Friday, September 30, 2005

I'm So Lazy

I’ve been being very lazy lately. Not only have I finished reading Trudi Canavan’s The Magicians' Guild without writing the review, but I’ve also finished Jacqueline Carey’s Banewreaker and Scott McGough’s Heretic: Betrayers of Kamigawa. So, I’m going to do them all at once.

I liked The Magicians’ Guild. It’s a good book, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. It’s set in the city of Imardin. Every year, the magicians’ guild in that city purges the city of undesirables at the king’s request. This year, a young girl named Cery manages to throw a stone through the magicians’ magic barrier, which proves her to be an untrained—and therefore dangerous—wizard. The guild searches for her, but she hides, fearing for her life. While she’s hiding, she slowly loses control of her powers, putting the city in grave danger.

What I find most interesting about this book it the theme of class struggle; all of the magicians are members of the nobility, but Cery is a slum dweller. Many of the magicians—and presumably other nobles—view the slum dwellers as criminal scum. The slum dwellers look at the magicians as a guild of jack-boot nazis. This creates a good deal of tension, and makes for some very different viewpoints between the main characters.

This is a book that’s well worth reading. I give it 4 yo-yos.

Banewreaker is a magnificent book. I had previously read Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series, which I thought was very good, but not as good as Banewreaker.

The plot is rather complicated. A long time ago there were Seven Shapers, who created the world. The first Shaper was called Haomane, who gave thought to the world. The third was Satoris who gave desire. Haomane created an immortal race called the Ellylon, and refused to allow them to accept Satoris’ gift. The second Shaper created man, who accepted the gifts of Haomane and Satoris, but they grew numerous and Haomane demanded that Satoris take back his gift. This started a war and Satoris was reviled as the lord of evil. The war ended in a stalemate, and the world was sundered.

The book begins as an ancient prophecy begins to be fulfilled. This prophecy may mean the end of Satoris, so he does everything in his power to thwart it. Meanwhile, mankind and the other allies of Haomane try to aid it.

What I like best about this story is that there are no villains. In most fantasy stories of this type, the dark lord is an evil monstrosity bent on destruction. In Banewreaker, Satoris is not evil; would you want to have your desire taken away? The other side isn’t evil either; they believe that Satoris is a stereotypical dark lord bent on destruction. Both sides are acting out of fear and ignorance. This makes for a very intriguing story.

I definitely recommend this book. I give it 5 yo-yos

Now, Heretic is the sequel to Outcast, which I reviewed a few weeks ago. This is also a good book, though I don’t like it quite as much as I like the first volume.

In this volume, Toshi Umezawa must rescue Princess Michiko from her father’s tower. Then everybody head to the Minamo School to find out the true cause of the Kami War. While everyone is there, the ogre Hidetsugu attacks the place in revenge for the death of his apprentice.

Really, this book isn’t as interesting as the previous one. Toshi has gained so much power from his kami, the Myojin of Night’s Reach, that he never really seems to be in any danger. The Princess also is never in any real danger, since Toshi, or her father, is always there to protect her.

Really, there isn’t much conflict in this book, but it still is interesting. I give it 3.5 yo-yos. Up next, I’m finishing of Flight to Thlassa Mey.

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