As Prince Tayy prepares to assume the leadership of the Qubal clans, treacherous enemies threaten his ascension with dark magic-and only the apprentice shaman destined to be Tayy's bride can save him....
|Title||:||Lords of Grass and Thunder|
|Number of Pages||:||576 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Lords of Grass and Thunder Reviews
This is the standalone follow-up to Curt Benjamin's Seven Brothers trilogy. It follows Prince Tayyichiut, a character from the series, and what happens when he returns from the war that he fought in that trilogy. His father was killed by a serpent-demon disguised as his wife during the war, and now his uncle has taken over the khanate. His uncle fully intends to hand over the khanate to Tayyichiut, but he wants to do so only once he's secured peace. He hopes to use a previously unacknowledged daughter, called Eluneke, to enter into a marriage treaty with the only remaining enemy of the Qubal on the grasslands. Unfortunately for him, it turns out that said daughter has a will of her own. As a budding shamaness, she is already somewhat unsuitable for marriage, and when she falls in love at first sight with Tayyichiut, and he with her, that only complicates matters. Add in the fact that the serpent-demon who killed the prior khan is not as gone as everyone thinks, and you have a recipe for disaster. I was a really big fan of the Seven Brothers trilogy as a teenager, so I was very excited for this book when it came out. Unfortunately, I was not only in the midst of a bit of a reading drought when it came out, I also have a bad habit of putting off the things I'm excited for until the 'perfect moment.' Cue me, ten years later, finally getting around to reading this book. And to be honest, I really wish I had read the book when it came out. I'm almost positive that I would have enjoyed it greatly. However, as an older and more experienced reader, I found this book to be a fun, but ultimately flawed, effort. First, the good. The setting was a huge plus here. This is a Mongolian-based fantasy, and it's a great change of pace from the normal European-based systems. I liked all the subtleties of the setting, from the serpent-demon that acts as the main villain, to the shaman training that Eluneke goes under. It felt very fresh. I also enjoyed the characters, for the most part. I thought they were all very well-realized. Each person had a history, had powers, had plots and plans. I always enjoy a strong cast of characters, and this book was no exception. My favorite was probably Eluneke, who balances strength and weakness very convincingly. I didn't enjoy Tayy as much, even though he was ostensibly the main character. I think this may be a flaw in my reading strategy. It's been so long since I read the books that originally introduced Tayy that I honestly don't remember much more than the bare outlines of them. I don't remember Tayy at all, so if the author was relying on the previous trilogy to create sympathy for Tayy in me, that was a miscalculation. Which is not to say that I disliked Tayy, but I felt like he was underdeveloped when compared with everyone else.I also want to mention the romance side of this. This book does something that was pretty common back in the late 1990s and early 2000s in that it pairs up everyone. No character is without a love interest, and most of those love interests are not one-sided. I know it's an unrealistic strategy, but it's actually one that I really enjoyed as a change of pace. I've been in the mood for some romance lately, but it's been exceedingly rare in my epic fantasy choices, so this aspect of the book was also really fun for me. I think Bekter's romance was my favorite, although I did enjoy the part that romance played in the motivations of the villains as well. On the not-so-positive side, this book had a pacing issue. It's about 560 pages, which is substantial but not overwhelming. I can read a 300 page book in a couple days without breaking a sweat, so this should not have taken me more than a month. Admittedly, I put it down and read other books in between. However, if there wasn't a pacing issue, I don't think I would have ever put it down in the first place. The plot moves exceedingly slowly in places, and I think it could have been about a hundred pages shorter and not lost any of its substance. There were also some narrative tics that bothered me. For example, although most of the book is a bit formally written, there are times when the author falls out of that style dramatically, especially as the book draws near an end. In addition, there's quite a bit of hopping between character points of view. Some character views only last a page, imparting very little new information, and drawing attention away from the story as a whole. I wish that Benjamin had chosen to adopt a more static viewpoint. I think it would have given the story more flow and a better pace of movement. In the end, I give this book 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 because it just wasn't quite good enough to merit rounding up. I really wish I had read it ten years ago, when I first picked it up. I think the fresh setting and fun characters would have been a much bigger draw for me, and the pacing issues less of a problem. Still, it's an enjoyable book and well worth a read for someone looking for a more non-traditional epic fantasy.