It is interesting that her words should ring true even in the context of the real world, but that is one of the marvels of fiction: a writer can build an entire fantasy world, but have their characters still say and do things that the reader will recognise in the context of their own, lived experience. After finishing Shattered Pillars I knew she was going to become important in Steles of the Sky — though in a way I did not expect. Still, it made me happy to read about her becoming important, especially because Tsering is a wizard with no magic.
But Tsering became great not because she had magic in her, but because she had none — and how that makes her great is made clear towards the end of the novel, when her actions actually bring the war to a close. It would have been so ridiculously easy for this to become a trite and messy love triangle, but I should have known better than to worry, because Bear obviously knows her stuff and these three got on just fine, with Edene viewing Samarkar as a sister-wife and as a friend and ally precisely because they both love Temur.
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But now that I speak of Edene, I would just like to say this: there have been many Ringbearers in fantasy fiction, but I think Edene could eat them all for breakfast, given her fortitude against the seductive whispers of the Green Ring of Erem. I apologise to Frodo, for his burden was a great one, but I do personally think that Edene could have taken the One Ring straight off to Mordor and dropped it into the fire, all the while giving Sauron all the sass she has in her possession — all this while wearing the One Ring. As for the plot, it feels a bit scattered, jumping from character to character as Bear tries to tell the story from as many angles as possible.
They do come together, eventually, but for a while it feels a bit disorienting, as the reader goes from Reason to Tsarepeth to the Caliphate to Kyiv, and back again. Plus, some of the smaller side-stories can be remarkably fun: the one concerning Ato Tesefahun and Iskandar, once-Uthman Caliph, is hilarious, as they act like a pair of grouchy, snarky old men on a long road trip with someone they can only barely stand to be around.
I will admit that I felt teary-eyed while reading that part, a feeling that was matched only later, at the end of the novel. Overall, Steles of the Sky is a satisfying conclusion to the Eternal Sky Trilogy — an ending that has not one single note of falseness to it. You are commenting using your WordPress.
The Wertzone: Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear
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So much less than human. Oh, and best all: none of the animals died!
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From the " Eternal Sky " series, volume 3. Email Address. Review Posted Online: Feb.
. Steles Of The Sky By Elizabeth Bear
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