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Frostflower and Thorn Paperback – December 1, 1980
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Wildside Press is performing a great service by reprinting obscure or hard-to-find works of fantasy, science fiction, and adventure from authors like H. Rider Haggard, Rudyard Kipling, and Sax Rohmer. But Wildside may be performing an even greater service by reprinting the equally deserving works of less famous authors. One writer receiving a well-deserved revival is Phyllis Ann Karr. As of 2000, Wildside had reprinted four of her fantasy novels: Frostflower and Thorn, Frostflower and Windbourne, At Amberleaf Fair, and The Idylls of the Queen. The heroic-fantasy Frostflower and Thorn series is well written, complex, and thoughtful, and never descends to cliché. You will find no simple villainies here, no quests for some superpowered sword or amulet. This is no standard high-fantasy realm of kings and knights and dark lords, and its culture is very different from ours, so much so that certain events and behaviors in Frostflower and Thorn will deeply disturb some readers, although they are believable consequences of this world's societies. --Cynthia Ward
Top Customer Reviews
The sex/gender egalitarianism is also a surprise. ALL the soldiers are women; men are not seen as suited to that lifestyle... and soldiers have a social status higher than that of merchants, etc.
So- the world is fascinating, and well-worth visiting.
The characters are distinctly drawn, sometimes in an exaggerated way, espeically with the swordswomen. The plot hinges on choices various well-described characters make.
I'm giving it a 4, though, because some of the violence, and the carefully described tortures, were shocking. OK, maybe that's a good thing... but it's not necessarily what I want to read unless I'm pre-warned.
Also, some of the action got repetitive. Escape from the pursuers kept going around in circles, and it felt stuck. Eventually things resolved... but only after a LOT of static circling. Karr tried to raise the stakes each time, and did- but it still felt static to me.
It's worth reading for the world, if you are prepared for the ugliness. (The ugliness was not exactly gratuitous, but I'm not convinced so much of it was necesary, either.)