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Buddy Reads > The Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham

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message 1: by Hillary (new)

Hillary Major | 436 comments Our group discussion of the first book, A Shadow in Summer, is here, so this thread is where we can discuss the rest of the series.

Maybe include which book (A Betrayal in Winter, An Autumn War, The Price of Spring) you're focusing on near the top of your post?


message 2: by Hillary (new)

Hillary Major | 436 comments Betrayal in Winter

Well, I was right to guess we'd be headed to Machi in this installation.

It was interesting to have Idaan as such a central character (view spoiler) I was also surprised that we started with an eight-year time gap from Shadow in Summer, but it makes sense in a way (those Eastern Island fishing stories may not have been that interesting), and it's kind of nice to come back to a main character we know but maybe not as well as we thought (kind of like the break in Book 1 between the Prolog and the intro of "Itani").


message 3: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments I have to absolutely finish a library book before I can get into the second Long Price book, I've already renewed it a few times and not sure it will let me do it again :) Will see if I can join in before the Group Series read on the 11th or I'll have to wait till after. But I'll get to it at some point.


message 4: by Hillary (new)

Hillary Major | 436 comments Andrea wrote: "Will see if I can join in before the Group Series read on the 11th or I'll have to wait till after. But I'll get to it at some point. "

Sounds good. I can't stand even a mild cliffhanger, so I stormed through the full quartet, but it should stay relatively fresh in my mind for discussion purposes for at least a couple of months.

There are strong connections and arcs across the series, but I found each of the next three books to have an element of its flavor: Winter is probably the most similar in its scope to Summer, but the action focuses on Machi rather than Saraykeht. Autumn is the most martial, and Spring tells its own very unique story while revisiting some of the earlier themes.


message 5: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments Hillary wrote: "I can't stand even a mild cliffhanger"

That's why I've started reading series that are either finished or are a good way in. Don't want to be left hanging before the end. Of course Riddle-Master has a really HUGE cliffhanger, so now I'm wanting to get to that one right away too. So many books, so little time.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Interesting, book 2, A Betrayal in Winter , jumps forward 14 years. Otah (still calling himself Itani) and Maati are elsewhere doing else-things. New city, new poet, new andat, very old Kai Machi.

Prolog teases use with a new character, (view spoiler)


message 7: by [deleted user] (last edited Apr 06, 2019 06:39PM) (new)

I'm enjoying the 2nd book more than the first. partly it's that the plot (not the book plot, the plot by the bad guys) is less a bank shot than in the first book. And, Abraham's prose seems... firmer (?).

Random comments: "his own certainty and pride crumbling around him like sugar castles left out in the rain." I had to cue up McArthur Park.

"When Stone-Made-Soft spoke, its breath did not fog." An interesting way to remind us andat are constructs, not living people, despite appearances.

I loved idaan's thought on the palace and her fathers many wives:
"this was a comfort house with high ceilings, grand halls, and only a single client." and her relationship with her betrothed, Adrah: "They would go to their graves, each with teeth sunk in the other’s neck."


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I miss Amat Kyaan. It seems Maati is stepping into her role as chief investigator this time around.


message 9: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments I'm up to chapter 4 of Winter.

Basically after the big mess at the end of book 1, everyone sort of faded back into obscurity and didn't really do much of anything for a decade :)

It's a bit contrived that the courier service decided, just at that moment, after however many years that Otah worked for them, to decide to send him North. Otherwise looking forward to seeing how the whole mess unravels. It's like a Columbo murder mystery where the reader/viewer knows who the villain is but the detective still needs to figure it out.

Not liking Stone-Made-Soft as much as Seedless, but such a sad scene watching him trying to win his freedom, knowing that he's designed to be a horrible player, and he knows it too. But I guess you only need one day where the poet is distracted or drunk or sick and he makes a mistake. But then I'm only 50 pages in, he hasn't had much time to say much and he's more the strong quiet type compared to Seedless whom I'm sure Heshai had wished would just shut up already.


message 10: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments Finished Betray in Winter. Couple comments

1 - Abraham doesn't write great romances. Even Itani/Liat/Maati wasn't all that convincing but Kiyan had so little exposure in the book we get no sense of what Otah feels for her. Sure he says he loves her, and was willing to risk himself for her, but I could see him doing that for a friend too, like Maati.

