- Paperback: 356 pages
- Publisher: Lulu.Com (Dec 30 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1435705459
- ISBN-13: 978-1435705456
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 499 g
- Average Customer Review: 22 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,645,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
City of Bones Paperback – Dec 24 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Wells's second novel (after The Element of Fire) is a delight: an SF adventure with complex characters, archeological puzzles, a dash of mental magic and a lot of fast-paced action. Khat and his partner, Sagai, make their living finding relics that survived the destruction of the Ancients and selling them to the highest bidders. Khat is a Krisman (a bioengineered human whose race was designed for the grueling desert environment most of his world has become), which places him even lower on the social scale than his foreign-born partner. The two are coerced into working with the Patrician Warder, Elen, who is searching out a specific relic for her mentor, the Master Warder. Warders have certain mental powers, although overusing these powers can cause them to go mad. The Master Warder believes that this particular relic will enhance his powers without causing insanity, but Khat and Elen discover that there is a terrible price to be paid for using the artifact, one that may bring about the final destruction of their already ailing planet. This finely crafted novel expertly combines several genres?SF, fantasy, horror?and, perhaps most impressive of all, even manages to avoid an overly sentimental ending.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Wells' second novel is a reasonably original postholocaust fantasy. The holocaust in this case caused the sea to dry up and left a good number of relics of the ancient days. There has grown up a trade in the latter, and as in all times and climes, archaeology attracts criminals, pretenders, and well-meaning amateurs as well as strict professionals. Mix those kinds of characters up in palace intrigue with mad or at least obsessive wizards, beautiful maidens, and a hunt for the Secret of the Remnant, and you have the makings of a decent adventure tale with an Arabian Nights flavor that Wells has the technical skill, as well as the verve and wit, to bring off quite nicely. Roland Green --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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While the plot aspect of the book is strong, I felt that there were some missed opportunities. The main male and female characters aren't particularly interesting, they're basically just copies of the stoic heroes that we've seen countless times before. Some of the minor characters, particularly a mysterious former warder named Constans, are a little bit more intriguing, but the author doesn't really seem to care much about the characterization aspect of writing. Another weakness is in setting. While the city of Charisat and the surrounding arid wastelands are a welcome break from the quasi-Europe in the Middle Ages setting that we find in most genre fantasy, Wells doesn't really give us any feel for what life in the city is like. It comes across as a rather bland place, in part because we meet only a very small subset of the population. While these flaws don't ruin the novel, they make it less memorable than it could have been.
This is my second Martha Wells, and she doesn't disappoint. The writing is detailed and unpretentious, the world is believable and draws the reader in, and the characters are fully fleshed out enough to feel real. Recommend.
I loved City of Bones because it presented me with a society that worked coherently, drew sensible conclusions from the information presented to the reader, and provided an archaeological mystery which the reader can try to solve right along with the characters (which is a HUGE plus in ANY novel, as Ellery Queen readers can attest).
Perhaps I overintellectualize, but the point remains that I'm definitely going to look for Wells' other books now. That's the only recommendation that really matters in the end.
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