So all in all, I recommend this book for someone who is bored with all the mainstream fantasy and would like to experience something new. Mar 23, Emelia rated it it was amazing. RTC after I finish the series It was a bit difficult in the beginning of the book but then it grabs you and keeps you up til 3am. Not that I did ;. Feb 14, Veronica rated it really liked it Shelves: I really liked the writing and the concept of "poets" giving literal shape and form to ideas. The characterization was also pretty good for most of the characters.
I wasn't emotionally satisfied with the ending but it wasn't enough to put me off from reading more in the series. View all 3 comments. Jul 27, David Sven rated it really liked it Shelves: Not bad at all for a debut novel. It's a low magic fantasy. I like the city of Saraykeht and the almost oriental feel to the main culture. The main language is comprised of poses and gestures that accompany words similar to the Adem hand gestures in The Wise Man's Fear. The central concept of poet's capturing ideas and then imbuing them with volition creating an enslaved god andats was interesting.
You would think this I enjoyed this. You would think this would make poet's extremely powerful but Abraham avoids the deus ex-machina by placing us in an Empire that has fallen because of the mutual destruction of poets wielding these andats against each other. And andats are not that easy to create anymore and few are actually useful enough to tip the balance of power. But we do have at least one andat that has made the city state of Saraykeht virtually immune from war and with a major trade advantage.
The andat "Seedless" has the unique ability of removing seeds from cotton en masse. What the cotton picking good is that for? I know you're asking. Well it's pretty darn good when nobody has to pick out the seeds themselves if they bring them to you - and oh, while they are there they may as well just deal with you for all their cotton trading and processing - or something like that. It's a major trade advantage according to cotton seed experts of the fantasy realm - I'm sure there's a thesis in it for somebody.
Whatever, Daniel Abraham sells it well. Oh, the other thing one might use "Seedless" for is magically evacuating the wombs of all women in a nation - or destroying all their crops by vanishing their seeds overnight. So you don't want to mess with the andat. You've probably already spotted the downside from this review. What's so interesting about cotton? Where is the badass in this book? Well, there's different kinds of badassery. Take one of the main characters, Amat. She is badass - in a ruthless political sort of way.
She left me saying "Amat - you are badass - and you don't need kung fu. I'll definitely be continuing on with book 2 in the series. I'm giving this one View all 18 comments. Aug 10, Stephen rated it really liked it Shelves: A very impressive debut novel. While very light on fantasy elements think George R. Martin and the Song of Fire and Ice , the one major fantasy component is original and simply superb. That idea is that "poets" create and bind ideas made flesh and control them in the use of commerce and war.
I was really impressed. This, along with a well developed world and a great story make this a strongly recommended book. Feb 11, Max added it. So many novels in genre are less novels than they are the workings out of a plot—but that's not the case here. The characters breathe, and their moral and personal and emotional concerns are at least as vital as the clockwork of cause and effect. This actually made it a bit tricky for me to orient for the first couple chapters after that phenomenal prologue.
I kept waiting for the adventure hook, the mystery prompt, the grand doom foretold, and when one didn't come I felt thr Truly impressive. I kept waiting for the adventure hook, the mystery prompt, the grand doom foretold, and when one didn't come I felt thrilled in the way you do when lost in familiar woods.
Looking forward to reading the rest of the series. This pretty much seals it, I apparently really enjoy everything Mr. This series likely won't be for everyone though. The sad truth is I consume far more books in audio these days than in text.
The reviews of this series in audio has been pretty mixed towards negative, so I was leary to give it a shot. I'll say that for me Neil Shah, was an alright narrator. He actually reads really well, and does a variety of voices. Some of them just annoyed me. For the most part though, I didn't find myself distracted by the narration, so while this isn't a series I'd call a must listen, I think most people should find doing it in audio a viable option.
Full Review I've been planning to check out this series for a bit now. Often times, the problem I have with reading an older series after reading an author's later work is the quality may seem lackluster by comparison. Since I'm doing this in audio, I struggled badly with the names though. Probably worse than usual.
