on 6 July 2010
This is the second book in 'The Long Price', I'm not sure how well I would have graded it if I hadn't read the prior book, so this review will assume you're reading them in order.
The Author continues to handle the new concepts he introduced in the first book excellently, the characters continue to grow and change, a vibrant world brings pressures and situations the character are not in control of suggesting they live in a real place rather than a two dimensional backdrop for their adventures.
I would have to say this is the better of the two books because of two major factors. Firstly and probably less importantly the book is paced better than the first and there is virtually no dragging and (possibly due to the first book) less exposition. Secondly, this book brings together the ending very very well. While there is space for additional stories based in the world, there is a real sense that this story has comfortably closed which is startlingly unusual.
on 25 June 2010
How often have I started a series of books that start so promisingly and yet fail to deliver? Or books that keep you hanging on for bloated sequels of 'ever diminishing returns'? Too many to mention.
What a joy therefore to read this great series. Actually 4 books but published (in timely fashion) in 2 volumes. The story is set in an elegantly crafted and believable world - it has hints of Feist's Empire novels with a 'Eastern' type of culture (formal poses and decorum) but the 'magic' is unique and the books are not derivative in any sense. It is a cracking story and the characters have real strengths, flaws and feelings that make you understand and believe their motivations and actions. Yes there is something akin to 'magic' here but it never supplies an easy get out or plot device (quite the opposite!) - the logic and writing is very accomplished.
The story flows over a number of years and the ending was entirely satisfying. I really hope to hear and read more of this author. Highly recommended!
on 9 September 2010
The series (that this is parts 3 and 4 of) encompasses the breadth of a lifetime - going from the child, teenager, young adult, parent and finishing as old person. These book have genuine emotion in them and made me well up a number of times. They are set in an unusual slightly oriental setting although this is only really shown via the pose based language and food and wine. The story focuses on the how people change as they grow old and yet there early mistakes or triumphs stay with and effect their decisions. Unlike the suggestion from the overtly aggressive front cover - these books are in fact very gentle dealing far more with politics and relationships than battles and fights (although there are more in book 3 and 4 than in the previous 2 books).
I really enjoyed these as an antidote to some of the more kinetic dark fantasy novels that are around at the moment.
I read this quite soon after reading the the Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and found there was a lot to compare between the two.
on 14 June 2010
It's been a very long time since I've read such an enjoyably complete story - although technically 4 books it's sold in 2 tomes and thus (brilliantly to my mind) avoids the hackneyed cliche of the middle volume of a trilogy that often seems to draw a plot over too many pages.
Whatever, Daniel Abraham tells a fine story with an engagingly original style - I'm not a fan of giving away best bits and the like, but would add that it's one of the only books where I've slow up in the final chapters to take in the enormity of the journeys that the surving characters have been on.
Buy it and find some quiet time and places to have disbelief suspended.
on 24 November 2014
Daniel Abraham is a wonderful writer and if you are a fan of fantasy he is up there with the best (George R. R. Martin and Raymond Feist for example) "The Long Price" consists of four outstanding books. I would suggest reading them in order. I found them all so well written. They make for powerful and compelling reading.
"Seasons of war" contains the last two books in the series comprising "An Autumn War" and "The Price of Spring" The first two in the quartet can also be bought as one under the title of "Shadow and Betrayal" and are best read first. They are entitled "A Shadow in Summer" and "A Betrayal in Winter" In these books you will find conflict, betrayal, the lust for power and broken alliances. His characters have real depth and humanity is shown throughout the books in all its diversity; both goodness and evil. The prose is excellent. One word of warning - "A Betrayal in Winter" is to be found listed here as one book only out of the four. It is quite expensive bought singly when you can buy it within "Shadow and Betrayal" Book One. Check before you buy.
SEASONS OF WAR consists of the final two volumes of the LONG PRICE QUARTET. In AN AUTUMN WAR the rulers of Galt finally find a way of neutralising the powers of the andat and invading the Cities of the Khaiem. As the Autumn War erupts, it falls to Otah and Maati to find a way of stopping the invaders, Otah through forging a political alliance and Maati through a dangerous attempt to bind a new andat. Whilst Abraham's skills at depicting warfare are not the best, he minimizes this aspect in favour of the impact of the war on the three principle characters, Otah, Maati and the new character of Balasar Gice, a Galtic general who views tha andat as a threat that can sniff out his homeland in moments and must be neutralised if his people are ever to rest easy (basically a fantasy equivalent of WMDs).
In the concluding chapter, THE PRICE OF SPRING, the aftermath of the war is examined. Suffice to say that the war did not end as expected for either side, and Balasar and Otah are forced to try and forge a new peace between their peoples that has been poisoned by the deaths of hundreds of thousands. A disgraced Maati is attempting to start a new poets' school in the wilderness, but is unaware that amongst those studying to bind the andat are those who lost everything in the war, and who are interested in nothing more than bloody retribution...
The concluding chapters of the story are more dynamic and faster-paced than the first two books in the series (available in the omnibus SHADOW AND BETRAYAL), featuring a bloody war and an attempt to survive the devastating aftermath. The emphasis remains on our principle characters and their relationships, and Abraham depicts the ideas of warfare, betrayal and trust very well.
This is a worthy conclusion to the series, which overall is definitely one of the best fantasy series of the 2000s and marks the beginning a very promising career for a strong new voice in the fantasy genre.
on 22 April 2010
In the second volume of Otah Machi's life and tribulations the characters and ideas come even more to life, the intricacies and choices a person has to make in order to do right or not only by yourself but an entire nation/world, the weight of decisions influenced by who you are and whatever happened to you. Wonderfully done, I enjoyed this volume even more than the first volume.