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review 2017-01-22 22:09
Mélusine (Doctrine of Labyrinths #1) by Sarah Monette
Melusine - Sarah Monette

I am reviewing a DTB version.

Wow! That was the longest prologue I've ever read!
Now I can go back to page 1 and start enjoying the book.
Many reviews that mention re-reads make sense now.


Few thoughts on the book, the writing, the characters, the shenanigans. No spoilers, just want to keep my outrage contained in the spoiler tags.


Tho I like it when authors dump you right in the middle of things and you have to start running the moment you hit the ground, this was not the case. I sure did do some legwork, but it was mostly bouncing up and down on the same spot, trying to get hold on my bearings. What? Who? Where? How? but most often than not WTF? were the questions popping into my head every other paragraph.


None of the places, politics, history and even characters, including one of the MCs, are explored enough for readers to fully comprehend the magnitude of events that the author is bestowing upon us until it's almost into the second half.

* Felix doesn't get to shine in the beginning of the book; hell, Felix doesn't get to be or do anything before all hell brakes loose. He doesn't get. to. be. Although SM keeps showering us with "Felix is This" and "Felix is That", all we see is a mad, wounded, bleeding dog instead of a shiny pretty thing, and its running, whimpering, to his abuser after being called "a whore". That one word and an unsubstantiated implication to go along does not justify Felix's violent overreaction. I am sure it's all perfect in MS's head, but she clearly prefers not to share any additional bits with us (and there are more to come).
Where is this person who thinks quick on his legs? SM's shiny version of Felix should handle it in no time flat, instead he is seeking out his uber abusive master he hasn't seen in years and loading on drugs like there is no tomorrow.


Felix the magnificent, "whose deadly wit is the terror of the court” my ass. Whiny little pup!

* The book is packed with too many elaborate names that mean nothing, people who never show up and have no impact on the events, places we never go to.

Not sure why French rev. calendar was used. To give an instant historical setting? Sorry, it didn't work. You can't use a calendar and a bunch of French sounding names to instantly set the stage, unless its real France and the time is set roughly during the very end of 18th/beginning of 19th centuries. Same goes for Troia/Greece. These tricks confuse, not clarify events or describe places or historical periods in fantasy fiction.

I jam fond of French history and literature, but even then it took me a few minutes to zoom in on Pluviôse, I simply did not expect it. It was one of my first in the long line of WTF moments. I am sure many of us remember the calendar, but then there are many who do not.

(spoiler show)

To SM:
*Please, translate for the overwhelming majority of your non-russian speaking audience, what the hell Morskaiakrov means. Would it kill you to make a footnote: *Morskayakrov (russian) - Sea Blood. In current setting it implies that the family who operates the boat has sea in their blood. They were born into the trade and sea is their home and their life.
Please, quit making people feel inadequate and leaving them tongue-twisted and cross-eyed.

* Too many side stories. For what purpose? Ah.... of course. Page count. But they slow down the flow of the main story and leave loose ends all over the place.
What was the deal with the hidden attic at St. Crellifer's? Great escape route. Great way in. But was it utilized? I really hope it will come handy later, because as of right now it's an opportunity and reader's time wasted.

*POV switching. Two paragraphs here. Half a page there. Past Tense, Present Tense... I am looking forward (not!) to colons in The Virtu, that's on top of Italics and Mildmay's bad and inconstant speech antics.

*Would it greatly burden you to have a glossary of terms and names in the beginning of the book? If anything it will expand your page count.

*Please, mention your septads in the glossary of your quirks. Two septads and six is an amusing take on 20 questions, but - really? Really? Invent your own question game and leave decimals out.

OK, shutting up now. There is more in my updates if anyone cares.

(spoiler show)

This book made me angry. Felix, too, at the very end, with his lack of gratitude and common sense made me angry. BUT. The story held my interest. I am starting The Virtue today. That counts for something, I guess.

3 stars.

PS Shannon. I feel bad for him. Felix is one ungrateful piece of ...work.


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review 2016-06-04 17:38
The Tempering of Men by Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear - My Thoughts
The Tempering of Men - Elizabeth Bear,Sarah Monette

The first thing that pops to mind is that this book is perfectly titled and that's not something you'll really get unless you read it.  :)


Once again, Monette and Bear throw you in the deep end of their intricate and perfectly wonderful worlds.  The names are strange to the tongue and eye, there are words that on first, quick look appear to be the most alien of languages, but soon you're immersed because the storytelling is just that good.  


