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Irona 700 by Dave Duncan
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Irona 700

by Dave Duncan

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184561,019 (3.43)None
2015 (1) B-??? (1) eb (1) ebook (1) fantasy (3) government (1) GR Import (1) Leadership (1) power (1) read in 2016 (1) Ruler (1) sf (1) to-read (4) to-read-priority (1) wishlist (1)

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A woman’s rise and fall in a fantasy world

This novel by Dave Duncan is quite entertaining and engaging. I have previously read the Blades books which I enjoyed and hoped for a similar experience with this standalone novel. However it does not have the humour and light touch which I associated with the Blades books.

This is the story of Irona who develops from a young fisherman’s daughter into one of the most important people in the Empire in which she lives. This is her story and focuses on her development as well as the political machinations and jockeying for power that go into the theocracy which reigns over the Empire. Wars with other regions ensue as well as the putting down of invasions by mysterious creatures.

Recommended to fans of all of the author’s work and reminiscent of Trudi Canavan’s and Karen Miller’s work but not as good in my opinion as the Blades books.
( )
  PaulAllard | Dec 9, 2015 |
This is the first Open Road Media book I didn't care for. When I started reading, I thought it would be yet another Dystopian novel and Irona would overthrow the empire somehow. In a way, Irona believes this of herself as well, but that's not what happens at all. Perhaps that's the point of the story; not everyone is capable or even wants to start a revolution. The problem with that is it makes for a yawn of a story.

I was interested in how Irona began working within the system she had hated all her life, but I continually wondered where the story was going and why I should care. By the 75% mark, I began to dislike Irona, and by 80%, I was thoroughly bored but determined to finish the book. It wasn't until I had only about 5% left that I finally found out where Irona fit in the grand scheme of things. She is the hero of the story, just not in the way you would think, and getting there made the book seem much longer than it is. On top of that, the author uses rape as a signifier of true evilness, and I'm a firm believer that there are better ways to write evil without having to resort to sexual assault. While the one rape scene wasn't exactly disturbing to me, it may trigger others, and it certainly wasn't necessary.

Until today, the lowest rating I've given to an Open Road Media book was three stars (The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson). This one gets two stars. It just didn't have enough good storytelling for me to give it three. If you enjoy epic Greek or Roman style settings or political stories, and you don't take issue with sexual violence, maybe check Irona 700 out from the library and give it a chance. I wouldn't pay money for this book, though. ( )
  FortifiedByBooks | Oct 8, 2015 |
Every year, a 16 year old child is chosen from the general population to begin one of the Chosen, the elite who govern. Irona, the daughter of an impoverished fisherman, is chosen as number 700. The book chronicles her life and her emergence as one of the most powerful rulers.

I really enjoyed the concept behind this book. However, I wanted more. The gods were not explained very well and the author seemed to skip over everything but military battles. That being said, I would definitely read another book set in this universe. ( )
  JanaRose1 | Sep 22, 2015 |
Interesting!

In some ways the storyline's premise becomes more intriguing as the plot continues. The charting of Irona 700's life is filled with flashes of brilliance, personal disappointments, hard slog, politicking and degenerate wars.
Irona Matrinko, daughter of a fisherman, is chosen at an annual ceremony at the city of Benign, by the blind goddess Caprice. She becomes Chosen, Irona 700.
A major question must be what part do the gods really play? Where does freedom of choice enter the equation? Is Irona chosen by the goddess or by chance and in this case can the two be really separated? After all look at the goddess' name!
'Caprice was patron of the city, goddess of the sea, of chance, and the only divinity ever shown in human form. Caprice was worshiped. Most of the others were feared. Maleficence [is] God of evil.'
Fitting into what turns out to be the top strata of society that is adept at politicking, moving up the rung of success by bribery, favours and sometimes villainy, it soon becomes apparent that to just survive Irona must learn the rules fast.
Challenges are thrown in front of Irona and it seems Caprice (if one holds to her influence) just might have something in store for Irona.
The disappearance of Irona's lover and father of her child is a dark mystery, one that certainly made Irona and made me wonder what really happened at Vult. The more I read, the more questions surround the presence of the enemy Maleficence. The suppositions become reality. Vult is a fortress, all that stands between the minions of Maleficience, 'the shapeless', and the Empire.
Irona constantly sacrifices compassion for expediency it seems, all the time for the benefit of the governing of the Empire and inherent with that, her own path. She makes hard choices, impossible choices and they eat away at her.
Irona brings to being a Chosen her childhood knowledge of a life outside the Empire, of the way of the sea, a life that knows about hardship and struggles and the ability to fight.
Again was her being Chosen the work of the goddess Caprice, blind luck, or the more prosaic explanation of a bribe gone wrong--an accident of the moment?
The repugnance of the creatures that surround Vult and the chaos of Maleficence is not to be disregarded. This made for unpleasant responses being as it were, drawn into that level of degenerateness. It definitely was not enchanting.
I am unsure as to whether I actually enjoyed Irona 700 it but it certainly was in many aspects, food for thought.

A NetGalley ARC ( )
  eyes.2c | Sep 2, 2015 |
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