I still really don't know any of the character's names. I wish every audiobook came with a list of character names and their spellings. It would make both my reading and my review writing far easier.
Shadow memory shadows music
There is almost no magic to speak of. One of the characters, Seedless, is a magical construct called an Andat who is a conduit for magic of a practicer who is referred to as a poet. You don't really see much of the magic, and it's not really explained. How exactly the poets are able to do anything isn't clear. It seems to be a struggle of wills with the andat they control.
Abraham likes focusing on the politics of his fictitious worlds, and this is no different. He has built a world where much of one's emotions and dilogue is actually done through a series of complex hand gestures. It's a society that relies of the power of the poets and condones fratricide among the sons of the rulers as a means of succession. Young sons are often relegated off to the school that is responsible for cultivating the next generation of poets to save them from being murdered. So you'll never guess who are protagonist it?
You guessed it, he's a younger son of one of the city rulers. It's going to be hard for me to talk about the characters by name though, since I couldn't tell you what any of them are. I think all the main characters offered depth where no one really felt good or evil. They are just people with desires and faults trying to do what they feel they must for a variety of reasons: I like that sort of characterization. My favorite character is probably the older something overseer. I wish more SFF novels did this.
Abraham seems to have at least one of them in all of his series I've read, and they've all been great. While this one is no Avasarala or even Clara, she is still pretty memorable. Now if only I could tell you her name. The pacing is also a bit slower, especially coming from one of his Expanse books. This pacing, and the general lack of action and fighting may turn some fantasy fans away. If you're looking for military battles, and sword wielding adventurers, you've come to the wrong place.
I however seem to enjoy the more political fantasy novels, so the pacing was never an issue for me. I jumped right into book 2, and will likely finish this whole series pretty quickly. You can sign up also for free and get the book here! View all 11 comments. Sep 17, Whitaker rated it really liked it Shelves: A short message before the review starts: The first two books in the quartet I really enjoyed.
The second two books irritated the hell out of me. Nevertheless, as much as I was irritated, I half suspect that that wa A short message before the review starts: At the bare minimum, Abraham seems determined to leave the reader struggling with the question of right and wrong. In a way, the entire work is like a Michael J Sandel course: In the tangled scenarios that he paints, there are no good solutions, just different ones. And which one you prefer says more about you than about the actual rightness of the decision made.
Typically, I love books that do that, and Abraham handles the theme very well. No one character is presented as being totally bad. People who do bad things do so with perfectly sound reasons. More importantly, none of them think of themselves as evil. So why was I so irritated? It actually celebrates it.
That is remarkable given how many fantasy works deal in the overused trope of the grevious loss of magic fading from the world. It helps, of course, that his system of magic is far from the one that typifies most fantasy blockbusters. Another key feature of the work is the amount of time that passes between volumes. Each book picks up some 10 to 15 years after the events of the previous book.
This is all too rare, but reflects how things would work in real life. Things happen, people react. The repercussions of the event are immediate and also ripple out far beyond the immediate moment. We see played out over the span of 80 years the results of a seemingly small decision made by a young boy in a garden. Many of the decisions—large and small—made by various characters are picked up again later as their unanticipated effects play out. All of these interweave to build the story and the characters and endows them with a heft and solidity rarely encountered in fantasy novels.
Of course, it might all be in my imagination, so take this with a large ladle of salt. But did anyone else think that the book was a subtle comment on American power and the war in Iraq? After all, we also have here a nation that invades another to get rid of its weapons of mass destruction. That the effect of the andat was to have, in the past, turned fertile country into an unlivable waste land of mutant creatures hints at this link, view spoiler [as does the sterility that occurs from an attempt to raise an andat hide spoiler ].
Both bring to mind the effect of nuclear weapons and radiation. Another link is the fracticide involved in choosing a new Khai which recalls the Ottoman Empire. Add to that the central importance of the Poets among the Utkahiem, which harks to the importance of poets in Persia. Altogether, these elements brought to mind well, mine at least the US invasion of Iraq and its current troubles with Iran.
