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Book Title: The Misted Cliffs|
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Reader ratings: 3.9
The author of the book: Catherine Asaro
Date of issue: October 18th 2011
ISBN 13: 9780373091089
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 744 KB
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The Misted Cliffs started off slow and I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. Especially sinced it started out with the resuce of the villain from the previous book in the series, by the man who the back blurb claimed would be the hero of this one. It also took a number of chapters for the main protagonists to ever meet each other.
However, once things got going, the book began to take off. Again, at first I was unsure as the hero and heroine seemed to be caught in a romance novel about the dark tortured hero and the heroine who would bring him to life again. It was well written and enjoyable but something was missing. Once all the pieces were set in place though, the plot didn't just speed up, it took off.
One of the things I like about Catherine Asaro's book is the way she can introduce characters who appear to be black and white unpleasant at the least and evil at the most, and then reveal more and more about them until we begin to understand them and maybe even like them. She does this with Varqelle Escar. He is Cobalt's father and the villain of The Charmed Sphere and while he is never a truly nice or likeable character, by the end of the book he is much more understandable - as is the fact that Cobalt is so desperate for his love and approval, which was a puzzle earlier in the story.
As for Cobalt himself, he is a tortured character, badly treated as a child and broken inside because of it. Mel doesn't miraculous heal him by her very presence; and I was delighted by this as it is much too easy an answer used often in straight romance novels. She sets that healing in process, but it still has a long was to go. Cobalt is still walking a fine line between light and dark at the end of the novel and while he's shifted that edge, it hasn't vanished. It is part of his character and he will always be dark and driven to some degree; he has better balance now and Mel there to remind and guide him when necessary, but there hasn't been a magical and unrealistic reforming of his essential character.
I also liked the way Asaro turned another near-cliché on its head. This is a fantasy novel and it includes an invading army and a stand against them, complete with cavalry, swords and a mage. But our characters are at the head of the invading force, not the defending one. They don't have some magically or divinely given right of conquest, nor is there a logical or funadmentally righteous reason for the invasion. The characters are doing what people do, following ambition and desire and Cobalt's reasons for this aggression is again understandable if far from perfect. What did a son with the skill and drive of a conqueror do in peace time when they didn't have organised sports where he could overwhelm his fellow men?
Yet, despite thinking of himself only as a warrior, Cobalt proves to have a real talent for making up dipomatic solutions to potentially violent problems on the spot. Yes, he'll need Mel to temper his darker side, but she isn't the cause of his brighter actions, only a catalyst to help him make better choices.
As for Mel herself, I have less to say about her. She is a well developed young woman at the beginning of the novel and remains so throughout it. She doesn't need to find herself; she's already done that through a safe, happy and secure childhood. She just needs to learn to apply who she is to the new situations she finds herself in the book. If everything had stayed peaceful and she's married her cousin as planned, she would still have had a happy and fulfilled life, although it wouldn't have been nearly as dramatic and adventurous. She is a well developed character and I'm eager to read more about her, there's just less to say about her in a review like this.
I tossed up between an 8 and a 9 for a rating for this book. In the end I decided to go with the nine as I was left with a really good feeling at the end of the book. I think Asaro's SF is more edgy and better than her fantasy, but her fantasties are also good, enjoyable reads in well developed world. I am already looking forward to the next book (especially since I saw Stephanie Law's amazing cover art.
[Copied across from Library Thing; 16 October 2012]
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Read information about the authorBlog at https://www.facebook.com/Catherine.As...
The author of more than twenty-five books, Catherine Asaro is acclaimed for her Ruby Dynasty series, which combines adventure, science, romance and fast-paced action. Her novel The Quantum Rose won the Nebula® Award, as did her novella “The Spacetime Pool.” Among her many other distinctions, she is a multiple winner of the AnLab from Analog magazine and a three time recipient of the RT BOOKClub Award for “Best Science Fiction Novel.” Her most recent novel, Carnelians, came out in October, 2011. An anthology of her short fiction titled Aurora in Four Voices is available from ISFiC Press in hardcover, and her multiple award-winning novella “The City of Cries” is also available as an eBook for Kindle and Nook.
Catherine has two music CD’s out and she is currently working on her third. The first, Diamond Star, is the soundtrack for her novel of the same name, performed with the rock band, Point Valid. She appears as a vocalist at cons, clubs, and other venues in the US and abroad, including recently as the Guest of Honor at the Denmark and New Zealand National Science Fiction Conventions. She performs selections from her work in a multimedia project that mixes literature, dance, and music with Greg Adams as her accompanist. She is also a theoretical physicist with a PhD in Chemical Physics from Harvard, and a jazz and ballet dancer. Visit her at www.facebook.com/Catherine.Asaro
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