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The Drowning City (The Necromancer Chronicles) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Sep 2009

3.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, 1 Sep 2009
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; 1 edition (1 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780316069045
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316069045
  • ASIN: 0316069043
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 3.2 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,184,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

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) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The first instalment in a powerful adventure of political intrigue, espionage and assassins. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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