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The Drowning City (Necromancer Chronicles 1)

The Drowning City (Necromancer Chronicles 1) [Kindle Edition]

Amanda Downum
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Print List Price: 7.99
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Product Description


Lush, evocative. Amanda Downum creates a richly relaised, refreshingly Eastern world full of charms and spirits, espionage and ibtrigue and the wars of great power fought by proxy (Brent Weeks )

Downum effectively combines action, magic, police procedure and political intrigue in this complex and striking debut. (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY )

Like the worlds she imagines, the words of Amanda Downum are lyrical, persuasive, and evocative. If you read only one first novel this year, read this one. I promise it's good (Elizabeth Bear )

Intense, atmospheric fun (STRANGE HORIZONS )

A very enjoyable first novel (SFREVU )

Book Description

The first instalment in a powerful adventure of political intrigue, espionage and assassins.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 591 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (3 Dec 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004NYB792
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #116,478 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not drowning, but sometimes adrift... 8 Mar 2011
This is Downum's debut fantasy novel, set in a jungle-type world system seething with discontent. This political intrigue certainly hits the ground running - events stack up and we are swiftly introduced to the cast of characters who are immediately plunged into the action. In this case, this has its drawbacks. Downum's inexperience shows, I feel, in the lack of any real explanation about the political situation - it is all implicit, which is certainly a plus side for the narrative drive, but I did find myself floundering for a while as I sorted out exactly who was on which side. It didn't help that in addition to the countries slogging it out - there were also a bunch of factions and clans weighing in.

In addition to the scarcity of background information necessary to clarify the plots and counter-plots, the three female protagonists are far too similar. They are all reasonably young; all are competent magic-users; all have a conflict of loyalties and issues around their love life. Given that Downum doesn't do hanging around to let the reader get her bearings, I was also a bit adrift as to exactly which one was doing what... Granted, I read this at a time when I wasn't at my sharpest best - but I did feel this confusion could have been avoided if their characters weren't so alike. The very similarity of the three main characters meant that they all occupied the same niche in the cast of characters. I think this very much lessened the impact at the end, simply because the reader has been asked to empathise with three versions of the same type, rather than a range of fully rounded, completely different individuals, thus diluting our feelings for each of them.

That said, I didn't hurl the book across the bedroom.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great first time necromancer novel 20 Dec 2009
I enjoyed this book but was surprised to learn that it is the first book in this series. When I was reading it I felt that there was some back-storey that I was missing so this made me assume that this was the second book in the series!

The setting is described vividly and instantly captured my attention. I agree with the previous reviewers opinion that there are possibly too many characters. I had to re-read passages a few times to confirm which character was betrayed/crossed/etc as they had been mentioned so fleetingly earlier in the story. Hopefully for the next book the Author chooses to give Isllyt (main character) more narration time and does make her voice shared with as many other minor characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Rea
This story is set in a vividly imagined setting rather reminiscent of some Asian societies. An awful lot of work goes into descriptions - one of the best described settings that I've read in fanstasy for a long time! The story itself is interesting and captures the reader's interest as we follow the activities of a host of characters in their attempts to end the greedy emperor's reign over this city, each for their own reasons.

One let down is possibly that there are too many characters. When it came to double crossing deeds, I often found the characters astonished that it could have been person X - but person X had been mentioned so fleetingly earlier in the story that I had no memory of who he or she was or what role they'd previously played. Another fault is that you don't get to see into the main character enough with her parts usually focused on action or setting rather than motives or anything personal. However, Iysllt has a series of books planned to tell her stories so it's entirely possible that her character will roll out more in future releases. Finally, the author sometimes gets so caught up in some events, usually actions between characters, that they are often weighed down under a hefty number of descriptive words that render what's actually happening extremely confusing and difficult to follow. I found that I had to reread some passages twice, sometimes more, just to understand what was actually going on.

Despite its flaws, I felt that the book was a very enjoyable read that I would recommend to others. I am definitely awaiting the publication of the next book in the series!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I give up ! 6 Mar 2012
I'm not unintelligent. I have a BSc and an MSc but I found this book just too much for me. The many characters with similar names , the frequent changes of POV, and the way in which the the author seems to assume a level of knowledge about the world all combined to make me give up half way through.
It's a shame because the writer has a way with words and the world she has constructed is a fascinating one, but there was just nothing in the description of the main protagonists that made them stand out for me or helped me to keep them straight in my head. I found myself rereading whole pages in an attempt to understand what was going on but it didn't really help.
The main characters never came to life in my mind's eye and I need that connection to enjoy a book to it's fullest extent. In the end I just wanted to give up and move on, and although I can't remember the last time I gave up on a book, sadly this is one of those times.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok Debut but lack of characterisation 31 Oct 2009
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
New authors really have a lot to prove with their original release. After all as the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. So with that out in the open you know from the setting of the book that its going to be something special. The world building is phenomenal, the descriptiveness is also some of the best within the genre as you can't help but get drawn in to this fascinating world.

That said however, we then start to hit a downhill slide for me, I couldn't get a handle on the principle protagonist and as such it ruined all that careful work that had gone before letting it down a little. It could be down to the simple thing of first book authorship and that subsequent novels will pick up and fix the problems and if Amanda can make the character a bit more likeable then she's definitely got a good future in store.
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