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Stormqueen! (Daw Science Fiction Darkover S.) Mass Market Paperback – Feb 1984

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Daw Books; Reissue edition (Feb. 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0886773105
  • ISBN-13: 978-0886773106
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.6 x 17.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,849,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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By A Customer on 13 May 2003
Format: Paperback
The intensive breeding programme of the humans on Darkover has produced strange psychic gifts. The aggressive families of the planet fight for territory and rule using diabolical weapons of the mind, while some long for a more settled way of life. Into this is born Dorilys whose Laran is the ability to control weather, the Stormqueen. The fate of those drawn to her to help or to fight hangs in the balance with the future of the planet.
This is a fast paced and gripping novel, I couldn't put it down. The characterisation is inspired. For fans of Darkover it gives an interesting insight into the oigins of the society of the later novels.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was the first Darkover novel that made its way into my hands. It describes the "Gifts" of several families, and the hazards and heartache that led to/resulted from the breeding programs of the Comyn. The resolution, being ordinary people doing the best they can with what they have, is haunting me in a way that keeps me searching other Darkover stories for alternatives and repercussions.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Re-collecting this series, seem to have lost some of the ones I had previously. This was a bit tired and had a small piece missing from a page near the end but otherwise ok.
Excellent book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9d0670a8) out of 5 stars 12 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cd3c6c0) out of 5 stars Way too wild! 9 Jun. 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was the first Darkover book I ever read, when I was about eleven. I found it fascinating but confusing. I didn't really appreciate it until after I had read The Forbidden Tower and The Bloody Sun. Even those these novels are set hundreds or even thousands of years after the Ages of Chaos in which Stormqueen is set, they give you the background necessary to understand what was going on in this novel. The bewildering references to terrifying mental weapons, the complex and hubristic (and eventually lethal) laran breeding program, the leroni, the bits of casta (e.g. barragana, nedestro etc) that are scattered through this novel are clear as day when you've read a couple of the others. Nevertheless this is one of the very best novels of Darkover, and the terrifying laran properties manifested by the characters in this novel make the laran of later days seem paltry by comparison. Some of the best characters in the series are present in this novel; Donal, Renata, Dorilys and Allart really are terrific. It's funny, but if anyone has ever read Jennifer Roberson's Chronicles of the Cheysuli I swear her Donal (Alix's son) was modelled on Donal Delleray. Similarly, Allart actually reminds me of Lew Alton - I think it must be the torment in him from his gift, a torment that MZB repeatedly illustrates convincingly. Although the adult characters in this novel have more control over events and show more character development, Dorilys, the Stormqueen of the Hellers, is a character who will linger long in the reader's mind. She is a powerful force, almost as elemental as the environment she controls. Her shadow looms over the whole series subsequent to this novel, with frequent references made to her legend, numerous women named after her and even her preserved body enterred in perpetuity at holy Hali. My sincerest dissapointment in the Darkover series is that the two characters who seemed most likely to rival Dorilys for sheer fire (as well as laran potential), Clendori and Alanna Alar, were never given their own book.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cec6f6c) out of 5 stars a deep, rich novel of Darkover's early days 16 Sept. 2003
By Joe Sherry - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This Darkover novel is set in Darkover's Age of Chaos. It is set several hundred years after Darkover Landfall. The ruling powers in Darkover ruled in what feels like a feudal system. I would compare this period in Darkover's history to the European Dark Ages. At the beginning of the novel we are introduced to Donal, an 8 year old boy. Donal is the son of a woman who was the mistress of Mikhail Aldaran, lord of the Aldaran. Mikhail raises Donal like his own son, despite Donal being the child of another man. Donal's mother dies giving birth to Dorilys, the only living child of Mikhail.
The first section of the novel serves to introduce us to some of the major players of the novel and also works as a perfect setup to describe the world and background of the characters that will act throughout the novel. The ESP type abilities hinted at in Darkover Landfall exist in a wild, but powerful form. These abilities are called Laran, and the ruling classes are participating in a breeding program to both harness and control these laran. This breeding program has a huge flaw and drawback, few children actually live past childhood. When they start to become in full possession of their laran, death is by far the most common result. Another common result is emotional instability because of the laran. This is the world and heritage that Dorilys was born into. After she was born the novel skips ahead 11 years. Donal is now a man and beloved by Mikhail. Dorilys is a spoiled child with a wildly powerful laran.
This novel deals with the personal implications of the laran breeding plan as well as how the feudalistic society plays out in Darkover. Dorilys has been handfasted (or, betrothed) but since she has no control over her laran, when she gets frightened she lashes out with her power and unintentionally kills with it. Donal wants to marry Renata, but the circumstances with Aldaran force him into a different alliance. Renata was sent by the nearby Tower (where those with Laran work with their power) to help train Dorilys to control her laran. We are also introduced to Allart, a former monk but potential heir to the throne at Thendara. He has been hiding away trying to control his laran (he has the ability to see all possible futures resulting from every action and potential action), but is involved in this story, too.
