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Monthly Archives: February 2013

“Covenants” – L. Freeman

covenants

This review is about “Covenants” by Lorna Freeman.

The book is about Rabbit, a grunt in the Royal Army of Iversterre, who isn’t all that he pretends to be. One day while his unit is lost in the mountains they meet a Faena – a “magical” – from the Border kingdom. Hoping to save his unit Rabbit enters into a covenant with the Faena, and thusly he and his entire unit are embroiled in the fight against smugglers who are killing the sacred beings of the Border kingdom. And unless Rabbit, his unit and the Faena can stop this somehow the Border kingdom will attack Iversterre – a war Iversterre already lost once.

It is a very good book. The build-up is good, the world is excellently developed and I believe in it and everything that lives there. There are wonderful characters, both friends and enemies, magical and human, and they are well developed. Rabbit isn’t above being reprimanded by his superior, and the idea of Faena and the other magicals is very fascinating. As is the way the inherent magic in everything is starting to affect the normal humans, I loved this part especially.

With smugglers, enemy wizards, distrust between humans and magicals, a long history of enmity between them and the ways humans use items illegally made from magical creatures, well, it is a recipe for disaster. And assassins. And desperate treaties. And elves. Can’t forget the elves. They are very well done in this book.

The only thing that I frown at in this book is the way Rabbit is simply dragged along with everyone else after his first meeting with the Faena. At that point he was an active character, afterwards he became a reactive character. I can understand how a young man could be overwhelmed with the rapid happenings, of course, but it still seems a bit too much. Rabbit seems a bit too willing to follow along.

However, that was the only thing. Other than that the book is well worth the read and I will definitely read the two sequels – “The King’s Own” and “Shadow’s Past” – at one point or another.

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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in Books

 

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“A Companion to Wolves” – E. Bear & S. Monette

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This review is about “A Companion to Wolves” by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette.

Well. What to say about this book? The first fifty to seventy pages were good? Yeah. That sounds about right. The world and the land and the culture was introduced in those pages, and it was interesting. The way the authoresses took inspiration in the icelandic/viking culture and language was a nice touch, and the way that the, well, let’s call them civilians looked upon the wolfcarls was very well done. The world that the main character, young Isolfr, is introduced to is wild and vibrant and raw. The fight against the trolls – the enemy of the wolfcarls – is interesting and the black elves are a nice addition.

That’s just about where the good things stop.

After those seventy or so introductory pages things take a turn for the porn. I am not exaggerating. By my estimate about 10% was the introduction, 85% was engulfed by gay porn and drama and rape thrown in for good measure, with a measly 5% left for the ending. I have nothing against gay or porn, or both at the same time, but not when it takes over the book. In the end I was far less interested in the fight with the trolls or the black elves or the threesome that evolved between Isolfr and two others, I just wanted it to end.

And Isolfr is also made into the stereotypical uke/submissive. Not only through his wolf friend – an alpha female – but also through other things. How he tries to become as big and butch as the other wolfcarls, but can’t. How he tries to grow out his beard and hair to wear in the same way the others do, but can’t. How he makes the choice that your average Mary Sue would make in a fanfic, and creates nothing but trouble for everyone else. It was too stereotypical. I have read gay manga and fanfics that were better. The potential of the world built up in the first seventy pages was thoroughly decimated in the rest of the book.

Unless you wish for an example of how authors can thoroughly destroy their books – or to read it for sheer masochistic torture – I will not recommend this book to anyone. Nor will I recommend the sequel.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2013 in Books

 

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“Song of the Beast” – C. Berg

sotb - c. berg

This review is about “Song of the Beast” by Carol Berg.

The story is about Aidan. He is the cousin of the king and is hailed as the best musician of the century, set to become a legend of his art. Suddenly, without warning, he is imprisoned for treason and sentenced to complete silence. Many years later, broken and voiceless, he is released and sets out to find out why he was imprisoned in the first place.

It’s a good story, with a good setting and excellent world building. It’s a fantasy story, so there are elves and dragons – both of which are treated as slaves and mounts by the dominant human population. I like that Aidan is a musician and that he has no experience or training with a sword or other weaponry, and he stays like that throughout the story. I like the way the author has made the plot and it was a shock when the bad guy was revealed (I won’t say anything more in fear of spoiling too much).

The dragons aren’t tame despite being controlled by humans and I like that there is a very real danger there. The elves are kind of like in the “Dragon Age” games, living in slums in the city, or hidden away amongst the mountain peaks. This was the first book I had ever read with this sort of view on elves, and I liked it. I also liked the king – Aidan’s cousin – and the prince. They weren’t the stereotypical royals that you find in most books, they were wonderfully real and human.

Now for the bad (though there was very little of it). Aidan spent years in prison, tortured into silence and fear, and yet, when he got out of there, the mental and physical trauma from that lasted for about one chapter and then it was gone. It was almost pushed away and ignored – apart from his bad fingers – and Aidan was willing to trust total strangers right off the bat. I didn’t like that at all, it trivialized the entire experience and it was very important to the entire plot. And one would expect that years in such a place would affect everyone quite a lot – especially when they had just gotten out of there.

Other than that I find this to be a wonderful book and well worth the read!

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2013 in Books

 

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Welcome!

Welcome!

Sooooo! I have been debating whether or not to start one of these things for ages. One one side I really like to let my opinions be known about something, on the other side I don’t want to talk my friends’ ears off about things they don’t find interesting – and I’m really bad at keeping up with stuff like this. Seriously bad. But I have done this now and will try to do my best (for however long that turns out to be).

I am a librarian at a school and I love to read, write, RP, draw and do cosplay. I like old weaponry, I like castles, I like paleontology and archaeology. Yes, I am a geek and proud of it. Other than that there isn’t much to know about me.

Hopefully this won’t be too boring! :)

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2013 in General