Top positive review
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Detailed, consistent and believable fantasy
on 11 December 2000
Paksenarrion runs away from her farming family in search of fame and fortune as a warrior, but she is not an idle dreamer, and so follows her cousin's advice to join a mercenary company.
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.