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A Reader of Fictions: The Passage of the Marshes - Howard Shore

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Passage of the Marshes - Howard Shore

Peaceweaver
The Coming of the Dragon, Book 2

Author: Rebecca Barnhouse
Pages: 323
ARC Acquired from: Random House via Random Buzzers (and NetGalley)

Description from Goodreads:
This is historical fantasy at its best. Sixteen-year-old Hild has always been a favorite of her uncle, king of the Shylfings. So when she protects her cousin the crown prince from a murderous traitor, she expects the king to be grateful. Instead, she is unjustly accused of treachery herself.

As punishment, her uncle sends Hild far away to the heir of the enemy king, Beowulf, to try to weave peace between the two kingdoms. She must leave her home and everyone she loves. On the long and perilous journey, Hild soon discovers that fatigue and rough terrain are the least of her worries. Something is following her and her small band of guards—some kind of foul creature that tales say lurks in the fens. Will Hild have to face the monster? Or does it offer her the perfect chance to escape the destiny she never chose?

Rebecca Barnhouse's companion to The Coming of the Dragon is sure to appeal to younger fans of Tamora Pierce, Esther Friesner, and Shannon Hale.

First Sentence: "Smoke."

Review:

I just read and reviewed The Coming of the Dragon. Mostly, I thought it was meh, not bad but not especially good either. At the end of my review, I mentioned that I still had hopes for Peaceweaver, because I liked Hild, the girl introduced and barely given any page time at the end of The Coming of the Dragon. Well, I do love it when I'm right.

Peaceweaver focuses on Hild, starting roughly at the same point as the first book. Hild, though, makes a much more interesting main character than Rune. Hild is full of ideas and big aspirations, and she will not let the judgment of others stop her from doing what she believes to be the right thing for herself and her community.

She lives in a society where, while women do perform traditional roles, they also have a bit of ability to make a difference because of the weak-minded King. The woman who performs the role of mead-bearer has a chance to help influence the King to make good decisions. The Queen, now abed with an illness used to keep the King from being to warlike, but after she left, the next mead-bearer, Hild's mother, did not think it her place to interfere in men's matters. In this vacuum, the King has turned to a male adviser, whose testosterone-soaked advice has lead to an increase in hatred for their rivals and more deaths of their warriors. Hild, as the new mead bearer, plans to stop these stupid men from ruining her home.

Of course, men don't much like powerful women, or at least they didn't in those times, so, by being too obvious about her plans, she gets branded as a possessed witch. At least they don't kill her, but they do send her off to the Geats as a Peaceweaver. She, of course, has no say in the matter.

Even if you didn't like The Coming of the Dragon, I would definitely recommend giving Peaceweaver a try. It is excellent high fantasy that ought to appeal to fans of authors like Julia Golding. The time span covered is precisely the same as that of the companion novel, so you can either read one or both without any confusion. I definitely recommend this one. :)

Favorite Quote: "'If a woman tells a man the god favor him, everybody says she's far-minded.' The broom halted mid-sweep and the slave turned to Hild. 'But let a woman do what the gods tell her, without asking a man's permission first? Then she's possessed.' Unwen punctuated her words with her broom, jabbing it into the corner."

Rating:
4/5

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Christina Kit. said...

I like the twist on gender relations in a high fantasy tale!

Thanks for the review:)

March 26, 2012 at 5:08 PM  

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