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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unforgettable world, haunting and mysterious
When Women Were Warriors manages to be that rarest of things, a beautifully written, multilayered, character-driven page turner.

The author sets up the reader to have overly idealistic expectations about what a society run by women would be like, and then promptly pulls the rug out from under them.

A number of fairy tales appear in the story, which...
Published on 8 Oct 2008 by Kauri

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but also frustrating
This is, on the one hand, well written and intriguing - and, on the other, deeply frustrating. I suppose that if judged within the context of the whole trilogy it would be less unsatisfying, but I do believe that books should stand on their own merits.

When Women Were Warriors is set in a world of low technology with occasional hints of magic. It could be a...
Published 4 months ago by Francis James Franklin


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but also frustrating, 2 Aug 2014
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This review is from: When Women Were Warriors Book I: The Warrior's Path (Kindle Edition)
This is, on the one hand, well written and intriguing - and, on the other, deeply frustrating. I suppose that if judged within the context of the whole trilogy it would be less unsatisfying, but I do believe that books should stand on their own merits.

When Women Were Warriors is set in a world of low technology with occasional hints of magic. It could be a prehistorical fantasy or a post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi fantasy. More importantly, the specific setting is a matriarchy where women are warriors. Most of the main characters in the story are women, or girls becoming women. They are warriors, apprentice warriors, companions to warriors. The narrator, Tamras, is herself setting out on this journey, brought as a girl to the House of Merin, made companion to a warrior, and with hopes of one day being a warrior like her mother before her.

Tamras forges a strong (non-sexual) relationship with 'her warrior', Maara, an outsider to the society who is viewed with suspicion by many. She is a skilled hunter and warrior and teaches Tamras how to think and how to survive. In her turn, Tamras is a skilled storyteller with many tales to tell which all begin with the traditional line, 'In ancient days, when only women were warriors,...' Almost inevitably there are echoes of Xena and Gabrielle, the brilliant warrior woman with a troubled past finding new purpose in life with the young, good-hearted bard.

Of course there's so much more to it. The attention to detail in culture and rituals, and in techniques for healing and hunting is excellent. The tales that Tamras tells have echoes of our own fairytales, and the writing generally is often poetic. The relationships between the women are constructed and played out with care, although the close bonding between experienced warriors and girls just on the edge of womanhood does trouble me a little.

However, I have two major issues with this book. The primary story is Maara's gradual acceptance of and into society. You could argue that there's a coming-of-age story for Tamras too, but otherwise there are just incidents - the general soap opera of life. It's not enough to justify a whole book. As the first book in a trilogy, there should be some major conflict building on the horizon, tying the events of the book into Act One. There's nothing wrong with what's there (although describing an act of lovemaking with several pages of poetry does feel self-indulgent when the actual plot seems to be missing), but The Warrior's Path feels like a Prelude to Act One rather than Act One itself.

The second and more important point of frustration is the persistent vagueness about the roles of men in the matriarchal society, the impact they have on the lives of the women, the opinions men and women have about the roles of men in their society. Even 75% of the way through you could be forgiven for thinking that all women are lesbians and men exist solely for the purpose of making babies. During the last 25% it does become clearer that men can be objects of desire, that they too can be warriors.

I am not trying to invalidate this matriarchy or assert heteronormativity, but I am frustrated that so much care has gone into world-building in this novel but fundamental questions of gender roles and sexuality are barely asked, let alone answered. I am reminded of Sheri S. Tepper's The Gate to Women's Country and Kate Elliott's Jaran, and this book suffers in comparison.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unforgettable world, haunting and mysterious, 8 Oct 2008
By 
Kauri (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
When Women Were Warriors manages to be that rarest of things, a beautifully written, multilayered, character-driven page turner.

The author sets up the reader to have overly idealistic expectations about what a society run by women would be like, and then promptly pulls the rug out from under them.

A number of fairy tales appear in the story, which initially caused me to think, "Oh, I've heard this one before," until I realized that the author had instead tapped into the feel of a long oral tradition. There is also a subtle yet powerful spiritual thread that runs through the book, sometimes detectable only as a whisper between the lines.

This is the most traditional of stories told in a surprisingly new way.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, what a surprise, 10 Jun 2012
By 
Dana (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: When Women Were Warriors Book I: The Warrior's Path (Kindle Edition)
I downloaded a sample of this book, and after reading the first chapter, was a bit apprehensive. It seemed a bit (and I'm struggling to think of the right word here) cheesy? A bit cheesy-lesbian-amazon-world, with a disproportionate number of lesbians and where subservient "Companions" live to "serve their Warrior". A bit butch/femme, I cringed.

