Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Big Eagles in a Big Book

It's been a little while since I last posted. Next up is _Spirit Gate_ by Kate Elliot. A rather thick fantasy novel, per a burb I saw on Amazon, she intends to extend the series to 7 volumes in total, a "Jordan" run so to speak. However, unlike Robert Jordan (RIP), Kate's book has better characterization, even if it doesn't move along quite as fast.

In the setting, a land called The Hundred (for reasons not revealed in the book...yet...) has been patrolled by a group of peacekeepers called the Reeves. In the execution of their duties, they have as partners and transportation a race of slightly more intelligent giant eagles. In this way, they have kept peace in the Hundred for quite some time.

However, things have deteriorated over time. A hinted at race of beings that had previously administered justice has dissappeared sometime previously, with no hint at their return. It falls to the Reeves to step in and administer justice. As things often happen in fantasy novels, there is unrest in the land, and armies bent on conquest afflict society.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the continent, a vaguely asian inspired Qin officer (very much a Mongol analouge in many ways) flees from certain death as a political pawn in his own nation with his new wife, her uncle (hardly older) and a number of followers, making their way to the Hundred to serve as mercenaries...

That's about it.

Like Jordan, Elliot appears to be long and heavy on the characterization. In fact, the entire 1st book appears to be a setup establishing the characters. Although we start to see the beginnings of what I think the main thrust of the story will be, its only a glimpse. As such, a pure setup book of this length (I don't have the book handy at the time of this writing, but approximately 500 pages) might turn off some people, but the writing is lucid and the characters interesting (in one form or another) . However, if you're not interested in a 7 book series, you might want to avoid this one for that reason...

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