I read (or re-read) the following over the last two weeks:
(re-read, six or eight years since last reading)
Winds of Fate
Winds of Change
Winds of Fury
Take a Thief
Sun in Glory
(re-read, six or eight years since last reading)
Arrows of the Queen
(re-read, pretty much memorized)
By the Sword
(re-read, prety much memorized)
(have read, didn't this sitting)
(have read, didn't this sitting)
Sword of Ice
Hmm, I think that's all I've read or have. I made it through part of the Mage Winds, but never finished, and a long time ago read The Gryphon trilogy, but I don't own it (yes, that's next on my purchase list) and am still avoiding The Last Herald Mage because dear God, the synopsis alone is depressing. I think I missed a couple, but feel free to enlighten me on what in Valdemar I missed.
Reading as a condensed group made this much more intense--and odd--than I expected.
1.) Brightly Burning
This one still drives me nuts. I have it practically memorized at this point, and I'm always running on a low grade tantrum of wanting to scream at Mercedes "I get it, stop shoving it down my throat already." Yes, I get Lavan's parents were not awesomely perfect. No *shit*. We *get that*. From Lavan's pov, it worked okay--he's a adolescent kid. They're selfish and stupid--that's their job in life. What got me grinding my teeth was teh adults taking up the refrain. Yo, asking the kid to think about *doingn something with his life* and not lay aruond feeling so goth (you know Lavan was looking for black nail polish and was on teh edge of composing bad poetry while laying around in his faded black clothing) is not evil parents. Missing the bullying and calling him a liar--bad parenting. Telling him to go to school? Not bad parenting.
The entire book had a really bad habit of not just stating something adn going with it. IT said it over and over and over, and it was with stupid things that I couldn't figure out why she was doinng it. Elenor's crush--acting like this was a great and terrible tragedy was driving me nuts. Yes, its' a crush and painful. It is not the end of the world. Kids go through that every day. She has a crush on a guy in love with his not-horse. Complicated. But agonizing over it for pages and pages--and I don't mean Elenor, that would have made *sense*--but her parents. Pages. And. Pages. Dear God.
Lavan himself. We get he's not the most emotionally stable kid on the block. We assume that by the fact he needs to be lifebonded to his Companion (adn yes, I googled, I have yet to find Lavan/Kalira, but my morbid side still wonders, like with Alf porn). But every chance possible, Pol pounds this back in with worry and foreshadowing, and seriously, stop that shit.
Hmm. I think the part that most got me frustrated was that I felt like the entire time, Mercedes was giving me a very long, involving lecture on how to raise children (she did this in Oathblood, too, much to my annoyance) and how to feel about *every character*. There was no leeway. Lavan is Sympathetic but Crazy and Tragic, end of story. Pol is Sympathetic and Empathetic and Wary and a Good Worried Father and Husband, no variation. Parents are Evil and Don't Pay Enough Attention (and Jesus, do I want to go back and throw Selenay at her with her absentee parenting of Elspeth, which yes, I can see the reasons with being a queen and single parenting and kingdom etc, but hey, that there was not only some seriously bad parenting, but utter *stupidity* in not maybe noticing that the NURSE WAS OBVIOUSLY THE REASON ELSPETH WENT TO THE DARK SIDE OH MY GOD HOW FREAKING HARD IS IT TO FIRE A NURSE? YOU DID NOT NEED TALIA TO TELL YOU THIS).
Despite this--despite Kalira making me twitch with some of the innuendo and Lavan um--not ever quite getting what he was involved in there, and Pol being way too self-righteous and Macy a little too perfect and honestly, the only person I really liked iss Elenor--it was fun. Glimpses into the Collegium never get old.
2.) Arrows of the Queen, Arrow's Flight, Arrow's Fall
I love this series, but Talia's a Mary Sue classic. She's an abused child (huh, theme? Imagine that) who is miraculously Chosen by a magic horse. She keeps getting almost killed and eveyrone saves her. She Mindheals and acts as yenta. She ends up with the superkind man with the shattered heart thats' her lifebond. I say this with love. I love Talia. I love her Mary Sueness. I loved every freaking second of this series, except for the finding out the nurse part, because seriously, that was lame. It's all angst and people trying to kill her and people just loving her all over the place and this is totallyh the books I would get my daughter if I had one. They are perfect for a teenage girl to read. She's lifebonded! To Dirk! Who is all broken! Her Gift is goes crazy! She goes a little crazy! Kris, the hottest guy at the Collegium, is sleeping with her. Then great tragedy! She's tortured! Dirk and Rolan adn Elspeth and Gwena and Ahrodie stage an impossible rescue! It's all very moving.
I still have this idea in the back of my mind that if Kris had lived, eventually he and Talia and Dirk would have set up some kind of quasi-threesome thing, room given for the fact that Kris doesn't seem the type to settle down really, but does feel like the type who would like to have some people to come to at teh end of the day. And that would have been awesome.
I dont' have much more interesting here. Talia angsts a lot, and Mercedes never got on my nerves like she did with Lavan. Happy.
3.) Exile's Honor, Exile's Valor
I love Alberich. Teh books are awesomely fun. I loved seeing the Tedrel Wars--that was just cool--and I loved the explanation of Selenay's marriage--that made perfect sense to me. Young girl, queen, grieving for father, under pressure, hot young thing comes by--oh yeah. It worked for me perfectly. I'm not so sure about Thanel needing to have a *script* for sex--I got the impression from By the Sword that he was already pretty skilled as a court fop, so it seemed kind of gilding the lily to make him both incredibly stupid, incompetent, and needing help with seduction in pornographic detail. OTOH, I liked Myste, who is still less Mary Sue than Talia, and I loved her with Alberich.
In a lot of ways, I think Alberich and Kantion are the most interesting pairing, because of their sheer compatiability, kind of like, God help us all, Lavan and Kalira. They worked together. They even think in unison and unlike Elspeth and Gwena, or Selenay and Caryo, there're really a single solid pair. I liked seeing Companions being prejudiced. I liked the explanation of why Talamir wasn't terribly good at interacting with Selenay on a personal level--in Arrows, Selenay mentioned the age difference, but considering the job requirement, it makes more sense to me that his problems came basically from being mentally fragile. It also explains why Rolan was so excited to get Talia. True, she was depressed and mopey, but man, it's got to be a relief to be with a mind that wants *you* and not your dead other self.
I have this entire mental area I wonder about with Rolan there in view of the Exile series, from when he came for Talamir through Talia. If you play with the ideas in the last stories, Rolan's fast bond to Talia and protectiveness makes even more sense. He had to live in a mind that would have rejected him if it could and always wanted to be free. Even for a Companion, that's got to suck to live with, day in and day out for years. Talia must have been amazing for him.
I still kind of giggle at the description of Caryo as a older scholarly sister or maidenly aunt. And kind of intrigued by the one-line where Kantor said that they hadn't had time to think that Caryo needed to change for Selenay. That implies something, though I don't know what exactly.
Okay, I was going to do more, but eh. Maybe later. So, anyone have different thoughts? I'm curious--enough of us all have read these, either during our formative fantasy years or later--that i want to see where everyone falls out on the books.