Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Silence of Medair

by Andrea K. Höst

Story summary: Medair was sent on a mission of great importance, to save her country from invaders. But upon returning, she finds that 500 years have passed, and the invaders are now integrated with her people. How will she now keep her oath to her long dead emperor? Can she free her country from invaders without slaughtering thousands of innocent descendants? How should she use the weapons of great power she found on her quest? And who has discovered her secret and why are they chasing her?

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • Such a great idea for a story!
  • And such a great way the interesting back story is slowly revealed.
  • Also some interesting moral predicaments.

And Why You Might Not:
  • I found most of the characters and relationships too distant to relate to. This might be just personal, though.

Thoughts: The premise is great, and what lead me to be interested in this book in the first place. The world-building is good too, as is the plot and trying to figure out what the heck is going on. I liked the introspection and ethical quandaries of the main character, and I even love the title--how it shows up in the books is really cool.

But I didn't end up feeling a connection to almost any of the characters or relationships. (Except Avahn. For some reason I really liked him and how he related to everybody else. Don't know why he was the exception.) And this made a big difference to my enjoyment of the book. Some books just aren't about the characters; the ideas are the point and are so interesting that it doesn't matter. This isn't one of those books.
Also, the major plot twist near the end seemed to lessen the impact of previous plot twists and of the story in general. I can't talk about it too much due to spoilers, but I'm not sure I can explain it anyway, so it doesn't matter too much. Let's just say, it felt a bit cheating, in the same way that "it was all a dream" endings feel (though it was still quite different than that, and not nearly so bad).

I'm going to have to read a few more by this author before I decide whether she's for me or not. I really liked the Touchstone trilogy, but the next book I read by her had exactly the same problems as this one. They both had enormous potential due to all the interesting ideas, but there was very little connection for me, to either characters or ideas.
Well, we shall see, I suppose. I'm going to at least read the sequel to this, and one or two others by this author that I either already own, or also have a great premise.

Grade: 3 stars

If You Like This, You Might Like:
--The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson: ok, this one is a bit of a stretch since I haven't read it in a very long time, and I forget most of it. But something about the worldbuilding and characters of Medair reminded me of The Ropemaker.
--The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison: for being one of the best examples of building fictional cultures that I've seen (outside of Tolkien, of course). The Silence of Medair is good in the respect, but The Goblin Emperor is fantastic, plus it has amazing characters and relationships as well. (I'm probably going to have TGE for a lot of these recommendation sections. It's just so good...)

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