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5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a treasure!
This author has completely captured my heart. i will read anything he writes. The main thing is, you are completely transported into the story - never ripped out of the story by incongruent language, or bad writing. The characters are excellent; the descriptions rich but not overwrought; the story is epic in style, but never out of the author's control. It's a wonderful,...
Published 11 months ago by KTRhys

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3.0 out of 5 stars Initiate Brother/Gatherer of Clouds combined Review
I came to read this Duology having been impressed by the Russell's work on his Swan's War trilogy. In that series I really enjoyed his characterisation and mythical element, as well as his fluid, uncomplicated writing style.

Although a duology, compared to the Swan's trilogy, this seems much more ambitious. The scale of the story is more epic, the characters...
Published 19 months ago by Amazon Customer


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5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a treasure!, 15 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Gatherer of Clouds (Daw science fiction) (Mass Market Paperback)
This author has completely captured my heart. i will read anything he writes. The main thing is, you are completely transported into the story - never ripped out of the story by incongruent language, or bad writing. The characters are excellent; the descriptions rich but not overwrought; the story is epic in style, but never out of the author's control. It's a wonderful, wonderful read - be prepared to laugh and weep.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Initiate Brother/Gatherer of Clouds combined Review, 12 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Gatherer of Clouds (Daw science fiction) (Mass Market Paperback)
I came to read this Duology having been impressed by the Russell's work on his Swan's War trilogy. In that series I really enjoyed his characterisation and mythical element, as well as his fluid, uncomplicated writing style.

Although a duology, compared to the Swan's trilogy, this seems much more ambitious. The scale of the story is more epic, the characters broader and more numerous, but whereas the Swan's War is a classic understatement of fantasy this left an opposite effect on me. Overblown and at times convoluted this struck me as one of those cases of "more is less." I was left to wonder whether with some editing this would not have been a fantastic stand alone book.

There is much to like and admire. Russell certainly has a good hold of his "alternate history" and is faithful to the oriental setting - whether the Bothanist Monks are Buddhist or not a more educated man than myself will say - but the parallels are clear enough. That means there is a lot of endless poor mimicry of oriental proverbs, poetry with a touch of Confucius and Sun Tsu thrown in for good measure. The problem is that although memorable it begins to detract from the story. I love the time and care Russell spends on his characters - as another reviewer notes - there is no "little person who comes to power" cliche here as that character - Shuyun - is marked from the very beginning as someone extraordinary. The main characters are all important and impressive people - I like that. But there are so many all trying to do important things that it again detracts from where the interest really lies - Lord Shonto, Nishima, Shuyun and Komawara are genuinely interesting BUT strangely Shuyun and Komawar and Katta are all done a disservice in the second books by being overrun by the other character threads.

Because of that I found Gavriel Kay's Under Heaven (an obvious comparison in terms of alternate history, oriental setting, and writing style) more enjoyable and ultimately more "authentic."

As an aspiring author myself the lesson I have learnt here is that "less is definitely more."

Overall
Did I enjoy it? Yes (Particularly the Initiate Brother)but felt slightly cheated by the end.
Were the story and the characters engaging? Yes - some characters in particular were excellent.
Would I recommend this book? Yes but not to all/the majority of fantasy/alternate history readers.
Would I read more Sean Russell? Definitely
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great followup to "Initiate Brother", 30 Sep 1997
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This review is from: Gatherer of Clouds (Daw science fiction) (Mass Market Paperback)
If you've stumbled onto this review and haven't read the first book, then by all means, look that one up first!

Sean Russell continues this unique story that barely qualifies as fantasy and dips deeply into the historic fiction genre. Still, if you're going to pick a fantasy novel out at random, you could scarcely do better than this book, an excellent read.
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Gatherer of Clouds (Daw science fiction)
Gatherer of Clouds (Daw science fiction) by Sean Russell (Mass Market Paperback - 26 Nov 1992)
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