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The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie
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The Raven Tower (edition 2019)

by Ann Leckie (Author)

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1574112,340 (4.43)11
Member:wjohnston
Title:The Raven Tower
Authors:Ann Leckie (Author)
Info:Orbit (2019), 432 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Rating:*****
Tags:fiction, sff, fantasy, 2019, porter_square_books_purchase, no_longer_owned

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The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

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Another completely unexpected and very different book, fantasy this time, from Leckie. Very enjoyable, very unusual. It's also slow to get going, but worth persevering with.

The story is told over two timescales from the same narrator, one focusing on their own history and the other a current view featuring a young squire called Eulo of indeterminate, probably trans, gender, which other than a few remarks regarding suitable partners is never seen as an issue, and possibly could have been disregarded altogether. The narrator is a minor god, fallen to earth as an asteroid eons ago, before there was even a concept of eons. Strong and Patience of the Hill is not alone in it's godhood, and the closest local personality is a similarly powered shattered rock called Myriad who usually posses a swarm of mosquitoes. Over a fairly short timescale ( a few human generations) SPH is moved to a local town on the riverback where Eulo is first encountered returning with the Heir to the fortress. The Heir's father is in thrall to another local god, and it's time for the transition to be made when the father goes missing. Eulo does what is possible to keep the Heir safe and investigate the oddities of the father's disappearance. SPH relates the tale, and attempts to contact Eulo who's unaware of SPH's presence.

One of the slight oddities is that SPH is usually more or less oblivious to the passing of humans around itself, and it's never clear why Eulo becomes so important to it. Leckie is usually a bit more considerate of such complexities. Having active gods as characters nearly always leads to ridiculous power level problems, but Leckie has a deft hand keeping both the opponents and actions within believable bounds. It's probably best read in substantial chunks keeping the slowly developing tension across the intertwined plot lives to a maximum.

It doesn't read as if it's part of a series, but equally I could believe there will be more stories set in this world. ( )
  reading_fox | Mar 23, 2019 |
The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie was not at all what I expected. When I first heard that there would Leckie had written a fantasy book, I was ambivalent. I like her SF, but haven’t recently felt the need for new fantasy series in my life. But then some friends with early review copies started gushing about and I figured I might as well join their ranks.

There are two main storylines in this book and both are told from the point of view of a god, in a world where there are many gods of different powers. One story tells the god’s history — first awareness, how the world has changed since then, learning to communicate with humans, etc — while the other story follows a human in the “present day”. The latter story is also told by the god so it’s actually I second person as though the god is speaking to the other protagonist.

At first I was happy to go along with the interesting premise, before I had a clear idea of where the story was going. But then, once the threads started to come together, it became rather difficult to put the book down. Especially as it ramped up towards the end because gosh was that a dramatic ending that I’m not going to spoil (!!!).

The easiest book to compare The Raven Tower to is Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods, but only really because of the shared subject matter. The ideas of small gods are very similar, but aside from that the two books have little in common. I’m not sure I’ve read anything else similar to The Raven Tower. The intertwining of the two stories was expertly done, with many of the transitions leaving me wanting more, only to start reading the next section and be reminded that I had wanted more of that one too.

I highly recommend The Raven Tower to fantasy fans, especially those who enjoy reading about different types of gods and different systems for the existence of said gods. I also recommend it to readers who are looking for standalone fantasy books. While it's possible more stories could be written in this world in the future, I think it's unlikely and would lessen the impact of this one.

4.5 / 5 stars

You can read more of my reviews on my blog. ( )
  Tsana | Feb 1, 2019 |
We start out slow with two competing storylines that jump back and forth in time. Fortunately, we have strong characters to keep us turning the pages--The god Strength and Patience on the Hill in the one storyline and Eolo in the other. Eventually the two storylines come together in a very satisfying way that I did not see coming. A book that makes you stop and think but also laugh at the absurdity of things at times. The author has shown she is already a master at writing Science Fiction and with this book I think we can safely say Fantasy is something she excels at as well! ( )
  JJbooklvr | Dec 26, 2018 |
2019?!
who do i have to kill to get this now
  ireneattolia | Sep 3, 2018 |
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Listen. A god is speaking.
My voice echoes through the stone of your master's castle. The castle where he finds his uncle on his father's throne. You want to help him. You cannot.
You are the only one who can hear me.
You will change the world.
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