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on 8 August 2003
This was one of the first fantasy novels I ever read and I have to say, that in my eyes it is still the best. The plot centres around Faia Leyeadote, the most powerful sorceress in Arhel and her journey from humble shepherd girl to mighty mage. Faia encounters not only much sorrow, but much prejudice as well throughout her travels. However, she overcomes all that is thrown in her path and ends up shaking the very foundations of the world (sometimes even literally)!
This was Holly Lisle's debut novel and was later followed by two more books that completed this series ("Bones of the Past" and "Mind of the Magic"). She is definitely one of the queens of fantasy and an avid builder of fictional worlds. Her characters are fully dimensional and realistic, and her attention to all detail is commendable. This story in particular is so action-packed and full of innovative dark elements that you will not be able to put it down. As a matter of fact this is one of the few books that I will happily read over and over again, and simply can't give enough praise for.
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on 6 May 2013
I am taking one of the author's courses and was curious to see what the processes she is teaching us help her produce. And wow am I glad I am taking this course now.

This novel has a deep and rich magical, environmental, historical and cultural background, all woven together with great skill. The world feel vibrant, from the stuffy mages and sages - the male and female wizards who have split the magical city and university so they do no have to have contact, to the full of decapitating barbarian, the country girl who has never seen a city and so many more in between

The combination of integrating us into this alien world, making friends (and enemies), murders and adventure, I felt the book was perfectly balanced.

Somebody who has never read any fantasy may find it a difficult starter book as the beginning assumes some knowledge of common terminology, but the glossary in the back will get even the least seasoned reader though in no time
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