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OliverD (Haxby, UK)

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Oath Of Fealty: Paladin's Legacy: Book One: 1/3
Oath Of Fealty: Paladin's Legacy: Book One: 1/3
by Elizabeth Moon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's good to be back, 7 April 2010
Elizabeth Moon returns to the world and time of The Deed of Paksenarrion - in fact, covering events immediately following the end of Oath of Gold. But the focus is different (though Paksenarrion is a recurring character), on Dorrin, a captain of Duke Kieri Phelan, who is a self-exiled member of the Verrakai family, deeply involved in the treacherous attack on the Duke foiled at the end of Oath of Gold. The soon-to-be king of Tsaia chooses Dorrin to be the new Duke Verrakai, as the only adult of the family unlikely to be tainted with treachery and evil. We follow three slowly intertwining stories: the Duke's adjustment to his new role as king of Lyonya; his company's adjustment to his departure, involving several characters familiar from Sheepherder's Daughter, one of whom, Arcolin, takes over the company; and Dorrin's return to her home and dealing with her family, using her awakening magical power. She uncovers great evil, but also a mysterious crown hidden away, that wants her to don it ... While it takes a little while to get into (the first chapters refer to the events at the end of Oath of Gold, from Paksennarrion's self-sacrifice to free the Duke onwards, but from different perspectives and not in overmuch detail), and the switching from story to story might be irritating to some, the content is as good as before, with as much action, mystery, and magic as could be hoped for. I do not think Elizabeth Moon has lost her touch, and look forward to more.

The Essential Dykes To Watch Out For
The Essential Dykes To Watch Out For
by Alison Bechdel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.99

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Addictive, 8 Mar. 2009
This book contains the pick (527 in all) of the page-length cartoon strip Dykes To Watch Out For that Alison Bechdel (creator of the graphic novel Fun Home), produced over 21 years (1987-2008), with an entertaining introductory strip recounting how she came to develop the strip and her reaction to what she has done. It concerns an interlinked group of multi-ethnic lesbian friends in an unnamed but obviously urban American setting. We have been here before, with the L Word, and many of the same types are recognisable - but these are highly politicised lesbians, mostly committed to veganism, radical politics, and bringing down "the patriarchy", especially Mo, whose attempts to take the moral high ground on absolutely everything even irritate her friends. Yet they are also completely human and "just like everyone else". A constant theme is Mo's difficulties in getting and, when she has one, handling a relationship, and such difficulties in and out of relationships - jealousy, cheating, squabbles, differences in attitude - affect the other characters also. The problems of sharing a house, dealing with parents (whether supportive or not), deciding to have a child, all come up. All along the way there is much sly, sometimes surreal humour and social commentary, including background material being heard from TVs and headlines in newspapers, and there are nice touches, like the horror of some, especially Mo, when all sorts of people start coming out (Republicans! Gak!) and they discover that being gay does not entail having to hold the same political and social attitudes as they do.

Anyone interested in lesbians, and American political and social development viewed in a not always serious light, would find this worth a look. The only drawbacks are, for non-Americans some of the cultural references will be obscure, and read one strip and you will find yourself pulled on to the next ... That's why I call it addictive.

Cast in Shadow
Cast in Shadow
by Michelle Sagara West
Edition: Paperback

52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary, 25 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Cast in Shadow (Paperback)
I have been buying quite a lot of authors that are new to me recently, and this is the pick of the bunch. A world as vividly imagined as Tolkien's, but the facts appear slowly; a desperately serious plot; an appealingly drawn and only too human heroine with a mystery in her past; supernatural evil that has been checked but not wholly eradicated by the end of this, the first of a series. I would recommend it to anyone interested in serious fantasy.

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