Ironcrown Moon: Part Two of the Boreal Moon Tale Hardcover – 4 Oct 2004
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Praise for Julian May:
‘A writer of exceptional perception and power’ JEAN AUEL
‘Julian May has irrevocably placed herself among the greats’ Asimov’s magazine
‘A certain crowd-pleaser’ Kirkus Reviews
A ruthless king, a vengeful queen, a devastating secret.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Having said all that Julian May has come up with a new approach to the fantasy genre with some very original uses and limitations.
If you enjoy fantasy you'll enjoy the trilogy
as a avid julian may fan i am having a hard time with this new trilogy its just a bit flowery and boring sorry!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I was lukewarm on Conqueror's Moon, this tale's inaugural book. The story was average, although the magic was quite novel overall. Her descriptions lacked their usual depth and spirit, and the characters-- usually they, at least, have soul and pizzaz-- were flat.
This sequel, Ironcrown Moon, is slightly better. And I'm not sure why. Perhaps, because, finally, Ms. May puts a little soul in her characters. Just a little. Towards the end. At first, this book is fragmented, something like a Tom Clancy novel from his more recent efforts. We see just as much of the bad guys as the good, and once again we never get a chance to get inside the head of young Deveron Austrey, this tale's primary protagonist. But mostly it comes together in the end plotwise, with a modest bang, and we finally see Deveron making some difficult moral choices. We're still not sure exactly why he makes his choices, unfortunately, because we know so little about the way he thinks-- aside from the fact that he thinks quickly on his feet, and well, and has inclinations to sacrifice himself for the greater good.
The plot and story move steadily forward. There is just enough to keep the pages turning. The writing is still elegant enough that it is easy on the brain. Some of Ms. May's humor does come through in some of the dialog, and that is a nice improvement. The storyline itself IS growing. We go from the political shenanigans of a would-be High King via his private, elite spy, to world-shaking implications involving ancient deities manipulating events behind the scenes.
But we are not blown away, as I hope and expect to be blown away by her. Nonetheless, I have purchased and begun the third volume in this series-- Sorcerer's Moon, and hope that things will come together. I recall very much enjoying The Many Colored Land and The Golden Torc, the two initial volumes of her Pliocene Saga, then feeling absolutely awestruck by The Nonborn King and The Adversary-- so perhaps the story will really round into shape with the next book.
I wish Ms. May would write a sequel to the Pliocene Exile/ Galactic Milieu conglomerate. She left so much unsaid. I think she could take it to new heights.
I'm a big fan of the Saga of Pliocene Exile, and I also enjoyed the Galactic Milieu. So, since I was unable to get the books one by one as they appeared, I bought the entire Boreal Moon trilogy in one go, excited for a real treat.
This wasn't it. From the start, the first book failed to capture my interest, but eventually, I forced my way into the story, and after a few chapters, it got better. But not much.
The series relies on complex politics, and simplistic individual motivations. The evil foe (the Salka) are a caricature - literally stupid, evil, slimy, green, tentacled baddies - sidestepping the fact that they somehow created the special magic sigils the entire trilogy depends on. Worse, the entire story ignores the fact that the slimy creatures are the aboriginal inhabitants of the island, and that humans displaced them through conquest. The fact that they want their land back just proves their evil nature. Good creatures who want their land back are fine, though.
The omniscient narrator tends to forget that the characters are not (meant to be) omniscient, and central figures keep picking up key bits of information almost at random. The magic system is barely examined, and is highly inconsistent - for example, "windscrying" (clairvoyance) is widely used, but virtually no one takes even simple precautions against it. This means that all sides can easily pick up opponents' plans - except when scrying mysteriously doesn't work (or isn't considered) - all too apparently for the convenience of the author. Finally, the resolution of the trilogy is very much ex machina.
May relies here heavily on an omniscient, yet coy and perpetually vague oracle/fate. She used this same technique to slightly better effect (though near-equal reader frustration) in the Galactic Milieu books. Having now read all her major works (including parts of the Trillium and Rampart Worlds series), I can say that she was at her best in Pliocene Exile, when her voice was fresh and the setting unique. Much less successful, though still interesting in the Galactic Milieu, which built on part of the same background. The Boreal Moon trilogy, however, uses the same techniques in a fairly standard-issue fantasy setting, and it just doesn't work.
The trilogy is slightly dull and convoluted in the first volume, but still worthwhile for May fans. The second volume (Ironcrown Moon (The Boreal Moon Tale)) is substantially less interesting, but does carry the story forward. The final volume (Sorcerer's Moon (The Boreal Moon Tale)) is a very hard slog indeed, and worth reading only for those who just can't stand to quit a story part way through.
If you enjoy Julian May and epic fantasy, skip this series.