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review 2017-01-13 20:34
Black Wolves by Kate Elliott - My Thoughts
Black Wolves - Kate Elliott

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.

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review 2016-03-28 22:02
Black Wolves by Kate Elliott
Black Wolves (The Black Wolves Trilogy) - Kate Elliott

Terrific read. The themes of how imposed rule and patriarchy are doomed in the long run permeate the book. Instead of just accepting the fantasy tropes of kingdoms as a setting for intrigue and action, the author questions their essence and proposes another form of fantasy which can function by questioning the "good monarch" theme found in so much of the genre..

 

Here's the book blurb:

 

Black Wolves
An exiled captain returns to help the son of the king who died under his protection in this rich and multi-layered first book in an action-packed new series.


Some choices can never be undone.
The Hundred, once ruled by a tainted religion and demon court, is now a place of prosperity, but treachery still waits in the shadows. Once the captain of the elite Black Wolves, Kellas finds himself standing at a crossroads where he must decide whom to serve and whom to betray. Faithful to the king's memory but shut out from his legacy, Lady Dannarah fights for the rank she was denied, while three young outcasts leave their homes to find their own destiny.

As broken alliances are guardedly rekindled and old friendships put to the test, the Hundred's past is called into question ­and its very future is at stake.
 

There's a pretty good tor.com review here

 

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