2 - On the other hand the friendship between Otah and Maati is interestingly complex. A kind of love/hate relationship but with an underlying core of loyalty and even trust.

3 - (view spoiler). Will be interesting to see where Autumn picks up.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Andrea wrote: "Abraham doesn't write great romances...."

Well, he decalred the romance as a decade old, rather requiring us to just take it as setup. It's one way to avoid the details. :)


message 12: by [deleted user] (last edited Apr 17, 2019 07:34AM) (new)

An Autumn War

Andrea wrote: "Will be interesting to see where Autumn picks up. ..."

14 years further on.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

While writing a comment in the Eye of the World buddy read, it occurred to me that there's a parallel between the organization of the Khaiem and the primary continent of the Wheel of Time: both have an independent organization that has a monopoly on magic. In the Wheel of Time it's the Aes Sedai, based in Tar Valon. They provide wielders trained in the One Power to the various kingdoms, and keep the false dragons and other threats in check. In the Khaiem, it's the Dai-kvo and his poets who provide poets with andats to each of the Khaiem's kingdoms.

It's an interesting political structure, but I wonder if it would prove as stable as both series suggest. The power of the Dai-kvo to command the loyalty of his Poets (or the similar power of the Amyrlin Seat to control Aes Sedai) would seem to me to become too tempting to assert more control over the affairs of government. And yet the Dai-kvo seems quite scrupulous in not allowing his Poets (such as Maati) to take sides in the politics of the various kingdoms.


message 14: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments G33z3r wrote: "While writing a comment in the Eye of the World buddy read, it occurred to me that there's a parallel between the organization of the Khaiem and the primary continent of the Wheel of Time: both hav..."

There's actually similarities between the Dai-kvo and the Pope, be the church often meddled in the politics of the various monarchies.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm thinking Maachi must be an interesting environment to live in, what with the extreme cold.

For warmth more than half the year everyone lives underground, the only effective way to avoid frostbite and death from exposure, with a few summer homes sticking out above ground for the few months of growing season. (It sounds a lot like Canada! :)

Doing that requires a lot of underground infrastructure (what we'd call HVAC.) Ventilation & heating, mostly. With the andat Stone-Made-Soft around, creating all that is probably a lot easier that otherwise would be (and better-looking than living in a coal mine). Maachi has the valuable natural resources of the mines (mostly coal & iron, I guess) to attract entrepreneurs. Still, I wonder that more people don't retire to a beach in Bakta.


message 16: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments G33z3r wrote: "Still, I wonder that more people don't retire to a beach in Bakta."

I guess for the same reason people still live in Siberia and Northern Canada, and the various Nodic countries (I could probably handle the snow, it's the lack of sun for half the year that would get me to pack up and leave). Talking of Canada, Montreal is famous for it's "underground city", basically an interconnected shopping center and subway that connects a decent portion of it's downtown center.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Andrea wrote: "Talking of Canada, Montreal is famous for it's "underground city", basically an interconnected shopping center and subway that connects a decent portion of it's downtown center. ..."

Yeah, I've been to Montreal (in winter & summer), visiting friends from college during the 70s & early 80s. Pretty much what I was thinking of for Maachi, minus the subway :)


message 18: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments G33z3r wrote: "Andrea wrote: "Talking of Canada, Montreal is famous for it's "underground city", basically an interconnected shopping center and subway that connects a decent portion of it's downtown center. ..."..."

Montreal has the andat "Moving-People-Through-Dark-Passages" ;)


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

I finished An Autumn War. My favorite so far in the series, and the ending quite unexpected. Looking forward to The Price of Spring.

Let me know when others ready to discuss An Autumn War.


