Monday, January 24, 2011

Masques by Patricia Briggs (Aralorn Series, Book 1; Sianim Series, Book 1)

Masques by Patricia Briggs

Completion Date: January 12, 2011
Reason for Reading: Buddy Read with Vanessa from Reading in Bed
After an upbringing of proper behavior and oppressive expectations, Aralorn fled her noble birthright for a life of adventure as a mercenary spy. Her latest mission involves spying on the increasingly powerful sorcerer Geoffrey ae'Magi. But in a war against an enemy armed with the powers of illusion, how do you know who the true enemy is-or where he will strike next?
Today is a buddy read with Vanessa, from Reading in Bed. I have known Vanessa since I was a teenager, so it is fun that we are now reading and blogging together even if we hardly ever see each other anymore!

I have the first part of the review, and then you have to head over to her blog to read the second part. Enjoy!

Kelly: I have to admit I have always been curious about this book, but it was largely out-of-print for a while. When I saw at one point last year that she was going to edit it a bit and reissue it I was excited to finally get a chance to read the whole series. Did you think this book was worth being reissued?

Vanessa: I think it was worth it. Since the Mercy Thompson series is very popular, Patricia Briggs is gaining lots of new fans who may be curious about her older work (I know I was). While it certainly wasn’t her best book it was interesting to see how she has progressed as a writer since she started out. A lot of the foundations of her later work were there - strong heroine, romantic tension without being overtly romantic, interesting and memorable supporting characters and a story with a clear ending that also leaves an opening for future adventures. How did you find this book compared to her later work?

Kelly: I agree with a lot of your points. This was obviously a very strong influence on her later books. She obviously had the right ingredients determined from the very beginning, but she had to grow as a writer in technical areas. I know that when we were reading this book I commented to you how you could tell she never expected these books to be reissued because she borrows so much from them. Aralorn reminds me a lot of Mercy. They have different skills, but their attitude is very similar. The biggest difference is maturity, I think. Aralorn acts a bit younger than Mercy in some situations. Then, Wolf reminded very strongly of Charles from the Alpha & Omega series. While Wolf wasn’t exactly a werewolf, he had a lot of the same characteristics and moods that we see from Charles. What did you think of the characters?

Vanessa: I liked them but they were definitely a tad more 2 dimensional than her later characters. Their reactions to situations were quite predictable for the most part. Aralorn definitely seems like a younger Mercy especially how she jumped into all situations without thinking first. What made her seem more immature was the fact that when something happened that bothered her or made her wonder she never voiced it. She always put up a front. Wolf was made to seem wise in a lot of ways but in others he was almost like a scared little boy especially when it came to his feelings about Aralorn. I understand that caring for someone else is alien to him but the way his fear and confusion was conveyed was a little much. Myr was ok but also a little bit too flawless as a character. The people at the camp were interesting but would have been better if she’d written them now. As a villain the ae’Magi was...kinda boring. Don’t get me wrong I wanted them to triumph over him but his whole premise was a bit weak and we didn’t really get to the true root of his motivation. This all makes me sound like I didn’t like the characters but I really did they just had some flaws. How long did it take you to figure out who Wolf really was?

Kelly: Yes, I can see a lot of what you are saying. The ae’Magi was pretty dull. I didn’t like him, but I didn’t have as strong a reaction to him as I would if he was written with a bit more skill. On Wolf, though, Charles is a lot like that in the beginning to when it comes to his feelings. That’s part of the reason why Wolf reminds me of him so much. The book was a bit predicable, I must say. I had a very strong suspicion who Wolf was the minute we were introduced to him as a human and it didn’t take me long to deduce that I was right. So, even though she tried to keep it a big secret it was a bit obvious to me... I don’t want to spoil anything, but just the way she reveals things leads it to only be possible for it to be one person. Hopefully I am not giving too much away with that! What about you? And, what did you think about the magical aspects of the book?

Now head over to Vanessa's Blog to read Part Two!

This book counts for the TwentyEleven Reading Challenge.

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