While Darkover Landfall was little more than an introduction to the world of Darkover and how it was founded, Stormqueen! was a much richer novel. In this novel, Bradley gives us a sense of the world and strong, well written characters. It was easy to get wrapped up in the story, and it was intense at times. Reading Stormqueen only confirmed my desire to keep reading the Darkover series. Excellent fantasy novel.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ced348c) out of 5 stars Disturbing and beautiful, like its protagonist 17 May 2000
By A.J. Chodan - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Most Darkover books I *can't* put down. This one, I *had* to put down here and there because it was so disturbing -- I guess I needed the reassurance of knowing I was on Terra after all. :)
This is not an easy book to read, but it is WELL worth the effort. As you might expect of someone who was considered "precocious" as a girl, I could definitely identify with Dorilys the Stormqueen. But don't let the book's title lead you to ignore the other well-drawn characters -- Dorilys would certainly enjoy the attention if she were around for it, but there are other powerful and interesting characters central to the sad tale.
Stormqueen! is the kind of book you want to read and get a good friend to read so that you can discuss all the issues it brings up -- the ethical questions it raises have no easy resolution either within the story or in real life, but the book is worth reading and the issues it raises worth discussing.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d06790c) out of 5 stars Best of the Ages of Chaos Books 1 Mar. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Stormqueen! is set in the chaotic age of Darkover where people were bred for increasingly powerful (and lethal) forms of psychic ability, called laran. Although, like all Darkover books, this is a stand-alone novel, Darkover fans will enjoy the familiar place-names and legendary characters fleshed out. (Example: Varzil the Good, who appears or is referenced in The Forbidden Tower, The Shadow Matrix, and Traitor's Sun, is a character in this work.) The majority of this story takes place in and around castle Aldaran where we follow the life of Dorilys Aldaran, whose frightening lethal-gene linked psychic ability allows her to tap into the planet's magnetic field. Like all women of this age on Darkover, Dorilys is a mere pawn in kingdom land struggles and the ever-present laran human breeding program. It is a classic tale of the quest for justice in an injust system. High drama. Good tale.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ced34c8) out of 5 stars A Cautionary Tale 17 Oct. 2002
By lisebouvier - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Man is the only animal that thinks not to improve his race...Should we not seek to better ourselves as well our world and our surroundings?"
This is a quote from Stormqueen, but it won't be long before someone raises this question in the real world, or before we have the scientific capacity to create such a future. Marian Zimmer Bradley's prescient tale, written in the '70's, explores the very real consequences, the temptations and dangers, of such genetic manipulation.
For those not familiar with Darkover, think of it as the Middle Ages with psychic powers. It is warlike, patriarchal and pre-industrial. The lack of machines is made up for by crystals, or matrixes, which greatly amplify naturally occuring psychic powers, or laran. These have been developed to take the place of mechanical technology, for both peaceful or warlike means. (There is a striking and again, prescient, parallel between the "relay screens" and the internet.)
Like any talent, skills vary from person to person. These psychic gifts being the very foundation of Darkover civilization, people have been bred over generations for specific gifts, much like an animal breeding program. For the resulting children, death is common, as is mental/emotional instability.
All of the characters in Stormqueen have lives maimed by the breeding program. Mikhail of Aldaran has seen all of his children die; Allart has been cursed with a gift that shows him all possible consequences of each act; Renata has worked desperately to have a life beyond a childbearing pawn; Donal is forced into an intolerable situation due to his stepfather's desire for an heir.
And of course there is Dorilys, the young Stormqueen, a child with a gift far beyond her ability to handle it. A lesser writer would have made Dorilys a one-dimensional spoiled brat or "witch girl." The typical male SF writer would probably have turned her into an evil sex nymph. (See lurid cover art, which is the original from the '70's.)
In Bradley's hands, Dorilys is a fully human young girl, sometimes arrogant and spoiled, but also courageous and loving. These two aspects of her character pull her either way; until the end, it's never certain which will prevail.
The story does have its rough spots and slow places. I could have done with a little less about Allart and Cassandra's marriage, for example. You won't miss much if you skim those chapters. Since it was in there, I would have preferred a little more about how Cassandra grows from a highly dependent, girlish character into a tried and true woman.
As another reviewer noted, this is a tragedy in the classic Greek sense. At each turning or crossroads, there seems only one option, yet inevitably it leads to a tragic conclusion. The flaws of more than one character bring about the tragedy, but still it's hard to see how it could have been avoided.
This book is powerful sci-fi/fantasy with underlying serious issues. If you are concerned about some of the questions the world is facing, Stormqueen will speak to you.
I also recommend MZB's other early Darkover novels: Hawkmistress, Heritage of Hastur, Thendara House, even The Forbidden Tower (though it's not a favorite). They all feature intelligent characters dealing with complex ethical or emotional questions, with plenty of action thrown in.
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