Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear is the first in a truly unique fantasy trilogy. It was taking me forever to find time to actually read this much beloved trilogy, so I checked to see if the audiobook was any good and let me tell you that that was a wonderful life decision! In Range of Ghosts, Bear creates a refreshingly original fantasy world focused on inspiration from the steppe-region of our world but with a whole lot of intriguing magic thrown in along with strong female characters (including a tiger-person!) and just enough romance to hit the spot :).
Note: I received a copy of Range of Ghosts from the publisher. I also listened to Range of Ghosts on audio, which does impact my reading experience.
Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear
Narrated by Celeste Ciulla
(Eternal Sky #1)
Published by Tor Books on March 27th, 2012
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 334 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher, Purchased
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog
Temur, grandson of the Great Khan, is walking away from a battlefield where he was left for dead. All around lie the fallen armies of his cousin and his brother, who made war to rule the Khaganate. Temur is now the legitimate heir by blood to his grandfather’s throne, but he is not the strongest. Going into exile is the only way to survive his ruthless cousin.
Once-Princess Samarkar is climbing the thousand steps of the Citadel of the Wizards of Tsarepheth. She was heir to the Rasan Empire until her father got a son on a new wife. Then she was sent to be the wife of a Prince in Song, but that marriage ended in battle and blood. Now she has renounced her worldly power to seek the magical power of the wizards. These two will come together to stand against the hidden cult that has so carefully brought all the empires of the Celadon Highway to strife and civil war through guile and deceit and sorcerous power.
- I can’t get over how awesome and unique the setting for Range of Ghosts is. I love the clear influences from the history of the steppe-region of eastern Europe/northern Asia, including lots of horses and mythology reminiscent of folklore from those cultures!
- The magic of Range of Ghosts is also quite inventive. There are lots of subtle magical things mentioned here and there, including how the sky changes very clearly depending on what part of the world you are in (like colors and how many moons there are!). We also find out quickly at the beginning of Range of Ghosts that anyone can become a wizard if they sacrifice their fertility by undergoing surgery D:. Talk about sacrifice, but magic!
- Range of Ghosts doesn’t have a strong romantic thread, but there is definitely something sweet brewing and I’m excited to see where things go as the trilogy progresses. I also liked how maturely the romance was handled by the characters involved given the crazy situation they find themselves in ;-).
- It is a tricky thing to balance answering enough of the originally raised questions to satisfy the reader while also proposing new questions to keep us interested, but Range of Ghosts does a good job walking that line. I am satisfied with what was revealed, but of course those answers just led to more questions so I have to read book two!
- The writing of Range of Ghosts is really a treat. The way the landscape and cities are described put you right there and I couldn’t help but just get a happy feeling listening to the words no matter how bad things were going for the characters haha.
- The narration of Range of Ghosts also compliments the writing quite well! This was a new narrator for me, but I quite like how she captured the main characters’ voices and kept me engaged with the text.
- I have this problem with plots sometimes. I need the original quest that is proposed in the beginning to be at least somewhat resolved by the end of the book, even if it is a series book. I need the characters to have made at least some progress. Therefore, when, like with Range of Ghosts, the characters sort of end up going off and solving something else and not making progress on the original problem, I am left feeling lacking in resolution. Oh well, guess I have to read book two ;-).
- Range of Ghosts is filled with interesting and authentic names for people and places. This makes listening to the audiobook a bit tricky at first if you are someone who has trouble with tracking names audibly like me. It also means you will have no idea how to spell them when you write a review, haha. Perhaps having a physical copy of the book to consult would help resolve this problem though!
Range of Ghosts is an excellent start to a trilogy clearly deserving in the amount of love it has received. I’m glad I’m finally catching up with this fantasy world and can only say that any fan of adult fantasy needs to make sure they read this book!
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear
© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.