Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Long-Price-Quartet
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-01-28 17:45
An Autumn War (The Long Price Quartet #3)
An Autumn War - Daniel Abraham

This third installment of Daniel Abraham's Long Price Quartet is definitely more than the sum of its predecessors, both of them outstanding books: where the first two parts of this series introduced the world in which the action unfolds, and fleshed out the characters peopling it, An Autumn War brings all these elements to fruition in a tale that is both enthralling and satisfying.


One of the most fascinating aspects of this series has been the notion of the andats, the anthropomorphic manifestations of complex thoughts or ideas summoned to life by the "poets", specially trained people able to give them substance and control them. Andats like Seedless - the creature that can "remove the part that continues" and is employed by the cotton growers to remove the seed from raw cotton so that the weavers can easily process the material; or Stone-Made-Soft, dedicated to mining and effortless tunneling. These constructs require a constant vigilance though, because like all unwilling slaves they hunger for freedom and are not averse to dangerous or deadly trickery.


The Khaiem, the eastern-like, feudal culture deployed over several city-states, has used the andats for generations, relying on them to the point that no other way of life is deemed possible, to the point that the loss of a city's andat means ruin and decadence. While their historical adversaries, the Galt, see the creatures as a danger and an obstacle to progress, and are determined to rid the world of them.


This is the nature of the conflict built over the previous two books and that finds here its culmination: what is fascinating is that the main opponents - Otah, Khai of the city-state of Machi and General Gice, the Galt commander bent on destroying the andats - are both honorable men, and likeable, complex characters, who want the best for their own peoples. The unexpected, tragic way in which the conflict is resolved opens the road to future promising developments, since the aftermath will require huge adjustments from both cultures. The last book in the saga will no doubt be quite interesting...


The more I read of Abraham's work, the more I appreciate his storytelling style, simple and elegant, with rich descriptions that paint a complex, fascinating picture. The best feature of this saga comes from his choice to forgo the usual (and in my opinion over-used) medieval-like setting, to create a culture resembling that of ancient Japan - complete with structured hand gestures ("poses") that convey subtle layers of meaning. This new approach, combined with a minimal but expressive prose, makes for a compelling reading that never fails to leave me wanting for more.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2013-12-07 11:33
A Betrayal in Winter (Long Price Quartet #2)
A Betrayal in Winter - Daniel Abraham

When I finish the first book in a series I don't usually go straight to the following volume, leaving myself some time to… digest the story and the characters. Not this time: after closing A Shadow in Summer I began immediately to read book two, and that might explain the undefined feeling of something missing that had me struggling to go on for the first few chapters.  Luckily for me that sensation passed quickly and once the story started to unfold I was once more totally immersed in Daniel Abraham's world and completely absorbed by the unfolding tale.


Such elements that were more lightly touched in the first book, as the cruel custom of sending away the "excess" sons of a ruling house so they don't create further contention with their warring brothers over succession, take a more defined and dramatic shape in the second book where the story develops with the characteristics and rhythms of a Greek tragedy, where the reader (or spectator) knows that it can only end in death and anguish - and that's one of the hooks that grab the reader and never let go until the end.


The level of political intrigue and scheming is taken to new levels, at the same time giving a broader and deeper insight into the world's society and its customs, and at the same time it forces the characters - both old and new - toward choices that can be both cruel and unavoidable.  I am amazed at Mr. Abraham's skill in world building and the way he makes the background of the cities and the world at large interact with those characters and create a solid, believable, three-dimensional story animated by people I care about - both in the positive and negative way.


With a very few exceptions I tend not to re-read books, but I suspect these will end up in that short list, because I'm certain that revisiting them will prove even more entertaining, and that I will discover more facets that I might have overlooked now.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2013-12-07 11:31
A Shadow in Summer (Long Price Quartet #1)
A Shadow in Summer - Daniel Abraham

I was aware of Daniel Abraham as one half of the J.A. Corey partnership that penned the Expanse Trilogy, so I decided to try out his fantasy novels - and made a great discovery.  Over the years I've become somewhat picky in my fantasy reading, and whenever I find myself confronted with over-used tropes I quickly lose patience and abandon the book: this was something else entirely


The main definition I can come up with for this first volume of The Long Price Quartet is enchanting: the unusual, almost-far-Eastern setting , with its customs and sights and smells, is so very different and so aptly described that I could practically feel it taking shape all around me. 


