The Golden Key by Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson, and Kate Elliott
Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson, and Kate Elliott collaborate here to create a novel that is very hard to put down — despite its formidable length and flattish characters. What drew me in was the carefully designed world, the totally believable magic, the overall mood, and the centuries-spanning plot. This novel is set in Tirra Virte, an Italy-ish province where all official ceremonies and transactions are recorded not with words but with paintings. I thought for a moment — "Hey! that can't be reliable! The artist can paint something that didn't really happen!" But then it made me realize just how unreliable words, too, can be. A scribe can write lies as easily as an artist can paint them.
This art-centered world, of course, requires artists. This novel follows the rising and falling fortunes of one family of ... Read More
Kate Elliott(1958- )
Kate Elliott is a penname used by Alis A. Rasmussen who published a three-volume space opera in 1990. As Kate Elliott, she also wrote the science fiction epic Jaran. Learn more about her at Kate Elliott’s website.
The Golden Key — (1996,2011) Melanie Rawn, Kate Elliott & Jennifer Roberson. A self-contained trilogy written as three parts (by three authors) and published in one volume. World Fantasy Award finalist for Best Novel 1996, Voya’s 1996 Best SF, Fantasy, and Horror Books of the Year, Locus Recommended Reading List 1996. Publisher: The Golden Key is a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration on a level never before attempted in fantasy literature, a work which magnificently melds the talents of three of the finest and most original writers in the field today. Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson, and Kate Elliott have combines their special strengths to create a complex, fully realized civilization in which one very unique family guards a secret which could turn their entire world upside down. In the duchy of Tira Virte fine art is prized above all things, both for its beauty and as a binding legal record of everything from marriages and births to treaties and inheritances. And although the Grand Duke is aware that there is more to the paintings of certain master limners than meets the eye, not even he knows just how extraordinary the art ofthe Grijalva family truly is. For certain males of their bloodline are born with a frightening, magical talent — the ability to manipulate time and reality within their paintings, a Gift which enables them to alter events and influence people in the real world. Always, their power has been used solely to aid Tira Virte and its ruler. Always, until the time of Sario Grijalva. Sario, driven by his own passion and ambition, has learned to use his Gift in a whole new way. Obsessed with both his magic and his beautiful, adored cousin Saavedra, Sario will do anything to win her love. Unable to bear it when Saavedra gives her heart to another, he takes a first, fateful step beyond the boundaries previously placed on the Grijalva spell-casting, capturing his cousin with forbidden arts. And it is this rash, dangerous act which sets in motion the generations-spanning pattern of treachery and betrayal which may cause both the Grijalvas and Tira Virte to pay a terrible price…
The Diviner is Melanie Rawn’s prequel.
The Golden Key by Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson, and Kate Elliott
Crown of Stars — (1997-2006) Publisher: In the kingdom of Wendar, strange and dreadful portents sweep across the land: old ruins appear whole under the light of the full moon; the shades of dead elves hunt in the deep forest; dark spirits walk abroad in daylight; a saint appears to the faithful; hummings rise from the stonecircles, called crowns, that stand in ancient places of power. The Lost Ones — elves known as the Aoi, who vanished from human sight centuries before — speak through fire to those few who can hear them. Civil war between King Henry and his sister Sabella threatens the kingdom, and barbarians — the inhuman Eika raiders who strike from the northern seas and the Quman horsemen, the “winged” riders, who raid from the east — loot and burn farms and villages. Into the midst of these troubles walk three young people: Sanglant, Liath, and Alain. Sanglant is a prince, bastard son of King Henry. Born and bred to become captain of the elite cavalry — the King’s Dragons — and to give his life to protect his father’s kingdom, he cannot know the terrible fate that awaits him. Liath is the child of sorcerers, trained as a mathematici, one who knows the secrets of the stars. But she and her father have been running for their lives for the past eight years, and soon that which hunts them is going to catch up. Alain is a fosterling, seeking the truth of his parentage. Only when he accepts his destiny will he learn the truth.
CROWN OF STARS by Kate Elliott
An epic fantasy loosely based on our own medieval time period, its convoluted plot and subplots, myriad of important characters, and innovative take on elves have made Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars an enjoyable read.
The series takes the reader into a medieval setting turned on its head. Women rule, except in the case of kings, and are leaders in the church. God is both male and female, and women are seen as equal partners in all types of endeavors. It’s a truly egalitarian medieval period. Magic exists, although in many ways it is dependent on the laws of physics, astronomy, and astronomy’s distant cousin astrology. Magic is a science gained through knowledge and study, and limited to a very select few.
The story is primarily about the return of an elf-like race that, unlike the usual conceptions, was very warlike and evil (for the most part). These h... Read More
CROWN OF STARS by Kate Elliott
Crown of Starsis well-thought out and obviously well-planned. It’s epic in scope and it’s got a lot of texture. There are many complex characters who we follow in parallel, as in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. Some of them are very likeable, and there are some really excellent villains (e.g., Hugh). Kate Elliott's creatures are imaginative and enjoyable, and I especially liked the way they interact with the humans. Ms. Elliott uses a lot of description and intricate world-building and therefore her plot moves very slowly (again, similar to WOT).
The writing was inconsistent throughout the series. Sometimes it seems brilliant, but at other times I'd think “why did she tell me that?” or “this could be moving a little faster.” It’s often wordy. Her editor could have almost arbitraril... Read More
Crossroads — (2006-2009) Publisher: World Fantasy and Nebula Award finalist Kate Elliott breaks new ground in a brilliantly original new fantasy set in a unique world of fabled cities, mysterious gods, and terrible dangers. From the first page readers will be swept up in the story of Mai and Captain Anji, as they become unwitting players in a conflict that began many years earlier, and which will shake the foundations of their land. For hundreds of years the Guardians have ruled the world of the Hundred, but these powerful gods no longer exert their will on the world. Only the reeves, who patrol on enormous eagles, still represent the Guardians’ power. And the reeves are losing their authority; for there is a dark shadow across the land that not even the reeves can stop.
