Mitch's Reviews > Range of Ghosts

Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear
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's review
Mar 31, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: most-memorable
Read on March 31, 2012

It should be a crime for a fantasy to be this good. Somehow, Elizabeth Bear has created a world so richly detailed, so gripping, that I couldn’t put this book down for three hours, not until I finally got to that last page. And even after that, I was still thinking about this book an hour later (and not just to write this review).

I’m not usually a fan of elaborate settings and descriptions, but Bear really makes it work here. Maybe it’s because reading the same kinds of descriptions in that twentieth medieval inspired fantasy novel gets kinda tiring, but Bear’s Central Asian inspired world is a breath of fresh air. There’s magic and mystery, gore and carnage, all in the right places to make this book feel epic.

And this book really is epic. It’s about a boy, Temur, trying to survive as the empire his grandfather built crumbles around him. There are a lot of impressive scenes that really build up his story: the aftermath of a huge battle, gory, vivid, raw, the sheer desperation of refugees fleeing the fighting. And Temur is awesome throughout, tough in the face of desperation but still human when confronted with the horrifying aftermath.

I really liked the supporting characters too. Edene, Temur’s fiancé I guess, is cool and resourceful, while Samarkar, the wizard who ends up helping him, has an awesome backstory of her own that really puts an interesting twist on her interactions with Temur. The villain, who I won’t spoil, has some really good scenes too showing just how ruthless and calculating he is.

The best part, though, is definitely the mythology. I would brush up on my Asian geography and history just to really see how rich it is, but I don’t think it’s required. In every kingdom the characters visit, there’s a unique sky and deities that really add flavor to the story. But best of all, they all have different versions of the same legends and it all plays into the plot, which is an excellent twist. I can’t wait to see which ones are true (or maybe they all are?) and how they’re incorporated into the sequel.

A new personal favorite.
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Reading Progress

03/31/2012 page 48
14.0% "Holy shit this book is awesome!"

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

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message 1: by Jessie (last edited May 13, 2013 04:37AM) (new) - added it

Jessie Thanks for the review! I really needed some great high fantasy. Have you read Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson? It's a really great series. I think you might like it if you like fantasy! :)

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