The Usurper's Crown: Book Two of the Isavalta Trilogy Paperback – 5 Jan 2004
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Ingeniously, in The Usurper's Crown, Sarah Zettel shows us the tragic past events which led up to the plot of her first fantasy novel A Sorcerer's Treason, leaving her heroine Bridget a child of two worlds and an orphan in both. On the shores of late nineteenth- century Lake Michigan, Bridget's mother Ingrid becomes the lover of the exiled magician Avanasy and in the magical realm of Istavalta the partner in his enterprises. The young empress Medeoan, not yet the pathetic dangerous villainess of the earlier book, is in danger from her treacherous husband, and Avanasy, her teacher in magic, has to save her from the consequences of her actions. Part of the dark strength of this second book is that we already know how badly things will work out, and come to understand how they might have been even worse. Zettel has a sense of the nightmare side of magic and the irresponsible games of magical beings; these books draw eclectically on the legends of Russia, China and India and cherry-pick some of the darkest themes of all three. The Usurper's Crown has a sense of the price of everything and the moments of joy and victory that redeem tragedy; it is one of the most adult fantasies of the year. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
‘A tale that spins wonder with vivid and touching complexity – beautiful as a prism. Sarah Zettel has delivered a dazzling realm of amazement.’ JANNY WURTS
Praise for A Sorcerer’s Treason:
Zettel’s first fantasy novel is a triumph of story-telling…All the characters are powerfully drawn, especially Bridget, a strong and attractive heroine…A Sorcerer’s Treason is a magnificent fantasy novel, showcasing just how good this genre can be. Rich, compelling and exciting, this could be the best fantasy debut in years’ Amazon
‘A fresh and surprisingly exciting fantasy thriller…Zettel’s engaging writing style conjures up a gripping plot and some effective, three-dimensional characterisation. Even the magic system is well-thought out and inventive…this engaging and vivid slice of escapist fantasy will keep fans of Robin Hobb more than happy’ SFX
‘Sarah Zettel’s well-told and absorbing tale is full of original touches’ StarburstSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The Usurper's Crown begins with High Princess Medeoan's marriage to Prince Kacha of Hastinapura and then tells of her becoming Empress and Kacha's betrayal of her. It also explains the story of how Ingrid Loftfield, Bridget Lederle's mother, comes to meet Avanasy on Sand Island, Wisconsin in 1872.
Ingrid Loftfield's part in the story gets off to a reasonably strong start. She's the protector of her younger sister, Grace, and is unafraid of standing up to the brutal and uncaring family members around her. Ingrid also turns down the attentions of Everett Lederle who she knows she doesn't love and refuses to marry for the sake of a convenient and respectable means of escape. This looks promising until she meets 'Avan', a fisherman. In Isavalta he was Avanasy, sorcerer, friend and mentor to Medeoan until she forced him into exile.
Through a troubling haunting that effects Grace and nearly kills her, Ingrid gets to know Avanasy better and they fall in love. I am not against romance in fantasy but there's little apparent chemistry between the pair. It all feels rather hurried along because the reader knows it *has* to happen because they are Bridget's parents. Ingrid is very much reliant on Avanasy once he is recalled to his world and tends to passively follow his lead without much initiative of her own. This makes Ingrid appear rather secondary to events even when dealing with the machinations of the Vixen and Baba Yaga.Read more ›
I didn't want to read about Bridget's mother, Zettel reveals all I need to know about Ingrid's adventures (including the ending) in A sorcerer's Treason. Don't buy this book, it's a complete waste of time unless you read it FIRST... but if you do read it first, you will find a lot of A sorcerer's Treason a waste of space. It's your choice, but I would read book one and then skip book two altogether.
This time the story revolves around Bridgit Lederles parents, again the story moves between Earth and Isvalta, a land of magic and intrigue. To get there Ingrid Loftfield must follow the sorcerer Avanasy across the land of Death and Spirit.
This is a highly enjoyable read that is skillfully written. Sara Zettle is proving as competent a writer of fantasy as she is of sci-fi.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
First book was excellent, struggling to get into this one although it does have its exciting moments. Worth a read though!!Published on 28 Jun. 2009 by Kayelar