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The Lightstone Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 2007

17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Zindell (Neverness) stirs together the grail legend, a dash of Blake and a sprinkling of Tolkien with other bits of lore in this classic fantasy quest, a revised version of an earlier novel and the first entry in a new series. Young knight Valashu Elahad, seventh and least son of the king of Mesh, has no love for war. But minions of the evil Morjin are at work in the land of Ea. King Kiritan of Alonia invites the knights of Ea to his court to formally begin the grand quest for the Lightstone, the long-lost Cup of Heaven. Driven by visions of the golden cup, Val sets off for Alonia, joined by warrior-scholar Master Juwain and hedonistic but goodhearted Brother Maram. Along the way Val's company grows, even as nightmares trouble his soul deeply. By the end, the company numbers seven, echoing an ancient prophecy: "A seventh son... will slay the dragon. The old world will be destroyed and a new one created." Vivid characters and richly detailed settings offset some uneven pacing and a few predictable elements. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Zindell, a reputable writer of better-than-average fantasy, here begins a saga that, substantially revised from its original British edition, may prove his breakthrough to a larger audience. Seasoned fantasy readers will recall Tolkien as they read of the island continent Ea coming under the power of the fallen dark angel Morjin. All Morjin needs to rule forever is the Lightstone, a talisman so long lost that no one has any idea of where it might be. Most who seek it don't come back. Enter Prince Valashu, who as the seventh son in a royal household is somewhat at loose ends, and his companion-squire-whatever, Maram, who, of course, set out to find the Lightstone. En route, Maram becomes more than a sidekick, and Valashu encounters people and situations the likes of which he never met while living in the palace. What direction this saga will take is so much guesswork at this stage, but it seems that it will be character-centered and include a wide range of emotions and motivations as Valashu and Maram pursue their classic quest. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Fantasy; Reprint edition (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765349930
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765349934
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.2 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,108,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on October 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Zindell takes the jump from sci fi epic to fantasy epic with mixed results. Fans of "Neverness" will encounter many familiar themes, and even some familiar characters. The hero is a bit like Mallory Ringess, but nicer and without the self-destructive streak. His chubby sidekick is Bardo all over again. This time they are questing for a magical object that will supposedly bring world peace. The book's biggest weakness is the plot, which feels too contrived, like a marathon game of "D&D." But then, Zindell seems to give a sly wink to the D&D crowd when he has his characters fight a dragon -- in a dungeon. There are also numerous references, both overt and covert, to heroic legends and fantasy classics like Gilgamesh, King Arthur, the Holy Grail, Tolkien, Ursula LeGuin, and probably many others. I started to wonder if Zindell didn't intend this book to be an homage or retelling of the heroic/fantasy genre itself. Overall, "The Lightstone" is an entertaining read, but I wish Zindell had spent even more time on the characters and their history and culture, which is where he truly shows himself to be a master storyteller.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Helen L. Kerslake on October 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
In the land of Ea, wars are raging between the many kingdoms as its people allow old grievances to fester and mindlessly bicker amongst themselves. However a dark power is threatening to rule them all. Morjin, the fallen angel, seeks the Lightstone in order to release the Lord of Lies from his prison. King Kiritan of Alonia has called for a quest to find the Lightstone and, along with hundreds of other knights, nobles and would-be heros, the seventh son of King Shamesh of Mesh joins this mission. `The Lightstone' is the first part of the `Ea Cycle' and tells the journey of Valashu Elahad, son of King Shamesh, as he battles first to Tria in an attempt to join the quest and then on his path as he searches for the Lightstone. This is a complex tale filled with prophecy, magic and darkness.

I found this book very easy to get into as straight away we are pulled into the innermost thoughts and emotions of the main character. We see him struggle to decide between his desire for something more exciting than palace life and his duties as a son of the King, even if he is only the last in a line of 7 brothers. The many characters he journeys with, and those who he meets along the way are diverse. The author manages to carefully blend relatable traits with a unique twist to make them highly interesting people to read about. They all exhibit weaknesses along with strengths - this forms a perfect base to work from because as we watch the story unfold they must overcome these weaknesses in order to succeed.

David Zindell has created a rich fantasy world filled with many different people, customs and beliefs. His writing enhances these qualities by being descriptive and vivid without succumbing to overly complex and meaningless sentences.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Larsoni VINE VOICE on December 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
One (why only one!?) of the earlier reviewers said this book was awful-- but that person thought Neverness was even worse, so I don't know where he's coming from. In my opinion, Neverness, and most of Zindell's other early work, was excellent, awesome, very original, downright significant. This book, on the other hand, is pretty bad, at least by comparison. It's a great disappointment to someone who who was blown away by Neverness and very impressed by War in Heaven.

There are a few fantasy authors that are original and outstanding, like Tolkien, Eddison, Le Guin; there's a lot of sheer garbage; and there are some in between, pretty good/not too bad, but not on the level of Tolkien or Le Guin.
In Neverness, I think Zindell was right up there (although it's not exactly fantasy, having a lot of hard SF elements). In this book, there are egregious elements of shlock, but he's basically a very talented writer, and he can still write sentences and paragraphs and dialog, so the book is borderline readable; it's kind of on the border between shlock and not-too-bad. But coming from Zindell, a really talented writer, it's pathetic.

It is very trite, formulaic and predictable, that's for sure, and many of the plot incidents are very contrived; for instance, the hero breaks his sword fighting a monster, he's all broken up about it, goes a chapter or two without needing a weapon, and then gets a magic sword from, guess who? The Lady of the Lake, I kid you not.

The characters are recycled from the Neverness series and LOTR (Grays=Black Riders, Kane=Strider, Rumbum or whatever his name is=Bardo), the story is a rehash of LOTR and King Arthur.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Sullivan on April 17, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I wanted to tear my eyes out after 25 pages of this drivel. Literally, as there is something very irritating about the dense and crabby little font in which this paperback is printed that magnifies the grating "voice" of the protagonist Val's mewling introspection. While trying to gut it out for few more pages, I found myself fantasizing about grading my student's papers rather than continue reading this book.

LFMF: I had hurriedly picked up one of the other titles in the series in an airport bookstore only to realize en-route that it wasn't the first book of the trilogy. So when I got home I ordered the rest of the trilogy without doing my due diligence here on Amazon. And like buying a used car without first checking it out, this rusted out collection of fantasy cliches ("the table groaned under the weight of the food") would have been better served by being tossed in the nearest junk yard.
Note to self: When the number of less-than-stellar reviews is equal or greater than the 4/5 star reviews, it should tell one something.
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