SpeculativeFiction


The Sundering


    She's done it again.  A word of warning, though, to fans of the Kushiel series - this is a very different, and much darker, story.  In it, the seven Shapers made the world and all the races, but the First, Haomane, Lord of light and thought, quarreled with his brother, Satoris, the Third, Lord of passion and reproduction.  All the world was involved in the war, and it was sundered in two.  Satoris fled, terribly injured and burned by Haomane's sun, and now hides in a fortress cloaked in shadows, sure that his brother won't attack him directly while he holds the weapon Godslayer.  Haomane, determined to destroy his brother, has engaged in a campaign of lies and false prophecy that will spark the races to rise up in one last war against Satoris.
    This story feels like a slightly twisted retelling of Tolkein's Silmarillion, with that kind of vast scale and heartbreak.  Carey tells both sides, and somehow manages to lose none of the heroic spirit or faith in good and right, even when good and right aren't quite what they seem.
    It is, however, hard to read.  Not for any flaw in the writing, which is excellent, lyrical and epic, but because it hurts.  This story is emotionally draining in a way I haven't encountered outside of a Guy Kay novel.  It is beautiful, compelling and powerful, all at once, like Carey's previous series, but ten times more bittersweet, without the moments of true joy interspersed in the Kushiel series.
    The reader roots for both sides.  The bright, desperate, heroic army of Haomane's Allies, with their tragically pure faith that what they do is right, never seeing that they are being lied to about nearly everything they think they know.  The equally desperate and noble army of Satoris, and the folk who come to him, finding solace and a sense of belonging from a world that rejected and betrayed them as well as him.
    Carey strikes just the right balance between faith, fate and irony, with a deft touch and truly lovely, piercing writing.  As much as one comes to care for the characters, no one really wins in a story such as this - no one except the reader.

(Please note: reviewer's copy included both volumes, Banewreaker and Godslayer, so both are included in this review)

This entry was published Wed Sep 21 17:48:51 CDT 2005 by storm2013 and last updated 2005-09-21 17:48:51.0.

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