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Sebastian by Anne Bishop
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This was really terrible. Anne Bishop is known for writing id-fulfillment in fantasy novels, complete with as many abused Mary Sues as possible. I expected lots of fluffy titilation with very little substance (no real plot or cohesive world building, I mean), but I was annoyed at how boring and dull the would-be-titilation was. Sebastion is an incubus living in a world created specifically to cater to "dark desires", and yet all he does is have bland sex with women. No kinks, no gender-play, certainly nothing homoerotic (dammit)--the most depraved thing he does is eat cheesy bread shaped like sexual organs. The Den of Iniquity is supposedly terribly shameless and lascivious, yet all that apparently happens there is lame het sex. A single murder sends all the residents into a tizzy. And no one worries about money! Everything is provided by Gloriana Belladonna, a beautiful, abused-as-a-child enchantress. (Note: In Anne Bishop stories, *everyone* is abused as a child.) There's no tension or grit to this book. Even the big terrible monster is A)not scary in the least and B)clearly going to lose, undoubtedly due to some deus ex machina. Ugh. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
All of Anne Bishop's writing (that I've read) have the same themes: men vs. women, power, connection to the natural world. Someone said her writing is "Id-fueled." I'm not sure I agree, but I can't disagree either. Sebastian is engaging and fast paced, but a little worn. The Ephemera series doesn't read any differently from the Black Jewels or Tir Alainn series. Men work to destroy women (and their male allies). One woman hides a powerful secret AND holds the fate of the world in her hands. ( )
1 vote lesmel | Jun 26, 2014 |
  Ebeth.Naylor | Sep 30, 2013 |
I loved Anne Bishop's Black Jewels series and was looking forward to reading more of her work. I was certainly not disappointed with this first book of the Ephemera duology.

I loved so many things about this book, my favorite being the world of Ephemera. Anne Bishop has done such an amazing job of bringing to life the magic of the world itself, Ephemera is created by the feelings and beliefs of the residents, and crossing a bridge will take you to the landscape that reflects the person you truly are inside.
In order to stop the darkness of human feelings from overwhelming the world, landscapers shape the magic of Ephemera into building different types of landscapes, interweaving the light and the darkness into cities and farmland and everything in between.
The conflict begins when "The Eater of the World" escapes from where its been confined for centuries and begins trying to influence the minds of everyone toward the darkness, tipping the balance and changing the face of Ephemera. Only one landscaper is powerful enough to stop this from happening, Belladonna, the cousin of Sebastian. Sebastian is a half wizard half incubus who has struggled to find a place where he belongs, that reflect those two very different sides of his nature. Along the way, he meets Lynnea, who is also searching for a place she can feel safe. The romance between them is not overdone, however, I didn't connect with them as much as I would have liked.
Belladonna is a much more interesting character, escaped from being walled into her garden by the wizards at the landscapers school, Gloriana Belladonna learns what it means to be who she is.
The Den of Iniquity has a variety of fascinating characters, from the bulldemons to the demoncycles, to the pub owner who's specials include Stuffed Tits and Phallic Delights.
What keeps me from rating this a 5 star is that I didn't connect with the characters as much as I would have liked. However, I still truly enjoyed this book and will definitely be reading the next. ( )
  a.happy.booker | Sep 24, 2013 |
When I started this book, I was hoping for another Daughter of the blood. I love that trilogy, with its intriguing world, great magic, and wonderful characters. I also liked most of the sequels, even though they were clearly of lesser quality. Sebastian starts off a new series, though, so I was hoping the level would go up again. I'll be honest. It didn't. That doesn't mean this was a bad book. It was an enjoyable light read, but more of a snack-like quality, than approaching a real meal.

In some ways it is similar to the Daughter of the blood-universe. There is one really powerful, but woefully misunderstood woman. There is a mixture of darkness and light, and this woman, Glorianna Belladonna, embraces both. Darkness is not seen as evil necessarily, but as simply a part of the human heart. Sebastian has some great finds. The world being divided in landscapes, that can only reach each other if there is a magical bridge between them, one that sometimes follows your heart instead of your intentions. A planet that responds to the human heart. Demon motorbikes! How wonderful is that? And you've got to love the bull demons as well. On the other hand, the resident evil seems a bit simplistic, overdone, childish to me. The eater of worlds. Jeez. The main characters are nice enough, but the story is a bit simplistic as well. Love concurs all. Belladonna is so strong and good, she can easily do things no-one else can and save the day. But only if everyone's heart is in the right place, which of course it is, at least for the main characters.

So. A comparison is probably not the best of things here. Glorianna does not have the brilliance of Jaenelle, Sebastian does not compare with the Sa Diablo's. None of the landscapes come close to Kaeleer. The same for the story and the world. But, judging the book on its own merit instead of comparing, it does have a nice universe, nice characters and a feel-good story. I definitely enjoyed myself, and although I'll skip the parts of the bad guys on a re-read, I'm pretty sure at some point I will re-read it. ( )
  zjakkelien | Jul 16, 2013 |
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Long ago, in a time that has faded from memory, a mother's tears forged the bridge that, ever after, connected the power of the living, ever-changing world to the human heart. - Myth
For Pat York who crossed over to other landscapes. I'm glad you were part of my life.
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Standing at the kitchen counter, Sebastian closed his eyes and inhaled slowly and deeply to savor the smell of freshly ground koffea beans.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451460960, Mass Market Paperback)

Long ago, Ephemera was split into a dizzying number of magical lands-connected only by bridges that may take you where you truly belong, rather than where you had intended to go. In one such land, where night reigns and demons dwell, the half-incubus Sebastian revels in dark delights. But in dreams she calls to him: a woman who wants only to be safe and loved-a woman he hungers for while knowing he may destroy her.And an even more devastating destiny awaits him, for an ancient evil is stirring-and Sebastian's realm may be the first to fall.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:46 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In a world of shifting lands connected only by bridges, the magic of the Landscapers keeps Ephemera stable, until dark and seductive dreams lure Sebastian, a half-incubus, to search for the woman of his visions, and the evil Eater of the World escapes its prison, threatening all with destruction.… (more)

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