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Top customer reviews
Thus begins the story of Paks, an honest and believeable character, setting out in search of adventure into a world she knows very little about. The writer's skill keeps the reader from knowing more about the world than the main character does, so you can lose yourself in the world without constantly double-guessing the actors.
The life of a mercenary company is told in detail, but never too much. Paks' world grows larger as she experiences more, and if she doesn't understand something she behaves like a real person - either asks about it, or ignores it! Nowhere does the story suffer from those sudden detailed "lectures" that other authors sometimes use to explain things to the reader - indeed, some things that are important in the later books are not analysed by Paks at the time they happen, and so we don't get "Hollywood Syndrome" [- "Look at this scene! This thing HERE is going to be important! (otherwise we wouldn't have mentioned it)"]
Because Paks is good at her trade, the story paces on well. In later books, the character grows, and grows well ... you need to start at book one, and you could stop there, fulfilled - but you can't stop at the end of book two, the story is so well told, and you are so involved in the character that you absolutely MUST progress to the third.
For all the reality of the story, this is sword and sorcery, although there is little enough sorcery until later on. When you do get there, though, you'll notice that it is based upon the Dungeons and Dragons style, rather than the Tolkien style, for example. Whereas I find most D&D-based stories to be dreadfully unimaginative, this book and its companions are inventive gems, masterfully told and needing no prior knowledge.
A perfect introduction to the genre, recommended to all.
On the down side it is a little formulaic and I find the constant parallels in modern fantasy with Tolkien increasingly tiresome. The level of realism is sound in so far as it is detailed without becoming like an essay on the problems of keeping chainmail clean or what have you. This is not an "important" book (whatever they are), but it is a damn good read.
With less fantasy and more realism, this is an easy book to read without having to suspend disbelief to any real degree. The otherworldy stuff only creeps in at the end, and even then is from Paks' view, not descibed as if from an all-knowing perspective. Tolkienesque?
Loved the lord of the rings films but hated the books.
Understand that strong gender role models should have flaws
Relish military fantasy grounded in real world know-how
Avoid if you:
Hate overly introspective female leads
Loathe your magic subdued and second place to the action
Get annoyed by slow, sometimes uneven character development
Lines to Adore:
"Stammel ran his hand down Korryn's back and returned to his unit, holding his bloody hand out. He faced Paks, and touched it to her forehead as her eyes widened in shock. "By this blood your injury is avenged," he said, and took up his position again.
Author: Elizabeth Moon -Female, Texan and ex Marine. Genre focus is science fiction and fantasy.
Personal Bias: I loved, and continue to love, this book. It's like your favourite pizza flavour: You never not enjoy it [Despite how many times you've eaten it in the past.]
The first installment in this series takes Paks through physical and mental development. Some of this development lends a favorable light to Paks, but not all.
All in all an enjoyable book.
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Extremely well thought out and one of a few books that I can re-read and find exiting...Read more