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on May 9, 2005
After deliberating on whether or not I should read this book, I figured that with the 2 good reviews it has gotten to give it a go! Unfortunately, the way in which this book is written seems very awkward (ie. "the farmers had had a hard winter"). Ok, I admit, I am no English Language professional here, so we will ignore the few "had had" instances and move on to the story.
This book IS interesting, the author does create two unique cultures, BUT the romance in this novel is so out of character. When our two ladies got together, I had to go back a chapter and see if I missed anything. It did not make any sense! You've got two characters that don't trust each other, are barely talking about anything relevant, that just get it on and profess their love. Then you've got a situation where they hurt each other physically, almost until death, but still "love" each other and want to spend their lives (with no mention of the near death assault!) This story boggles the mind.
But please keep in mind that I was expecting a "fantasy/adventure/romance".
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on July 5, 2002
This is one of those inhale-in-one-sitting type of books I can recommend happily. Schumacher's characters are excellent foils for each other, and their romance is believable (if inevitable). Peryn is the eponymous hero, who has left her apparently utopian homeland to find a stolen precious stone. She is naive, sometimes to the point of being dense, whereas her ally in the raucous town at the end of her journey, Alyche, is a cynical thief and fence for stolen goods.
Alyche and Peryn have all the adventures anyone could want for them and, of course, eventually become lovers. But their relationship is not simplistic or trouble-free. Culture clashes form the basis for most of their conflicts, and two very opposite cultures those are: the peaceful Northerners are unable to lie, or at least Peryn can't. They value craftsmanship, sex, the arts, and love.
The Southerners are the classic people one meets in any number of fantasy medieval novels: grasping, dirty, patriarchal, petty, and mean. Alyche is the exceptions, but other genuinely good characters show up here and there, too. The novel itself is not cynical at all, but neither is it as naive as young Peryn.
The most interesting and challenging parts of the book happen once the hero's quest seems to be fulfilled. I don't want to spoil the ending, so I'll just say that anyone who has read Ursula LeGuin's classic short story, The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, should read this book to find out where, exactly, those people might imagine they're going, and why they really leave. This novel fits comfortably into the anti-utopian tradition.
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on July 5, 2002
Schumacher puts together a quite compelling novel, combining an epic quest with intrigue, stirring in philosophical ideology, folding in a touch of magic, and spicing it with passion. In her own heroic effort, Schumacher builds not one, but two very different societies and cultures in Hero's Quest Betrayed. . . . Hero's Quest Betrayed is a novel that will keep your attention, entertain you and maybe excite you; it may also lead you to question your ideas of a perfect society, and give you a few ideas for improving the one we live in.
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