August 06, 2005

Raven's Shadow by Patricia Briggs

ravensshadow.jpgThe last Endeavour Award candidate I read for this year's award. And happily it was my favorite of the bunch. There ought to be a name for the flavor of fantasy this is. It's not epic exactly, there are no great quests or overwhelming evils or superhuman heroes or mystical beasts. The characters are all recognizably human with plausible talents and failings. The magic is subtle and inherent, not overly ritualized or attached to ancient artifacts.

The first chapter introduces Tier, who's returning home from a campaign as a soldier in the army. Along the way, he rescues Seraph (though there's some ambiguity about that. Her attackers may have thanked him had they known more about her). The remainder of the book takes up close to twenty years later, Tier and Seraph have been married nearly as long and have three teen-aged children. You could pitch the flavor of the story from here as The Incredibles in a medieval setting, but that's only a hint. In short, Tier disappears and the rest of the family sets out to rescue him. The details make it a gripping tale. Briggs introduces characters with abandon and each is complex and nuanced and interesting. In the end there's plenty of room for sequels, and I for one would be happy to read another book in this setting with these characters.

Posted by jeffy at August 6, 2005 04:15 PM