October 27, 2017

Fortress of Ice by C. J. Cherryh

Title:  Fortess of Ice
Author:  C. J. Cherryh
Pages:  402
Genre:  Fantasy
Series:  Tristen, Book 5

Synopsis:  Two surprising allies have emerged to aid the embattled ruler in a struggle he must win: Cefwyn's two young sons. Aewyn Marhanen is the prince destined to rule. Aewyn's half-brother, Elfwyn Aswydd—the bastard son of the king and the sorceress Tarien Aswydd—has spent years unaware of his parentage, yet now it is his time to emerge and claim the gifted birthright he's been denied for so long.

But a dark, sinister magic has crept close to the young man and seized hold of the kingdom. Nothing is as it seems, as the bonds of family strain against the powerful forces that would see them undone—and the battle is joined to unmask and destroy the malevolence that threatens to unhinge the king's peaceful and fragile reign.

Review:  I was upset at the very beginning of this novel.  The first few pages are supposedly a synopsis of the events that happened in the past books, but some of the events never happened.  The author used this three page description to add facts that never actually took place in the books.  It didn't bode well to me.  But, the story was solid.  It's set 15 years after book 4 so perhaps the inclusion of information that wasn't previously revealed is excusable, but it felt a little bit like cheating.

Either way, Cefwyn's two sons are honest and loyal young men.  Their determination and love for one another is stronger than the dark forces that stand against them.  It wasn't my favorite of this series -- Tristen, Uwen and even Cefwyn are secondary characters in this tale.  Aewyn and Elfwyn, both sons of King Cefwyn, are by far the more important roles.

Still, this was a wonderful, fantastical ride and I highly recommend the entire series to anyone who loves some really good fantasy.

Rating:  8 / 10

October 20, 2017

Fortress of Dragons by C. J. Cherryh

Title:  Fortress of Dragons
Author:  C. J. Cherryh
Pages:  422
Genre:  Fantasy
Series:  Tristen, Book 4

Synopsis:  It started long ago, in a tower at the Eye of Time, as a war between the shadowy Immortals who came before our kind. That war persists today, as the wizard Mauryl's Shaping confronts the Shadows that Hasufin summoned from Chaos against the Siddhe lords.

Tristen is that Shaping, a halfling creature of Fire and Shadow. Both more and less than human, he turned back sorcery's tides in the legend-heavy battle of Lewenbrook. Tristen's victory brought his friend Cefwyn the burden of a Kingdom, Ylesuin, and the light of a love that would outlast the ages - Ninevrise, with her gift of prophecy.

But the Lines that hold the world in place are shifting once again. The lightning-sheeted sky is aflame with sorcery's terror and magic's promise. Tasmorden has raised an army of rebels, and planted betrayers in Cefwyn's Dragon Guard. Once again, Cefwyn's peril is Tristen's call to arms.  Astride black-maned Dys, with the eyes of Owl and the counsel of Auld Syes, with the friendship of Crissand and the loyalty of Uwen, Tristen takes up his sword inscribed with "Truth" and "Illusion" back-to-back on its blade.

But the day will not be won by iron edges. Even Tristen's double-edged sword cannot cut through the knot of this new challenge. For Tristen is facing more than a pretender to Cefwyn's throne. The Shadows he sees are not from the overwhelmed sun, but straight from Ruin - a flow of darkness covering the world like ink.  If sorcery is wizardry gone askew, what is magic's dark side? A wind, as nameless as the abyss from which it rises and as cold as the knowledge of Tristen's true origin....

Review:  This was meant to be the last book in the series, I think.  But the author wrote a fifth one, so there is more story and I've already started it.   This book was wonderful and had very many good parts in it.  The characters are still believable and Uwen is still my favorite.

However, there were parts that weren't so much fun this time around.  The national religion seems determined to hate anything they don't understand.  And they don't understand Tristen.  Even so, I can't wait to read the ending to this marvelous tale, although I'll be sorry to see it end.

Rating:  9.5 / 10

October 12, 2017

Fortress of Owls by C. J. Cherryh

Title:  Fortress of Owls
Author:  C. J. Cherryh
Pages:  394
Genre:  Fantasy
Series:  Tristen, Book 3

Synopsis:  "I Dreamed of Owl. That Means Wizardry is Near."

Tristen is a weapon in an ancient war between wizardry and sorcery. He is a summoning and a shaping, brought to life by a wizard. And his sword is a weapon as well. Its keen blade, marked Illusion on one side and Truth on the other, once helped Tristen win the throne of Ylesuin for the young king Cefwyn, gaining Tristen the stewardship of the brave country of Amefel.

Tristen's rule in Amefel is blessed with two extraordinary friends: one a stalwart and simple warrior, the other a young rebel with royal blood. But the scarlet banners of war are unfolding again, and far more than a kingdom is at stake. Now Tristen must take up the sword--as well as the Sihhë magic he has forsworn. He is destiny's own, created a combatant in a far older and more fearsome conflict than any ever imagined by mere mortal man. And he is about to do battle once more. . . .

Review:  Owl, a Shadow from Tristen's first days after his Summoning, has returned.  Owl is, well, an owl, but he's also a Shadow and somehow tied up in the plans Mauryl made for Tristen when he Summoned him.  He leads Tristen out of his city and into the winter snows to save two women.  The last two women Tristen would have chosen to see again.

Uwen is still my very favorite character, although I've also come to really like Ninevrise, King Cefwyn's new wife.  The army has gathered and war is coming with Spring.  I can't wait to read what happens next.

Rating:  10 / 10

October 5, 2017

Fortress of Eagles by C. J. Cherryh

Title:  Fortress of Eagles
Author:  C. J. Cherryh
Pages:  478
Genre:  Fantasy
Series:  Tristen, Book 2

Synopsis:  Tristen is both more and less than a man. A summoning, a shaping, he was brought to life by a wizard, to serve a king yet to be crowned.

Now the wizard is dead.  And young Cefwyn is king.

Cefwyn has a dream: a united Ylesuin, and a peace this land has never known.  Cefwyn needs his only friend, this young man of mysterious origins who is more brother than vassal. He relies on Tristen, and trusts him though he knows not why, as he plans the war that will bring his dream to pass...or bring ruin upon them all.

Review:  I love this series!  I tried two other books (both of which I couldn't finish) before I finally allowed myself to revisit Tristen, Cefwyn, Uwen, and all the rest of the great characters in this story.  Speaking of the story, there was plenty of excitement but not of the warlike kind.  The politicking and backstabbing of the courtiers was almost worse than war! 

Now, I'm geared up and determined.  I'm reading the rest of this series, three more books, non-stop.  Anything less is just a waste of my time.  I want to read more about Tristen, especially now that he's been made His Grace, Duke of Amefel, where the people cheer him as Lord Sihhe.

Rating:  10 / 10

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