Friday, December 16, 2005

Friday Book Review and Last Day of Holiday Sale!

First things first – today is the LAST DAY of the Silver Parrot Designs 2005 Holiday Sale! so head on over to the website and check out the deals if you haven’t already.

Now, here are the book reviews. This week, I continued working my way through the rest of Sharon Shinn’s “Samaria” series. Both ”Angelica” and ”Angel-Seeker” are excellent and breathe new life into this series. I was slightly disappointed in the previous two installments as compared to book one, but these last two novels are as good as “Archangel” is.

In fact, “Angel Seeker” is the best of the entire series thus far. It picks up where “Archangel” left off and follows some of the secondary characters from that book: Obadiah, Nathan and Magdalena, as they build the new angel hold at Cedar Hills and try to improve relations with the troublesome Jansai. The addition of the imprisoned Jansai girl, Rebekah, and her dangerous love affair with Obadiah is fascinating and definitely adds spice to this novel.

“Angelica” is good as well. I enjoyed seeing how Susannah, an Edori woman, would resolve the love triangle between herself, Gaaron the Archangel, and her Edori lover. It’s also the first time that the author introduces the idea of colonists from other ships and other worlds and their impact on Samarrian society.

And then there’s the third book I read this week: Fiona Patton’s ”The Silver Lake” I’ve been eagerly awaiting this novel because not only does it have some kick-ass artwork on the cover, but I’ve been a big fan of Patton’s since reading her earlier works, especially her “Branion” series which begins with ”The Stone Prince.” I’m particularly fond of the second book in the series, ”The Painter Knight.”

So, I was all set for an equally awesome read AND the beginning of a new series, “The Warriors of Estavia,” with this latest book. Unfortunately, it does NOT live up to the promise of Patton’s earlier works. Not only is the action slow, but the characters are patently uninteresting and unsympathetic. Patton continues her trademark use of homosexuality and bi-gendered or gender neutral beings as well as her use of gods who are constantly and intimately involved in the moment-to-moment lives of their subjects. However, the gods of “The Silver Lake” are even more involved and more in control of their worshippers than the religious forces in the “Branion” series were. Frankly, I wouldn’t have had a problem with most of that if the action and characterization were up to par, but they’re just not. I think one problem that authors run into when they make the gods of their worlds into fairly significant characters and give them huge amounts of control over the mortals in the story is that the mortals begin to seem like mere puppets with no wills of their own. This stifles character development. Another problem with this novel is the incredibly confusing variety of place names and terminology. I never did figure out all the villages and temples (despite the map in the forefront of the book) or the difference between the terms “delin” and “delinkos.” It seems like one term means children and the other might mean “apprentice” or “foster child,” but it was difficult to be sure which was which. So, admire the cover art in the bookstore, but then put this one back and go pick up the “Branion” books…which are all out in paperback already.

That’s it for this week. I’m not sure if there will be another review until after the holidays. It will depend on how organized I am getting ready for Christmas and whether or not decides to ever ship my latest book order. Note to self: do NOT choose the “free, super-saver shipping” option next time. 5-9 days my a$$!

Take care all!


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