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The Stone in the Skull: The Lotus Kingdoms,…
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The Stone in the Skull: The Lotus Kingdoms, Book One (edition 2017)

by Elizabeth Bear (Author)

Series: The Lotus Kingdoms (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2079108,915 (3.81)6
Best SFF Books 2017 - The GuardianKirkus Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2017The Verge Recommended Fantasy for 2017Locus 2017 Recommended Reading ListThis first volume of a new Eternal Sky trilogy takes readers over the dangerous mountain passes of the Steles of the Sky and south, into the Lotus Kingdoms. The Gage, a brass automaton created by a long-dead wizard of Messaline around the core of a human being, works as a mercenary. He carries a message from the most powerful sorcerer of Messaline to the Rajni of the Lotus Kingdom. With him is the Dead Man, a bitter survivor of the bodyguard of the deposed Uthman Caliphate, protecting the message and the Gage. They are friends, of a peculiar sort. They are walking into a dynastic war between the rulers of the shattered bits of a once great Empire.… (more)
Member:DeannaHoak
Title:The Stone in the Skull: The Lotus Kingdoms, Book One
Authors:Elizabeth Bear (Author)
Info:Tor Books (2017), 368 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear

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» See also 6 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
3 and a half stars. first book in a new trilogy called The Lotus Kingdoms that inhabits the same world as the earlier Eternal Sky trilogy which was set in a fantasy version of the steppes of central Asia. this one is set in more oriental locations. the world itself does not distinguish much between magic and science, resulting in an intriguing kind of hidden steampunk world without the industrialization. the first half of the book seems to plod along at little, concentrating on a trek to the Lotus Kingdoms, but once they arrive the book opens up, the characters come alive, the politics becomes compelling, and the reader hastens to order in the second book in the series. ( )
  macha | May 8, 2022 |
This seemed like a mashup of a standard fantasy novel and a post-apocalyptic novel, with some steampunk thrown in. It mainly follows two adventurers, a human soldier and a mechanical man, who are trying to find their purpose in the world, while on some very secret mission. They get involved in a conflict between multiple kingdoms, one ruled by a very young, very determined young woman. The conflict between the kingdoms and the challenges facing the rulers are the main plot. Mystery, intrigue, magic and and some trans elements. I read this a couple of years ago and still remember the essentials, so it was memorable. Good characters, but I never did get into the plot or the politics. ( )
  Karlstar | Jan 9, 2022 |
By the end of this new fantasy of Elizabeth Bear, I was completely under its spell. Like, utterly.

But I really need to be honest here: most of the novel is really slow-paced and focused on slow reveals about the lands as the Gage (a fantasy cyborg) and the Dead Man, a highly-skilled bodyguard, travel in a caravan and we get to know and love them. We also get to know the ruler of their intended destination. And I got to love her, too. :)

The best part of this is not the action but the character development. And there's a LOT of character development. Very slow burn, but after a while, I was fully entranced and invested.

It hardly matters, by that point, that the full-blown action was blowing me away after they get to their destination. Once they are all together, everything gets really great. So great, in fact, that I had to drop all my other plans and start reading my ARC of the second book. Like, now.

And it is all action so far. :) Yay! Loving it. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Full review to come. I really enjoy the detailed fantasy world Bear creates in this and the Eternal Sky trilogy, and it was fun to see some overlapping characters pop up (although Stone in the Skull is set in a different part of the world and can definitely be read without prior knowledge of the previous books). at the same time, this felt a lot like a set-up volume, and my patience is currently limited for books without a strong self-contained narrative. ( )
  Arifel | Sep 22, 2018 |
At the moment, there is only one other rating for this title here on Goodreads and it doesn't have a review, so I feel like I should say something, but I'm not thinking of anything that I'm happy with. So...I guess I'll just say that Elizabeth Bear is one of my go-to authors and I have never been disappointed by any of her books. If you enjoy stories that do new and interesting things with mythology and religion and folklore and belief; where neither gender nor sexuality are binary; and where magic, science, and technology are all to be equally embraced and reviled, then you could do much worse than to discover the work of Elizabeth Bear and The Stone in the Skull would be a fine place to start your explorations. ( )
  BillieBook | Apr 1, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Bearprimary authorall editionscalculated
Anderson, RichardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Best SFF Books 2017 - The GuardianKirkus Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2017The Verge Recommended Fantasy for 2017Locus 2017 Recommended Reading ListThis first volume of a new Eternal Sky trilogy takes readers over the dangerous mountain passes of the Steles of the Sky and south, into the Lotus Kingdoms. The Gage, a brass automaton created by a long-dead wizard of Messaline around the core of a human being, works as a mercenary. He carries a message from the most powerful sorcerer of Messaline to the Rajni of the Lotus Kingdom. With him is the Dead Man, a bitter survivor of the bodyguard of the deposed Uthman Caliphate, protecting the message and the Gage. They are friends, of a peculiar sort. They are walking into a dynastic war between the rulers of the shattered bits of a once great Empire.

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