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—RT Book Reviews (Top Pick!)
Praise for All the Windwracked Stars:
"Bear creates a world with an astonishing depth of mythology in a tale that begins with Ragnarok…Bear’s world-building echoes the best of Zelazny and pulls the reader into the story and the history until it’s over. Muire is one of Bear’s more interesting and likable characters, and the mythology Bear deploys promises further satisfying stories based in it." —Booklist (starred review)
"Bear's ability to create breathtaking variations on ancient themes and make them new and brilliant is, perhaps, unparalleled in the genre. Her lyrical style and heroically flawed characters make this a priority purchase for most libraries. Highly recommended." —Library Journal (starred review)
Praise for By the Mountain Bound:
“Numerous fantasy authors adopt the tropes of Norse mythology, but Bear actively pursues them, channeling those myths directly rather than overlaying them on more familiar ones. The result demands much from readers, but repays it in vivid, sensual imagery of a wholly different world.” —Publishers Weekly
Continuation of Bear's Norse apocalyptic fantasy yarn (All the Windwracked Stars, 2008, etc.), picking up the narrative half a century after the warrior-angel Muire became a goddess, walked into the sea and kick-started the devastated planet's regeneration.
Cathoair and his fellow angels, now unemployed, occupy themselves with travel and small acts of kindness and assistance that improve the welfare of all. Later, Cathoair—who also goes by Cahey—must return to the city Eiledon to raise his infant son. However, the adversary, the evil goddess Heythe, who previously attempted to destroy the world, slides forward in time to work new mischief. Cathmar, for so Cathoair/Cahey rather confusingly names his son, grows quickly and with a minimum of adolescent angst. Heythe takes the guise of a beautiful young woman, Mardoll, and insinuates herself into the consciousness of both Cathoair and the now-teenaged Cathmar. Mingan, the guardian warrior-wolf who can move imperceptibly in and out of other dimensions, notices but resolves to wait and see. But amid all this waiting and seeing, nothing much happens. Cathoair, it seems, requires psychological reconstruction and both sides vie to supply it by offering sadomasochistic sex on the one hand or soul-searching mental vampirism on the other. For uncommitted readers the process is difficult to follow and largely devoid of interest, with the biggest problem a lack of new ideas—recycled tatters of the previous book don't hack it.
Committed fans face inevitable disappointment; newcomers will find little reason to bother.
Posted January 7, 2011
To save the world, Muire the Angel gave herself up by diving into the sea to become the Bearer of Burdens (see All the Windwracked Stars). However, not everyone she left behind rejoice with her ascension sacrifice. In Eiledon Cathoair the immortal warrior angel mourns his loss, which he sees everyday in their offspring Cathmar, who he raises as a single dad knowing the lad will never meet his mother.
Even more raging is Heythe the Goddess, who had set in motion the end of the world before Muire interceded, but riding into the future she is shocked to find a renewed world rather than a dead orb. Knowing what Muire sacrifice has cost her, Heythe takes out her anger and frustration on tormented Cathoair who wallows in pity. She encourages the relatively new immortal to walk a personal path of destruction to force Muire to break her Bearer of Burdens oath and cause the final demise of Valdyrgard. On the other hand her other toy is the son but he displays maturity as he becomes an adult. Meanwhile Mingan the wolf observes the return of the evil enemy and plans to prevent Heythe's second chance at ending the world.
This fantasy is fascinatingly more a character study as readers see deep into the souls of father and son and to a lesser degree other cast members. Elizabeth Bear enables her fans to feel Cathoair's torment; yet there is plenty of action as Heythe tries to force Muire to return to save her beloved mate and their son. Although Heythe is not quite as powerfully wicked as she was in All the Windwracked Stars, The Sea Thy Mistress is a super thriller as the audience wonders how the heroine of the first thriller will react to the latest threat.
Posted March 5, 2012
No text was provided for this review.