Monday, September 29, 2014

Fantasy Reading List: The Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham

This is a series I read a while back, but I think it's worth mentioning. Abraham is one of the more talented writers in the fantasy field today. Although his stories aren't normally my preferred type of fantasy, I enjoy them because he writes them so skillfully. His characters are living, breathing people. His settings come to life.

In this series, his setting is especially vibrant. It has a sort of Asian feel to it, and the magic system is very interesting. It can be a bit hard to adjust to at first, though. In this world, poets bind creatures called andats, which are actually physical manifestations of an idea. It took me until about book three to fully grasp what was going on with this, and I'll admit the first book was a bit of a struggle.

After that, though, the series kept getting better. It's interesting, too, in that it is not one continuous story over a short period of time. Rather, it consists of separate stories following some of the same characters at different stages in their lives. There is some connection plot-wise, but a lot of what ties these stories together comes from the characters, who really drive these stories.

A note on Abraham's characters. Many authors have their characters start at some point on the good/evil spectrum. Abraham, however, tends to have everyone start out pretty neutral. Then they develop over the course of the story. That's part of what's interesting here: watching the characters grown and change.

Another plus: these stories can be epic in scope, but they're not terribly long like a lot of epic fantasy. If you're a fan of political and economic fantasy, you'll probably enjoy these even more than I did.

However, as I mentioned, the first book was a bit of a struggle, mainly because the setting and magic system are a big adjustment. Also, there are some slow spots in the plot. Overall, this series is a good read and definitely worth looking into. Abraham's other series, The Dagger and the Coin, is pretty good too (though it's more of a traditional fantasy).

Rating: 8/10

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