Review: Steles of the Sky
It took me a while to catch on to this series by Elizabeth Bear. I’d seen reviews when the first book, RANGE OF GHOSTS, came out, including here at EBR (EBR Review). I even saw the second book in the series, SHATTERED PILLARS, come out and also reviewed here (EBR Review). The books started to sit in my mind a bit. It took a while, but they sounded like something I needed to be a part of. So late last year I finally got RANGE OF GHOSTS (loved it), and for Christmas I received SHATTERED PILLARS (fantastic) so that I could be ready to go when the last volume STELES OF THE SKY (Amazon) came out.
I got STELES OF THE SKY in the mail and tore into it. I was excited to spend more time with the fabulous characters that Elizabeth Bear had created. This is one of those series that starts off pretty simply. We followed Temur on his journeys. We watched him find Edene and love her. We watched the wizard Samarkar save Temur’s life and start to journey with him. For the first book it seemed that this was mostly Temur’s and Samarkar’s story (with occasional interludes from the bad guy, Al-Sepherthe, and Edene). SHATTERED PILLARS expanded the series and we grew to know more about Hrahima the Cho-tse tiger (a very cool character), and Hsuing the warrior priest with a vow of silence. I mean, it just kept getting better and better.
I can happily say that STELES OF THE SKY wrapped up the series nicely for me. The stories build into one another flawlessly. Bear leads us through this wonderful land at a brisk, but even pace that never left me confused. There are some big great scenes in this one, scenes that I was really waiting the whole series for. I left feeling sad that I wouldn’t get to spend more time in this world with these characters. That’s what series are all about really, right? We find a world that just entrances us, characters that are fun to read about and see what they are up to. One book won’t satisfy us so we need more, we need duologies and trilogies and ten book massive series just so we can go back again and again (like vacationing in your favorite spot over and over again). This is a fun vacation spot to enjoy folks. I wish I had a brochure to show you all that this trilogy offers… but you’ll just have to stick with the reviews here at EBR for now until you buy the novels yourselves. I would tempt you into it with beautiful vistas, and stunning moments. The people you’ll meet! The sights you’ll see! You’re just gonna have to take my word for it I guess.
The only problem I had with this last book (and it’s a small thing in relation to the whole) was strangely enough, the lack of Temur. He was the character I started with. He was my first and most important window into this world, and as much as I enjoyed the other characters (and I really did) I kind of missed Temur in this one. It felt like he got shoved to the sides for a bit of the book and I wanted to experience some of these events through his eyes. I wanted to see it and feel it with him.
I nitpick. This series is really great. It took me awhile to catch on but hopefully you (my dear readers) are smarter than me and already know what I’ve just finished figuring out. THIS SERIES ROCKS!
- Recommended Age: 16+
- Language: There are a few words, a scattering of F words (less than 10 I think) and little else
- Violence: Never described in much detail even in the battle scenes
- Sex: Mentioned a few times, never shown in detail