What do you get when you combine a haunted child, a tortured prince, elemental gods, cosmic evil, the remnants of a winged race who have lost their homeland, and their magic, plus millions of marauding monsters who eat everything in their path. The answer is a marvelously complex and dark epic fantasy.
Epic Fantasy Series Review by Mulluane
♦ What I Liked. Where do I start. Lets start with the characters. I love character-driven fantasy. I want characters that are flawed. I want them to make mistakes, bad decisions, and act like arrogant jerks, then occasionally (but not always) regret their actions. I want them to try and sometimes fail. I want them to stress out, show weakness, worry and fret. And I want them to exhibit compassion, strength, self confidence, loyalty and friendship. And that is just the good guys. I want flawed bad guys too. Those I want to be heartless, cruel, power hungry and totally unlikable. But, I want them to make mistakes, get bested on occasion, only to come back stronger, meaner, wiser and therefore harder to defeat. Then there are the middle characters. Not good, not evil but could go either way. They are the wildcards. The ones the entire story pivots on. The unpredictable ones that keep you guessing. To top it off I want characters to change. They can improve and grow or they can regress into somebody I can't stand, but I want them to be different by the end.
I got all that, and so much more.
Secondly, for me, is intrigue, machinations, political maneuvering, betrayal, revenge, tricks and schemes. The more complicated, underhanded and sneaky the better. I want to see the folks that have it coming to them, get it. I want to see the used and abused triumph, eventually. I want to see schemes succeed and I want to see them fail. And I don't ever want the outcome to be predictable. Romance I can live with or without. I definately don't care for it as a main focus, but a bit thrown in for added depth, motivation and as a way to further complicate matters works well for me.
I got all that too, and so much more.
Lastly is worldbuilding. The lay of the land is not as vital to me as it is to some. I know some people seriously get into maps and such. I never look at maps. It just isn't important to me. On the other hand, culture building fascinates me to no end. I like unique cultures, with their own religions, customs, mannerisms, magics, politics and the list goes on.
I got that too but it was a distant third to the characterization.
♦ What I didn't like. Sometimes the complexity of the story and its characters comes at a cost. Backstory can get lost and motivations can become murky. I like knowing why people do what they do. I may not agree with their choices or reactions but I like understanding why they reacted in a certain way. Unfortunately, there were times in this tale when I was dissatisfied with how some storylines got dropped because the story had to move forward. I'm not fond of dangling loose ends, though I realize the ultimate goal is more important and there are only so many pages to get there. It nagged at me but not enough to ruin my love of this tale.
♦ My Thoughts. So many series are labeled Epic Fantasy. And I suppose in some respects they are. They may be epic in terms of a world wide conflict between good and evil. They may be epic in terms of massive secondary worldbuilding. They may be considered epic because of their darkness, or complexity or depth. I've read plenty of discussions where the opinions vary wildly but almost all believe Epic Fantasy embraces one or more of the above.
Rarely however does a series embrace the full range of descriptions and this series is what I personally call true Epic Fantasy in every sense and interpretation of the phrase.
♦ Conclusion. There are a couple of things I want to note. While this trilogy is not a true continuation of the six book Wayfarer Redemption saga, it will benefit you to read atleast the first three. There are characters in this trilogy who got their start in the Battleaxe/Axis Trilogy and a knowledge of their history will help you to make more sense out of this series.
Lastly, if you love dark, intense, character-driven, complicated, multilayered, Epic Fantasy that keeps you on your toes, you'll likely love this series. If you are looking for something that is more black and white, with people who pick a side and stick with it, is easy to follow and has a happy ever after ending, you'll hate this series. Personally, it is going on my favorites list and my reread shelf. And that is why I'm giving the whole thing a five star rating.
My Book Reviews of: The Serpent Bride ~ The Twisted Citadel ~ The Infinity Gate
|Author: Sara Douglass |
Genre: Epic Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
Content: Mythology, Magic
Series: Dark Glass Mountain
Publisher: Harper Collins
Source: Personal Copies
|Cover Art: Steve Stone|
Voyager Online: Sara Douglass in Memoriam
Official Facebook Fan Page
All are available in Kindle See individual reviews for more information.
More Great Epic Fantasy
Epic Fantasy Series Review of Dark Glass Mountain Trilogy By Sara Douglass - Reviewed by Mulluane - on January 20, 2013 - Rating: of 5 Stars