Of course, Abraham does not write a simple one-on-one metaphor. Nothing as clumsy as that. Here the nation that is invaded is the most powerful nation in the world. However, that it has not been the aggressor does raise the very pointed question: Are you entitled to attack a country simply because you fear that it and its might might one day be used to destructive ends? Are you entitled to kill men, women, and children to ensure that this does not happen, especially if the country has not and has given no indication of being an aggresor?
Is it less justifiable if that end result will only last several generations and is not permanent? Having set out what made the work so good, I must now get to what irritated me about it. The irritation was so great that I had a very very hard time finishing the entire quartet. And yet, Balasar Gice is presented as if he is justified in what he does, that the end justified the means.
That totally pissed me off. Even worse, that Maati the well-meaning if destructively ineffective poet is demonised by the others around him… That chafed worse than cheap scratchy underwear. I will hand it to Abraham that this irritation might have been the specific result he was looking to create. At the very least, I will credit him for deliberately avoiding any answers to the issue.
But it almost stopped me from finishing the work. Only the fact that people on this site whose opinions I respect enjoyed the work so much allowed me to bash my way through. Given the prominence given to steam engines at the end, I could not help but think of how our age of steam eventually ended with the age of nuclear power.
The Galts and Utkhaiem might well find that they bottled one genie only to have unleashed something far worse. Sep 03, Lea rated it did not like it Shelves: One thing that was really baffling and continually took me out of the book was the way the characters kept posing during conversations. It was soooo ridiculous, there wasn't a single dialogue that didn't involve at least ten different poses. They started as "a pose of greeting" or a "pose of farewell", which I can deal with, but soon the characters were doing "a pose of gratitude to one's teacher", "a pose of gentle mockery", "a pose of acknowledgement that held the nuance of a confession of failure", "a pose of acknowledgement appropriate for a student to a teacher", "a pose that was a request for clarification and a mourning both" I mean, come on!!
And none of these poses were explained, so I basically just pictured the characters going like this all the time: Mar 01, Mary rated it liked it Recommended to Mary by: I think of fantasy books in three tiers: These are complete successes. I believe the world completely, the plots zoom along and the I care about the characters as if they were friends.
I can't quite believe in the world, but the plot and characters are good enough to be entertaining. Don't believe it and don't care: J D Robb, Lauren Hamilton. I don't understand why some books are so popular. I just don't get The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Very preachy, and I don't believe. A Shadow in Summer is tier 2. On the other hand, it started slowly, but by the middle I was really involved. I will have to look for volume 2. It is a series of 4. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.
To view it, click here. Glad I picked up this book from Daniel Abraham- his first.
While the book does start off in a school-type setting familiar to fantasy fans, it soon passes and what is left is relatively absent of the tropes and ideas that would quickly draw in fantasy fans searching for George Martin grittiness, Brandon Sanderson magical flair, or JRR Tolkien scale. I applaud the effort, bravery, and skill it takes to do a fantasy novel l Glad I picked up this book from Daniel Abraham- his first.
I applaud the effort, bravery, and skill it takes to do a fantasy novel like this. Fantasy fans seem to get drawn in by flashy magic systems, beautiful worlds that are shaped by them, good vs evil, and coming-into-your-powers type plots. What this book does have is a type of reality.
Everything fits, and the lack of flashiness is replaced by a carefully and lovingly constructed consistency that pervades the reading experience. The prose fits too. It has a vaguely poetic feel to it, and even a musicality at times. The best writing for me was in the character dynamics, especially in the romantic scenes.
Those were the first moments I first felt fully engaged in characters and plot, and the most memorable aspect I took with me from this book.
See a Problem?
Summary of my experience with this book: Then the book hit a lull when the viewpoint switched to Amat. I liked the idea of her a lot but something fell flat for me, I think it was a lack of palpable tension from her perspective. She is a total badass but even through the end of the novel she was the character I felt the least connected to.
