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The Weavers Of Saramyr: Book One of the Braided Path: Weavers of Saramyr Bk. 1 (GOLLANCZ S.F.) Hardcover – 15 May 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (15 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575074418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575074415
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,756,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

With The Weavers of Saramyr, Chris Wooding begins his first adult fantasy trilogy, "The Braided Path". His previous work, most notably the Silver Smarties Award-winner The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray (2001), was published for younger readers.

Here the fantasy empire ruling the land of Saramyr has an oriental flavour, a level of technology that allows rifles and bombs and a communications system relying on magic--the sorcery of the dreaded, masked Weavers. By manipulating the magical Weave of the world, a kind of fantasy cyberspace, Weavers can not only send messages over any distance but manipulate minds, fight intangibly and kill. They are incidentally made rotted and cancerous by their masks, and have revolting habits such as raping and killing small children. Make no mistake, these are the bad guys.

All other forms of magic talent are denounced as Aberrant and the talent-owners condemned to death. Rebellion brews among the Empire's people and powerful noble factions when it emerges that the Heir-Empress Lucia is Aberrant, with gentle powers of communication with birds and earth-spirits. Meanwhile another girl, Kaiku, is orphaned when her family is both poisoned by an unknown hand and attacked by "shin-shin" demons. Kaiku soon finds that she herself is dangerously Aberrant, apt to send out waves of uncontrollable fire. Kaiku makes a quixotic journey with unusual companions, and, by use of the mask that is her sole inheritance, enters a protected place to discover the grim secret of what's slowly poisoning the land. It is not, as the Weavers insist, the existence of Aberrants. Kaiku and her friends join the Red Order, a sisterhood of trained Aberrants, in a desperate effort to save Lucia from the general bloodshed of the inevitable Imperial coup. Many characters fail to survive for the backlash expected in volume two.

Although Chris Wooding overdoes the repulsiveness of the Weavers themselves--nightmare caricatures rather than plausible villains--his talent for atmosphere and description makes this a memorably intense, exotic adult-fantasy debut. --David Langford

Review

Written by young publishing phenomenon Chris Wooding, "The Braided Path" is a dark, manga-influenced fantasy of a terrifying world a world across which plays a spellbinding plot of power, violence, and betrayal. Still in his twenties, Chris Wooding has published 18 books, including the Broken Sky series, which has sold more than 200,000 copies in the U.S. alone. He is also a winner of Britain s prestigious Silver Smarties Prize for his acclaimed novel, "The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray," which he is now adapting for a Hollywood film." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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By Charles Green TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Jun. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having greatly enjoyed Chris Wooding's Retribution Falls: Tales of the Ketty Jay (Tales of the Ketty Jay 1) and its follow-up The Black Lung Captain: Tales of the Ketty Jay: Bk. 2 (Tales of the Ketty Jay 2) I decided to try one of his earlier works. 'The Weavers of Saramyr' is the first part of the Braided Path trilogy. Set in an entirely different universe to the Ketty Jay series there are no airships on display here and its a far more sombre affair than the adventures of Captain Frey and his crew.

To be honest I doubt I will be back for part two of the series. Although the Weavers of Saramyr shows Wooding's capacity for invention and flights of fantasy to good effect I found the plot less than compelling and it took me a long time to finish the book for that reason. Whilst Saramyr is an interesting, original fusion of quasi-oriental cultural influences, European-style dynastic politics from the 14th or 15th Century and nature focused mysticism the central story of Kaiku, Tane, Amara and the others never really grabbed me. It seemed to ramble without much direction during the first half of what is not a short book; so much so that by the time their quest did seem to gain some forward momentum in the final third the book had squandered much of my initial good will. By contrast I found the political machinations and intrigues far more interesting and gripping, but this element of the story felt rushed and short changed by the need to return to Kaiku, et al.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first in the 'Braided Path' trilogy (the others are 'The Skein of Lament' and 'The Ascendancy Veil'). It's a full-on fantasy with a vaguely eastern feel (names like Kaiku and Mishani, writing with brushes instead of pens) but still totally original. There are numerous point of view characters, and the story jumps from one to the other within chapters, sometimes without warning, which can be disconcerting.

The opening draws you in immediately, with a brilliant first line ("Kaiku was twenty harvests of age the first time she died.") and a dramatic night-time escape from the mysterious shin-shin. There are enough details to understand what is going on, while still conveying the richness of the background.

The created world is extraordinary. The author has thought of everything, from a pantheon of gods complete with origin myths, to trees and wildlife, to languages, an intriguing social structure, and a wonderfully original magic system. Wooding has imaginative little details everywhere - eschewing the traditional swords-only structure, his world has rifles, albeit fairly primitive ones. Many fantasy writers don't go into this much detail, being satisfied with importing earthly flora and fauna, and plonking their characters into a vaguely medieval setting with a dab of magic, so this is very impressive.

The Weavers of the title are those who have the ability to move mentally into some other dimension, putting themselves into another place to spy or convey messages secretly. They use magical masks which accumulate power from each host, so that the oldest masks are hugely powerful, but cause physical illness and ultimately madness in the wearer. After each 'weave' episode, the Weavers are filled with uncontrollable desires, often violent.
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Format: Paperback
A slight Oriental feel to the world in this book, which was different. The characters are well written, with interesting abilities. I liked the struggle that Kaiku endured during the story and the author wasn’t afraid to upset the reader by making bold choices. I enjoyed the Weaver characters, as they came over foul but interesting. The plot did slow a bit during detailed back history scenes, but not enough to spoil the story and the ending left me wondering what came next.
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Format: Paperback
The book is set on an oriental world slightly like that of Tsuranuanni from the Empire trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts with rival houses vying for more power through alliances and deceit. People appear to be more technologically advanced than in most fantasy novels with rifles and bombs the weopons of choice alongside swords and daggers, however this in no way detracts from the story and fantasy purists should not be put off.

The style of writing is excellent, descriptive but also fast paced and you find yourself completely immersed in this strange and beautiful world. The plot is well thought out with characters responding logically to situations and plenty of suspense thrown into the mix. Put simply this is the type of book which you constantly tell yourself that you'll go to sleep/do the washing up/walk the dog after reading just one more chapter.

My only complaint is that the Weavers are just too evil and despicable, it leaves them too one dimensional and how they come up with their plans for world domination while obviously completely insane is a little puzzling, as is why the noble families put up with their habits. This is a very small complaint about an excellent book and the other two books in the trilogy maintain the high standard set with this opener.

In conclusion this is one of the best fantasy debuts that i have read and i've read alot. If you enjoy fantasy novels by Feist, Martin, Eddings etc then you'll love this book. I've read it three times since its release and enjoyed it every time.
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