Charlotte English's Reviews > A Sorcerer's Treason

A Sorcerer's Treason by Sarah Zettel
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Mar 31, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy
Read from November 18 to 25, 2011

What I like most about this book – series, in fact – is the unusual setting. So many fantasy books are set in the same sort of western European, pseudo-medieval setting. These books begin in late nineteenth-century America but the majority of the story takes place in an alternate world made up of cultures drawn from Russian, Indian and Chinese history. Immediately the world feels richer, more colourful and infinitely more interesting than many books I’ve read in recent years.

Furthermore, some elements of real-world mythology are woven into the plot. Our characters – Bridget Lederle, the woman who didn’t know she was a sorceress, and the sorcerers Kalami and Sakra – periodically visit The Land of Death and Spirit, a sort of alternate plane ruled by the Great Powers. Baba Yaga is one of these, in her chicken-legged house, and fox-spirits play an important role in the story. The dangers and trickiness of this place are well presented; it’s easy to appreciate that in this world, magic is not something which everyone would love to have, but in fact deeply dangerous.

The characters are excellent. Bridget herself borders on a touch of cliche – she’s unwittingly the world’s most powerful sorceress, if only she knew how to use it – but she’s complex enough to seem real. It’s easy to identify with Empress Ananda, supposedly the most powerful woman in the empire of Isavalta but rendered powerless and afraid. But I was most impressed with the dowager empress, Medeoan, a villain without meaning to be. She’s one of the most complicated and interesting characters I’ve come across in some time.

The tangle of politics, magic and individual desires makes for an intriguing tale and there are some good twists in the plot. This book still deserves a place among my top favourite fantasy novels.
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Reading Progress

11/23/2011 page 300
57.0%
02/05/2016 marked as: read

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