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The Thousand Names by Django Wexler
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The Thousand Names (2013)

by Django Wexler

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A very interesting presentation of a magic that hardly anyone still exists. The buildup to the use of it was very well done. Good characterizations, interesting world-building, intriguing plot, with lots of characters to care about. ( )
  majkia | Dec 31, 2016 |
I actually started reading this because of the author's name. I kept singing Django, Django Wexler, King of the wild Vordanians" [sung to the tune of Davey Crockett] until I got sick of it. Then I sang it a couple more times :)

I liked the story a lot more than I thought I would. Not a big fan of the musket era of weaponry, but this worked well.

However, due to some of the morals the author introduced, which I'm guessing will be expounded on in later books, I've decided that this will be enough for me.

" ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
I guess I do like military fantasy, this is like my 4th? series so far and they have all been good. I know it might bot be for everyone, the name says it all. They march, they camp, they fight, they march, they fight. Military fantasy. It's also of course flintlock fantasy, no medieval guys running around with swords here. No, they got guns (swords too of course), but this is is a new era. Society moved forward, guns came around, the way of fighting changed. It is different but I enjoy it.

The book then. Let's see, think United Kingdom and a state they ruled. The king is overthrown, a new religious order cleans out the older more female friendly religion, and the soldiers stationed in the area are pushed back. We have cultural clashes, religious clashes, you name it. But then Vordonai decides to take back power and we begin.

Marcus is a captain and life was pretty good up to the rebellion. He mixed with the locals, he learned the language. All was good. I enjoyed his story and he was a good leader (even if he should have been stricter a few times).

The other big POV is the one of Winter, who rises to the ranks as the campaign begins. He is actually a she who joined the army. Her storyline was good too. And I believed that she could stay hidden.

A few other characters, oh do I have to mention them all? Anyway, good men Winter meets. Officers in charge and more. I am not gonna mention them all know. But they were fleshed out. The bad ones and the goods guys.

As I said in the beginning the book is about setting out to push back the rebels. A skirmish here, a skirmish there, bigger battles. Life in camp. Setting out again and then another story emerges too. The one dealing with magic. Of course there is still magic, and there is something people want.

A great book. I really want to read the next one to see how it all turns out. ( )
  blodeuedd | Mar 2, 2016 |
A fantasy which seemingly takes its inspiration from the Anglo-Afghan wars of the 19th century. The military feel and several other aspects of the book reminded me a bit of R. Scott Bakker’s ‘Darkness that Comes Before’ – but much, much better. (I really didn’t like the Bakker book, but this one I quite enjoyed.)

Marcus d’Ivoire is a commander at the far reaches of the Empire, part of a force assigned to support the deposed ruler of the Vordanai – not an enviable job, by most people’s lights. Few of the forces are volunteers. Marcus is – he followed an old friend into the army out of a sense of obligation. Unfortunately, his friend is a terrible soldier.

Meanwhile, Winter von Ihrenglass, a young woman who joined the army in a boy’s disguise in order to escape the clutches of a girl’s reform school, finds herself both cruelly persecuted – and on an unlikely trajectory of promotion and success within military ranks.

Both may have the path of their careers - and their lives - changed by the arrival of a new commander – the eccentric Colonel Vhalnich, who looks like a wizard, and is either a madman or a brilliant tactician.

Add in a woman spy, a couple of mysterious priestesses, and a legendary relic of power, and off we go...

This was a very impressive start to a series(?), and I wouldn’t mind reading the sequel (there’s a very clear setup for a sequel; it doesn’t end as satisfyingly as it might.) The first half of the book is military fiction with a good bit of realism – the latter part seems like it might veer into more familiar fantasy-quest territory; I’d personally hope the story doesn’t go too far in that direction. My only other slight criticism is that, in military fiction, it always feels more balanced to hear both sides’ perspective on a conflict. There are only a few brief scenes from a Vordanai perspective here, and they sort of feel like they were dropped in almost as lip service to that idea. I’d like to see a more fleshed-out perspective from the ‘other’ side.

Thanks to the publisher and the Goodreads First Reads program for giving me a copy of this book!
( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
The Thousand Names by Django Wexler is a military fantasy about a soldier with a secret, an officer just trying to keep his men alive, and a Colonel with an uncanny mind for strategy and luck. The Thousand Names is actually the first military fantasy that I’ve read and reminded me a lot of court intrigue-based fantasy, except with battles instead of court scenes ;-). The Thousand Names is pretty light on the fantasy for the first two-thirds, and taught me that I’m not overly interested in military plots, but the series has promise.
Note: I borrowed a copy of The Thousand Names. Some things may have changed in the final version.
This book has adult content.



