It's been a number of years since I read Grave Mercy, the first book in the My Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers. I didn't take the time to write a review, but I rated it a 4 star book. I do remember enjoying the coming-of-age story regarding assassin nuns in a fictionalized Brittany where supernatural gods/saints interact with the real world.
The second book in the trilogy Dark Triumph just didn't hold my interest. On the one hand, I couldn't put it down, on the other I found myself speed-reading/skimming just to find out what happened. I know I missed a lot of details, but I have no interest in going back to pick up what I missed.
I don't know how much of my opinion is due to the specific book and how much of that is due to changes in reading taste (after a number of YA heavy years I seem to be reading more traditional SF). I do think I will eventually give the last book in the trilogy a try.
This omnibus includes all three books of The Iron Tower trilogy, but this review is only about the concluding volume, The Darkest Day. The journey that began in The Dark Tide and continued in Shadows of Doom finishes triumphantly here but not without grave cost. As with the first two books, it is a loving tribute to Tolkien, but even more its own unique, rousing tale that pulls you along and does not allow you time to take a breath until the costly victory comes. My kind of book!
If you like epic fantasy and Tolkien in particular, this oldie but goodie will strike your fancy. Here you will find Warrows (hobbits in all but name), Elves, Dwarves, and Men; swords that glow blue when foes are near; its own detailed appendices and chronology of events; and a tale based on the fortunate discovery of an ancient diary. (BTW, if you want to read how Tolkien discovered the Red Book, read Toward the Gleam, by T. M. Doran - what a great, fun book!).
I know you all think I have all these "currently reading" books and I'm not actually reading any of them. Ha! I am, I really am! Just not very quickly. Because life, y'know.
When I went to bed at 10:00 last night I was really tired and expected to read maybe 20 pages at the most. By the time I finally gave up because my eyes were getting dry and gunky, it was a few minutes past midnight.
It's been well over 20 years since I last read this, and frankly I don't remember very much of it, so this is really a fresh read. The beginning was a bit confusing, but as I got further into the story I realized that the confusion came from being far too accustomed to the info dumps that more recent writers seem to employ.
Instead, Tarr lets the story unfold and allows the characters to tell their own story through the action and narrative. It's a complex story, with complex characters.
Brother Alfred is a priest in the Abbey of St. Ruan in a semi-mythical England of the twelfth century. The Lionheart is King, there are rebellious barons and earls, and the Church is trying to flex its muscles, not only to root out human heresies but to destroy the Fair Folk, the elvenkind. Alf becomes a target of their suspicions.
The more I read, the more I'm fascinated by Alf's character. He is both cynic and optimist, with those two sides of his psyche at constant war with each other.
There are certain similarities with Jennifer Roberson's Sword series, which I should also re-read.