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By Singing Light

Pretty much everything here originally appeared at my actual blog: By Singing Light. I particularly focus on upper middle-grade and young adult books. I also enjoy adult genre books, especially speculative fiction.

Currently reading

The Lost Tools of Learning and the Mind of the Maker
Dorothy L. Sayers
The Seventh Bride
T. Kingfisher
Hope in the Dark
Rebecca Solnit
Outrun the Moon
Stacey Lee
Midnight Thief
Livia Blackburne
The White Hart
Nancy Springer
The Great Wall Of Lucy Wu
Wendy Wan-Long Shang
Jim C. Hines
Elizabeth & Leicester: Power, Passion, Politics
Sarah Gristwood
The Empty Kingdom - Elizabeth Wein The Lion Hunger and The Empty Kingdom
by Elizabeth Wein

I finished the last word of The Lion Hunter, shrieked (quietly--my roommate was already in bed), and dove into The Empty Kingdom. I stayed up far too late to finish that one, but it was worth it. Telemakos has grown so much over the course of this series and with the new twists I can't wait to see what he does next.

A Sounisian said that Telemakos is kind of like reading The Queen of Attolia from Attolia's point of view. I think that's a really great point. Like Attolia, Telemakos is cut off, highly powerful in some ways and highly powerless in others. When he makes mistakes it is usually in not trusting someone he should have. Although there are definite connections with Attolia, I also saw some to Gen: the cockiness, the sneakiness, the enormous sense of loyalty and the correspondingly enormous sense of betrayal. Both have to deal with a loss of one kind of power and the gaining of another. Gen's attendants and Telemakos's silver bracelet even serve the same basic purpose. And then there's one huge similarity that just happens to be a big spoiler for both series, so I won't say it. But it should be obvious to anyone who's read both.

Anyway, I'm in a state of Attolia fever, due to the upcoming book release (1 month, 8 days! Not that I'm counting or anything), but I think that in this case the comparisons aren't just valid, they're inescapable. And even if you haven't read any of the Attolia books (in which case, what is wrong with you?), Wein's books come highly recommended.

She is apparently writing another one, which makes me filled with glee.

1. The Winter Prince
2. A Coalition of Lions and The Sunbird

Book source: Inter-library loan

Spoilery review in which Sherwood Smith also compares them to Megan Whalen Turner's books.

The answer to my question: yes, Abreha is quite a bit like Artos, punishing but also forgiving (and the parallels to Eugenides are somewhat startling, yes). Given Abreha’s demonstrated admiration for Artos, it makes sense. This is one of those books where I know that I’ll never be in Telemakos’s exact situation, and yet I felt like I learned something. Favorite line: ”borne down by the weight of his name”–oh, I love that. After the re-read, I wanted more. I could be content with the series as it stands, because they are all fantastic books and in fact are one of those rare series that gets better as it grows, but I’d also love to have more of Telemakos’s story. It’s pretty clear that there’s more to tell, and I’m a greedy reader. [Jan. 2011]


Of Wein’s Arthurian/Ethiopian series the first, The Winter Prince, remains my clear favorite for its incredible prose and emotional heft. However, the rest of the series has been getting better and better. Telemakos is one of my favorite types of characters. As I said in my review, he managed to remind me at times of both Eugenides and Attolia. These two books are both heartwarming and heartbreaking, and the fact that they manage to be both at once shows how good Wein is. Of course, I am a greedy reader and WANT MOAR NOW! [2010 in books]