Monday, January 5, 2009

On a slight fantasy kick...

I just started this TOME - Anne Bishop's The Black Jewels Trilogy. It's 3 books, so I guess it's not REALLY that long, but 1200+ pages in one volume feels like a lot. Nonetheless.

Quick summary: The books are about a world that has been taken over by a powerful and evil High Priestess who has eliminated all her rivals, and placed strong males against her in slavery. A premonition by a slightly crazed Black Widow witch tells that a strong new Queen with powers unseen before will soon come. She's still a little girl though, so then people from all sides want to control her and shape her into their own pawn... though the good guys of course just love her and respect her and want to protect her as she grows.

I finished the first book, Daughter of the Blood in about a day. It's brutal and gruesome at points, and yet thrilling. I'm always so in awe of fantasy writers and their ability to create completely new worlds and rules of the world and then cement them so firmly that you never doubt the validity of these rules. What I've liked about this book is how it balances the serious fantasy elements with a lot of humor. The first book revolves around a little girl, and she's adorable and petulant at times, and as she grows, she does so convincingly, while still retaining her unnatural character traits. The heroes in the book all have character flaws, and yet they still remain sympathetic and fun to read. The thing about this book is that I found myself giggling as often as I found myself totally horrified (and horrified to a point where I felt vaguely ill).

I'm not a huge huge fantasy reader, but I think my tastes are pretty open and diverse. I'm actually really enjoying this trilogy (now halfway through the second one). It's easy to get into, the language is casual, and while brutal at points, the humor and endearing quality of the characters helps make it bearable and worth it. You actually care about these people. For a plot driven book, I'd say there's a good amount of characterization as well as depth that I feel for them in ways you don't always feel for genre characters.

Warning though for the faint of heart: there's a lot of brutality, especially sexual brutality. Rape, pedophilia, and just general uncomfortable sexual torture that made me cringe. If you can't stomach that, I would not recommend reading.

4 drops:

moonrat said...

yeah, that's what i've heard about her books...

Tom said...

A -- lighten up! Doesn't sound like something you should read before going on a blind date. Try something lighter. My wife loves "108th Street" by T David Lee, a fuuny story about kids growing up in the 1950s. No pedophilia, necrophilia, sexophila, just good, clean fun.

Maria said...

I don't know if I could get into that. Not much into fantasy....but, I dunno...I'm always a bit surprised at what I am enjoying lately.

Ello said...

Hey I have to check it out! Sounds like my cup of tea!

But what is angry little girls? I'm intrigued. CAn you email me with more details! I'm at ello.echo@gmail.com or you can leave me a comment again. I have heard of angry young asian man, is it like that?

Post a Comment