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Banewreaker: Volume I of The Sundering by…
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Banewreaker: Volume I of The Sundering (edition 2005)

by Jacqueline Carey

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953229,110 (3.39)31
Member:ajhackwith
Title:Banewreaker: Volume I of The Sundering
Authors:Jacqueline Carey
Info:Tor Fantasy (2005), Edition: 1st Mass Market Edition, August 2005, Mass Market Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Banewreaker by Jacqueline Carey

  1. 10
    The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien (ryvre)
  2. 10
    The Black Company by Glen Cook (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Another fantasy tale told from the typically opposing side.
  3. 00
    The Last Ringbearer by Kiril Yeskov (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: Both stories recast the basic plot of Lord of the Rings from the "evil" point of view. The Last Ringbearer is directly set in Middle Earth, while Banewreaker (and the other part of the Sundering duology, Godslayer) is in a different setting that features many parallels to Middle Earth.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Jacqueline Carey's Banewreaker is nothing like her Kushiel books. It's written in third person, not first, which brings a lot of differences right there. You're not as close to the characters, for one thing, which makes it slightly less intense. The writing is still lovely, though. Less personal, more epic and Tolkienesque, but still nice to read.

It's an interesting concept, though: the epic like Lord of the Rings from the point of view of the bad guys, sympathetic to the bad guys. I think it's done pretty well, it's quite a good reflection of the old 'there's two sides to every story'. It actually makes me hesitant to read Godslayer, because of what's likely to happen. Doesn't good always win?

The parallels to Lord of the Rings are pretty blatant. There's a Frodo equivalent, the Nazgul equivalents, a Saruman equivalent... I didn't mind it because the point isn't a new story, it's a new side to an old story, which I think Carey brings across just fine.

The characters, as I said, you don't get as close to as in the Kushiel books, but they're still interesting characters. There's a huge range of them: humans, elf-equivalents, god-equivalents, troll-equivalents... It's going to hurt no matter which side loses, thanks to the affection I have for the some of the characters. There are a lot of interesting characters, too, despite the derivative plot -- the Three immortal servants of Satoris are pretty interesting, but especially Ushahin, with his adoption by the Were and his double heritage. Very, very interesting.

I both can't wait to read Godslayer and don't want to. I'm futilely hoping for a happy end, but I know Carey doesn't mind hurting characters she loves, so I know it's pretty much futile. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
I was a sucker for the whole "lord of the rings-esque story from the perspective of the villains" concept, so that gave it points from the start. I really enjoyed the book. Good pacing and an interesting world. The characters were just alright--I felt like they could have been developed to be a little more interesting. Even the bad guys seemed to fall back on misunderstood anti-hero stereotypes a bit more often than I liked. And I missed the presence of a really interesting, strong female character. Maidens in distress and brave-but-boring archer heroines just did not do it for me and I expected more from Carey. The sorceress was the most interesting character, but she lacked really any agency, compared to all the other characters.

Still, I enjoyed the book. I'll still read the sequel, but I'm hoping the characters improve and the women are given a little bit more to do in their own right. ( )
  ajhackwith | Jan 3, 2013 |
starts very slow, and the language is stilted. but it gets better. the setup is not uninteresting: a god figure drives his brother out for the gifts he gave this world, which number among them creation, compassion, and knowledge; the brother, a benign version of Lucifer, reviled, is cast down, banished, but still holding to his best self, only to see those races he has gifted and protected turn on him at the behest of his brother. he and his lieutenants, Three who were once mortal, are powerful characters damaged and damned through no fault of their own, and they are driven to make some questionable decisions as survival and the greater good become an issue. and the various races created by the gods, pawns in this war, are all compelling in their differences, even the least of them portrayed as profoundly human in the best sense, however alien their thought, even when they are forced by events into betrayal. and there are many wild cards, who may yet change the seemingly inevitable end to the conflict, including some fascinating dragons. so this is a series that desperately needed a stronger editorial hand at the beginning, but may grow into itself if both characters and world expand into a compelling story. ( )
  macha | Jul 19, 2012 |
Sequel please! ( )
  hjjugovic | Feb 26, 2012 |
Summary: In ages past, the seven Shapers made the world and all of the beings who dwelt therein. Haomane, Lord of Thought, eldest of the Shapers, and creator of the Ellylon, became angry with Sartoris, who would not withdraw his gift of quickening from their sister's children, the race of Man. In their struggles, the world was sundered, and Sartoris separated from the rest of his siblings, to dwell in exile. But while he holds Banewreaker, a blade capable of killing even a Shaper, Haomane can make no overt move against him, and so he bides in his stronghold of Darkhaven, along with his three lieutenants, men who left mortality behind when they swore to the Sunderer's service.

