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Lord of Snow and Shadows by Sarah Ash
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Lord of Snow and Shadows (2003)

by Sarah Ash

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567None17,447 (3.64)1 / 10
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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Abandoned at about halfway point: repetitive, uninspired writing, uninteresting characters, weird juxtaposition of fantasy with reality, and altogether pretty predictable. ( )
  Stewartry | Oct 15, 2013 |
Interesting, but to be honest, nothing really stands out to me from this book. I'll finish the series, enjoy them, but probably never re-read them again. ( )
  Bookstooge | Sep 26, 2013 |
ereader ebook
  romsfuulynn | Apr 28, 2013 |
This book is different from the YA fantasy books I’ve been reading lately. The setting has a Russian feel to it, which is unusual because most other fantasy worlds can’t help but have a western background. The story of Gavril is also a lot more grim, it deals with some heavy stuff and not at all in a childish way. Questions like: “Do I put my own life in front of others?” and “Can I trust someone who’s cursed with something so dangerous it might kill me?” dominate the book.
The storylines followed throughout the book are the political intrigue and the dominance of a world different from ours, but still recognizable. The story takes place in a timeframe more than a century ago, with the introduction of the telephone (or here the Vox Aethyria) and the World Wars, although there aren’t any more indications to the right period in ‘history’.
A book in which court intrigues play a major role are a personal favorite of mine, so Lord of Snow and Shadows is right up my alley. The author made good use of the opportunities that this book presented and everything was nicely written and explained so that it wasn’t very difficult to follow.

The name of the series: The Tears of Artamon is very briefly introduced in this first book, but what their role will be in the further story remains a bit of a mystery.
The use of magic is more subtle than I’m used to: the drakhaoul demon, the magus and the guslyars all possess some kind of magic, but the majority of the population has no magic and has rarely heard of or seen it. Ghosts coming back from the “world beyond” and unexplained phenomena can aslo be attributed to magic, but these all derive from the particular powers of one or more of the magical people mentioned above.

In terms of writing style, I have some comments: sometimes there’s just too much happening in a too limited amount of phrases, the events seem rushed and confusing. The transitions between the POVs is here and there rather abrupt, but otherwise the book reads very smoothly.
Many stumble over the exotic names, but they are one of the more original things I’ve read in a while. Only the name "KiuKiu" isn’t really my thing, but that's just a personal preference.
The author obviously has a talent for creating well defined and loveable characters. Some might even surprise you in the end by their actions or feelings. Nothing is exactly as it seems.
Elysia, the mother, who seems to be a strong woman in the beginning turns out to be incredibly naïve and very easy to manipulate. She's one of those characters you just want to scream at: "No! Don't trust that guy, can’t you see he's just going to double-cross you?! Run as fast as you can! "But off course, they will not listen and you see them walking into a trap with their eyes wide open. And then you just sigh and sit there with an "I-told-you-so" look on your face.

I really enjoyed this rather unknown book, and I would definitely recommend it to the more seasoned fantasy readers.

Visit my Fantasy bookblog http://draumrkpa.blogspot.be/ for more reviews, new releases,...
( )
  Cindy_DraumrKopa | Apr 2, 2013 |
In a world that is vaguely Russian during the early 20th century, a young painter falls in love with a court beauty. However his plans are all derailed when some northern warriors arrive to inform him that his father is dead and that he is now the ruler of his father's lands. With the power comes a greater power, the drakhaon, who is going to change Gavril's life forever. Theres also some shamanism and some scary medical experimentation going on that will probably have serious repercussions

It's a complex story and I enjoyed the read, I did feel it lagged occasionally but overall the different world was interesting, I'm looking forward to the next story and hope that it continues as good if not better. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Oct 5, 2010 |
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Seemingly always the outsider, Gavril Andar – an impoverished young painter – yearns to join the privileged circles of Muscobar polite society. However, unbeknownst to him, he does have royal blood in his veins: the dark and powerful blood of a father he never knew – the Drakhaon, ruler of the isolated northern kingdom of Azhkendir. And when the Drakhaon is brutally murdered, an unwilling Gavril is forced to take up the mantle of both his father’s rule – and his power. For blood will out. And the Drakhaon’s carries within it a taint that gives its bearer access to awesome, unimagined magics – but at a soul-shattering price.

Now trapped in this bleak, mist-shrouded land full of superstition and racked by bitter rivalries, Gavril faces an awesome task. He must find his father’s killer and unite his fractured kingdom against those who see it as weak, defenceless and ripe for invasion before he pays the price of kinship and succumbs to the dread curse that uncoils within him . . .
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553586211, Mass Market Paperback)

Sara Ash's Lord of Snow and Shadows is the promising opener to the Tears of Artamon series. The novel sets the stage in grand fashion as Ash deftly introduces the principal players in her well-realized fantasy realm. She begins with Gavril, a carefree portrait painter basking in the sunny climes of an irrelevant island republic. He soon discovers he is heir to a great and terrible legacy in the snowy wasteland of Azhkendir. Kidnapped by his murdered father’s personal guard, he is both captive and the Drakhoan--ruler of Azhkendir. His inheritance turns out to be more than just a crown, however. A dark force of immeasurable power is growing inside him while he finds his realm under siege from within and without.

Ash masterfully avoids most of the usual fantasy memes--except, of course, the reluctant hero, Gavril--and imports a vast menagerie of technologies and culturally resonant magics into her world. Her conflicting armies wield magic, muskets, and heavy cannon alongside darker forces that are too delicious to mention here. Apart from a few niggling inconsistencies (Gavril's transformation from foppish artist to deft statesman, for one), Ash's novel is a frosty infusion of new air into a genre overrun with the usual maidens-with-broadswords clichés. –-Jeremy Pugh

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:04 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Lowly court painter Gavril Nagarian learns that he is the rightful heir to the harsh arctic kingdom of Azhkendir, that he possesses formidable powers that compromise his humanity, and that he is being targeted by bitter rivals who would prevent him from reuniting the kingdom.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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