04 November, 2010

Review - The Price of Spring by Daniel Abraham

The Long Price Quartet has officially moved Daniel Abraham onto my list of authors whose works I buy immediately upon publication.

The first half of this series, A Shadow in Summer and A Betrayal in Winter, dealt more individually with themes and characters yet gave us a world all its own, epic in every sense of the word. They displayed the author's proficiency with plotting and character development and gave us the tragic tone of the series.

In the latter half, An Autumn War and The Price of Spring [US] [UK books 3 & 4], Abraham takes us to a whole new level in this uniquely crafted world of the Khaiem.

While the first two books also involve decisions made by the main characters that could effect the entire world, the latter two involve decisions that effect the world in an enormous way and change the way people live out their lives.

Set years after the events of An Autumn War, the people of the Khaiem and the Galts, still not on the best of terms, attempt to work something out for both cultures to survive their ill fates.

Otah Machi attempts to deal with the hand that is dealt to him, negotiating with the Galts to ship their women to the Khaiem so that both countries aren't ruined or picked apart by other countries for their lack of offspring.

Some call it whoring the women out, some call it saving the races, but mostly there is a deep sadness as the current generation of women feel betrayed and useless for their inability to have children.

Otah sees this as his chance to get rid of the old practices of the Khaiem where the sons kill each other off to become the next ruler, or Khai.

Maati Vaupathi, once Emperor Otah Machi's friend, once his enemy, has found himself again opposing Otah's wishes. Exiled for creating the andat Seedless, who all but ruined both the Khaiem and the Galts, taking away their ability to reproduce separately, Maati is resentful towards his old friend who had just as much of a part to play in the disaster that fell on both countries.

But, he has found a way to redeem himself and the name of all poets everywhere as he attempts to right the wrong he has done. Doesn't he deserve a chance to make things better and save those women the heartbreak that a generation of half-breeds will provide?

With a steady and inventive plot that continually has you guessing just off the mark, The Price of Spring is epic in consequences and as tragic as its predecessors, perhaps even more so.

I enjoyed the fact that we got to see these characters throughout their lives. By the end of The Price of Spring, Maati and Otah are well into their later years.

I enjoyed the physical language of the Khaiem and thought it brought a wonderful atmosphere to the books even though I think I pictured ever pose, whether "thank you" or "good by", as someone putting both arms up walking like an Egyptian. Couldn't get that out of my head.

I did, however, have one slight problem with the behavior of Maati and Otah and I couldn't quite enjoy the book as much as I wanted to (and hence the slightly lower rating). While I understand the animosity between them, I thought it was stretched a bit. I know they both had different views of the situation, but I felt like they really should have understood each other better than they gave off, especially when they started acting like two brawling children.

I know I always harp on language, and I will stop, but I think too many authors are siding with reality over originality when it comes to some of the more colorful language. What else can you use in a maddening situation when you've already used everything in the book? This book hardly if ever uses any foul language, but the one time it did, it took me back a step.

Why Should You Read The Long Price Quartet?

I've mentioned this before and I'll say it again. This series is a great read. It's slower paced, but packs a punch with plot and characterization and the world is something all its own.

4 out of 5 Stars