Sunday, November 6, 2011
Review: The Shattered Vine by Laura Anne Gilman
by Gallery Books
Source: review copy from publisher
Jerzy, Vineart apprentice and former slave, was sent by his master to investigate strange happenings—and found himself the target of betrayal. Now he must set out on his own journey, to find the source of the foul taint that threatens to destroy everything he holds dear. By Jerzy’s side are Ao, who lives for commerce and the art of the deal; Mahault, stoic and wise, risking death in flight from her homeland; and Kaïnam, once Named-Heir of an island principality, whose father has fallen into a magic-tangled madness that endangers them all.
These four companions will travel far from the earth and the soul of the vine, sailing along coastlines aflame with fear, confronting sea creatures summoned by darkness, and following winds imbued with malice. Their journey will take them to the very limits of the Sin Washer’s reach . . . and into a battle for the soul of the Lands Vin. For two millennia the Sin Washer’s Commandment has kept these lands in order: Those of magic shall hold no power over men and those princes of power shall hold no magic. Now, that law has given way. And a hidden force seeks the havoc of revenge.
Laura Anne Gilman is a great writer. Unfortunately, her style is really not for me. I prefer a little more quick and dirty style, rather than the thoughtful, more literary style that she writes in.
The story's magic system is where vinearts (the mages) use spellwine to do magic. They also have what is called "quiet magic". Instead of saying, Jerzy used quiet magic to _________, we hear how he gathered saliva in his mouth to do the magic, what he was thinking, what was going on around him, other spellwines he might recently have used, etc. For some, this might make them immersed in the story, and according to the many high reviews on goodreads, I believe this is the case. For me, it just felt tedious. The whole book is like this.
Some books I give lower grades because I believe the writer isn't very talented and it wasn't well written at all. I don't think that's the case with Gilman. I think she is very good at what she does, and has a real talent for writing. There are lots of people who will love her writing and her style, I'm just not one of them.