Friday, January 17, 2014

The Serpent Bride by Sara Douglass (Dark Glass Mountain: Book One)

Mulluane | 8:00 PM | 9 Comments so far

Rescued from unspeakable horror, Ishbel Brunelle has devoted her life to the Order of the Coil, a sacred cult that reads the future in the entrails of its human sacrifices. But the Serpent has loftier plans for the archpriestess, and an eerie, eldritch warning: Prepare for the Lord of Elcho Falling . . .

Perils abound in a realm beset by treachery, and above all looms the DarkGlass Mountain—once known as the Threshold—as the terrible Dark God Kanubai prepares to emerge from his prison in exile.

*Blurb source* HarperCollins
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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
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The Serpent Bride (Darkglass Mountain, #1)

♥ Mini Review ♥
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.

♦ Additional Reviews ♦

Series Summary ~ Book Two ~ Book Three

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books, Affiliate Links

Librarything: 3.83/5

Amazon: 3.8/5
(37 customer reviews)

What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: The Serpent Bride (DarkGlass Mountain)

Audible: No

Buy Book: BAM ~ AbeBooks

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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: 5 of 5 Stars

Mulluane is a 56-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

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  1. This does sound like a good book. I haven't gotten around to trying Sara Douglass's books yet. {Smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

    1. I figured out years ago that I seem to be drawn to Australian authors. No idea why but I am no longer surprised when, in the process of doing my review research, I discover yet another one I love.

      And fortunately, even though the world has lost her, her books are still readily available :>)

    2. It is interesting that you like Australian authors in particular. Does this help you choose new authors to try? {Smile}

      Yes, I'm glad her books are still readily available. {Smile}

      Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

    3. Not really Anne because I rarely research a book before I read it. I like to keep any preconceptions to a minimum. What it used to do is make me go straight to those authors first on a bookstore trip.

      I've pretty much stopped that too for variety's sake. I could likely review nothing but my favorite authors and never run out of books but that would be boring for my readers. Now I try (but don't always succeed) to review new to the blog authors instead.

    4. I guess I can understand your dilemma. I hope the present system is working well for you. {Smile}

      Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  2. This sounds amazing. I haven't read anything like this before. Great Review!!!

    Katering @ Owl Always Be Reading

    1. Thanks! And thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Reading through your reviews, I think the romance aspect might appeal to you. Like many "Epic" fantasies, the romances are mostly side stories though one does play a pivotal role. It is truly a well rounded tale with many many layers.

  3. I'm ashamed to say it's the first time I hear about this author. It's amazing how well you know her books. I'm adding them to my TBR list, because I just love epic fantasy and many stories within other stories. I like that there is great character development and the action is not predictable at all. I like books that can take me by surprise. :)

    Oana @All Fantasy Worlds

    1. That is what my review was missing! I knew I left out something I had planned on saying.

      The writing is tight, no fluff, no (or if there was I didn't notice), info dumps. No desire to jump ahead to the "action." This was how she managed to pack so much punch into one book, no wasted space.

      And the surprises? Well they drive the character development. If you believe a person or situation is one thing, only to find out that you were dead wrong, it changes your whole attitude. Sometimes for the better, sometime for the worse. You literally can't wait to see what will happen next.

      And thanks for stopping by!


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