However, there is a prophecy that predicts Sartoris's downfall, a prophecy which speaks, among other things, of a wedding of a daughter of the Ellylon and a son of the lineage of mortal kings. Sartoris sends his general, Tanaros, to disrupt the wedding and kidnap the Ellylon bride, Cerelinde. Tanaros does this willingly, but he is haunted by thoughts of his mortal life, and the betrayals he has committed... but is he now keeping faith with the right side?

Review: If it's not immediately obvious from my summary, the Sundering duology draws very, very heavily upon Tolkien. And not just in the way that a lot of modern fantasy relies upon Tolkien, but in actual point-by-point plot parallels. The prologue, that describes the Sundering, is more-or-less a direct recap of The Silmarillion, and a lot of the action of the story parallels The Lord of the Rings (right down to the fellowship of good guys that are accompanying an unsophisticated boy who carries an immensely heavy object that is the only way to defeat the bad guy). However, these parallels are clearly intentional, meant as a way of retelling the story from a different perspective, so they read as homage rather than rip-off.

And actually, I found the story a lot easier to get through once I stopped looking for direct parallels (an activity hampered by the fact that I haven't read The Silmarillion in six years), and started enjoying the story for its own sake. Carey includes plenty of story elements that have no direct relation to Tolkien's world, and as the story progressed, and I got more and more caught up in *this* world and *these* characters, I started enjoying the story on its own merits, as well as for the light it shines onto the more familiar works.

Retelling a story from the bad guy's point of view isn't exactly a new idea - Wicked is the most obvious, though far from the only, example - but I've never before seen it applied to epic fantasy. One of the hallmarks of a lot of epic fantasy is the ultimate battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil, and it's always quite clear who the good guys are, and why they do what they do. What Carey's accomplished with Banewreaker is to turn everything on its head, so that the side with all of the typical bad-guy trappings (land of eternal darkness, giant spiders, wounds weeping black ichor, etc.) are the protagonists, and their motives are completely understandable.

Actually, what Carey's done is made the reader (me, at least), want to root for the bad guys. Sartoris is not particularly evil, and just wants to be left alone... and honestly, for all that he's the lord of light and thought and everything, Haomane's kind of a dick. But there's a clear element of tragedy to things as well, because we've all read epic fantasy before, which means we all know that good is ultimately going to win, even though you might actually like the bad guys more. It's a fascinating turnabout, and makes me want to go back and re-read Tolkien with a closer eye on the ostensible bad guys, and see if they're really so bad after all. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: It's not a casual read - Carey's language and tone are such that a fair bit of attention and time is required to really get into the story - but I think that most Tolkien fans (particularly those who don't view all derivative works as sacrilege) should enjoy Carey's perspective. ( )
  fyrefly98 | Dec 26, 2011 |
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Epigraph
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The place was called Gorgantum.
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So farewell hope, and with hope farewell fear, Farewell remorse: all good to me is lost; Evil be thou my Good.
John Milton, Paradise Lost
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765344297, Mass Market Paperback)

If all that is good thinks you evil... are you?

Once upon a time, the Seven Shapers dwelled in accord and Shaped the world to their will. But Satoris, the youngest among them, was deemed too generous in his gifts to the race of Men, and so began the Shapers' War, which Sundered the world. Now six of the Shapers lay to one end of a vast ocean, and Satoris to the other, reviled by even the race of Men.

Satoris sits in his Darkhaven, surrounded by his allies. Chief among them is Tanaros Blacksword, immortal Commander General of his army. Once a mortal man who was betrayed by King and Wife, Tanaros fled to Darkhaven a thousand years ago, and in Satoris's service has redeemed his honor-but left his humanity behind.

Now there is a new prophecy that tells of Satoris's destruction and the redemption of the world. To thwart it, Satoris sends Tanaros to capture the Lady of the Ellylon, the beautiful Cerelinde, to prevent her alliance with the last High King of Men.

But Tanaros discovers that not all of his heart has been lost--his feelings for Cerelinde could doom Satoris, but save the race of Men...

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:22 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Once, the Seven Shapers dwelled in accord. First born among them was Haomane, Lord-of-Thought - who with his six sibling gods shaped the world to his will. But Haomane was displeased, for his younger brother Satoris was too prideful in his gifts to the race of Men, and refused to bow to Haomane. So began the Shapers' War.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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