The plot, a bit outside my traditional preferences, was a bit unmemorable for me. Those things, and a few minor others, were a couple slight hang ups I had with the story. Yet by the end of the book I was absorbed for the most part by the writing. The plot deficiencies, and the setting being a bit less fantastical than other books that have blown me away, were not ultimately enough for me to dislike the book at all. Abraham clearly had a vision of a book with characters that grow and mature.
And the way he wrote his characters emotional tension, with love and a patient realism, had a lasting impact on me that overshadowed a some boring moments. Perhaps the depth of insight that Abraham has into his characters minds and emotions made their occasionally unbelievable actions all the more prominently sharp by contrast. The world, thoughtfully created with a realistic feel, was undazzling in comparison to the genres best, and a bit absent of feelings of wonder outside the Andat.
The plot gave off the feeling that it mostly was there for the growth and display of the characters, and was more a catalyst to set the stage for their emotionally charged interactions. The plot executes that goal well, but it also lacked an oompf in and of itself. Brilliant at times, the saving graces of the book are the moments that have memorable sticking power through the emotional power of the character portraits. After being selected to be a genuine Poet candidate, Otah leaves the school, disillusioned by its ideals when he has to use its abusive selection process on a young boy, Maati.
He leaves in disgrace, penniless but resolute in his decison. Fast forward many years and travel to the city of seafront trading town Saraykeht, a town that thrives in its cotton trade- boosted by the use of an Andat called Seedless, who can control the sterility of things. The Galts are a foreign land and people to Saraykeht, tribal and warlike but kept under a firm thumb by the use of Andat. Marchat Wilson, in an attempt to spare his manager Amat Kyan from the dirty business, excludes her from the whole operation.
As a result, Marchat Wilson is forced to used her inexperienced and young apprentice, Liat. She is overwhelmed by her new duties, and despite the support of her lover Itani, a laborer for Wilson, is unsure of herself. Maati, newly arrived from Poet training is thrust into the dysfunctional relationship of Seedless, who despises Heshai and wishes for freedom, and his master Heshai, a man wracked by guilt over his lost love and their dead child. Amat Kyan, in an effort towards justice breaks with House Wilson and devotes herself to exposing the Galts deception to the Khai.
For revenue to fund her mission she kills Ovi-Niit and takes control his brothel, giving refuge to the grieving Maj there as well. Otah, in an effort to solve the crisis, seeks the help of the Dai-Kvo, who is the leader of the Poets. He takes a month long journey by ship to deliver a message to him and then makes his way back to Saraykeht. They return to Heshai, now insensate, and proceed to strangle him together. Aug 07, Althea Ann rated it really liked it. I picked up this book because of the laudatory blurbs from both George R.
Martin and Connie Willis. I know Abraham has co-written with Martin before; although this is his first solo novel, it doesn't read like a first effort in any way - it's definitely engaging, above-average fantasy.
By this author
The world is a somewhat familiar fantasy scenario with an Asian-ish flavor, but not so much so that it doesn't feel interesting and original. It's set in a kingdom whose power rests on the andat - powerful beings I picked up this book because of the laudatory blurbs from both George R. The plot involves a conspiracy which may be rooted in a personal desire for revenge, but entwines business and politics as multiple layers are revealed.
Along the way there are twists and turns, a love triangle, and more. For me, though, the star of the show was the character Amat - an older woman, an accountant. Not your usual hero or anti-hero , but she was a compelling, complex person. Good characterization and interesting worldbuilding together mean I'll definitely have my eye out for more of Abraham's work. Dec 20, Wastrel rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Epic fantasy fans looking for a new take on the genre.
Completing a novel, launching it out into the world, must be a daunting thing. It's no surprise that authors often take it easy on themselves the first few times, finding their feet before they launch into the deep end. Which is to say that most debut novelists do not kick off their epic fantasy tetralogy with a glacially slow, intense but distant, morally complicated multiple-point-of-view novel about an abortion, set in a non-European culture whose oddities make themselves felt in every single Completing a novel, launching it out into the world, must be a daunting thing.
