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The Broken Crown (The Sun Sword, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 1997
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Top Customer Reviews
I understand many of the average-scoring reviews, because so many of those readers haven't had the opportunity to explore the complexity of the remainder of the series. But I implore any reader that is hesitant about reading this book or its successors: please understand that The Broken Crown is simply an exposition. It's meant to introduce characters and plot elements in a very subtle way by mostly presenting back story. And for those who toss their books away in frustration every time the plot shifts? Kudos to the author for drawing you into the tale and those characters to whom you've become mildly attached. It is the hallmark of a good author.
West does have a tendency to wax poetic. However, she glides through passages with such grace and dignity, that you can hardly fault her flowery style. In fact, this echos of a time when grand epochs might be told to pampered, honored women on silken cushions. Her use of stock archetypes (her own devices) is effective and amusing at times.
As you read the Sun Sword series, yes, it may seem as if the author is making things up as she writes.Read more ›
The author is clearly not a hack writer. The writing style is difficult to skim or read quickly because of its originality. Michelle West's prose is admirable and unique. In addition, the world she has created is full of nuances and is very well fleshed-out. The cast of characters is impressively large, and the political machinations and complex interpersonal relationships the author has brought to life here are unarguably imaginative.
A word of warning, however. The world West imagines is not a very pleasant or inviting one. She envisions a world where slavery and the brutal repression of women is institutionalized, where many characters--even protagonists-treat human lives as props in schemes, to be casually used and carelessly tossed aside. This harsh and depressing tone is relentless and, instead of serving as a backdrop for a moral struggle between good and evil, seems incidental to the plot direction of the book, which concerns itself mainly with the setup for various impending political clashes. Truly likable characters seem few and far between.
If you are the type of reader who can become emotionally immersed in the world of an expansive fantasy novel (and good for you if so!), I offer the following warning: I personally experienced the cruel and unjust society depicted within the novel as almost unbearably depressing, partially because West is a good writer. I felt that I was expected to accept the horrific injustices as normal, as all of the main characters seemed to do. Reading the book was a very frustrating and emotionally taxing experience for me.
But if you can enjoy a complex, plot-driven fantasy without being permanently scarred by the inclusion of numerous atrocities, this might be a satisfying read for you.
Each character has his or her own unique voice and perspective, and it is impossible to mistake one for the other. They are not all fully developed, of course, or the book would be much longer than it is, but the main characters are shown in rich detail and compelling depth.
This particular book at least (as opposed to the series as a whole) is not really a standard fantasy plot of good versus evil. It is a more realistic story than that. The main action takes place in the land of Annagar, a patriarchal society where there is slavery, casual crulety, oppression of women, and a feudal society where life is cheap. The contrasting country is Essalieyan, where society is more egalitarian (women can become warriors and rule families), slavery does not exist, and the atmosphere is less oppressive. You're probably thinking "Sounds like good versus evil to me," but it isn't that simple. The plot revolves around political intrigue, preparations for war, and a half-demon child. Then it gets complicated. Don't get me wrong, the plot is easy to follow, but it isn't a book you're going to be able to read through in 30 minutes chunk while riding the train to work. It's going to take some focus.
The story is primarly seen from the perspective of various female characters, but the main characters are two Annagarian women, Teresa and Diora.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Michelle West does a great job of creating the world and personalities through her prose. It may seem wordy to some readers, but, I feel the presence and thoughtfulness of her... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Tammy
I have enjoyed all of Michelle's books in this series. Read them from the start and am re-reading them now.Published 15 days ago by Tim Martin
Let me start with a warning. This is not an easy book. It's not a light read. And it's the start of an equally challenging series. In particular, there's a steep learning curve. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Kelly S.
Writing is excellent. However I use a lot of Kindle bookmarks with this whole world. It helped me to have read the first book in the house wars series (some people recommend the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by C. Larimer
This review applies to the entire Sun Sword series. I enjoyed reading it and might even recommend it. Read morePublished 6 months ago by BJ
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book, well then entire series, but this book in particular is my favorite. I love the world building and character development that Michelle West does, Diora... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Lauren
I got one hundred pages into this novel and gave up. As other reviewers have noted, the writing is very dense, full of similes and metaphors and minute descriptions of even the... Read morePublished 8 months ago by ClaireBrannon
I had to wade through the beginning of this book. I was rather disappointed as I am very fond of the way this author writes. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
Wealth of diverse and well defined persons with whom I developed an intimacy and understanding, warts and all. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Ran