Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Serpent Bride by Sara Douglass

Rescued from unspeakable horror, Ishbel Brunelle has devoted her life to a Serpent cult that reads the future in the entrails of its human sacrifices. But the Serpent has larger plans for Ishbel than merely being archpriestess, plans that call for a dangerous royal marriage balancing on the edge between treachery and devotion, and an eerie, eldritch warning: Prepare for the Lord of Elcho Falling...

And there are other dangers. For while Tencendor is gone, even its fall cannot destroy the Icarii. As the Tyrant of Isembaard reaches for glory, both StarDrifter SunSoar and his son, Axis, are pulled into the deadly dance of intrigue and sorcery. The DarkGlass Mountain--once known as the Threshold--is waiting, and as the Dark God Kanubai rises from his prison in exile, no one will escape unscathed.
This book was wonderful! I picked it up on a whim one day and found myself falling in love with Sara Douglass' writing style. This book could look overwhelming because of the large size, but it is really very readable and if you have the time to devote to it, doesn't take very long to get through at all. You will want to know what happens next, and, if you are like me, will be disappointed when you get to the end because there is still so much left to be told of the story and I want to know what happens next! As I was reading I kept forgetting this was the first book in a trilogy because so much happens that you almost think that everything will be wrapped up by the end, but then it would sink in that there were two more books yet to come and it would take forever for me to see everything wrapped up. I am the worst with trilogies and series. I have too many on the go, I never seem to finish any of them, but I keep starting new ones!

In this book, there are characters for everyone. At times I thought there were just a bit too many for me to keep track of, especially considering how slowly I was reading this book, but in the end I knew who the central characters were and was able to keep all their stories straight. Douglass writes really good characters. Even when you hate them, you want to see what is going to happen to them next. Her characters all have pasts, which in many cases she covers during the course of the novel, so they become more than two-dimensional characters. You know why they act like they do, you know where they are coming from, and in some cases you know where they are going. Do they still annoying you at times? Of course, but that is the mark of a great writer when you get into the story enough to have opinions about the characters.

This is a novel about evil rising and a group of unlikely characters finding themselves pushed together to triumph over this evil. Or, at least try and triumph over this evil. It is a book where everything happens for a reason. Many of the characters in this book have been living their life waiting for this moment to shine, and we will see if they do in fact shine as the trilogy progresses. I am a bit worried about book two. Considering how far into the story book one went, I can see book two seriously suffering from the 'book two problems' and book three really being the book that everyone is waiting for.

Anyways, I wrote a review of this book when it was fresh in my head, but it somehow got erased, so now I have read a few books since and it is not as fresh anymore. Not to mention, I am a bit rusty on this review writing thing! (Still not on my computer, so pictures will be added later.)


  1. I have been wanting to try Sara Douglass for some time now. I've heard she writes very well. This book in particular sounds like a winner. Thanks for the great review.

  2. Numerous things to say in response to this post.

    Firstly - yay Sara Douglass! She is one of my all-time fantasy writers. This book was great because it had characters from 1 of her other series and one of her standalones, and deals a bit with yet another standalone. And yes, her writing style draws you in and won't let you put the book down until the book is finished. :)

    Secondly - You said that you were disappointed when you got to the end of the book because there was so much more to tell, and all that stuff. That happens with ALL her books and it highly annoys me. Except for the few standalone ones, of course. But still.

    Thirdly - Her books don't normally suffer from the "book two syndrome" that many trilogies suffer from. They usually have enough of a story-line of their own that they don't seem to drag.

    Fourthly - if you enjoyed this one, then I'd highly recommend Beyond the Hanging Wall (in which Maximilian is a prisoner in the gloam mines, and has forgotten who he is) and the Wayfarer Redemption series (the story of Axis, Stardrifter, etc. - the last 3 in the series are my favourite Sara Douglass ones).

  3. Like you, I was disappointed at the end - I was not happy with that cliffhanger. LOL I hope my library hurries up so I can get Twisted Citadel!!

  4. I'm glad to hear it. I have seen her books on the shelves...beautiful covers...and wondered about them. I'm glad to hear such positive reviews and I am much more likely to pick up a larger book if I know it is a trilogy as opposed to an ongoing, when-is-it-going-to-end series.

  5. literary feline: You should read her. My first attempt was very successful and I have already ordered the sequel.

    court: Thanks for all the info! Especially that she writes a good second book. I have a hard time reading second books when I really like a trilogy because I tend to be worried that it will disappoint me. I plan to read her other books, but thanks for the suggestions!

    ames: I ordered the second book as well. Hopefully mine gets here soon as well.

    carl: I would read it. I don't think you will be disappointed.


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