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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This books is awesome. He has exceptional characterisation and great world building. I found myself drawn into the intriquies of both tobyn ser and lon ser. He makes the characters real and they pop out of the pages embracing the whole world giving it color and life. I loved reading every word of it.
Quest fantasies usually follow a couple of themes and this one is no different but what makes it uniquie is how the heros accomplish what they want to accomplish and the different sub plots that add to the dynamic and colorfull tapestry of this world.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I finished reading David B. Coe's The Outlanders last evening. That in itself is a testimony to just how good the novel was, considering that I wrote the review for Children of Amarid less than a week ago. But like its predecessor, this sequel was a wonderful read.
The second volume of the LonTobyn Chronicle, the novel begins 4 years following the events which took place in Children of Amarid. Once again, I don't want to include any spoilers, so I won't give anything away pertaining to the plot.
Just a reminder that this novel, along with the opening chapter of the trilogy, earned the author the William L. Crawforf Award, for best first fantasy series. And in light of the quality of these two very interesting novels, I would tend to agree that this award was more than deserved.
Once more, the characterizations are above and beyond what fans have come to expect in today's market. It would have been easy for Mr. Coe to simply continue with the same bunch of three-dimensional characters we were introduced to in Children of Amarid. In my opinion, this aspect of the book established the author as something special the first time around. Hence, I was quite surprised when I discovered that Coe elected to turn his back on most of those characters -- so to speak -- and let the readers explore the technological world of Lon-Ser through the eyes of Orris. His irritable attitude made him less likeable than Jaryd and the rest of the characters. So to some extent, this was a bit of a challenge for the author.
Needless to say, Mr. Coe pulled this off like a master. Not only do we get to learn more about Orris and appreciate him, but the author once again showed that he has a knack for characterizations that leave you wanting for more. Orris' character is well drawn, giving us a new perspective on him. Indeed, you see the mage in a different light compared to the image he projected in Children of Amarid. In addition, The Outlanders introduces us to another group of characters, and the story progresses through their different POVs. Which not only allows the readers to discover more about Lon-Ser and its history and political system, etc, but it also shows just how Coe's worldbuilding continues to be impressive. And the fact that he can even make you like the villains demonstrates just how good Coe is when it comes to creating engaging characters.
So it's through the eyes of Melyor, Jibb, Cedrych, Gwilym and many others that we learn more about this technological and violent world that is Lon-Ser. Also, discovering concepts such as technology and pollution through Orris' eyes is also quite interesting.
Again, the quality of the prose is far beyond what is currently the norm in the fantasy fiction field. Like its predecessor, The Outlanders is elegantly written.
I've snooped around on the internet, reading reviews of the book before writing my own. As I expected, most people truly enjoyed it. But most negative reviews were in regard of the political rift that continues to drive member of the Order apart. Many people claimed that the never-ending feud between Sonel's and Erland's factions within the Children of Amarid is unrealistic. I have to admit that I found that more than a little odd, but perhaps that has more to do with where I'm from and with the political system I am forced to live with. I'm a Canadian, which in and of itself means that I have to suffer a minority government that, in effect, cannot accomplish anything without the support of one or more parties that comprise the Chamber of Commons. Try to get anything done within the confines of that type of government, and you'll soon realize just how realistic the Order's problems can be. But not only that, I am also a resident of the province of Québec, where left-wing parties have held the reins of governing for years now. The problem is that this province needs a lot of changes at the moment, if we are to have a bright future. But the «old school» mentalities prevent our government from taking steps in the right direction. They are acutely aware that something must be done, but they show reticence at every turn and refuse to consider any alternative that goes againt what they have "built" in the last several decades. As a matter of course, they debate endlessly about this and that, refusing to acknowledge that something must be done, if we are to find solutions to our problems. For the last decade or so, they have been more than glad to re-arrange those problems, in the hope that perhaps they will go away. So in light of all this, I don't find the Order's political problems unrealistic at all. In fact, Erland is so much like many of our politicians that he antagonized me to no end!:-)
The pace of this second installment was a bit faster than in the previous book. There is more action and more surprises. More worldbuilding, giving us a glimpse of Coe's imagination. And if this is any indication, this writer has (hopefully) many more ideas and novels that will please us for years to come!
