Feb. 8th, 2012

summersdream: dany (looking out)
Worked out today! FINALLY. It's been four days off due to asthma flare which makes Summer a sad panda.

I am almost done with The Ruling Sea, which is... I love it but I am conflicted. Robert Redick doesn't seem to have GRR Martin's flare for unforgettable characters: two very large books in and I'm not really finding any of the individuals all that memorable. I find myself slowly deciding to like Hercol, Thasha and a couple others but I'm not weeping along side them or anything which for me is strange. On the other hand I love the story they're a part of. I'm fascinated by it- but I wish so much that I really loved the world the Chathrand is sailing through. I'd give anything to be as hypnotized by Etherhorde or Simjan as I am by Kings Landing or Camorr (Scott Lynch's Locke Lamora series).

So far the most unforgettable character is Felthrup, a 'woken' rat who just wants to be a scholar. The cool twist in the world of Alifros, in which the Chathrand and its inhabitants exist, is that the gods or some magic power is 'waking' the animals and giving them the gift of speech- only this is not Narnia. The rats seem to be going more Rats of NIMH, really. The humans mostly tend to be creeped out or ambivalent about the woken animals although some think they make great pets.

The entire series pretty much takes place on the last of the 'Great Ships,' called the Chathrand. It's a massive giant of a sailing ship crewed by hundreds of men and no one remembers how the ships were made anymore, though most admit that magic had a lot to do with it- if only there were still mages around who knew how to do it. Unfortunately there's not: most magic users are long dead and gone. Except for a meddling, troublesome few. In fact there's not a lot left of Alifros of old: a huge (probably magical) catastrophe happened centuries ago that sank entire lands, leveled cities and kingdoms and empires. They call it the Worldstorm, and to the present some part of it remains in the form of a 'Vortex' that wanders around the wide, endless Ruling Sea, which effectively cuts the world in half.

Most of the action takes place on the Chathrand, which is being put to various nefarious uses by the Empire of Arqual in a bid to undermine its enemy the Mzithrini Pentarchy. There's a lot of politics, magic, and general spycraft going on. To be honest I could do with a little less magic and a few more explosions but there are lots of fantastic moments.

I would definitely recommend The Red Wolf Conspiracy and The Ruling Sea, as long as you are wanting a slower pace of read and an engrossing plot. This isn't an easy, quick read like Hunger Games. There may not be any shiningly brilliant individual characters (I really do like a few of them, I'm just not sure I'll remember them when I put the book down). There is a good plot, lovely descriptions, and lots of twists and turns.

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September 2012

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