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The Compass Rose by Gail Dayton
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The Compass Rose

by Gail Dayton

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2501045,873 (3.84)22
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  1. 00
    A Brother's Price by Wen Spencer (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For polyamory and adventure.
  2. 11
    Obsidian Butterfly by Laurell K. Hamilton (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: On balancing the polyamorous lifestyle. Oh, and slaying monsters.
  3. 11
    Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: Because of the vivid sexual descriptions and political underpinnings.
  4. 00
    The Door Into Fire by Diane Duane (lquilter)
    lquilter: The Diane Duane series, beginning with "The Door Into Fire", "The Door Into Shadow" (omnibus of first two: "The Sword and the Dragon"), and "The Door Into Sunset", has several elements of interest to readers of Gail Dayton's "The Compass Rose" -- in particular, strong female characters; a matriarchal goddess-based magic system; a polyamorous group marriage in which pretty much all the main characters end up in bed/marriage together. Dayton's is much more heterosexual romance, though, so Duane's series is particularly good for the queer-friendly.… (more)
  5. 01
    Mona Lisa Awakening by Sunny (infiniteletters)
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» See also 22 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
This novel was first published by Luna, a Harlequin imprint marketed toward fantasy readers that drew from both romance and fantasy writers. I generally felt most of their books were too romance aisle and not strong fantasies. The Compass Rose is actually one of the exceptions in that respect among the Luna books that I liked with some creative world-building.

I thought the world Dayton created was intriguing: Adara, a matriarchal society, practices group marriage requiring at least four members. This society is magic-based--there's North, South, West and East magic. The protagonist, Kallista, is a naitan, a magical practitioner of North magic and captain in their army who can call down lightening. When it looks like she might lose a battle she calls on the Goddess--and finds herself able to destroy the invading army--but there's a catch. She's now "god marked" and tied to others so marked she must marry and with whom she can tap magic to defeat the forces arrayed against her nation: her bodyguard, with whom she's been partnered a long time, two prisoners of war, a female refugee and a foreign merchant.

I'm generally not a fan actually of fiction involving polyamory--or forced marriage, and in a sense the "god mark" acts as such a device. I prefer stories that develop intimacy between just two, not only because multiples aren't appealing to me and to my mind just two in real life terms hard enough, but in fictional terms more than two major characters can become unwieldy and there's little chance to develop six.

I think I liked this work involving polyamory more than most for several reasons. Unlike say LK Hamilton's Anita Blake series, I didn't feel this was some piled-on harem--each character had their own conflicts and brought something into the mix--the inclusion of foreign characters, even ones from an enemy nation, meant Kallista and the others really had to work to form themselves into a family. Together with the matriarchal culture and the magical system I thought this brought an interesting dimension to the plot. In that regard this brought to mind Marion Zimmer Bradley's Forbidden Tower with its clash of personalities and cultures within a group of people who must find a way to mesh together magically and sexually in order to survive and flourish.

I also thought this novel was on the whole well-written. It's a complex plot and world and Dayton builds it well--gradually letting you in on its ins and outs through the story itself instead of wads of infodump. I think the novel's biggest fault is that I think its conflicts both internal to the group and in terms of the menace they face was resolved far too easily.

The novel was a good, entertaining read--a solid work of fantasy even if not a favorite or one that has me rushing to read the next book in the trilogy. ( )
1 vote LisaMaria_C | Jul 8, 2010 |
See review of complete trilogy at http://www.librarything.com/review/52272704. ( )
  lquilter | Oct 23, 2009 |
Have you ever read a book that immediately wrapped you up in its magic and refused to let you go? That's what happened to me with Gail Dayton's THE COMPASS ROSE, the first in the One Rose Trilogy. From amazing characterizations to a world unlike any you've read about before, this book takes you straight into the heart of the story and makes you a part of the action, the mystery, the romance, and the unimaginable magic that is the nation of Adara.

