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| Author: Sara Douglass
| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| Content: Mythology
| ISBN-10: 006088214X
| ISBN-13: 9780060882143
| Publisher: Harper Voyager (May 27, 2008)
| Mass Market Paperback: 704 pages
| Source: Personal copy
| Rating: 5 Stars
Many years ago I read and reviewed the Axis Trilogy by Sara Douglass and fell in love with her writing. For some reason I never picked up the second trilogy in that saga but I did wind up buying this one, which comes well after. Now here is the good news. Though I am sure it would have helped, I had no problem getting into this book with only the knowledge I gleaned in the first three books. And so far, I like this trilogy even better.
Fantasy Series Book Review by Mulluane
♦ The Story: The book starts out with a short creation legend followed by a very dark beginning to the story. Almost immediately you begin to sympathize in horror with a trapped 8 year old girl who is barricaded in a house with her dead relatives. The only survivor of a plague that killed not only parents and siblings but aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents; the town outside waiting for her to die so they can burn the house down. From the very first page, you are emotionally hooked into this tale.
♦ My Thoughts: I remember clearly the day Sara Douglass announced to her many fans that she had advanced ovarian cancer. I clung to hope for several years but sadly I ended up heartbroken when she lost that fight. But omg what a legacy! There are very few writers that can hook you this hard starting with the first paragraph. And you will stay hooked. Right up to the very last word.
I do want to note that having previous knowledge of this world does add flavor to the tale. I might have been able to get by without it, but I am glad I did not have to. Having a basic knowledge of past history definitely helps.
♦ What I Liked: The characters are vivid, varied, relatable and flawed. You love them or you hate them, then you turn the page and reverse your opinion. The detailed worldbuilding comes in as a close second with varied landscapes, multiple races and plenty of magic. But there is one thing that blew my mind. One thing that made me go WOW! when I closed the book and proceeded to sit here in stunned disbelief for about 30 minutes.
In 704 pages there is an unbelievable amount of story. So much that I have been lost for days trying to figure out how to accurately relate how massively epic this book is. There are stories, inside of larger stories, all wrapped up in mythology and loaded with superb character development. No character ends up unchanged. Very few turn out to be what or who you thought they were. And I swear I don't think there is a single storyline that went anywhere near where I thought it was going. Ultimately, there just aren't enough adjectives to express how impressed I am with this book.
♦ What I didn't like: There was only one person whose motivation bothered me. Not going to tell you who because that would be a major spoiler, but one character just felt off to me. This person gets dragged into the conflict, without any possibility of consent, and just accepts this with no fuss. Trust me when I say that the circumstances of this person's insertion were extreme and yet they just shrugged it off and decided to go with the flow. It nagged at me and still does but in light of how well all of the other characters are written, I am willing to let it slide, kinda like the character did.
♦ Conclusion: Romance, intrigue, betrayal, war, mystery, and more switchbacks than a steep mountainside. You will really need to be on your toes with this book because nothing is static, staid or dependable. Everything is subject to change (and does) at a moment's notice. This is not a light read. It is a true multifaceted, detailed, dark, complex story that exemplifies the very definition of Epic Fantasy.
Now if you'll please excuse me, I have a few hours left before bedtime to start book two. I'll let you know if the awesomeness continues.
(37 customer reviews)
What Should I Read Next?
|Kindle: The Serpent Bride (DarkGlass Mountain)|
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Epic Fantasy Book Review of The Serpent Bride (Dark Glass Mountain: Book One) by Sara Douglass - Reviewed by Mulluane - on January 02, 2014 - Rating: of 5 Stars