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The Ages of Chaos by Marion Zimmer Bradley
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Stormqueen! This was an enjoyable story. I've read very few of the Darkover books, so I had no preconceived notions of what this book should be. I found myself saddened by the many circumstances in this story of young people born with tremendous psychic abilities (laran, in their own language), but also born into extreme danger of death by the same. So much suffering simply because the older generations believe they MUST have an heir, and that heir must have laran, even if it will be the death of them. I found this story compelling, the characters very human and fallible and interesting, even though ultimately this is a tragic story.

Hawkmistress! : I enjoyed this book the better of the two. It had a much more hopefull and positive tone, and the journey of the young protaganist was interesting and believable in the context of her own society. The usual background issues of family, laran, and geneology were very much a part of the story, but in this case did not lead to a tragic conclusion. ( )
  puttocklibrary | Oct 30, 2012 |
One of my all-time favorite sci-fi/fantasy series by one of my all-time favorite authors. Highly recommended. ( )
  willowcove | Feb 19, 2009 |
Stormqueen is book 1 of a 'Darkover' omnibus called "The Ages of Chaos". The Age of Chaos was a time similar to our "Dark Ages" when living was feudal. The omnibus describes the how society, namely the rich and influential, spent a lot of time trying to harness and control powerful Laren (or magic) into their families. Sons and daughters were basically breeding stock, unfortunately many died when they reach puberty as their full powers come in. Sometimes a child with such powerful laren is born that it kills it mother during the birth process, sometimes dying itself shortly after.

In Stormqueen, Dorilys is one such child, she is born with such tremendous power that she can call bolts of lightening down to kill. The result of this is one little girl who gets whatever she wants as her family and servants don't want to be zapped if she chucks a tantrum. As she approaches puberty her father and brother seek help from a Tower to teach Dorilys to control her power. The character of Dorilys is portrayed is a typical teenager, sometimes arrogant and spoiled, but also courageous and loving. These two aspects of her character pull her either way as her supporters struggle to help her survive her own power. Unfortunately, all of her supporters have their own problems, her father, Mikhail of Aldaran, has seen all of his previous children die as they reach puberty, and is desperate for a male heir to stop his brother taking over the family. Allart has a power that shows him all possible consequences of each act, and it drives him mad trying to figure out which course to follow. Renata has powerful magic, and refuses to be just a childbearing pawn. Finally, Dorilys's half brother,Donal is forced to marry Dorilys to meet his stepfather's desire for an heir.

I found this story hard to read due to all of the ethical issues of forced breeding. I also found it hard to read as the story was hard to follow and told from various points of view. I also got very confused as to why Allart was at the castle at all - eventually it all fell into place, but took a while. I am a huge fan of the darkover series - but was not happy with this story.

Hawkmistress is book 2 of a 'Darkover' omnibus called "The Ages of Chaos".

In this story the main character is a girl named Romilly MacAran, the MacAran's are an important family. She has the ability, laren, to get inside the mind of animals, mainly horses and hawks. Her eldest brother left home to train in a Tower, a place where Laren is used to make matrixes that are used to build things. This enraged Romilly's father and he has disowned the brother and banned the use of laren. Her father thinks that Romilly is unladylike for using her laren to train a hawk so he arranges for her to marry a man she finds disgusting and unacceptable. Instead of accepting the marriage, she ran away from home.

Romilly disguises herself as a man as Darkover is extremely patriarchal and women have no rights in society. After some adventures, Romilly meets up with Dom Carlo and his exile band who are joining the army of the exiled King Carolin. She joins up with the group - still disguised as a man. When she is busted, she is taken to the Sisterhood of the Sword, a female/warrior society. Her laren is much appreciated by the King and she ends up his trainer for horses and the sentry birds. She stays with the army as the final battle for power takes place - a terrible battle that no man should have to endure, let alone a woman.

I prefered this story to Stormqueen - had more sympathy for Romilly. Not one of her best books in the Darkover series - but a good average one :) ( )
  sally906 | Nov 9, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Marion Zimmer Bradleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kukalis, RomasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Catherine L. Moore
First Lady of Science Fiction

I have ceased, I hope, the imitation which is said to be the sincerest form of flattery. I shall never outgrow, I hope, the desire to emulate; nor the admiration, the affection, and the inspiration which she has created in every woman who writes science fiction and fantasy -- and in most of the men too!
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0756400724, Mass Market Paperback)

Set during the lawless Ages of Chaos, when the ruling families of the Seven Domains of Darkover ruthlessly inbred their psychic offspring to gain powerful and fearsome talents, two young women are born with "wild" psychic gifts. These stories, one tragic and one triumphant, combine to give the reader a vivid and poignant picture of a devastating time period in the history of this fantastic world.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:02 -0400)

Set during the lawless Ages of Chaos, when the ruling families of the Seven Domains of Darkover ruthlessly inbred their psychic offspring to gain powerful and fearsome talents, two young women are born with "wild" psychic gifts. These stories, one tragic and one triumphant, combine to give the reader a vivid and poignant picture of a devastating time period in the history of this fantastic world.… (more)

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