on 2 March 2000
I've just read it, and I must say it's quite extraordinary. When I reached for it in the library, I saw the cover and my heart sank, as I though it was 'one of those', but I decided to give it a go, as I had never read anything by this author. I've got to admit that the old adage "never judge a book by it's cover" works here,
She really did the works in this book. She's taken on the Scandinavian mythology and used it in her fantasy, something I haven't seen much before (lots of Greek, Roman, Byzantine, etc). She's created an individual work, where the characterisation is simply exquisite. Maybe because she's a woman, she's managed to zero in on emotions, feelings of the characters - Rache, Garn, Mariston and co - are dealt with beautifully. On the other hand, the action is not lacking either, and the plot is generally good. Perhaps her being a paediatrician by profession has helped her with the medical/anatomical/injury/post traumatic stress/coping with disability aspects of the book. The only negative aspect of this is that some of her language is decidedly anatomical - something the doctor might say, rather than a writer - for example the word abdomen where she means stomach (as a medical student, I know why she said that).
I never managed to guess what was going to happen, and the ending was so heart-wrenching. There were, however, a few questions that rose in my mind after this book.
1. Why the magic sword ? It isn't really necessary is it - apart from explaining Nantel's dealth. 2. Why the rush at the very end, the change of direction ? I hope it's not to signal the coming of the sequel. 3. What happened to the Western Wizard and his apprentice (specifically) ?
I was so impressed by the book, that I am almost reluctant to get the sequel, in case it's a massive disappointment. If it were, I'd be devastated, as there is such potential from the first book...
on 11 August 2000
The book starts off in a rather tragic vein, but it sets the scene well for what follows. The level of detail in the book is good without giving the feeling that it is done just to fill a few more pages and the way the author develops the characters is among the best I've seen. It compares very favourably with Feist's Magician in this respect. I often found myself berating a character for doing something or willing them to do it differently. The way in which certain sequences was dealt, was particularly good, you almost felt you were there. The ending was extremely emotive and in a way a little unexpected, although I always felt it could happen, just not like that! Even after reading a number of times, I still find it a very good book, I wish I'd brought it with me to Norway!