Bradley (The Forest House, 1994, etc.) offers a solo novel in the world of Black Trillium, a three-way collaboration with Andre Norton and Julian May featuring three princesses in a fantasy kingdom. Haramis, the last survivor of the three sisters, is now the Archimage of Ruwenda. Remembering how she herself inherited the position with neither preparation nor training, she decides to choose and train a successor. Mikayla, a young princess of Ruwenda, appears to be the logical choice: She has rudimentary magical powers, plus a lively curiosity about how things work. Haramis scoops Mikayla up and brings her to the Archimage's tower to begin training, but it soon becomes obvious to everyone except Haramis that Mikayla doesn't want to be Archimage; she considers herself betrothed to a boy about her own age, Lord Fiolon, who shows an almost equal magical talent, although his real interest is music. Undeterred, Haramis presses ahead with the training, and when Mikayla refuses to give up her bond with Fiolon—maintained by a kind of telepathy—Haramis attempts to break it by magic. But Haramis collapses after making the effort, and Mikayla and Fiolon work together to find a way to heal her. The task requires not just the magical powers Haramis has used, but the forgotten technology of the ancients. An entertaining variation on the ``wizard-in-training'' theme, with appealing young characters. Not Bradley's most ambitious work, but a very enjoyable light fantasy that touches on more serious themes.

Pub Date: March 15, 1995

ISBN: 0-553-09299-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Spectra/Bantam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1995

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A charming and persuasive entry that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the concluding volume.


Book 2 of Hearne's latest fantasy trilogy, The Seven Kennings (A Plague of Giants, 2017), set in a multiracial world thrust into turmoil by an invasion of peculiar giants.

In this world, most races have their own particular magical endowment, or “kenning,” though there are downsides to trying to gain the magic (an excellent chance of being killed instead) and using it (rapid aging and death). Most recently discovered is the sixth kenning, whose beneficiaries can talk to and command animals. The story canters along, although with multiple first-person narrators, it's confusing at times. Some characters are familiar, others are new, most of them with their own problems to solve, all somehow caught up in the grand design. To escape her overbearing father and the unreasoning violence his kind represents, fire-giant Olet Kanek leads her followers into the far north, hoping to found a new city where the races and kennings can peacefully coexist. Joining Olet are young Abhinava Khose, discoverer of the sixth kenning, and, later, Koesha Gansu (kenning: air), captain of an all-female crew shipwrecked by deep-sea monsters. Elsewhere, Hanima, who commands hive insects, struggles to free her city from the iron grip of wealthy, callous merchant monarchists. Other threads focus on the Bone Giants, relentless invaders seeking the still-unknown seventh kenning, whose confidence that this can defeat the other six is deeply disturbing. Under Hearne's light touch, these elements mesh perfectly, presenting an inventive, eye-filling panorama; satisfying (and, where appropriate, well-resolved) plotlines; and tensions between the races and their kennings to supply much of the drama.

A charming and persuasive entry that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the concluding volume.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-345-54857-3

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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This future space fantasy might start an underground craze.

It feeds on the shades of Edgar Rice Burroughs (the Martian series), Aeschylus, Christ and J.R. Tolkien. The novel has a closed system of internal cross-references, and features a glossary, maps and appendices dealing with future religions and ecology. Dune itself is a desert planet where a certain spice liquor is mined in the sands; the spice is a supremely addictive narcotic and control of its distribution means control of the universe. This at a future time when the human race has reached a point of intellectual stagnation. What is needed is a Messiah. That's our hero, called variously Paul, then Muad'Dib (the One Who Points the Way), then Kwisatz Haderach (the space-time Messiah). Paul, who is a member of the House of Atreides (!), suddenly blooms in his middle teens with an ability to read the future and the reader too will be fascinated with the outcome of this projection.

With its bug-eyed monsters, one might think Dune was written thirty years ago; it has a fantastically complex schemata and it should interest advanced sci-fi devotees.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1965

ISBN: 0441013597

Page Count: 411

Publisher: Chilton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1965

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