|Submitted by Chris Darroch |
(Jan 05, 2006)
This book was my introduction to Janny Wurtz and have made it a point to buy anything of hers I have seen since.
This is hard fantasy at its best, in my opinion, superior even to the much-lauded Jordan (of whom I am a fan, as well). Here, Wurtz has created a world whose history reaches back through several eras. The depth and complexity of politics and prophecy, magic and war and all the institutions of society are there to be explored and rendered in intricate detail.
As a "hard" fantasy fan, I particularly appreciated the varieties of sorcery. Each is original and much time spent in outlining how the opposing forces can be used..The most potent force of magic in Athera is that bequeathed by ancient lost races to a fellowship, based on True Names...yet it can accomplish nothing without the permission of its source. Lesser magics, including the elemental magic of the brothers Lysander and Arithon, are potentially more destructive, but also more limited in scale. And this is just one example the finely wrought characteristics Wurtz has imbued in her work.
A word of warning, however. This book, is the first in what appears to be MANY books. In and of itself, it is a great prologue to the story that follows, with almost anything a fantasy fan could hope for.
As in many detailed worlds (such as those of Robert Jordan, Steven Erikson, George Martin) the sheer scope threatens to overwhelm the forward momentum of the story. By the time you get a few books in, you realize that the hero and villain (I will let you decide which is which) have a VERY long life expectancy and that many forces are at work to keep them from resolving their destinies. With each book, new characters and locales are included, the "quest" widens for each character, and you begin to get bogged down in too many viewpoints, not enough action.
But as I said, that is a problem for the later books. This introduction is a fantastic read. Highly recommened.
BTW - This is definitely a series to re-read before moving onto the next book, especially if there's been any delay between. It's just too vast (and occasionally slow) to remember.