Book: Kushiel’s Dart
Author: Jacqueline Carey
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I enjoyed this book for all the research and world-building that went into it. Each culture is meticulously explored, vivid. In general I liked the arc of the plot and how things seemed to follow a destiny. Another interesting aspect was using real history and skewing it to create just a slightly different world with it’s own version of gods and cultures. You still have the Picts and the Celts and the Germanic and Roman lands but they’ve been altered just enough to make them seem new.
I did find the book a bit long. Yes, things did move along at a steady pace, but it was long and it felt long. This is the first book in a series, and I just can’t fathom delving into the second book which is just as long. My loss, perhaps, but there wasn’t quite enough to pull me into reading more. I finished this one and I’m happy I finished it. The story for me is complete enough as it stands.
While there was a tiny bit of magic in the book with the Master of the Straits and visions/precognition, it felt more like a historical novel than a fantasy novel, really. I would probably group this in with the ultra-realistic fantasy trend that seems popular lately.
So basically I enjoyed the richness of the journey and would recommend the book for those who enjoy epic journeys and political fantasies with lots of machinations and secret plots. It’s not really my thing, but I think the book did it well. Note the BDSM content, which was understated but prevalent throughout the book.
I don’t know if the author is French or has any background in France, but this book felt very European. I know that’s difficult to explain, but just watch a few French films and you’ll get what I mean. Note that French movies don’t always end well for everyone.
So basically this wasn’t really the book for me, but I recognize superior talent when I see it.
Book: Stalking Darkness (Book Two of the Nightrunner Series)
Author: Lynn Flewelling
Publisher: Random House
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The first book of the series was pretty good–I liked the two main characters and there was good action and intrigue. This book by far surpasses the first book, both in the depth of the plot and in development of the characters. The reader gets to experience the transition in Alec from a boy to a young man who by the end loses all innocence (both in good ways and bad). Seregil goes from a simple happy-go-lucky rogue to someone with a great deal more depth. I also enjoyed the introduction of Kari, a young soldier whose father has spent much of his life adventuring beside Seregil.
There were some rather brutal moments as well. Again, this increased my enjoyment. There’s nothing like a really bad guy, some really icky magic, and a bit of kidnapping and torture to speed along a book. Things wrapped up nicely at the end, with just enough of a hook to lead to the third book. I have to wonder, however, if I’ve read the best that this series will ever be.
I really can’t think of anything I didn’t like in this book. Highly recommended for those who like rogues, danger, dark curses and necromancy as well as a bit of lighthearted romance. Just be aware the romance in this case is between Alec and Seregil.
I just want to announce that my host has set up the dates and places for my upcoming blog tour following the release of Journey To Landaran: Book One of the Spirit Mage Saga. Cami who runs the Reading Addiction Blog Tours has worked with other writer friends of mine including E.M Haves whose steampunk romance did really well last year.
Here is the preliminary lineup:
And in other news, the reviews are starting to trickle in for the book, and they’re looking good! I’m working now on my final round of edits. If you want to review a copy, please let me know.