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

So, I started the final book, The Price of Spring


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

Well, The Price of Spring did a nice job wrapping things up, after another 15 year interval. Interesting moral conflicts between protagonists.


message 22: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments Anyone interested in picking up where I left off with An Autumn War? I'm guessing most people have already gone and finished the quartet or have decided not to continue, but figured I'd ask just in case. I'll be reading it in the next couple of weeks and can delay a bit if you need to catch up with Betrayal in Winter first.


message 23: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments Andrea wrote: "With Otah now being Khai, hard to see how he can be involved in two more books, after all now he's kind of trapped and can't really do anything he wants anymore, limits his ability to stir up trouble and sniff out plots against the empire"

Well, guess Abraham answered that one, he was still able to do all that and more.

And I agree with G33z3r, it was very good with an unexpected ending. I was trying to guess how the story would resolve and all of my options seemed, I don't know, not a good fit to the complexity of the rest of the story, because I knew things could not go back to the way things were at the start (something often mentioned). It was one of those cases where you knew the bad guy couldn't fail just because he was the villain, and the good guys couldn't win just because they were the protagonists, because the villain was justified and the protagonists weren't exactly saints. In fact it was ironic who was the person that ultimately figured out the only solution that would force both sides to work together (or not, but then that would be mutual extinction).

Well, guess I need to read the next book to figure out how everything sorts itself out, as at the end of the previous book, I can't predict what will come next. It's not one continuous event across four books but four distinct events so will have to wait and see what gets the next part of the story going.


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Andrea wrote: "I agree with G33z3r, it was very good with an unexpected ending...."

If you were reading An Autumn War a decade ago when it first came out, you might have expected it to conclude a trilogy, and as you were reading toward the end might have been expecting the protagonists finishing with some last-minute heroics. It's clever how Abraham subverts all those cliched expectations with the ending.

It also nicely sets up The Price of Spring. It transmogrified his world of the Khaiem into a new kind of world that Abraham picks up a few years later. The previous books become the kind of background that could be the start of another fantasy series in which the inhabitants live with some unusual condition, like a curse that no one can remember Tigana, or that saidin is tainted and drives men mad.


message 25: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 2510 comments The Price of Spring was excellent. OK I'll admit I sort of didn't get into it right away, Eiah being a doctor and Otah negotiating with the Galts, but once it got going it really got going. Those were some tough ethical questions that Abraham was tossing at his characters.

One thing I really like about this series is that none of the villains are really villains. Seedless was a slave that just wanted to be free. Balasar just wanted to destroy the andat that gave the Khaiem undue power over everyone else (and even Otah had to agree with that assessment of his people). And in the last one, though I thought it was brilliant that Sterile didn't just punish everyone for trying to bind her, she also found a way to make the two peoples work together...only its not that easy. I could see how people would take bringing Galtic women to the Khaiem would be treating them as chattel, and at the same time make the women of the Khaiem of no value whatsoever. And that many would rather have their people's die out than to have them merge together. And Vanyit, she was nuts, but justifiably so too, and you have Maati to blame for her, even though he was also just trying to put right what he did wrong. Only he didn't do wrong, he just did his best and failed. Like Otah, a guy who didn't know the first thing about war and with an army of farmers and rich snobs, of course he lost against the Galts. And yet who do you blame when everyone's best intentions just aren't enough?

And that was one freaky baby!!!

I'm very glad Tor gave the first book away to get me hooked and that someone nominated it as a group read!


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Andrea wrote: "The Price of Spring was excellent. OK I'll admit I sort of didn't get into it right away, Eiah being a doctor and Otah negotiating with the Galts, but once it got going it really got going. Those w..."

A book about trying to make a peace is tough to get started... But it does generate an interesting internecine conflict between friends, making peace vs re-starting a war, and each side can make a case.

One of the things I like about Abraham is that is "villains" aren't evil, mustache-twirling cliches. His Dagger & Coin series has one of the "villains" as a PoV character, and he's actually kind of likable, just badly misled and weak-willed. (As you with the free 1st book of Long Price Quartet for you, The Dragon's Path was included as a (really really long) add-on to my ebook copy of Leviathan Wakes, and that got me hooked on it.)


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