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Black Wolves

3/5. First in an epic fantasy trilogy. Three generations of kings and their queens and mistresses and children, and the "demons" stalking the land, and a brewing religious conflict, and ethnic conflict, and and.

I don't remember who was raving about this book – several people, IIRC – so I apologize, whoever you are, but oh.my.god. How much do I not care about this, let me count the ways. I mean, it actually is what people said, which is epic fantasy with feminist underpinnings (though you wouldn't know that by the publisher's summary, which is all "men men men!"). But there is just something a little flabby, a little stuffy, just something about Kate Elliott's writing that makes my brain slide right off it. I put this book down no fewer than five times to read something else, and had to make myself come back each time.

IDK, maybe it's actually epic fantasy that I can't stomach anymore. That would figure. Urban fantasy has always been so much more vital to me, more concerned with things I'm concerned with, and maybe that's extra true right now.

Um, nice things. There's a scene in which a bunch of people sing very loudly while a woman is vigorously trying to get pregnant by her husband who is about to be abducted to a labor camp, and it is genuinely funny/sad. If only the other twenty-eight odd hours of recorded run-time in this book could have been so alive, so specific, so personal.

Date: 2016-12-28 03:57 am (UTC)
rushthatspeaks: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rushthatspeaks
Agreed so much. I think the issue is the hugeness of the scale she's trying to work at, honestly-- the narrative kept jumping away from characters I was vaguely starting to be interested in and then not returning to them for hundreds of pages; if there was any overall structure I couldn't ascertain it, and the pacing was shot to hell. It's too bad, because there are a lot of elements I theoretically like in there, but I think at that length she simply does not have the necessary control over her material.

Date: 2016-12-29 03:35 am (UTC)
rushthatspeaks: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rushthatspeaks
IDEK Crown of What.

Doesn't help that Black Wolves and its eventual series turn out to be a stealth sequel to one of her other epic series, which honestly I think ought to be mentioned on the cover.

That said, I have an actual recommendation, because after bouncing so hard with Black Wolves I thought to myself, so, if the problems are scale and length... and this proved to be the case; the short fiction collection The Very Best Of Kate Elliott is not only telling the truth with its title but is legitimately no-caveats good. Some of it is very good. It made me want to sit her down and say, so, I know you can't make a living on short work, but have you considered writing a hundred-fifty-page stand-alone novel?

If she ever does, I'll read it, but epic fantasy is In right now and is one of the few areas in the field where you can make some money, so I don't think it's likely.

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