More than once I wondered if there was not some subtle message in the concept of poets giving shape and life to ideas with their thoughts and creating the andats - beings that embody those thoughts and concepts - because while I was immersed in Mr. Abraham's words I considered that he had managed the same feat, to create a vivid world that lived and breathed under my eyes. The same notion that andats do possess a will of their own, often in contrast to the poet's, seemed to reinforce my belief, because sometimes a story does indeed take off in a direction a writer had not foreseen at all.


The tale is all about subtle games of power, intricate plots and far-reaching consequences more than about clashes between good and evil or warring empires; struggles are more focused on the inner workings of a character's mind rather than on armies; choices and decisions, and their consequences, have more impact on an individual's moral compass rather than on a kingdom or a world. And yet, for this very reason - and not despite it - the resulting anguish and strife feel more profound and meaningful.


This subtlety is mirrored by the fascinating detail of hand gestures that supplement and enhance the spoken language, adding nuances of meaning that cannot be conveyed by word alone; these gestures, together with the different name suffixes that define the various social relationships, are so very pervasive and yet unexplained, adding to the depth of the story in an undefined but very effective way, keeping me awake until the small hours for more times than I care to remember…

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2013-09-30 07:48
Chained by Verse
A Shadow in Summer - Daniel Abraham

A Shadow in Summer (Long Price Quartet, #1)


Daniel Abraham

 Shadow in Summer had one of the most interesting magical systems and cultures I've encountered. In this world, poets use words and rhythms to trap ideas into the corporeal forms of andat. In the main culture, gestures and positions play as much role in conversation and nuance as words. The whole sense of the book is that of a complex, intricate world that we barely glimpse. It is beautifully done.

Read more
Like Reblog Comment
review 2013-08-13 21:48
Enjoyable and Impressive Storytelling
Shadow and Betrayal (The Long Price Quartet) - Daniel Abraham

After years of reading recommendations about The Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham and waiting to purchase all four volumes, I finally delved into the world Abraham created and I found myself pretty impressed. This omnibus edition featured the first two volumes of the Quartet, A Shadow in Summer and A Betrayal of Winter, which not only introduce the world but are separated in time from one another to be both independent and interdependent on one another.


A Shadow in Summer: Otah Machi turns away from the traditional paths a young nobleman like him has been told to choose to create a new life for himself. Almost a decade later Otah under an assumed name meets a former pupil, Maati, who kept on the traditional paths and succeeded in training to be a poet. The two soon find themselves caught up on a insidious conspiracy to ruin the city of Saraykeht that is instigated by the andat, magically being that is thought made flesh and leashed to a "poet", Seedless who hopes to undermine his handler Heshai who is to teach Maati.


A Betrayal in Winter: Set fifteen years later after the first volume, Otah and Maati take different paths to the city of the former birth Machi. The sons of the Khai kill one another for the honor to succeed their father, something Otah has no intention of taking part in as he continues his assumed existence. However this eldest brother is murdered, but neither of the other two claim responsibility and conspire with the Dai-kvo to find the murderer is Otah by sending Maati to find out what's going on. Both men soon find themselves caught up in another conspiracy instigated by a surprising source allied with a not so surprising accomplice.


As stated before the two stories are independent from one another thanks to the 15 years separating them from one another, however they are connected through minor storylines seen in Shadow that are expounded upon in Betrayal. The stories center around Otah and Maati primarily, however both do feature a significant female point-of-view character that helps bring another perspective to the story that improves its overall quality. Abraham slowly explains his magical system that employs the andat by first seeing them from the training poet Maati's point-of-view in Shadow and then from the point of view a poet handler in Betrayal in which Maati's observations expounded upon.


On grading both stories on their own merits, Shadow is the weaker of the two as it seemed to meander a few times and would have been graded around a 3.5 out of 5 while Betrayal would have rated a solid 4 out of 5. After finishing Betrayal I was left looking forward to seeing what would happen in An Autumn War, the third volume of the Quartet, a feeling I didn't really have after finishing Shadow but was quickly forgotten since I was able to immediately start Betrayal thanks to this omnibus edition. Overall I did enjoy both stories and so I recommend this book to lovers of characters, well-rounded stories, and fantasy.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?