Which is to say that most debut novelists do not kick off their epic fantasy tetralogy with a glacially slow, intense but distant, morally complicated multiple-point-of-view novel about an abortion, set in a non-European culture whose oddities make themselves felt in every single exchange of dialogue. Locus' review of this suggested that, although it was tempting to compare it to the work of George RR Martin I'd actually say Robin Hobb was a little closer in some ways, in content if maybe not in style , the novel was really something different, something new in the genre.
The plot, the setting, the characterisation all feel quite different from any other epic fantasy I'm aware of, making this a must-read for those whether jaded old-timers or dismissive outsiders skeptical of epic fantasy's ability to still break new ground. It is also a solidly-written novel that is engaging and immersive throughout, if not necessarily enthralling. However, opaque, distant, morally compromised characters largely compelled by circumstances and external forces, slow pacing, complexity although I could tell you what happened in the novel, I'd struggle to say in one sentence what the actual story was , and a general air of hopelessness and tragedy make it a hard book to actually love - which may explain why a novel that garnered such excitement from vanguard readers and critics alike ten years ago seems to have slipped - understandably but unfortunately - from public awareness.
I'm left knowing that I ought to read on - and I will - but in no physical urgency to actually aquire the next installment. That being said, this is of course only the first of four linked novels, and the potential does remain for the series to become more emotionally satisfying now that the groundwork has been lain.
As it is, I'm not going to be recommending this for people looking for a new book to fall in love with. But I will be recommending it to people say they want to see the epic fantasy genre doing something new, as well as to those who particularly enjoy grim, cold, mature though not particularly violent or horrific writing. You can read my more detailed review or ramblings over on my blog. View all 17 comments. Apparently the Long Price Quartet is just that good? I'm about to find out, because--as luck would have it--my birthday was on Friday and Ceridwen does not make idle threats. Happy Birthday to me!
- Gran Jota Aragonesa;
- 25 Dark Poems for When You Want to Explore the Shadows?
- Wrong Victim : A Novel!
Happy Birthday to me indeed. This is a good book. This is a really good book. I must be getting old 24! Still, this book is so good I went out and bought the next two in the series New! Is that going to happen? It had better, or I will be very cross. In the city of Saraykeht, the andat named Removing That Which Continues—also known as Seedless—is used against its will, hence the passive verb by its master, the Poet Heshai, to speed the cotton trade and help the city prosper.
I'm terrible at summarizing books, and I have a bit of reviewer's block right now, but trust me, it's a cool book. Daniel Abraham tells an intriguing story in a fantastic setting, and he does it in under pages! The whole series is less than 2, pages long! For those of you out there who are tired or wary of ridiculously bloated books and series in the fantasy genre, The Long Price should be a welcome relief.
View all 30 comments. Aug 17, Candiss rated it really liked it Shelves: I must admit I expected to find this story tedious, as I often do multi-volume fantasy epics. But I was very pleasantly surprised. Daniel Abraham's world-building is top-tier, and his characters are complex and realistic. There are no moral absolutes here, thankfully I've always despised broad strokes of black and white laid out to clue the reader in to "good" and "evil.
The reader is just as likely to feel genuine emp I must admit I expected to find this story tedious, as I often do multi-volume fantasy epics. The reader is just as likely to feel genuine empathy for a "villain" in this story as to become disgusted by a beloved "hero", and for me this keeps the story believable.
The magic in A Shadow in Summer , such as it is, is unusual and language-based. Thought-based, will-based, or imagination-based might be better ways to describe it. The wielders, rather than being called wizards, sorcerors, or witches, etc. There's no flash-bang tide-turning effects here, no battle magic, no incantations or hand-waving. The magic of the Andat is long-term, subtle, insidious, dangerous to the wielder, and vital to the prosperity of the people.
