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Leaves of Flame Mass Market Paperback – January 3, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Well of Sorrows Series

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: DAW (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756407044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756407049
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 1.5 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,605,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By B. Capossere TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 7, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Leaves of Flame is the follow up to Well of Sorrows by Benjamin Tate (pen name of Joshua Palmatier) and while it isn't quite as good as its predecessor, since Well of Sorrow was one of my favorite reads of 2011, that's a pretty high bar to meet. The sequel has more issues in terms of pacing and organization, but remains a still-good novel and its latter third or so is especially strong. And it certainly avoids the dreaded "bridge book" syndrome.

The sequel picks up decades after the events of Well of Sorrows, though we're still with our main character from book one--Colin--thanks to the time-related magic he employs, making him relatively ageless physically. And, thanks to the fact that the Alvritshai race is extremely long-lived, his closest companion from the first book, Aeren, returns as a major character, though somewhat older and now burdened by responsibilities of lordship and family. This leap forward in time allows some major events to have transpired in between the books and this happens not just this once but a few times early on as the reader leaps ahead years and decades with Colin. This does take some getting used to, but eventually the story settles into a more typically straightforward and constrained chronology. And although it was a bit abrupt at times, I found myself liking how Tate used the time jumps to let major event happen off-stage and set the stage for more urgent plot points.

The three humanoid species--the Alvritshai, the Dwarren, and humans--have co-existed since the events of the Well of Sorrows in a relatively productive if at times uneasy peace.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
For several hundred years the three species have co-existed in a tentative peace by avoiding one another. The Alvritshai, Dwarren and Human races rarely have contact as none trust the others.

Much more than a human, Colin Harten notices the wraiths and their Shadow allies have increasingly posed a threat to the three races. Having mastered three of the five known magic's while in the wilderness for decades (see Well of Sorrow), he has arranged for his friends the magical Trees to provide some protection to the separate but equal races. However, he knows that is not enough as he realizes he needs them to unite before it is too late; once the insidious enemy gains control of the magic nothing Alvritshai, Dwarren, Human, the Faelehgre spirits of light or even him will survive.

This is a terrific social-military-political fantasy but pales in comparison to the excellent thought provoking Well of Sorrows as the colonization theme of the first tale is replaced by a more standard genre scenario. Still fans will appreciate the exciting escapades in the Tate realm as an increasingly desperate but capable and cynical Colin (instead of the enthusiastic rookie) knows if he cannot motive all three species to unite, the dark Shadows will put out the light.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book moves amazingly well for a middle chapter. It of course sets up for the third and final act, but until the last 50 pages or so it reads as a great stand alone book. I'm really curious to see how the resolution is going to fit into one more book. Colin is a strong hero but is still human enough and has weaknesses so he doesn't fall into the Superman (have to invent a weakness) trap.

While the colonization aspect has been played down from the first book, there is still an echo of new world feel and hinting that the old world will play more importantly in the finale.

I really like a book if I want to be the hero and I get a genuine distasted for the antagonists. For his third straight book, the author (also published as Josh Palmatier) has made me feel that way. If you like fantasy or exploration, I think you'll like both books in the Well series.
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