapter 6 for a good example.

The storyline is very fast-paced. Out of the 16 chapters, there weren’t any that left me bored or yearning to skip ahead. The storyline flows neatly from chapter to chapter and each chapter seems to promise the reader with something new and exciting. Hamilton builds up great suspense that made it quite difficult to put the book down. With every chapter came new characters, battles or plot twists.

However, Hamilton’s book doesn’t go without its flaws. The book seems to deviate quite a bit from its storyline and characters quite often. For example, there are some very exciting conflicts involving characters such as Fidelis, Velen and Bella, but I was very unsure of what happened to these characters. It feels like some characters just disappeared into this air rather than having their conflict resolved. I was never really quite clear about Hesbit’s and Harque’s motivations as characters. I feel like that author didn’t give quite enough detail about their personal character histories or motivations. About halfway through, I was left wondering where the book was going to be headed because I felt that Hamilton had pretty much forgotten about the main conflict. In fact, I had asked myself this once again another 10% of the way into the book. Hamilton seemed to deviate quite often from the main storyline, which being her mother’s vengeance, in favor of some action scenes.

Another complaint that I had is that it seemed a bit too fast-paced at times. While I definitely enjoyed the fast-paced and exciting nature of the book, Harque appears rather suddenly (after 200 pages or so). At this point in the book, the battles seemed to have gotten much more boring and tedious, unlike chapters 5-8. Personally, I wouldn’t have minded if Hamilton added on a few pages to give more detail to some of the events.

While the book is by no means a perfect one, it’s quite easy to see Hamilton’s talent and ambition as a young writer in the fantasy genre. As one of the most popular and well-known authors in the genre today, it’s quite interesting to see her roots and original ideas. This is a very memorable book and one that I will have trouble parting with.

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Quotes Patrick Liked

Laurell K. Hamilton
“Out last chance is a cat's magic sight. We are doomed.”
Laurell K. Hamilton, Nightseer

Reading Progress

November 7, 2010 – Started Reading
November 7, 2010 – Shelved
November 7, 2010 –
page 28
9.24% "So far, so good"
November 7, 2010 –
page 66
November 7, 2010 –
page 112
36.96% "Well there were a few parts that I should probably go back and re-read, but overall it's a very good book so far. Very face-paced and entertaining!"
November 7, 2010 –
page 127
41.91% "Alright, just finished an EPIC battle scene. I'm still a bit confused as to why Fidelis is evil and what exactly her intentions are. I may have to re-read"
November 7, 2010 –
page 147
48.51% "I'm not quite sure where this book is headed. There is no mention of either of the two evil witches, but there are some pretty good demon battles. I'm still unclear about the reason about the blood bond/marriage between Keleios and Lothor"
November 9, 2010 –
page 178
58.75% "Still awesome, but what happened to avenging her mother's death?"
November 10, 2010 –
page 209
November 10, 2010 –
page 209
68.98% "So I don't quite understand what Hesbit's motivations are"
November 10, 2010 –
page 224
73.93% "I think everything seems to happen rather suddenly in this book, but it's very entertaining and it's about time Harque shows up!"
November 11, 2010 – Finished Reading
November 19, 2011 – Shelved as: reviewed

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