Choosing The Right Free Christmas Gift For Saltlight Readers
Occasionally, a novel can be greatly appreciated without being appealing. Like a piece of art in which one can enjoy the beauty and craftsmanship, but feel no connection with it. No matter how hard one tries, the novel and reader never engage each other; there is only an emotional flatness, a seed of a story that never germinates. Sometimes certain books don’t work with certain readers. This is not a criticism as much as an observation. What doesn’t emotionally connect with one reader could just as likely connect with the next one. You can learn more at crystals.
Case in point is Elizabeth Bear’s latest novel “All the Windwracked Stars.” Bear’s novel is beautifully written and expertly plotted, yet the story failed to engage me, lessening the overall appeal of the book for me. There were moments when I got into the story, only to have later events jar me back out of it. However, there was never a point in “All the Windwracked Stars” where the book grabbed hold and refused to let go. Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to like the book due to Bear’s sublime craftsmanship, “All the Windwracked Stars” never generated any interest in me; it was an emotional flatline. But that isn’t to say that it wouldn’t generate interest in others. It contains all the elements necessary to be very successful with readers; I’m just not one of them.
As the novel begins, Muire stumbles across the aftermath of an apocalyptic battle between the children of the Light and the tarnished. She sadly discovers that all of her brothers and sisters of the Light have been killed, leaving her as the lone survivor of the Light. Muire is understandably crushed by this discovery. She is also wracked with enormous guilt, since she owes her survival to the fact that she fled like a coward before the battle began.
Among the corpses littering the battlefield, Muire discovers the valraven Kasimir, barely alive. Kasimir is an extremely intelligent type of stallion that has two heads and wings. The valravens traditionally serve as mounts for the children of Light. Among the cold and snowy field of death, Muire and Kasimir end up eventually saving each other (both literally and metaphorically), creating a timeless bond in the process.
Twenty-three hundred years later, human civilization has risen and nearly fallen, humanity now poised on the brink of extinction. Two hundred years earlier, the Desolation “left all Valdyrgard a salted garden.” Only the ancient city of Eiledon currently survives due to the magical guardianship of the Technomancer. But it too is now failing.
Muire, who has been living in Eiledon since before the Desolation, stumbles across a man dying in the streets one night. She takes in his last breath, sucking it down deep into her lungs, a waelcyrge rite by which she chooses him. In choosing him, Muire “accepted his death and accepted as well the burden of vengeance that death brought.” But this vengeance comes with a heavy price, and Muire suddenly finds herself in the heart of a complex mystery. One in which the outcome may affect the very survival of human civilization.