I have been meaning to read these books for the longest time. I'd picked up books 2 & 3 from the second hand bookstore a few years ago, but of course, held off until I could find book 1. Well, finally, they came out in Ebook omnibus for a really great price - $2.99 - and who could resist that!
So... worth the wait? Well yes and no. The book is basically a fantasy set in a science fiction universe - maybe sort of like the Pern novels? The thing is, you'd better like the heroine, Tess, because you're going to see a helluva lot of her supposedly growing. To be honest, I found her really a bit too good to be true. She really has no discernible flaws other than a stubborn unwillingness to actually talk to the hero, Ilya, about what's happening between them. I wanted to smack both of them at different times during my read. *LOL*
That being said, I really enjoyed the world-building - or shall I say universe building in this one. Yeah, we've seen before the primitive society side-by-side with the space-faring society but the primitive world is being protected from the advanced bunch by interdictions - can you say Prime Directive anyone? *LOL* Yeah, it made me think, in a very loose way, of The Omega Glory from the original Star Trek. E plebnista y'all!
What saved the book for me was the cast of secondary characters and the society of the Jaran. Fascinating! While I did lose a couple of my faves, I'm hopeful that further books in the series (there are 4 volumes) will continue their stories as well as that of Tess and Ilya. And maybe Tess will stop being so perfect at everything. A girl can hope!
The Black Wolves Trilogy - Book 1
I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK.
Black Wolves has been on many 'best of' lists since it's publication back in November of 2015 and I'm here to say it's totally earned. :) This is epic fantasy done right. 780 pages of it and none of it was tedious. (That can happen a lot even in the best of epic fantasies.)
The setting of Black Wolves is an Asian-flavoured world as we're seeing more and more of lately - and that's okay because it's fresh and often surprising in unexpected ways. Yes, it's reminiscent of Ken Liu's The Grace of Kings but I think a large part of that is that I've read few fantasies in this setting. Kate Elliott's world-building is amazing! She brings this world to life with deft artistry - really! - we learn through the actions, thoughts, speech and memories of the characters and it never feels burdensome and as a reader I was never tempted to skim.
The characters were delightful and even the bad ones had depth and motivation and shadows and even lightness at times. I LOVED that two of the main antagonists were a woman in her fiftes - late fifties, I would say, and a man of over seventy! And they're both wonderfully vibrant and wise and rigid and biased... and their bones ache. :)
The young characters were just as marvelous in their own ways. We grow with them and feel their triumphs and their pains and their uncertainties and their sometimes blind beliefs. They all rang true to me. And there is still so much more to learn about them and more for them to grow (or not in some cases, I guess.).
I am in awe of the plot. How the author managed all those twists and turns and didn't really give anything away until the story wanted it given away was masterful. I was surprised time after time. I had suspicions, sure, everyone will I think, but the few times my suspicions were confirmed there was always a little thing, a little twist that I had never even thought of! Amazing plotting. Amazing.
This is a terrific beginning to a new fantasy epic and I can't WAIT until the next book in the trilogy comes out!
If you loved A Song of Ice and Fire and The Dandelion Dynasty, you must read this book! You won't be sorry.
Yeah, not gonna rate this one because my reaction is too all over the place.
I don't read a lot of epic fantasy, but every so often I give it a try. The first part of this book is really not for me. From the glorious king who united the land to his haven't-we-seen-this-too-many-times headstrong daughter who doesn't want to do girl things. Yes, yes, duty is such a hardship for the privileged or whatever.
I was on a lengthy drive, and had basically decided that I was done with this as soon as I was stopped for long enough to download something else when suddenly it skipped ahead a few decades and 2 generations of rulers. And suddenly it was a lot more interesting, with POV characters I didn't roll my eyes at. The clever young woman who figures out how to leverage her lack of position into an escape from her stagnant life behind walls. The reckless boy who's first thought upon finding a dead body is to sell it for drinking money. That same girl from the first part, but now at the tail end of a long career.
Then it bounced back and forth between sections I was super into, and sections of tedium. And just when it felt like it was really getting going, it ended.
I think this is likely a very good book for people who aren't me. It wasn't that there wasn't a plot, but that the court politics that form the plot weren't my thing. Though the larger plot of the series, and several of the characters very much are my kind of thing.
I honestly have no idea if I'm going to pick up the second volume in this trilogy when it's published. I'm pretty sure I'd have preferred reading the notes taken building this than the actual book. But, whatever. I remain not an epic fantasy reader, I suppose.
This is the final book in Kate Elliott’s Spiritwalker trilogy. It was more entertaining than the middle book, which I thought had a lot more boring and tedious parts. There was one aspect of the story that I feared would be stretched out for the entire book, but it was wrapped up earlier than I expected so I was happy about that. The story held my interest better than the second book and equally as well as the first book. There was a minor thread or two that never really got tied up, but the ending wrapped most things up pretty well and I was satisfied with it.
As far as the series itself goes, it was pretty good, but it had several annoyances as I’ve mentioned in my reviews for the previous books. The story was entertaining, for the most part, and I liked the characters. I also enjoyed the character-driven humor which seemed to increase as the series progressed. I did think things often happened too conveniently, and with a few niggling inconsistencies here and there. I think, if I hadn’t had such fond memories of this author’s Crossroads trilogy, I might have enjoyed this series a little more for what it is because my expectations wouldn’t have been as high. I did enjoy it, but I was a little disappointed by it too.
As a side note, for those of you who have been waiting for me to get to Hogfather… that one’s next up on my list. :) I have to leave in a few minutes to spend Thanksgiving with family and I’m not sure how late I’ll get back. I doubt I'll be able to get very far into it until tomorrow.
Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the U.S., and Happy Thursday to those of you who aren’t! ;)