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First Truth

by Dawn Cook

Series: Truth (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6621028,191 (3.73)27
Alissa doesn't believe in magic. Her father's stories about the Hold, a legendary fortress where human Keepers learn magic from the enigmatic Masters, are just that--stories. But her mother insists Alissa has inherited her father's magical ability, so she must go to the Hold to be trained. On her way, she crosses paths with Strell, a wandering musician from the plains. Though Alissa is not sure she can trust a plainsman, Strell has something Alissa needs--one of her father's old maps. Traveling together, they can reach the Hold before the snow sets in. But they don't know that the Hold is nearly empty. The Keeper Bailic has sent the Masters on a fool's errand and systematically killed the other Keepers in his search for the First Truth, a book of magic that will give him ultimate power. And he believes that Alissa and Strell hold the secret of the book's hiding place.… (more)
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English (9)  Dutch (1)  All languages (10)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
{First of 4: Truth series. Fantasy, YA} (2002)

I picked this up as an indirect book bullet from a recommendation for a different Dawn Cook series (who also writes as Kim Harrison) - [Decoy Princess].

The farmers of the foothills and the craftspeople of the plains disdain each other and only trade with each other through necessity. Alissa, who is a halfbreed of both plains and foothills and thus shunned by both, is reluctantly sent on a quest by her mother to follow in her missing father’s footsteps.

Strell comes from a family of famous potters where every other family member has joined the family trade but he has inexplicably been sent out into the world to find his way as a minstrel.

The two cross paths and, in a world where everyone believes there is no magic, find their way to the mysterious, isolated Hold in the mountains which everyone thought existed only in stories. There an unknown danger awaits, but they are trapped there as winter sets in. Despite their initial xenophobia they learn to be loyal to each other.

I thought this was an interesting story. Although I noticed that it takes the travellers a while to get to the Hold I realised that the time is necessary to build the story and the relationship between the two protagonists.

I felt that there were some issues with the writing - this does seem to be her first book (in either incarnation) - and there were some issues also with ‘printing’ in this e-book such as duplicated sentences but I’m happy to borrow more in the series.

3.5 stars ( )
  humouress | May 8, 2020 |
Fantasy fiction, young girl and her path to maturity and learning her destiny, also looking at prejudices
( )
  wyldheartreads | Jun 20, 2019 |
I am a big fan of Kim Harrison, she is one of my top 5 authors. I had to try her Dawn Cook books, I found it very enjoyable. It is an easy to read, fantasy. The two main characters are from opposite sides of the track in this world. Alissa is stubborn, powerful with latent magic and naive. Strell is humorous, musical and stubborn. Both distrust each other, and think less of the other because of where they are from. They are forced to combine their journeys after events tear their families apart.There is some repetition I found grating on my nerves at times, but the story moves quickly. The relationship that grows is believable and follows a natural course for the time period.
I enjoyed the story, I could believe in the characters and their relationships, the world created and it's magic was new and exciting. I have already ordered the next book in the series.


( )
  TheYodamom | Jan 29, 2016 |
I always mean to re-read this series, but I may have sabotaged my efforts. I've started and stopped so many times, FIRST TRUTH is memorable enough to be boring, yet I can't remember the rest of the series well enough to jump ahead. I'm past the halfway point (and I remember that I find Strell as annoying as Alissa did for the first part of the story). I'm going to keep rushing through to get past book two, I think that's as far as I made it on my last re-read attempt. ( )
  Capnrandm | Apr 15, 2013 |
Like a number of other recent reviewers, I recently found out that Kim Harrison and Dawn Cook are one and the same, and decided I'd take a gander at this early fantasy series of hers. No, it's not the Hollows - it's not as expansive, as complex, or as exciting as the Hollows books are. To be frank, it's not great. But it's not bad, either, and it's kind of fascinating to see the germ of Kim Harrison's talent here - in flashes, to be sure.

First Truth is a small book, and it's even smaller than it could have been. The setting is pretty localized - there's the desert plains, the foothills farmers, the coast, and the mountains in between. Each of these areas has a distinct culture, and they're locked in a state of mutual animosity. The book mostly follows its two main characters, Alyssa and Strell, as they attempt a dangerous mountain crossing in the autumn, when the weather can prove deadly. Thrown together by necessity, they're soon trapped in The Hold - a massive mountain fortress, inhabited by one evil maniac and one imprisoned ally - by the season's first snows.

So here's the deal: Alyssa can sense the presence of a magical book. The evil maniac, Bailic, wants the book so he can use it for the usual evil maniac purpose, i.e. he wants to try to take over the world, but he can't sense it. He's pretty sure either Alyssa or Strell could sense the book, but he needs to figure out which one. Alyssa and Strell are powerless against Bailic, but trapped in a magically sealed dungeon of The Hold is Useless, a powerful creature who, if freed, could murder Bailic in the blink of an eye.

So you've got three people who are *supposedly* really highly motivated to accomplish something. Alyssa is driven by a magical compulsion to find the book...except that mostly she cooks and sews and doesn't go looking. Bailic is all fired up about forcing his guests to find the book, and but he appears to be both stupid and lazy - he thinks of one lame plot every couple of weeks, always ridiculously easy to foil, and in between he just wanders around acting creepy. Useless is pretty darn motivated to escape his prison, and his behavior is the oddest of all. He's got two mobile allies in The Hold, and he can actually communicate with them telepathically, but instead of enlisting their help, or making use of Alyssa's powerful magical gifts...he tells them to go away, seals Alyssa's magic against her own use, rendering her extra defenseless against Bailic, and announces his desire to just...wait around in prison until Bailic dies.

So they all arrive at the hold and basically loaf around doing nothing for months. And then, when they finally decide to take some action, it's so ridiculously simple to achieve the goals they've been putting off that I was kind of angry. If any of the above characters had put even a tiny amount of effort into achieving their goals a little earlier, the book would have been about 1/4 as long as it turned out to be.

So, to sum up, I actually quite liked this book at the start - but during the months of dawdling around in The Hold it totally lost me. Still, it was kind of fun to see baby Kim Harrison in action. ( )
  MlleEhreen | Apr 3, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This is an epic romance fantasy that doesn’t fall pretty to the usual clichés and bad characterization.
 

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For Tim, who not only loosed the beast, but gave it wings and a heckuva strong updraft.
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Alissa doesn't believe in magic. Her father's stories about the Hold, a legendary fortress where human Keepers learn magic from the enigmatic Masters, are just that--stories. But her mother insists Alissa has inherited her father's magical ability, so she must go to the Hold to be trained. On her way, she crosses paths with Strell, a wandering musician from the plains. Though Alissa is not sure she can trust a plainsman, Strell has something Alissa needs--one of her father's old maps. Traveling together, they can reach the Hold before the snow sets in. But they don't know that the Hold is nearly empty. The Keeper Bailic has sent the Masters on a fool's errand and systematically killed the other Keepers in his search for the First Truth, a book of magic that will give him ultimate power. And he believes that Alissa and Strell hold the secret of the book's hiding place.

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