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A Dark Sacrifice: Book Two of The Rune of Unmaking Paperback – November 20, 2007

4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Howard's gripping second volume in her Rune of Unmaking high fantasy series (after The Hidden Stars), Ouriána, the queen of Phaôrax, seeks an heir. Since Ouriána has lost one son and does not trust a second, she sends her high wizard north in search of her niece, a princess who's living as a healer under the name Winloki. Some of the northerners have other plans for Winloki, particularly the wizard Sindérian and her father, Faolein (in the form of an owl). Sindérian and Faolein arrive too late to forestall the high wizard, but set off after him and Winloki on a long and breathless chase by land and by sea. On the way, daughter and father encounter caverns of the dead, kingdoms of dwarves and vicious manticores. Swift pacing, well-crafted characters and vivid battle scenes lift this well above the average Tolkien-inspired fantasy. (Dec.)
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About the Author

Debut author Madeline Howard enjoys gardening, Celtic myths, and working on the next Rune of Unmaking book. She lives in Northern California with her family.

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Product Details

  • Series: Rune of Unmaking (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 418 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; 1 edition (November 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060575921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060575922
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,044,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 12, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I picked up the first book The Hidden Stars on a whim and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. I eagerly looked forward to the second book and I was not disappointed.

The story was even more developed and I found myself being drawn deeper into the work that Madeline Howard created and started to care about the characters. The pace is a bit slow but not ponderous and not detrimental to the book's quality overall but gives a chance for the fully developed world to emerge. The books ends on somewhat of a cliffhanger that leaves you guessing.

Looking forward to the next book in this series!
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Format: Paperback
I could sum up what happened in this book in about 5 sentences. The pace is glacial. On the other hand, I enjoyed the writing style and the book was an interesting read so I won't complain too much. Too many prince and princesses here, I agree with another reviewer. Well done fantasy world otherwise, not too many characters, interesting characters. Predictable in some ways some interesting plot twists too. Of course, my final opinion will be based on how the series ends as this book left quite a few threads to tie up.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on December 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
Ouriana is the Divine Incarnation of the Devouring Moon, strong in magic due to the deity that resides in her. Like her, it feeds on blood and death and works only dark sorceries. She is impregnable and is served by the Furiadhim, mutated beings who were once men who wield black magic. The only thing that Ouriana fears is the prophecy that states one of her blood will overthrow her. Her niece Winloki is the child of the prophecy all grown up and living in Skyrana in the north adopted by King Ristil who is at war with the Eislanders.

Winloki, a healer accompanies Prince Kivlik and his relative Skerry to battle but they are overrun and find themselves trapped in the fortress at Tirfang. A small group who want Winloki to fulfill the prophecy are marching to the fortree including the powerful healer Sinderian, her dead father who takes the shapes of various birds and the half-Faery Prince Ruan. The people are under siege from giants, shapechangers and Eislanders. When Winloki is kidnapped by the Furiadhim, the siege ends; her allies go out to find and rescue her. Both groups face danger from various creatures and supernatural beings.

A DARK SACRIFICE is a wonderful fantasy set in a world where magic is taken for granted and dwarves, the fae and other creatures of myth and legend are real and dangerous to humans. Readers will feel sorry for Winloki who has to adjust her conception of herself and admire Sinderian who is willing to do whatever it takes to defeat Ouriana. These strong willed independent women come to realize the power that resides within them and make difficult choices according to their nature. Madeline Howard is a first rate fantasist.

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful By April on January 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
_Hidden Stars_ is the first book in this series, which I did not read, so my review may be flawed by that.

I did not get into this book at all, I'm afraid. The feel is very Tolkien-ish, down to the plot (evil sorceress rules supreme, but hope lies in one person foretold to be their downfall; small group of heroic people go in search of her risking much peril, at one point they all have to go underground facing darkness and danger), and with humans, fey types and dwarves, and evil minions (corrupted men who follow the Evil Sorceress and have gained long life and mysterious powers)--and even in the types of names (lots of umlauts) and general setting(very alternate old earth).

For some reason I found it annoying that every other character was Prince So-and-So. In the party searching for the Lost Princess there is Prince Ruan. Up north we follow Prince Kivik and down in the south there is Prince Cuillioc's adventures. No mere lords or barons or dukes in sight, just Princes! And the characters never seemed to distinguish themselves... the potentially all-powerful healer-mage who is with Prince Ruan's party seems as headstrong as the healer Lost Princess up north with Prince Kivik... The notable character who is a sorcerer who is trapped in bird form seems there just to fly and spy and then to miraculously communicate more skills to the healer-mage, all without establishing much in the way of characterization. I almost felt sympathetic towards Prince Cuilloc, since he actually had some dire stuff happen to him, but I don't quite understand his wish to die rather than disappoint his mother. He seemed noble in ways, but bizarre in other ways.

But perhaps this was just one tale that cannot be enjoyed when jumping into the middle book? I just know that I'm fairly easy to please and have jumped into other series' without problem, but this one just didn't work for me.
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A Dark Sacrifice: Book Two of The Rune of Unmaking
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