Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sisters of the Raven

By Barbara Hambly.

Before trying to read this, I started Icefalcon's Quest, and didn't get past the first few chapters. I was tempted to not finish this book, either.

It might not be that it's particularly badly written, but for some reason I don't have a lot of empathy for the characters. Raeshaldis was the only one I really wanted to see what happened to, and there was a lot of pointless (to me) detail on the way there. I guess the ending wasn't very satisfying, either; not like The Witch Queen unsatisfying, where I hated the ending completely, but really emotionally dead. This book left me not really caring one way or the other.

The story is, for some unspecified reason, in a country that seems sort of like a magical mixture of Egypt and the Far East, the men who have always had the power to do magic are losing their abilities... and women are gaining them. This book takes place after the transition is pretty much complete, and is more about the fallout, political and otherwise. But mostly political.

Raeshaldis is your typical female teenager who isn't content to sit on a shelf and be some man's wife, but it seems like even she isn't characterized very deeply. We learn very little of her past and the pasts of other characters in the book. Much of the plot is driven by going to this place, asking questions, then going somewhere else and asking more questions, which gets sort of tiring after a while. Of course, none of the men who have lost their power are all that eager to train the women in using their own power, and even when they do Raeshaldis and the other sisters of the Raven (so-named because the raven is considered a magical answer) find that the rituals aren't always reliable for them.

Probably not worth reading, but I'm still planning to see if the sequel (Circle of the Moon) is any better.

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