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Initiate's Trial: First book of Sword of the…

Initiate's Trial: First book of Sword of the Canon (The Wars of Light and… (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Janny Wurts

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11218107,804 (3.84)32
Title:Initiate's Trial: First book of Sword of the Canon (The Wars of Light and Shadow, Book 9)
Authors:Janny Wurts
Info:Harper Voyager (2012), Paperback, 544 pages
Collections:Your library

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Initiate's Trial by Janny Wurts (2011)



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I roared along the book and my spontaneous comment after the final sequence was “OMG! Read this one!”

Heartfelt advice; if you’ve read Stormed Fortress, do not miss this first book of the Sword of the Canon Arc. I'm very happy I read this gripping installment straightaway, Initiate's Trial shifts gears but not the pace, which increases, again, and what sets the stage is the very ending of the previous book, particularly all the things that emerge in the final chapters. Another round of applause to the author, I was surprised yet again and it wasn't easy, after the awesome Alliance of Light Arc, to write something equally powerful and continuing the story with originality and sensation. The approach is pretty intense, and daring, because the tale is not done in linear time. It was not easy to accept it at first, considering how I loved the story and the characters, but then I just immersed into the narrative and saw the events through the eyes of the protagonists; this literary choice added to the reading momentum: going forward, I was also in suspense to find out what had happened before.

It takes courage, certainly, but after the ending of Stormed Fortress, I guess a different direction may have sprawled things and probably one of the elements why this series works so fine for me is, in hindsight, that while the story never takes an angle of unredeemable sadness and pain, nothing overstays its welcome. The Wars of Light and Shadow doesn’t suffer from lack of inspiration or from excessive attachment to characters or situations, or on the other hand, from deliberate slaughter.

I am again reminded Janny Wurts is an author who doesn't repeat herself and doesn’t sacrifice coherence for expediency's sake; she keeps fitting a multi-layered epic into no wasted steps and brilliantly manages to raise tension and conflict with each volume.

I particularly relished the enfolding themes of the nature of religious fanaticism, social stigma, of the necessity of balancing conflicting interests, the many shades of redemption, the rippling impact of individual choices, the backlash of power and the several surprises with double ramifications genially spread throughout the book, among which, some exciting reveals on Lysaer character.

The book is deeply engaging, yet it's different from all its predecessors. It is exactly the reader’s knowledge of the story which allows the shocking opening and the narrower outlet on the events; I also loved the way the language matches the feeling of uncertainty, of unbalance and of the instinct behavior of the characters involved; then the veil gradually lifts granting both fast-paced action and introspection, until the climax when all the threads burst forth. Throughout, the intensity never wavers. Characteristically, the book does not end with a cliff-hanger, but needless to say, many things have been set into motion and I am fully in step with the new situation, eagerly looking forward to Destiny’s Conflict. ( )
  Alissa- | Jun 5, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book through the Early Reviewer program.

This was (like several other of the books I have in the Early review section) a book I was looking forward to reading and reviewing. Unfortunately, it got pushed a bit too the back burner with some other commitments I had at the time.

Recently, my apartment burned and was declared a total loss. I lost my entire book collection, except for one book I had loaned to a friend and whatever I have stored digitally. This book was one of those lost.
  Schlyne | Jun 23, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book through the Early Reviewer program. I decided not to just pick it up and read it but instead decided to read the entire series in order first. I'm very glad I did. This is not the sort of series you can jump around in. Each book builds upon the previous one, with consequences from earlier actions affecting not only the individuals but the overall course of the plot.

The characters are multi-layered and complex. They grow, they evolve, they make a LOT of mistakes, and then they have to live with those mistakes and, where possible, right wrongs done or at least try to mitigate the unfortunate fallout. But that isn't always possible. Sometimes you just have to accept.

The world is well-drawn and with many hidden, or little-understood or long-forgotten complexities. It's a fantasy world, but one with tightly drawn rules and when something surprises you, you can remember, far back in a previous book, there was a hint of this to come.

If you love fantasy, love your characters tricksy and smart, determined, sometimes nefarious, and you love a world you have to work at to get a grasp on, then this is a series for you.

Me, I'm loving it. ( )
  majkia | Oct 10, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Reading this book had me worried, because it's been a while since I'd read anything in this series AND I hadn't read books in between Curse of the Mistwraith/Ships of Merior/Fugitive Prince and this one... So needless to say, everything here was really only vaguely familiar.

Reading the first chapter made me remember why I had mixed feelings about the books a long time ago (and why they took me an inordinate amount of time to read)—Wurts very much enjoys the use of convoluted sentence structures, long sentences, and adjectives. This was fine while the story was building, but in the various battle scenes I found myself skimming ahead because reading these long, twisting sentences was slowing down the scene.

Throughout the book, I didn't feel as "left behind" as I think I could have, but there were surely things that would have made more sense or become richer in meaning had I not skipped from the beginning of the series to the end. There were quite a few references that I had to leave behind because I just didn't understand them, and while I feel okay doing that every so often, I realize other readers may not feel the same.

What I really admired about the book is that instead of turning me off the series (for various reasons—too difficult to read quickly, the typeset is too small, I've missed a lot in between the last of these books that I've read and this one, and so forth), reading this book made me really want to go back and get caught up. I enjoyed the multifaceted characters, and I really enjoy series where a set of characters are developed over the course of thousands of pages. This is certainly an intriguing read, and at some point I'll get my hands on the rest of the books to have it all make sense! ( )
  raistlinsshadow | Apr 13, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
There is a chance that I would have a different opinion if I had read the earlier books in the series, but I found Initiate's Trial impossible to read and eventually just gave up. The prose is simultaneously dull and confused, the story choppy and difficult to follow. I don't mind stories that take a few liberties with verbosity, but this particular book went too far. ( )
  koboldninja.5 | Feb 12, 2013 |
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For Abner Stein
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I. Imprisoned

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The last Prince of Rathain is held captive by the Order of the Koriathain. The desperate Fellowship Sorcerers have gambled the weal of Athera and forced through the perilous bargain that spared him, their sole hope of unity.

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