I have to say, that this volume of the Iskryne Saga, the second one, seemed fairly calm and almost uneventful, compared to the first one, A Companion of Wolves.  But a ton of stuff really happened, things that 'tempered' the young men we met in the first book.  


See, 'tempering' means the following:


1. To modify by the addition of a moderating element; moderate: "temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom" (Robert H. Jackson). 
2. To bring to a desired consistency, texture, hardness, or other physical condition by blending, admixing, or kneading: temper clay; paints that had been tempered with oil.
3. To harden or strengthen (metal or glass) by application of heat or by heating and cooling.
4. To strengthen through experience or hardship; toughen: soldiers who had been tempered by combat.
So you see why the title is perfect.  :)
I love how the authors present the wolves.  They're wolves.  Not people in fur.  They are wolves and they act appropriately for wolves.  Yes, being as they're trellwolves, they are smarter than your average lupine, yet still wild and unpredictable and, well, wolfish.  :)
The characters we follow are all superbly drawn and real.  They all have flaws and as they grow, as they are tempered, they don't lose the flaws that are so much a part of them - rather, they come to acknowledge and come to terms - for the most part - with them.  


One of my favourite TV shows is Vikings and I found in reading this book, the world felt far more familiar to me than the first volume did when I read it before Vikings.  Things were a little easier to picture in my mind's eye.  :)


I have the 3rd book of the Saga in my TBR.and I'm very much looking forward to reading it.  :)

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review 2016-01-07 00:00
A Companion to Wolves
A Companion to Wolves - Sarah Monette,Elizabeth Bear DNF - read to 20%. I don't have the patience for this right now. The names are killing me, and the pacing isn't to my taste. Maybe I'll have more success later
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url 2015-10-19 17:04
An Apprentice to Elves by Bear & Monette (excerpt & giveaway)
An Apprentice to Elves - Elizabeth Bear,Sarah Monette

Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear return with the third book in their Iskryne trilogy, AN APPRENTICE TO ELVES (A Tor Hardcover, $26.99, On-Sale: October 13, 2015). The third collaboration between renowned fantasy writers Bear and Monette, the trilogy began with A Companion to Wolves, and continued inThe Tempering of Men. Separately, Bear and Monette  have been nominated for and won the Nebula, Hugo, World Fantasy, and Locus awards –  among others. Together, they have created the world of the Iskryne, a warrior culture with telephathic wolf companions.

AN APPRENTICE TO ELVES picks up the story of Alfgyfa, a young woman who has been raised in the Wolfhall by her father, Isolfr. The warrior culture of Iskryne forbids many things to women-and most especially it forbids them bonding to one of the giant telepathic trellwolves. But as her father was no ordinary boy, Alfgyfa is no ordinary girl. Her father has long planned to send his daughter to Tin, a matriarch among the elves who live nearby, to be both apprentice and ambassador, and now she is of age to go.

Publishers Weekly declares that Bear and Monette "have boldly created a fascinating world that begs further exploration” and RT Book Reviews points out that “Monette and Bear each excel at creating unique worlds... It's no surprise that this joint effort combines their strengths into something extraordinary.” The third book from this stellar team is the perfect place to dive into their fascinating world.



Click through to read the excerpt and enter to win

Source: beauty-in-ruins.blogspot.ca/2015/10/an-apprentice-to-elves-by-bear-monette.html
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review 2015-10-14 22:13
[Book Review] An Apprentice to Elves
An Apprentice to Elves - Elizabeth Bear,Sarah Monette

Alfgya would no doubt chafe against restrictions and tradition no matter where she was raised.  Raised as much by the wolfheal's trellwolves as by her father, then apprenticed to the svartalfar mastersmith Tin, she's split between natures and cultures and standing representative of the alliance between humans and alfar.  But cultures take more to bridge than a single woman, and the Rheans encroach and threaten the men of the North.

The first thing that stood out to me when reading An Apprentice to Elves is that we are no longer following Isolfr's story, but that of his daughter Alfgyfa.  She is a fantastic protagonist, exceptional in her own way, but living life as a growing child and woman.

If you're starting the series with this book the first thing you may notice that the "elves" are not the Tolkien standard of tall, fair, pretty humanoids with pointed ears and who love trees.  These elves delve in the ground, with the Mothers and the Smiths the most honored among them.  The authors explore gender rolls and concepts in their take on the Animal Companion trope, in a setting inspired by Norse and Roman cultures.

This may be my favorite novel in the series so far.

Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of Macmillan-Tor/Forge via NetGalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.

Source: libromancersapprentice.blogspot.com/2015/10/book-review-apprentice-to-elves.html
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