Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fall of a Kingdom

Fall of a Kingdom (Hilari Bell, 2006) is the first volume of a YA fantasy trilogy set in Farsala, a Persia analogue awaiting an invasion from the Hrum (Rome). It's told through the eyes of three Farsalan teenagers--Soraya, the proud daughter of the high commander, her bastard half-brother Jiaan, who's inherited his father's military acumen but isn't fully accepted among the warrior elite because of his peasant mother, and Kavi, a peddler and con artist. The shared POV works, though I liked Jiaan best of the lot. He reminded me a bit of Jack in my own WIP, actually--I have a soft spot for bright, earnest young warriors.

I like how Bell contrasts the warring cultures. I've always enjoyed fantasies like this with recognizable real-world analogues (think Guy Gavriel Kay or Jacqueline Carey) where the magic is light to nonexistent, and this is a great example of the type. She also did a great job with the battle tactics, IMHO, and I'm getting pickier about that sort of thing.

I'm looking forward to reading the second book.

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