I kept reading because I was surprised to find that it was very well written. Another chapter, and yikes, there was a decent plot! A few more chapters and that was it, I was hooked.

My cynical first impression was completely wrong - this series is amazing. Love, action, betrayal, redemption, plots within plots within plots, it was epic! The character development is incredible - Tamras goes from unassuming Companion, through trials and angst etc, to someone who can start or end a war with words alone. Ok, if the explanation for Vintel's motives was maybe a little contrived, I can shrug that off because the rest of it was just so darn good.

I can't do the plot justice so I won't try to summarize, suffice it to say that I can't recommend this series enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I can say it is a great story of friendship, 6 Oct 2014
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This review is from: When Women Were Warriors Book I: The Warrior's Path (Kindle Edition)
I downloaded this after a couple of jars. Lured by the price of £0.00 and the idea of 'When women were warriors'? If you had met my mother, any mother, they never stopped being warriors. However, it was only after I had read a third of the book I realise it was a feminine orientated novel. So in my manliest voice, because you don't hear then often in the book, I can say it is a great story of friendship, loyalty and finding a place. I have had to buy the second book, my only complaint is that it wasn't for the handsome price of £0.00.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most beautiful books I've ever read, 21 Feb 2014
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This review is from: When Women Were Warriors Book I: The Warrior's Path (Kindle Edition)
It's taken me ages to finally get around to writing a proper review on this book; nothing I write quite feels like it does this book justice. It is, genuinely, one of the best book I've ever read. And the following two in the trilogy are equally as wonderful.

I downloaded this book on a whim. I saw it was free and figured that, should I dislike it, I'd lose nothing more than a few hours of my time. I am incredibly grateful that I did. As soon as I finished this book I immediately bought the following two books.
I don't feel I can really say how fantastic this book is, I just implore you to read it, you won't be disappointed. It sucks you in very quickly, and spins an elaborate, but surprisingly easy to follow, storyline.

The characters are all very individual, and feel realistic. They feel like your friends - with both positive and negative personality traits in abundance. The language use draws amazingly detailed pictures of how everything looks through the eyes of Tamras, the protagonist.

Every character is likeable in their own way, and the author manages to get you to feel deeply for them. The story itself is incredibly interesting and very gripping. Ms Wilson deals with love, anger, and fear with ease, and with sexuality in such a natural way that it doesn't grate the reader - all too often when a storyline includes sexual orientations other than heterosexual it can feel as if the writer forgets about the amazing storyline and focuses solely on the sexuality. In this book, this doesn't happen, the relationships are seen as so normal that they don't need explanation, or even defending (which I love - because, why should they?)

I'm thrilled to have finally found some literature with lesbians in that I love. And I recommend this book to everyone and anyone, of all genders, ages and sexual orientations. It's an amazing book and one I've read and re-read many times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 6 April 2013
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This review is from: When Women Were Warriors Book I: The Warrior's Path (Kindle Edition)
I couldn't put the book down. Can't wait to read the next one.
I highly recommend this book. After reading this you wish you could be a warrior.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating, 16 Mar 2013
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This review is from: When Women Were Warriors Book I: The Warrior's Path (Kindle Edition)
Simply couldn't put this down. The story and the characters are captivating. Can't wait to read more, moving straight on to book two.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well written thought provoking read, 13 Mar 2013
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This review is from: When Women Were Warriors Book I: The Warrior's Path (Kindle Edition)
I thought this was a lovely well written book set in a world where both women and men were warriors. In order to summarise I'll say the story is believable and easy to imagine existing along time ago. Tamras and Maara are well rounded characters who draw you into the story and having you forcing yourself to put the book down when you really want to keep reading to find out what happens next. The love and tensions between the characters are well described and consistently drew an emotional response from me.

The only thing I could give as constructive criticism is since the author describes Merin's house as being full of warriors who no doubt suffer casualties, there are too few "straight" couples having babies. With the conflicts described and seemingly 90% plus of the women not just in the house but in the surrounding lands being amazon warrior lesbians, how are enough children conceived to prevent Tamras' people dying out in short order? I appreciate this is a small part of the book so I've not reduced my rating for this but in order for the land to be more believable I think some additional mentions of families would make the demographics of the land somewhat more balanced.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carries you along with it like the twists and turns of a river, 12 Mar 2013
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This review is from: When Women Were Warriors Book I: The Warrior's Path (Kindle Edition)
It's akin to climbing in a canoe and letting this story carry you along in the river current in the time of warriors, I was hooked and totally immersed what an amazing book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic read, 2 Mar 2013
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This review is from: When Women Were Warriors Book I: The Warrior's Path (Kindle Edition)
This is the first time reading this author's work and I am enjoying it. I will definitely be purchasing the following books.
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