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The Silent Tower (Windrose Chronicles series Book 1) (edition 2011)
by Barbara Hambly (Author)
The Silent Tower by Barbara Hambly
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Story was difficult to follow, especially at the beginning and the end; computer jargon not convincing to me, shows author not really familiar. ( )
What is truth? Not really what I want to be dealing with right now.
For me, this book started off really slow. I was interested in the world presented, but it took me a long time to warm up to either the characters or the story. After a while, though, my interest picked up quite a bit.
The story is set in an alternate world where magic still exists, although its influence is starting to fade. Many people aren’t sure if magic is even real, and technology is become more prevalent. A programmer from our world is kidnapped and taken to this alternate world where she gets caught up in events there. It’s too difficult to explain what those events are without spoiling the story, so I’m not even going to try.
The book starts off focusing on a character who wasn’t terribly interesting to me. The focus eventually shifted over to a couple other characters who I found more interesting. The story was published in the 80’s and it does have a slightly dated feel, particularly in its occasional discussions of real-world technology, but not unpleasantly so. I did think it failed to be as twisty as the author seemed to want it to be, maybe just because it relied on tropes that have become familiar to me and so it was easier for me to predict certain things.
The ending is a complete cliffhanger. Although most of the main questions are answered, nothing is resolved, and our main characters are in jeopardy. I liked this book well enough by the end that I’m going to continue on and read the next book, so I can find out what happens.
The main character is a computer programmer, but don’t let the self-insert feel fool you—yes, she’s targeted by and then transported to a magical realm, and yes, her meanie ex-boyfriend turns out to be in league with evil, but it’s a great story with a serious plot. I can’t wait to read the rest of the trilogy!
I had read Dragon’s Bane by Barbara Hambly some time ago and enjoyed it. A number of reviews I read, however, warned that the sequels to that book were very grim. I therefore looked for other works by Hambly that I might try and that’s how I came across The Silent Tower.
This is a fantasy of the Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole variety, involving a character from our world who finds herself in another world where the rules are different. In this case it’s a world where there is magic that only a few people have the ability to wield. The authorities (the Church) have decreed that those few aren’t allowed to use magic in any way that affects the other, not-magically-talented, people, and have even tried to convince those people that magic doesn’t exist. The first makes sense from a public safety standpoint, but the second seemed to me a bit perverse. I enjoyed the story in spite of that to the extent that when it ended on a cliff edge I had to rush right out and get the sequel, The Silicon Mage. Really the two books are one story arbitrarily cut in half for easier packaging. (In fact, they are now often packaged together and I recommend buying them that way to avoid frustration.)
Overall I found the magical world detailed and compelling even if the politics felt a bit artificial. Hambly’s writing has a verbal richness and poesy that I enjoyed most of the time, although some readers might find it excessive. My only problem with her writing style is that she has a tendency to over-stuff her sentences. By this I mean interrupting a sentence to insert a subordinate element, set off by commas, that is so long and involved that I’ve lost track of where the original sentence was going by the time she returns us to it. This happened often enough to be distracting but not so often as to make me stop reading - in large part because Hambly is so good with characters. I loved the mad wizard Antryg, although anyone who has any familiarity with actual mental illness must realize that he is not, in fact, mad. He’s eccentric, often hilariously so, but definitely sane. I also enjoyed Joanna, as well as all the other lessor characters. The linking of the fantasy world with our world through the villain’s sinister agenda provided a gripping source of conflict.
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Bastei Science Fiction Fantasy (20239)
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Magic and technology collide in the first book of the Windrose Chronicles by the New York Times-bestselling author and "fabulously talented writer" (Charlaine Harris). In a world where wizards are relegated to ghettos, it is no surprise to see one murdered in the street. But for Stonne Caris, a young warrior monk who sees the killing and gives chase to the culprit, there is nothing ordinary about seeing a murderer disappear into a black, inky portal. The Archmage sends him in search of Antryg Windrose--a half-mad mage who understands the nature of these passages between dimensions. On the other side of the Void is Joanna, a programmer as mild as Caris is deadly. She has spent her life in cubicles, staring into computer terminals, as far from heroism as she can get. But when the power that is crossing between dimensions draws her through the Void, she finds herself battling to save a world she never even knew existed. With intricate worldbuilding and complex plot twists, The Silent Tower is a compelling introduction to one of this generation's greatest female fantasy writers. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Barbara Hambly, including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author's personal collection.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.54 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999
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