Ahoy there me mateys! I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .
the stone in the skull (Elizabeth Bear)
Title: the stone and the skull
Author: Elizabeth Bear
Publication Date: TOMORROW!! (hardback/e-book)
The first and only book I have read up to this point by Elizabeth Bear was karen memory way back in the days before I had a blog. And I adored it. So when I heard she was releasing the first book in a new trilogy I just had to have it. I starting reading this one in me bunk as day was turning to dusk and I didn’t finish it until night was turning into dawn. No sleep for me! But it was so worth it. The book completely and utterly fit me mood in that moment. I do so love when that happens.
The story starts out with two people in a caravan trying to get to their destination in order to deliver the message of utmost importance entrusted to them. One is a brass automaton who once was human. The other is a human called the Dead Man who was a body guard for a ruler who no longer exists. I adored their friendship. Later add in an odd priest and many highly unique strong female rulers. Plus light politics, intrigue and fantastic character relationships.
The beginning was an explosive entry into the world and while the pace slowed a little after that, I was obviously engrossed. The world building is fantastic, the characters are extremely diverse, and I couldn’t guess many of the plot twists. The relationships between characters stood out for me and I loved getting further hints into backstories and motivations as I read. The only small quibble that I had was there were some insta-lust-ish relationships and a sex scene that was rather abrupt and unnecessary. I didn’t hate it but would have preferred these things to have been removed or handled differently. That said I would recommend this book to fantasy readers and am keeping details of plot on the down low so readers can make their own journeys into the Lotus Kingdoms. I certainly will be reading the next book in the trilogy. I just don’t want to have to wait so long.
So lastly . . .
Thank you Macmillian-Tor/Forge!
Netgalley’s website has this to say about the novel:
Hugo Award–winning author Elizabeth Bear returns to her critically acclaimed epic fantasy world of the Eternal Sky with a brand new trilogy.
The Stone in the Skull, the first volume in her new trilogy, takes readers over the dangerous mountain passes of the Steles of the Sky and south into the Lotus Kingdoms.
The Gage is a brass automaton created by a wizard of Messaline around the core of a human being. His wizard is long dead, and he works as a mercenary. He is carrying a message from a the most powerful sorcerer of Messaline to the Rajni of the Lotus Kingdom. With him is The Dead Man, a bitter survivor of the body guard of the deposed Uthman Caliphate, protecting the message and the Gage. They are friends, of a peculiar sort.
They are walking into a dynastic war between the rulers of the shattered bits of a once great Empire.
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