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Crown of Stars by Kate Elliott

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Submitted by freesoul 
(Oct 22, 2009)

Lot to say about this series.

The story itself is not so bad, the characters range from strong to hollow... but the context...
The books are so sexist it s kill the credibility of the whole thing. It's not so bad in the first book but then kate goes reckless with the male lol.
Having god a female in her universe is the open door to the ridicule, the paroxism beeing the young gay baldwin raped by a queen lolmao. Not to mention the numerous castration in the third book.
The fact that the only male figure in this setting is elf.. should speak for itself :)
Well, it kindly kill the story for me, it seems so unfit in the medieval setting that I wanted to warn you about it, if you don’t mind then you might enjoy the plot.

Submitted by Logan 
(Jul 02, 2008)

Ok, I started this series with hopes that it would make for a good read. I typically like long sagas so the size didn't really frighten me all that much.

I am going to be critical about this series. I am not really in favor of it. I started to dislike it in book three and had to force myself to read the rest hoping that the author would redeem the story. I was hoping for fairness and comeupance. Instead what I recieved was mile after mile of main characters getting the shaft. Even when characters are in a happy state they always seem terminally depressed.

I have read statements by the author saying that she wanted to write an epic on par with that of lord of the rings but with more emotional depth. What we recieved was an epic where all the main characters are on the edge of depression. We have a stable of characters that increases constantly. The author suffers from what I call "Wheel of Time Syndrom" in that she constantly wants to updated everything that is going on with different characters all the time. The context switches, especially concerning Alain and Stronghand are handled terribly.(more on these later) She generates the idea that there is a great mystery that only bringing all characters together can answer. She is right about that but the way that she does it is similar to a detective novel that holds back key facts from the reader until the moment the detective lays down the whole case in front of you. It is frustrating for a reader attempting to find the connections only to realize that they didn't have all the pieces and have never been allowed to have them. This saga comes across less like a weaving together of seperate tales and more like a story was thrown up on a table and we are trying to weave it together like it is spaghetti.

Life is not fair. This is a fact that everyone understands. I also know, that people can be happy. This whole series is one disaster after another. A main character that is so emo that she can't do anything, even the things she wants to do without whining about it until we have a context switch. Secondary characters that always get the shaft and if they ever have a moment of triumph it is short lived and everything turns to ashes around them because like a bad soap opera, if you aren't suffering you aren't alive. The moments that would be good to talk about and relevant to developing the huge cast of characters that are developing are often glossed over and talked about as a report. The villians constantly are given license to do what they want and get what they want. The feeling up comeupance the reader is looking for doesn't ever occur. Even in death these villians haunt us or worse yet make the heroes feel such guilt that there is no feeling of closure.

The main character hurts my brain. She was traumatized, enslaved, saved, and then gains strength of her own. Then she immeadiatly turns to suck. The woman is supposedly the most desireable woman on the planet. Everyone that is remotely attracted to women want to jump her bones the moment that they see her. She must have beer flavored nipples, there is no other explanation. An exotic girl that looks beautiful is one thing. A magically irresistable woman that everyone in the world would give up anything for, not so much.

Also I cound fault with the context switches between Alain and Fifth son aka Stronghand. In the beginning these only occured when Alain was asleep but by the end of book three were happening all the time. The author makes no attempt to explain what happens to Alain when these are happening at times when it would be most appropriate to do so. I am attempting to heal my crazy (and I do mean crazy) wife after I find her digging into her hands with a nail and next thing you know I am in bed and it's days later when the context switch is over.

All in all the books seemed to drag on. The story read like a bad soap opera. The characters were all predictably depressing. I think her stated goal of writing an epic with emotional depth failed. It started out well but by book two you could see that instead of emotional depth she made everyone emo and passive agressive. All the ingrediants were there. Main characters that were released from slavery and servitude. Glorious battles won and enemies killed or driven away. The main character learning new and exciting things. Family and friends dying and babies being born. The only ingrediant that was given consideration for longer than a single second was that of death. The main characters were hopelessly depressed because even when they escaped slavery and servitude they were constantly haunted by it. Marriages all led to depressing circumstances within hours of them occuring. Battles were won but always the phrase "at what cost" was used and then all the characters would focus on how depressing winning was. Even when characters would overcome and obsticle there was no celebration of joy that did not get swallowed up in a song of greater depression.

Well that is all I have to say about this series. If you are the type of people who like fatalistic deathrodes with no way off than feel free to read away. However, if you expect characters to grow at all this is not the series for you.

