"I've been reading fantasy my whole life. After all these years, it's a delight to read something so different, so wonderful and strange."—
Patrick Rothfuss "A powerhouse epic of humans and gods at war, deeply imagined and profoundly thrilling. There are echoes of Shakespeare and Le Guin in The Raven Tower, but its strange dark brilliance could only have come from Ann Leckie."— Lev Grossman "Leckie's tale takes on a mythic, metafictional quality...and the story's elements weave into a stunning conclusion. This impressive piece of craftsmanship cements Leckie's place as a powerful voice in both SF and fantasy."— Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Absolutely wonderful. The god's voice is mesmerizing, tender and careful....feels closer to the register of folk tale than epic, and is all the more riveting for that."— New York Times Book Review "Leckie has an ear for language, an eye for character and a gift for creating new worlds and cultures... [her] examination of power, politics and governance is fascinating and well-conceived."— St. Louis Post-Dispatch "Sharp, many layered, and, as always for Leckie, deeply intelligent."— Kirkus (starred review) "Leckie has a gift for using language both as worldbuilding and as plot device ... The Raven Tower spins out its mysteries before gleefully setting fire to them in the last few pages."— NPR "Award-winner Leckie proves as adept at worldbuilding as ever-the setting and characters of The Raven Tower are as rich as any we encountered in Imperial Radch space-but it is the mode of narration that truly distinguishes her first novel-length foray into fantasy. Much like Hamlet, from which The Raven Tower draws clear inspiration, Leckie's is a story filled with complicated, very human people, as well as the forces that move around them, guiding them ever so slightly toward choices both good and bad."— B&N SciFi & Fantasy Blog " The Raven Tower is an enormously compelling novel. It may draw inspiration from Hamlet, but...it reweaves the fabric of Shakespeare's play into cloth of a different color entirely. Leckie's worldbuilding is deep and thorough, showing us the edges of a broad, rich, complicated world, and her characters are fascinating."— Tor.com "Leckie has created an enthralling and well-realized fantasy world, full of not only magic and gods but also characters representing a broad spectrum of gender and sexuality. Highly recommended for...anyone looking for exciting and boundary-pushing fantasy."— Booklist (starred review) "Leckie's first foray into fantasy is every bit as exciting as her 2013 sci-fi debut, Ancillary Justice." — Bustle "Part epic of diplomacy, part meditation on the unknown, this fantasy debut from the author of the modern sci-fi classic Ancillary Justice is a knotted rope that slowly comes unteased until it all unravels, satisfyingly and compellingly, at the end."— Slate " The Raven Tower is a unique, intricate fantasy set in a fascinating world of gods who are at once formidable and vulnerable. Original and powerful I loved it. Highly recommended for fans of N. K. Jemisin or Guy Gavriel Kay."— Django Wexler "A gripping story that's one part mystery, one part a new history of the world, The Raven Tower is an incredible fantasy, told by one of the most unique voices I've had the privilege of reading."— S. A. Chakraborty "Earthsea's elegance meets Sanderson's clever magic in this talon-sharp saga of divinity and revenge. Ann Leckie is unstoppable."— Seth Dickinson
…absolutely wonderful. Narrated by a god addressing a young trans man named Eolo, it reminded me of nothing so much as
Hamletif Hamlet were told from the point of view of Elsinore Castle addressing itself to a Horatio who mostly couldn't hear it…The god's voice is mesmerizing, tender and careful, full of admiration for Eolo. The slow reveals of their similarities and the god's basis for interest…are delicious and satisfying… The Raven Tower is also that rarest of creatures, a stand-alone fantasy novel that's relatively short; while I could have gone on reading the Hill's voice, or experiencing more of Eolo's perspective, for ages, it ended exactly where it needed to. In some ways the book has the affect of an elegant short story overlying the complications and concerns of a novel…
The New York Times Book Review - Amal El-Mohtar
In this complex novel, the first epic fantasy from SF author Leckie ( Provenance), the best-laid plans of gods and mortals collide, throwing a nation into turmoil and setting the stage for a divine conflict that’s been brewing for centuries. The tale spins out in past and present, narrated by the rockbound god known as the Strength and Patience of the Hill. The god is speaking to Eolo, a transgender warrior in service to Mawat, a young noble whose uncle has usurped his rightful role as ruler of Iraden. As the god recounts its ancient history (the narrative is told in second person, a technical challenge that Leckie surmounts with aplomb), it also relates Eolo’s attempts to determine what happened to Mawat’s supposedly vanished father and how this connects to their patron god, the Raven, whose power seems on the wane. With foreign gods taking an active interest in the kingdom, political intrigue brewing, and Mawat taking ever-bolder actions, Eolo must uncover Iraden’s greatest secret. Through this unorthodox approach to the relationships between gods and their followers, Leckie’s tale takes on a mythic, metafictional quality; the Strength and Eolo truly inhabit their roles, and the story’s elements weave into a stunning conclusion. This impressive piece of craftsmanship cements Leckie’s place as a powerful voice in both SF and fantasy. Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Co. (Feb.)
Winner of the Hugo, Nebula, Arthur C. Clarke, and Locus awards, Leckie turns in her first fantasy novel. There's a stone castle, a pretender on the throne, and a god ready to interfere in human affairs, not to mention a 100,000-copy first printing.
The author of four award-winning and critically acclaimed space operas (
Provenance, 2017, etc.) aims her philosophical musings about politics, power, and revenge at a new subgenre: epic fantasy.
The land of Iraden is apparently the territory of two gods: the god of the Silent Forest, who protects the country and offers occasional advice to his chief votary, the Mother of the Silent; and the Raven, who speaks through a living bird known as the Instrument. Advised by a council of lords and the Mother of the Silent, the ruler of the land, known as the Raven's Lease, gains power and authority from the Raven through his oath to sacrifice his own life when the Instrument dies. In a plot that borrows from, but does not lean too heavily on,
Hamlet, the Lease's Heir, the warrior Mawat, returns from battle with his faithful aide, Eolo, to discover the previous Instrument dead, his father missing, and his uncle Hibal seated on the Lease's bench. The Strength and Patience of the Hill, a third god embodied as a large stone, recounts the treacherous game of politics that plays out while also telling its own millennialong history, which gradually sheds light on the divine motivations that drive the human plots. The story's voice is a curious but compelling mix of first and second person, the god using its relative omniscience to narrate, explain, and direct action toward Eolo, who actually cannot hear the god most of the time. It is a common fantasy trope to suggest gods gain strength through faith and worshipers and that they can employ that strength to bend reality. But few authors have really explored all the implications of what happens when multiple beings with that power come into conflict. There is so much story and careful thought packed into this short volume that it should correct anyone who believes a fully realized fantasy novel requires a minimum of 500 pages.
Sharp, many layered, and, as always for Leckie, deeply intelligent.