So, difrancis is word-warring with people. And I have no idea how to play the game … even though they tried to explain it to me. But I did post a review of Di’s latest book, The Turning Tide on Amazon and Barnes and Noble earlier the text of the latter is under the cut.
The Turning Tide is a simply fabulous book! If you enjoyed any of Francis' other works, or books by Patricia Briggs, Patrick O'Brien, Katherine Kurtz, or even Charles Dickens, you'll love The Turning Tide. The plot was full of twists and turns without becoming complex for its own sake, and there was not a single wasted detail.
More than just amazing and entertaining fantasy, I think this book really has the potential to be recognized as great literature. While all kinds of awful things happen at the hands of each of the characters involved, none of the point of view characters were clearly identifiable as villains. There were icky things that happened due to unseen forces, but mostly the people involved in the story all had valid reasons for doing everything they did and simply ended up at destructive cross-purposes with each other. The ethical and literary discussion possible after reading this book will make it far outlast many of the other novels I've read and even loved.
Francis' characters are interesting, sympathetic, intelligent, complex, and believable. Fairley was generous, intense, slightly naïve, and such a loving fighter for the things she believed in; she surpassed all the known stereotypes of metalsmiths and women in typically men's roles, that she will be one of those characters I remember for a long, long time. Shaye was intriguing: eminently capable with his tongue, his political connections, and his majick, he was still extremely vulnerable to his fear of rejection and his dogged determination. I was surprised by Ryland, who did things I found utterly despicable but was still completely sympathetic to me throughout because he did them for all the right reasons. King William wrung my heart for many of the same reasons Ryland did, although even more so because of the recent tragedies in his own life.
The world of all of the Crosspointe novels is rich and vivid, and The Turning Tide continues to deepen and expand the beauty of both the visual elements of the milieu and the culture of Crosspointe until the 'setting' is more than just scenery, but a living, breathing character unto itself. The inner workings of the Rampling castle were sumptuous; the Kalpestrine and Merstone Island (home to the majicars) were eerie and awe-inspiring; and the Maida (temple) of Chayos was not only mystical but the style with which Francis wrote the scenes within the Maida and involving Chayos' priestesses were absolutely exquisite prose-intentionally and successfully evoking a wide range of emotions.
The book's few down points for me were that I wanted a little more resolution on the specifics regarding the death of a main character (although it was well foreshadowed from the beginning and I just got so lost in the plot between whiles that I forgot about the foreshadowing). And there was one majickal/sexual element which while well written and subtle wasn't to my personal tastes (which are pretty conservative). Overall however, a remarkable and enjoyable read!
But the other things I found interesting which are also under the cut contain spoilers.
I loved the Kin. I didn’t know how to talk about the ‘intelligent sylveth spawn’ without either confusing the masses or giving things away to those who hadn’t read the books yet. But I loved Spark especially … I had to text Di when I got past the chapter where Fairley puts Spark back together to say ‘spawn-girl has a pet-spawn’ because it was too fun. I really liked Nya as well … I loved the way she picked up and resolved the plot thread with Plusby. And she was beautiful and exotic with cool majick … basically fantastical brain-candy while still being a neat and realistic character. Fallon freaked me out a little, as I think he was supposed to.
I also loved the details surrounding Shaye’s pyramid spell. I think Di continues to get better at intensely magical scenes in her writing … these were much more sophisticated and interesting than some of the scenes where Reisil was figuring out how to be an ahalad-kaaslane. It was also cool to see how much power Shaye was grappling with because he almost dies twice trying to master the majick. It was especially good that at least once (or maybe twice, I read it quickly) when Shaye was intensely cracked out on majick we got to see it from Ryland’s POV … which leant credibility to the experiences from Shaye’s POV … he didn’t look like a sissy when Ryland was also shocked and concerned at the outward effects of the majick.
If you liked Turning Tide, I’m sure Di’d appreciate it if you posted your own reviews as well (since books like all other markets are tough in this economy); having reviews other than mine will likely help her sell books so that she can keep publishing books in Crosspointe world(which I’d appreciate a lot)!!!