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5.0 étoiles sur 5
A book to pay attention to!, April 21 2012
I liked Winds of Khalakovo (book one of this series), but it had its blemishes. I was very pleased that Beaulieu learned from them, and that the Straits of Galahesh shows his growth as an author. I could find only a minor quibble to complain about with book two.
I really liked the Straits of Galahesh (I bought additional copies to give to friends). I think it is one of the most enjoyable epic fantasy I have read in a while, and that is saying something.
The book has wonderfully developed characters that I became invested in. It has an interesting and detailed world full of interesting lands, people, and a well developed magic system. I found the dialogue to be very well written.
And did I mention there is a LOT of action in the book? Once things get going, Beaulieu really keeps you on the edge of your seat with political intrigue, danger, and a lot of battles and encounters. It kept me up late reading even though I needed to get up the next morning.
He also really keeps you guessing. I was constantly surprised by the twists and turns, and there were a lot of times I never saw things coming. How many times have you read an epic fantasy lately and have been able to say that? This alone really makes this book worth reading.
Another thing this book gets right is giving us sufficient information about the politics and the people involved so you understand who they are, and their motivation. And the motivations are grey, not black and white. You get to see the various points of view and how the different sides believe they are in the right. A think the behaviour of some of the characters may surprise you.
One thing I really like about this book is the freshness and originality. Instead of being set in a western European inspired world, Beaulieu has based his world on an Russian inspired culture. Rather than arrows and sailing ships, he has ships that sail through the air as well as flintlock rifles and cannons. And this is just the starting point. I think you will find the magic system and how the battles play out very original as well.
If you are a fan of George R. R. Martin's a Game of Thrones, you might like this series. You have an epic story, detailed world full of magic and complex people, multiple points of view (3 of them), politics, and lots of action. Also, no character in the novel is safe. Personally, I think this series has the strengths of the Song of Ice and Fire series, but not the weaknesses.
I believe if the large book chains displayed the Straits of Galahesh prominently and promoted it, it could be a huge success. The book deserves it and will be so if people would just give it a try.