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Range of Ghosts (The Eternal Sky) Paperback – January 29, 2013

49 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Eternal Sky Series

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Editorial Reviews


“This lean, sinewy, visceral narrative, set forth in extraordinarily vivid prose full of telling detail, conveys a remarkable sense of time and place, where the characters belong to the landscape and whose personalities derive naturally from it.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Elizabeth Bear launches a trilogy in a fantastic new world with this compelling tale…Bear creates a vivid world where wizards must sacrifice their ability to procreate in order to control magic and the sky changes to reflect the gods of the land's rulers. The strong setting and engaging characters will have readers eager for the second installment.” ―Publishers Weekly

About the Author

ELIZABETH BEAR was born on the same day as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, but in a different year. She was the recipient of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2005. She has won two Hugo Awards for her short fiction, and her Hammered trilogy is a Locus Award winner.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Eternal Sky (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (January 29, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765335360
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765335364
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #607,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By H Waterhouse on April 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You have to love a man who names his heroic horse "Dumpling".

You have to love a princess who trades her broodmare status for the hope of power.

You have to love a quest group that consists of three women and a dude who respects them all.

If you go to describe this story, it is easy to get tangled in the A plot and the B plot and trying to figure out what's about to go on, but when you're reading it, it's very seamless. As you realize that all these plotlines are converging, the story seems to pick up speed and momentum, tumbling to a not-quite-conclusion.

As usual, Bear's writing shows the toolmarks of master craftsmanship, and once in a while has showstopping images:

"As the sky dimmed, the glow they twinkled in was cast by candles, fixed in glass jars to the shells of ambling tortoises, so as the sun set, the whole of the garden was filled with a moving light. Birds sang themselves to sleep in the tree branches, and the twilight made a canopy overhead."

And one that would be a spoiler, but eek, hungry ghosts!

One of the things I enjoyed most was the exploration of fertility and the consequences of chosen infertility. There were so many details that bespoke long thought about how this could be made to work in a pre-industrial era. There are apples studded with nails to build up iron, and an emphasis on the consumption of soy to provide phytoestrogens. The real chance of death by infection. But the beautiful payoff for all of this is here:

"She folded her legs one atop the other and brought her hands before her groin, where the center of creation had once lived and lived no longer. There was the essence of wizardry.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Justin Landon on March 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Up until now, I'd never read Elizabeth Bear. If I'm being honest, I couldn't have produced the titles of anything she'd written. That isn't to say I didn't know who she was -- she's a visible figure in the genre community and an active Tweeter -- just that I hadn't been exposed to her actual work. When her new novel showed up on my doorstep, I made it a priority. Joining a wave of 2011/2012 fantasy firmly couched in Middle Eastern and Asian influence, Range of Ghosts is an epic scale love story that tries to appeal fans of both romance and high fantasy and succeeds by any metric.

Egads! Did I say romance? Normally, the mere mention of 'romance' sets off alarm bells in my head, calling to mind smoldering glances and heaving bosoms (not that I don't like heaving... never mind). For those who share my reticence, don't worry. Range is a love story, but not a romance. With that in mind, my first reaction to what I was reading came around the fifty page mark where Bear writes the best sex scene I've read in fantasy. To whet your appetite:

She was softness, lush dimpled softness of arms and flanks wrapped around strength, like a bent bow. She was the fall of cool hair across his throat and his burning face, like water to a man sick with sun. She was the smell of sweat and pungent oils. She was the warmth of the night, and seventeen moons rose over her shoulders while she rode him with the purpose and intensity with which she raced her mare.

Of course, now all the readers of George Martin, Joe Abercrombie, and Brent Weeks are saying, not for me! And they might be right. Range isn't hyper violent, or unduly action packed. The pace is smooth, and even.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By N. Gargano VINE VOICE on April 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just finished reading this wonderful fantasy by Elizabeth Bear and at first I decided not to review it. I was not sure how to describe it, or how to explain exactly why I loved it. However, I wanted to pass the word along with the other reviewers, because I feel as if this is a book that should not be missed.
This book is so different than the normal fantasy books I am attracted too. However, this was a recommended book on a review web site, and it just caught my eye. I am so glad I gave it a chance. There is magic, sorcery, action, romance and an array of cultures and world building that was outstanding. I was not sure if I would like it when I first started it, but once I got into the flow of the writing and the names of the characters, it was such a joy to read. I never knew what was around the corner and I got so attached to the characters. Even the villains are so interesting, I just could not stop reading it.
There was a cliff hanger ending, so if you are looking for something that is stand alone, this may not be for you, but I cannot wait until the next book to see not only what happens to the characters, but what the author is going to come up with. It is beautifully written, just a wonderful read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Carebare on June 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a great swords & sorcery story. Tamur is a wounded soldier on the run in an archaic Mongolian setting, who values family and is seeking purpose/revenge. The love interest is a strong woman with royal ties and magical abilities.

Although this book didn't quite make my all-time favorites, I highly recommend this book and totally look forward to see what happens next in its sequel "The Shattered Pillars."

The book is well written, but I found myself skimming through several chapters-- namely those about anyone except Tamur. The mix of sorcery with Mongolian culture was initially disconcerting, but I appreciate the originality of setting since the book otherwise treads familiar ground (i.e., JV Jones' "Sword of Shadows").

I think Bear could have further explored certain avenues in order for me to really care about the characters and setting. And of course further developed the novel climax, and lead up to it. I may have been able to keep track of the side characters or history if I really cared, but as it was I couldn't keep track of the unusual names. I also didn't really see the story develop through the characters' POV.

Conclusively, while the book wasn't original in terms of plot and could have been better fleshed out, it was overall a genuinely entertaining and engrossing read.
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