Saturday, September 1, 2007

First Post

Welcome to my new book blog, The Deckled Edge! I’ve thought about doing this for a while and the small stuff I did on LiveJournal wasn’t quite cutting it so I decided to do a full-scale blog. I’m hoping to make mine a little different from some of the other stuff out there. Many book blogs on the Internet have detailed interviews with authors and large in-depth book reviews. My blog’s content will consist mainly of book and author news, new releases, and of course reviews, however, my reviews will be what I call mini-reviews. A short plot summary followed by a quick rundown of what I liked and didn’t like. So let’s get started. I think it would be appropriate to start my new blog with a review.

A Betrayal in Winter is the second book in The Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham. A Shadow in Summer introduced the world of the Cities of the Khaiem whose prosperity is dependent on the Andat, beings of energy and concept held in binding by the poets. A rival state, the Galts, sought to disrupt the city of Saraykeht by engineering the release of the andat, Seedless, and several characters on both sides were caught up in the struggle.

Betrayal takes place roughly 15 years later after the collapse of Saraykeht. Two characters from the previous book make a second appearance: Otah Machi, the exiled lordling, and Maati Vaupathai, the poet apprentice. Otah’s father, the Khai of Machi, is dying, his brother is assassinated, influencing Otah to return home. Tradition dictates that the sons of a dying Khai must fight each other until one remains to succeed his father, however, other forces are at work. The Galts are manipulating events behind the scenes allying with others to bring down the ruling house. Once again, the characters are caught in the middle of a stuggle between an expansive empire and the power of the Khaiem cities.

I liked this book and thought it was a bit better than the first. Shadow had to develop enough of the world so the reader could understand the story. It also lulled in places, and at times the characters seemed a little too emotional and overwrought. In Betrayal, the plot is a little more streamlined making for better tension and a faster reading. The characters’ emotional states are better handled as well. What I particularly like about The Long Price Quartet is that it avoids many of the clichés of fantasy: quests, battles, magic. The series is about characters in a world that is fantastical rather than a fantastical world with characters. The ending is ambiguous for both the protagonist and antagonist, neither one has a “happy” outcome. The books are written such that each is more or less stand-alone, being independent of each other except as a common thread of history. I look forward to book three, The Autumn War.

Book rating: 8/10.

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