THE CROSSROADS TRILOGY by Kate Elliott
Kate Elliott’s CROSSROADS TRILOGY, the first 3 books in a multi-book series, is a great example of how good epic fantasy can be in so many ways: its world-building is richly detailed and realistically heterogeneous; it has a multitude of characters spanning a wide spectrum of human nature and behavior, most of them nicely individualized; its depiction of war is grimly and painfully realistic; the plot contains some pleasantly surprising turns along the way; its fantastic elements don’t overwhelm the plot and are interesting in their own right; it has layers of complexity versus the all-too-frequent good vs. evil storyline; and it comes to a resolution despite being part of a larger series.
Despite all of this, I have to confess that I found more to admire than to enjoy in the reading, so much so that it was a struggle to fin... Read More
Shadow Gate by Kate Elliott
Giant eagles and their reeves who patrol the skies as peacekeepers. Nine Guardians blessed by the Seven Gods to bring justice to the land of the Hundred who have mysteriously vanished. A Qin captain, his young bride and a company of soldiers forced into exile. A slave of twelve years who schemes to buy out his debt as well as his sister’s. An outlander — the youngest and least-favored of seven sons — who can see and hear ghosts goes on a quest in search of his uncle’s bones. A handsome reeve haunted by his lover’s death. And an army of thieves, murderers and other malcontents who threaten the Hundred from the north. These are just a few of the concepts, characters, and storylines introduced in Spirit Gate, the opening chapter in a new epic fantasy series by Kate Elliott who previously brought readers the Jaran science fiction novels, The Go... Read More
Spiritwalker — (2010-2013) From one of the genre’s finest writers comes a bold new epic fantasy in which science and magic are locked in a deadly struggle. It is the dawn of a new age… The Industrial Revolution has begun, factories are springing up across the country, and new technologies are transforming in the cities. But the old ways do not die easy. Cat and Bee are part of this revolution. Young women at college, learning of the science that will shape their future and ignorant of the magics that rule their families. But all of that will change when the Cold Mages come for Cat. New dangers lurk around every corner and hidden threats menace her every move. If blood can’t be trusted, who can you trust?
Cold Magic by Kate Elliott
I have a love-hate relationship with Kate Elliott’s work. I have never thought Elliott was a bad author; I usually have problems instead with the overall story she is telling. That being said, I was incredibly skeptical when I picked up Cold Magic. It took me about five or six chapters to get into the book, as the first few chapters are set up to agonizingly prove to the reader that the protagonist is a painfully normal girl in a changing world who has some ultra-mysterious family history. After a plot twist around page 80, I felt sucked in and really started enjoying what I was reading.
Cold Magic is set in an alternative Earth in the nineteenth century. Elliott creates the history of this alternative earth by drawing on our own past and infusing it with interesting creatures like trolls and fey. Elliott’s setting is incredibly ca... Read More
A Fantasy Medley edited by Yanni Kuznia
FORMAT/INFO: A Fantasy Medley is 136 pages long divided over four short stories and is published by Subterranean Press in two editions: A fully clothbound hardcover limited to 3000 copies and a numbered hardcover limited to 200 copies and signed by the authors and editor. Dust jacket by Kristy Doherty.
1) “Zen and the Art of Vampirism” by Kelley Armstrong. “Zen and the Art of Vampirism” is an urban fantasy tale with all of the usual trimmings including a female protagonist, a contemporary setting, supernatural elements, humor, etc. The story is actually pretty interesting and follows a lesbian Japanese vampire who uses wits instead of violence to prevent two o... Read More
Epic: Legends of Fantasy by John Joseph Adams (editor)
Epic: Legends of Fantasy, edited by John Joseph Adams, is an anthology of stories written by some of the biggest names in epic fantasy. The book clocks in at over 600 pages not just because it’s very difficult to tell short epic stories (though some of these authors do manage to pull it off) but because here the authors are not just telling epic legends, they are legends in and of themselves. George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, Robin Hobb, Paolo Bacigalupi, Brandon Sanderson, Ursula K. LeGuin, Kate Elliott, Orson Scott Card, Tad Williams, Aliette de Bodard, Michael Moorcock, Melanie Rawn, Mary Robinette Kowal, N.K. Jemisin, Carrie Vaughn, Trudi Canavan, and Juliet Marillier all contributed stories to this volume.
Epic: Legends of Fantasy opens with a novella by Robin... Read More
Issue 44 of Apex Magazine leads off with “Trixie and the Pandas of Dread” by Eugie Foster. It would take a hard heart to resist a story that starts like this: “Trixie got out of her cherry-red godmobile and waved away the flitting cherubim waiting to bear her to her sedan chair.” In the world Foster has created, one can become a god when the Karma Committee appears at her door bearing prizes akin to the Publishers Clearinghouse bonanza. Trixie uses her power to get rid of the jerks who write sexist, homophobic or racial comments on public internet forums. Can we all agree that we really need a goddess like this? But the work is growing less satisfactory lately; Trixie is having a mid-goddess crisis. The story is about how she gets past it, and it is as satisfying as it is funny.
Lettie Prell’s “The Performance Artist” asks serious questions about what constitutes life in a world where people can do... Read More