The Thousand Names by Django Wexler (The Shadow Campaigns #1)
Published by Roc on July 2nd, 2013
Genres: Adult, Military Fantasy
Length: 528 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed

Captain Marcus d’Ivoire, commander of one of the Vordanai empire’s colonial garrisons, was resigned to serving out his days in a sleepy, remote outpost. But that was before a rebellion upended his life. And once the powder smoke settled, he was left in charge of a demoralized force clinging tenuously to a small fortress at the edge of the desert.

To flee from her past, Winter Ihernglass masqueraded as a man and enlisted as a ranker in the Vordanai Colonials, hoping only to avoid notice. But when chance sees her promoted to command, she must win the hearts of her men and lead them into battle against impossible odds.

The fates of both these soldiers and all the men they lead depend on the newly arrived Colonel Janus bet Vhalnich, who has been sent by the ailing king to restore order. His military genius seems to know no bounds, and under his command, Marcus and Winter can feel the tide turning. But their allegiance will be tested as they begin to suspect that the enigmatic Janus’s ambitions extend beyond the battlefield and into the realm of the supernatural—a realm with the power to ignite a meteoric rise, reshape the known world, and change the lives of everyone in its path.

Strengths:
Since The Thousand Names is a military fantasy, the war between two cultures plays a large role in the plot. The battle scenes are detailed quite elaborately and I easily believed the tension of the battles and strategizing between battles. As with war in the real world, war in The Thousand Names is gory and merciless, though I didn’t find the gore too much for my weak stomach to handle ;-).
The Thousand Names follows two main characters, Marcus and Winter, but has a surprisingly diverse cast outside of those two characters. As you quickly learn with Winter, there are more women around than anyone realizes, since Winter is a woman who has disguised herself as a man to join the army. Winter also fancies women over men, which is always refreshing to see slipped in to fantasy.
By the end of The Thousand Names, I had already decided that I would be giving the second book a try, since things get quite epic in the last third. Given the direction the plot goes, I have a lot of hope for the second book appealing to me more than the first.
There is magic in The Thousand Names, though it takes over half the book to show up and is still rather mysterious by the end. What magic is used, however, is beautifully described and very cool to imagine.

Weaknesses:
After reading The Thousand Names, I’m quite confident that military stories are not for me. The first half of The Thousand Names is nearly all battles with very little character development sprinkled between descriptions of troop movements. If you like reading about the details of battle strategy, The Thousand Names is the book for you.
Despite two very promising main characters, I felt very little connection to Winter or Marcus for the first half of the book since I knew almost nothing about them. There is very little dialogue that reflects on who these characters really are, so I didn’t really care if they got injured or killed because I felt nothing for them.
I think my biggest frustration with The Thousand Names is the lack of really any context or answers along the way. We know from the beginning that there is a new Colonel and he wants to go chase down the barbarians. However, there is clearly something else going on as well, which would have been interesting if I had gotten enough hints to actually have any idea what is actually going on. By the end of The Thousand Names, I still can’t really tell you what The Thousand Names itself is, despite references to it….
This last point is a weird thing to discuss for me, but I think it must be said. I was thrilled to see a lesbian/bisexual/not straight female character in a fantasy. However, I was forced to question why exactly Winter was attracted to women when her more erotic dreams are the only sex scenes included in The Thousand Names. There are other characters that have sex, but they heterosexual sex is not described to nearly the level that Winter’s fantasies about her previous lover are. I can’t help but feel that Winter was made a lesbian just for gratuitous woman-on-woman erotic dreams….

Summary:
The Thousand Names is a book that strays from my comfort zone and I’m glad that I read it in the end. I’m excited for the rest of the series and hoping that there is more fantasy in the second book and fewer descriptions of battles. Once I finally got to know Winter and Marcus, I found that I liked them as characters, I just wish that I could have gotten details about the main characters and the motivation of the plot sooner. ( )
  anyaejo | Aug 12, 2015 |
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The new supreme rulers of Khandar met in the old common room of the Justices,  the cudgel-bearing peacekeepers and constabulary who were now the closest thing the city of Ashe-Katarion had to a civil authority.
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Winter Ihernglass poses as a man to enlist in the Vordanai Colonials and must form an allegiance with a new colonel, appointed by the king to restore order, after she's promoted to a command post.

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