All the Windwracked Stars (The Edda of Burdens)

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Subscribe to: Posts Atom. I currently have too many books to read. I've been keeping track of them on a paper list for years. This blog shares what I read as I attempt to get "the List" down to a more manageable number.

If you'd like to know what books are on the List, check out my Goodreads shelf devoted to them - it's my physical list digitized! I've also got a shelf for every book I've reviewed here on this blog. Not everything I review here is actually on the List. Some books come from the library , some books are nonfiction which are not included on the List , some books are on my Kindle which have never been included on the List , and some books are given to me by friends and family. I want to talk about the books I've read in whatever detail I'd like. So if you haven't read a book I'm reviewing, you might not want to read the review.

My Blog List. However, given that she is at the cutting edge of the newest generation of SF writers, if you want to see why the "young turks" of SF are doing with the genre, Bear is a strong choice for you to find that out. In an publishing age where Fantasy is ascendant over its technologically inclined brother, its refreshing, encouraging, and joyful to find a writer who does write fantasy e. The Promethean age novels , but who is also willing to write darned good science fiction, with no apologies. And more importantly than just being willing to write science fiction, but to be very good at it.

I would say, however, having read a number of her novels, and especially after reading this one, that "Bear's Got Bite! Jan 08, Hilcia rated it really liked it Shelves: my-bookshelf , impressions-blog-review , fantasy. Our fantasy adventure begins with the end. She survives by fleeing that final battle where all her sisters and brothers — the einherjar or immortal warriors -- die.

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Aliette de Bodard

That single act of cowardice, the guilt and shame Muire carries with her, become the driving force behind her actions throughout this story. Fast forward twenty three hundred years later and the world is again dying.


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This time, surprise, surprise it is a world of men, who after rising and inventing medicine, philosophy, space flight and metallurgy now live in an era known as the Desolation, under the Defile — a contaminated earth full of deserts and bleached bones, un-breathable air and a dead sea killed by bio-weapons and never ending wars. Only one city remains, Eiledon. When Muire finds a truman dying in the shadows of darkness, with no traces of blood or bodily harm, she recognizes the manner of death and knows the killer.

An old, powerful evil from long ago has returned and she must hunt it and kill it, or die trying. The gloom and doom that permeate the world Bear constructs makes this a tough read through the first third of the book. Thank goodness for Kasimir who serves as her conscience and represents the hope and promise of a possible future. They were the ones that made this story work for me. Thjierry Thorvaldsdottir, Technomancer of Eiledon, is known as the savior of the dying city.

Thjierry and Muire might be the only hope left for Eiledon. The unmen play a small, if key, part in the story. Selene, the cat girl with her claws, whip and smarts, is the most memorable of the unmen characters. I was touched by her toughness, vulnerability and courage — a definite reminder of H. Possibly my favorite in this book, his is the character that brings us the closest to the tragedy and duality that we often find in Norse mythology.

Based on a cross between Fenrir the Wolf and Hati, the sun-eater, Mingan, together with Cathoair, a young male prostitute and bar fighter, take over the page whenever they appear. Theirs is a complex relationship --Mingan hunts Cathoair, whom he both loves and hates and in turn, Cathoair haunts Mingan. Cathoair is both more and less than he appears to be. By becoming important to both Muire and the Grey Wolf, he also becomes a catalyst and central to this story.

As the story unfolded, defining the Dark and the Light became difficult, gray areas expanded and I found myself reading slower, savoring every moment, not wanting the book to end. And as I concluded my journey with Muire and her ragtag group of friends and foes, after experiencing depths of despair and selfishness, the power of friendship and love, I found that in the end, this book was mostly about redemption and self-sacrifice. There is potential in this world for other great adventures. Hopefully, Elizabeth Bear will give us more. If you like Fantasy, Sci-Fi and mythology, this book is certainly for you.

