The story starts with a novella about Kellas, who climbed the unclimbable mountain and became bodyguard to the King and then his son. Then we jump half a century and follow the King’s daughter and Grandson the new King. It took a while to empathize with all these new characters, while wondering why so much information was given about people who grew old in the turn of a page.
We meet a whole lot of new people, who don’t meet each other, and you know at some point they’re all going to intersect. The question is how, and do you care? With so many different points of view, it’s important to keep track of who knows what, and what is secret from who.
The loving family relationships are interesting, because loving a family member or the family as a whole does not mean not betraying them. Or deciding they betrayed you. The cross-currents in some families is like a nine-tailed tornado.
Rice is the base of the economy, there are rice-paper walls, a treat is rice-mang0-coconut, but almost everyone seems to be white. Except for the black slave, who meets black sailors later. And they try to kidnap her.
I didn’t like the pacing of this book, which needed plenty of flashbacks to fill in the blanks, but it was interesting to suddenly shift into present tense, like a memory. And the stories in the flashback are usually interesting. (but not always.) There are just to many of them,interrupting the flow of the novel – because the other people in the scene before the flashback don’t know what the … flasher back? … is thinking, and then the reader has to fall back into a continuation of the previous scene.
I don’t like a lot about the book, but it had a lot of detailed world-building.
- The king loves his son and daughter, but not his wife, who his mother chose for him. The son loves his mother, because the father does not. The adventurous princess Dannarah both loves despises her mother, who was brought up to restrict herself to the women’s quarters. So much variation in family love!
- You think only men with swords are influential? Women in purdah have a surprising amount of influence.
- The reeves. They are not falconers who keep an eagle on their wrist, they are fawkners who are carried by enormous eagles. And the King’s Daughter grows up to be a reeve! Yay!
- Demons have cloaks that are actually wings – and their horses have the same type of wings. *cuddles Pegasus*
- That golden prince who will be the wonderful king – turn the page and his son is king. Boo.
- The bad guys are boring. A story is only as great as its villains.
- Priests of the new religion can bypass the courts, and royalty doesn’t seem to notice that this is a bad thing… because only bad people will be condemned by the priests, right?
The Double Take:
- Princess-reeve Dannarah overhears some men talking about what they’re going to do to some women, and its not her biz so she moves on. And it was not what she expected… well, THAT is her business!
- Wait, not all demons have wings? WHO is a demon? *croggle* this is fun.
- That children’s story about the magic pony grabbing its jeweled saddle and jeweled bridle and escaping the wicked master – and never using the jeweled gear again – oh, that’s sweet. And plot-ful.