It is also ethically questionable in the extreme, as it involves enslaving a being to one's will It's complicated and darkly beautiful. The people's language of communication, not of magic is both subtle and complex, full of ritualized gesture and nuanced body language.
The characters - young men, old men, young women, old women, laborers, thugs, scholars, merchants, kings, demigods - were varied and colorful, and I enjoyed getting to know even those I did not actually like.
A Shadow in Summer (Long Price Quartet, #1) by Daniel Abraham
The city of Saraykeht fairly breathed, steeped in the sensuality of food and scent and sound, as well as alive with the hum of local industry. I found there was just enough detail to make me believe and drift into imagination, but not so much as to see me skimming past descriptive passages or becoming bored. The plot was well-paced and twisty, with some surprises I genuinely did not see coming. I love when an author actually puts one past me, as I am as jaded a reader as you will be likely to encounter.
Ethical dilemmas, intrigue, tension, realistic and unsappy love, grinding guilt, wrenching sadness, betrayal, tenderness, lies, respect Even though this is the first of a 4-part series, the author wraps up the story neatly by the end of this first installment, so it works nicely as a stand-alone work. I have stated many times that I am not really a series reader, and that statement still holds, but I am already missing the vaguely Asian-meets-Arabesque atmosphere of the cities of the Khaiem, with something of the feeling of melancholy that permeates the story itself.
I will most likely be drawn to read the second entry in the Long Price Quartet soon. Jan 07, Anirudh rated it did not like it Shelves: There are so many authors who fail to present a world which is unique and different from the hundreds of worlds that exist in fantasy. Daniel Abraham succeeds to make his world different. Unfortunately, different does not always mean better.
Plot Well, there isn't any. I am greatly surprised how this became a quartet when there was no story to be told beyond ten pages in the first book. The issue I had with this book is that it never pursues any concept faithfully. It starts off as a There are so many authors who fail to present a world which is unique and different from the hundreds of worlds that exist in fantasy.
It starts off as a philosophical take on life and fails to maintain that. Suddenly we are told that the whole plot is about trading rivalries and despite this there is really nothing much about trade except vague paragraphs about cotton being shipped and weavers and merchant houses. This part was particularly disappointing. It neither explores the philosophical storyline of the poet nor the practical story line of Amat. I don't know why the author chose to write a mere page fantasy book and not reallly say anything.
In the best cases, these dark poems give us catharsis. They verbalize the shattered mirror through which we occasionally catch glimpses of our world. Below is a collection of full poems, excerpts, and poetry readings that walk in shadow. They contain darkness in all of its forms: There are cemeteries that are lonely, graves full of bones that do not make a sound, the heart moving through a tunnel, in it darkness, darkness, darkness, like a shipwreck we die going into ourselves, as though we were drowning inside our hearts, as though we lived falling out of the skin into the soul.
Time could carry our weight if only we could paint dice to wait on the windowsill Wait for a guest Wait for a moment of your pride or patience And let it be Dusty or kept Choice of an arm reaching as far as your hands can touch your face Do you cry or rest. But ignorance cannot will knowledge. Ignorance wills something imagined which it believes exists. Perhaps if Death is kind, and there can be returning, We will come back to earth some fragrant night, And take these lanes to find the sea, and bending Breathe the same honeysuckle, low and white.
We will come down at night to these resounding beaches And the long gentle thunder of the sea, Here for a single hour in the wide starlight We shall be happy, for the dead are free. On my desk is a photograph of you taken by the woman who loved you then. In some photos her shadow falls in the foreground. In this one, her body is not that far from yours.
Did you hold your head that way because she loved it? Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed. And not one of them exists now in any other context. I cannot forget the sugar on the table. The hand that spilled it was not that of my usual father, three layers of clothes for a wind he felt from hallway to kitchen, the brightest room though the lightbulbs were greasy. They say I looked back out of curiosity. But I could have had other reasons. I looked back mourning my silver bowl. Carelessly, while tying my sandal strap.