This was beautiful, and by the end I didn't want to stop reading, but oh, it was hard to get into at the beginning. Bear makes you work for it. You're thrown in the deep end, and though the water is salt enough to support you, it takes a while to realise it.

The Edda of Burdens Trilogy (eBook) by Elizabeth Bear (Author)

Apr 23, Rebecca rated it really liked it Shelves: fantasy. I loved the experience of reading this book, but find myself puzzled now at its end. This is a gorgeous piece of writing, with some dazzlingly inventive conceits.


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Bear drops you right into the second end of the world, on a plain covered by dying angels. We then fast forward to a world devastated a second time, this time after a man-made apocalypse. The writing is lonely and poignant and lovely. The characters--Muire the Valkyrie who abandoned her comrades and so is doomed to watch the world end a I loved the experience of reading this book, but find myself puzzled now at its end.

The characters--Muire the Valkyrie who abandoned her comrades and so is doomed to watch the world end again and again, Kasimir the two headed winged stallion whose constancy has lasted millennia, the wolf who swallowed the sun, the pit fighter, the Technomancer, the bestiary of the enslaved--are haunting.

The references to Norse mythology are ever-present, but oblique.

And it's this obliqueness that's ultimately frustrating. Bear has a way of hinting at things without coming out and saying them, and in the end, I'm not completely sure I understand what happened. What happened to the World Serpent, whether the Technomancer ever understood fully what she was doing, how life will play out for the moreaux, what the ramifications of Muire's choice will ultimately be.

I think she left us enough clues to piece it all together, and yet I'm still not sure how. So I loved reading this. I loved the language, I loved the complexity and shades-of-gray of all the characters, I loved the layered world-building.

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The ending works on an emotional level--it felt appropriately cathartic. But on a purely logical level, I'm still a little confused. I wish she'd given us a handful more paragraphs to spell things out for those of us who are apparently not quite as swift on the uptake as she wanted her readers to be. View 2 comments. Jul 07, Ambrosia rated it liked it. I'm a little torn on this one. I really liked what this book was trying to do: tell a postapocalyptic - or perhaps just apocalyptic - story based on a somewhat-modernized, somewhat-vintage version of the Norse mythology of Ragnarok.

The semi-poetic language and worldbuilding through the eyes of someone who'd been around since the original Ragnarok and therefore views technology through the lens of magic was well-done.

All the Windwracked Stars

Unfortunately, I have only a passing familiarity with Norse mythology in gener I'm a little torn on this one. Unfortunately, I have only a passing familiarity with Norse mythology in general, and almost nothing with Ragnarok or the Valkyrie specifically. And, unsurprisingly, the impressionistic poeticism of the language didn't really lend itself well to exposition.

So more than once I found myself going "Wait. What just happened? What's going on? This latest plot development is obviously important, but what does it all mean? A little help for a non-classically-educated American, here? For all that she's a Valkyrie and thousands of years old, she seems to have spent the bulk of that time being passive and angsty, and that carries over into this story, too - the bulk of it reads as rare bursts of action interspersed with moping and occasional flashbacks.

Towards the end, when she finally gets up off her butt and does something, she and her equally-frustrating compatriots becomes much more interesting, but until then I found the story a bit of a slog. Still, it's well written and thoroughly researched, and the ending works well enough that I was willing to forgive a good chunk of the slogging.

Writer of Fantasy and Science Fiction

I wish it hadn't taken so long to get there, though. Feb 21, Kat rated it it was ok. There was a lot of good and a lot of not-so-good here, and the good helped me get through the whole novel and the bad pretty much assured that I won't read another of Ms Bear's books. The Good: - Bear wields language skillfully and idosyncratically; her style is lovely in a way that is reminiscent of but not really similar to Patricia McKillip's.

The Bad: Unfortunately another writer Bear reminds me of is Phillip Pullman, and if you're a Pullman fan then maybe you will love Bear too, and that is wonderful. The conscious loveliness of her prose seemed to me to cover a hollowness of meaning.