Submitted by Da Auzzieman 
(Jan 11, 2007)

I have read the Crown of Stars series from King's Dragon to the Gathering of Storms.
I believe its a first class fantasy series to rival Tolkien himself!
At first in King's Dragons it was relatively enthralling and Kate leaves a great ending to make you really want to get the next book and find out what happened concerning liath's fate and what happened to sanglant. I got to say though that my favourite character was Alain and i also kept expecting (or hoping) that he'll get it together with liath. but sanglant is good enough. I wonder what happened when Alain meets Stronghand.
In the second book, the plot really get to you. I did nothing all day but having my eyes glued to the damned chapters. Some people might find all the religion and political intrigue boring but its really matter of taste. I would recommend this book to anybody who loves reading, especially literal historical fanatics!!
The rest of series is just as excellent. true, there were some bits that really carried on and on and gets boring, but the bright moments really made up for it.
I went for days with my tongue hanging out panting (er, just metaphorically) waiting for the next highlight of the plot. Also, there were so many twists and surprises continuously in the plot that each book leaving wanting for more.
Kate Elliot has really made a very addictive plot that was grimy, realistic, magical, surreal, heroic and historical. It also brought up many moral issue.
It IS a fantasy world based on our medieval past and for me, i got well involved in the context and i guess everyones's tastes are different. but for historical fans like me, this is must see book. You dont know what u missing!! there are other stories just as good as Lord of the Rings.
Anybody who have not read it or have dropped it midway, well, its a shame cause if you have gotten involved in the plot of Crown of Stars, then it would have given you a new insight and view on fantasy novels.
I agree completely with whoever it is that said Kate Elliot is one of the most underrated fantasy authors, with her talent this series she deserved to be at the top.

Submitted by Saraswati 
(Jan 28, 2006)

The Crown of Stars is a similar undertaking to Tolkiens: a detailed fictional historical saga, created as much to satisfy the author as the reader. These sorts of books are my favourite: Elliot has cared little for the whims of the mass-market publishing, and as a result the Crown of Stars is immeasurably richer than it might otherwise have been. Elliot has been scrupulously exact in creating her world to match that of early medieval Europe and Asia, and has bound in the magic that is part of all great fairy tales.

It is perhaps unfair to compare Tolkien’s work too much with Elliot: what is immensely satisfying is that her work has a great deal more emotional intelligence and is, in a sense, much more human. I compare the two because Elliot said somewhere that, ever since reading Tolkien’s work, she wanted to write her own saga, but with an individual stamp.

What is pleasing is that the Nobility that inhabit her pages are not especially noble: this is no age of chivalry. Machiavellian politics, poisonings, sexual exploitation, slavery: all these themes are explored to great satisfaction. Elliot’s work is not sanitised: characters get sick, urinate, menstruate, bare children and die painfully. Her world is a world inhabited by highborn and lowborn, women and men, the good and the evil, and she has done a marvellous job of telling their stories.

The relationship between Church and State is also explored, and Elliot has done an excellent job of recreating with some considerable accuracy the role of religion in medieval culture. Critics who complain about the level of religious reference in the books would do well to remember that in 8th Century Europe religion permeated every aspect of secular and political life: a secular American cast to her stories would be completely out of place.

This said, the series has some notable weakness: Kate Elliot juxtaposes tremendously turgid passages with flashes of brilliant beauty. The last published book, “In the Ruins”, could have been much shorter without loosing any of the threads of the story, contrary to the claim of the author, and there is an alarming cascade of unbelievable language and anachronisms which are incredible considering the lengths she has gone to create such an authentic world.

For example, in the last published book, the lecherous Lord Wichman refers to an unwilling wench as a “spitfire”. What would a World War Two aircraft be doing in the 8th Century? There are too many americanisms in the direct speech of the characters - perhaps something that only a European reader would notice – yet they are conspicuously and uncomfortably juxtaposed next to decidedly archaic phrasing. Perhaps herin lies a piece of advice for fantasy authors who favour history as the foundation of their world-building. Make sure you do not edit your own books, and if your book is set in an historical setting, make sure that at least one of your editors is familiar with that period.

The infuriating thing is that her lack of discipline as a writer lets her down: it is in fact, infuriating because of the promise she shows as a storyteller. With some tighter storytelling and a compassionate, knowledgeable editor, this series could have taken its place among the classics of modern literature. Nevertheless, Elliot is to be commended for this tremendous work of the imagination. Like all good fairytales, The Crown of Stars offers wonderful insight into the human condition, and for that reason, I would highly recommend it.

Submitted by Mog 
(Apr 14, 2005)

Wow. Where can I start?

Well, I started reading this book shortly after my friend brought it to school. I asked her where she had got it, and she said a second-hand bookstore. She just chose it because "The cover looked interesting". I am so glad she did!

As soon as I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. I loved all the characters, even the ones I hated. Some, like Hugh, were perfect evil people. You couldn't help but love them at the same time you despised them.

If you put a lot of research in this book, you'll find that almost every name, person, and place, has a real-life counterpart. For example: Henry was really a German king (Wendar is Germany) and almost all the names are related to German monarchy somehow. The Quman, for example are Mongolians. It's so amazing how Ms. Elliot researched the information and actually makes it her own, while staying true to history. I thought it was an amzing series, and I can't wait for the next two! (The next one is called In the Ruins, and it is the sixth book. The seventh is coming out in February 2006. The sixth (In the Ruins) is due out August 2, 2005.)

Read and enjoy! I know that I did.

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