Kallista Varyl is a Captain in the Adaran army, a woman intent on saving her city from the invading warriors of their neighboring kingdom, Tibre. The army of Tibre, unlike that of Adara, relies on man-made instruments such as guns and cannons to win its battles, instead of the magic that Kallista and her people use. Now, though, outnumbered over ten to one, magic doesn't seem to be enough-until Kallista, in desperation, calls upon a power that was thought to be only legend, and changes the course of history.

Kallista, beyond being a warrior, is also a naitan, a magic wielder. Some have even called her a witch. But her normal magic powers aren't enough to out-battle and out-smart the hordes of the Tibre army, and so she calls upon the One Goddess, something that her kingdom's myths and legends are made of. Only it wasn't a legend, as after calling upon the powers that be, the entire Tibre army is struck dead where they stand-all, that is, except for Stone, a warrior who stirs within Kallista feelings she's never before experienced.

Now she's conquered the rival Tibre warriors, but she's left with even more questions than answers. With a mysterious mark on her neck and the brooding Stone, Kallista faces her elders-only to find out that she's been Godstruck, an occurrence that hasn't happened in her nation for over a thousand years. With power beyond belief, Kallista must learn to control the magic that has made her the fulfillment of a prophecy, for she is now the one destined to save her people from the Tibre, and their demon-possessed king.

As if defeating the evil king and harnessing her powers weren't enough, the ruler of Adara decrees that all six Godstruck players, not limited to Kallista and Stone, marry and form an instant magical family. They're then ordered to infiltrate the kingdom of Tibre to overthrow its king, and everything that such a coup entails.

Gail Dayton has created a magical world unlike anything I've ever experienced. The strange sense of family that abounds in Adara becomes understandable as the story unfolds. The bond that Kallista and Stone share goes beyond mere passion and intertwines with their combined magic. The secondary characters in this book are so real that without them, the book wouldn't be the same. I can honestly say that I'm eagerly anticipating the continuation of this story with the release of THE BARBED ROSE. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 13, 2009 |
If the fight finale took as many pages as the lead-up anticipated, then the book would be three times longer. That is to say, there was a lot of set-up and presentation, which was very intereting!, but then the big fight was over extrememly quickly, and suddenly the book's over.
I loved the description of the matriarchal culture; it was extrememly well thought out, down to men having a glass ceiling in military rank, and ancient laws allowing them to be forced to marry. The interaction between the two main characters was a perfect blend of secret love, military respect, and long-time friendship.
I was, however, rather confused about the magic/compass direction relationship. Certain types of magic are associated with certain compass points, but the specifics aren't fully explained, other than West, which is death.
Overall, very good! ( )
  masterdeski | Sep 17, 2009 |
Great ideas - the different types of magic (North, South, East and West) and the ilia, a group marriage where the one is greater than the parts - and the sexuality is stimulating! On the other hand the characters are fairly ordinary and the writing is erratic - in fact the battle scenes are weak, and the book trails off rather limply at the end, but all in all a good holiday read! Well worth looking at the next book the Barbed Rose if you like this one - more of the same! ( )
  Wanasai | Oct 22, 2008 |
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For Robert. Thanks for all the brainstorming help and for paying attention when I told you how much fun fantasy was. I'm glad you're my kid.

And for Lindi. Keep at it. Dreams do come true.
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The wind off the sea snapped the banners to attention on the city walls.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0373802161, Paperback)

The legends of the Godstruck were just that -- legends.

Until, in an attempt to defend her people, Captain Kallista Varyl called on the One for aid and was granted abilities such as no one had seen in centuries.

Now Kallista has been charged with a new destiny as one of the most powerful women in the land -- but her power is useless if it cannot be controlled.

Mastering her "Godstruck" abilities is the first step. The next, learning that she cannot unlock the secrets of the Compass Rose and defeat her nation's enemy alone. And finally she must stop a demon-possessed king . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:40 -0400)

This first novel of a new fantasy trilogy introduces Kallista Varyl, an Adaran military sorcerer who's desperately trying to hold back invaders of her city. Kallista begs her goddess for magic to protect the people. Instantly, Kallista is filled with more power than she can hold.… (more)

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