All in all, The Outlanders is the perfect sequel to Children of Amarid. And I will now eagerly read the last chapter of the trilogy, Eagle-Sage. Not since Robin Hobb's The Farseer series has the first two books of a trilogy showed so much promise. Let's just hope that the final volume delivers the sort of finale that will make the LonTobyn Chronicle a must-own series for any fantasy collection. . .
As good a novel as I've read in quite a while. . .
Check out my blog: [...]
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is a significant improvement over the first one. Some of the criticisms I leveled at Children of Amarid were smoothed over a little. The familiars showed more character than the cardboard cutouts of Book 1, and I was particularly impressed with the way Mr. Coe changed the focus from Jaryd to Orris. Not that I had anything against the former character, but I was pleased to see how smoothly the author was able to swing the spotlight and discuss the thoughts of someone else. True, the first book gave us the thoughts of multiple characters, but I always felt that it was Jaryd who was intended to hold the plot together. Now we know that the story line is more firmly anchored across at least _two_ strongly developed characters.
In Tobyn-Ser, the political fracturing of the Order of Amarid was spectacular. The character of Erland was better presented than any of the political enemies of the first book, and yet his humanity was preserved; I even felt a certain amount of sympathy for him when he was thinking in his garden.
The presentation of Bragor-Nal was astoundingly well done. I could picture each scene as it unfolded, and feel the Sword-of-Damocles effect that anyone living in the Nal must experience...always having to watch your back for fear that the person next to you may strike you down and take what you have.
Having said all of that, I _did_ have a few problems with this novel.
First of all, Mr. Coe continues to present the development of intense relationships between characters as abrupt phenomena. They happen so fast that they're just unbelievable. Take Melyor, for example. Through the entire first part of the book, she is a ruthless, hardened woman willing to eliminate anyone who stands in her path to greatness. Yet, in the span of 3-4 pages (the meeting between she, Orris, and Cedrych), she has this almost religious conversion, deciding "she wanted the sorcerer to succeed." There is little previous buildup to this sudden change of heart. In a few moments, she has changed alliances, and is hunted by assassins with the same gusto as Orris, et.al.
Another problem I had was the streets of the Nal. We are told repeatedly that they are overcrowded and that the majority of the people are just normal, hardworking folk trying to earn a living and feed their families. But where _are_ these folk? They are almost never described, except maybe as drivers on the Upper. I felt, most of the time that the characters were running through miles and miles of empty streets in this so-called metroplex. One would think no one walked around the quads except break-laws. Could two men fall to their deaths in New York or Chicago, and no one notice? No one gather around? No law-enforcers? Or does this just happen all the time in the Nal, and no one cares?
Finally, there is the impact of Orris on Bragor-Nal. In the first book, 14-15 Outlanders are capable of destroying whole towns in Tobyn-Ser. Yet we are expected to believe that _one_ sorcerer is a threat to the Nal. How can this be? Limited by eventual exhaustion, and the need for three elements (self, ceryll, bird), how could a mage possibly create such a panic in the mind of powerful individuals such as the Overlord? Given how much trouble the Order had subduing less than a score of Outlanders, I find it hard to believe one sorcerer is going to threaten thousands of break-laws.
Overall, I was pleased with the improvements in plot features and writing style of this book. Mr. Coe has won my respect, and I am already reading the third book in the series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 1998
Format: Hardcover
If you liked the first one, you will really like this one
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I agree with much of what not4prophet writes about this book, particularly with regard to the action scenes, dialogue, and quicker pace. I also agree with his criticisms about the frank dumbness of folks in the Order. Coe could certainly have constructed a more plausible scenario / description of turmoil within the Order.
However I give this book 5 stars because it is head and shoulders above most fantasy / sci fi out there, and it's such an improvement over Coe's first book, the Children of Amarid. I truly enjoyed this book and can't wait to get my hands on the next one.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In "The Outlanders", David B. Coe does manage to avoid many of the mistakes that he made in "Children of Amarid." Most importantly, this book is a lot more fast-paced. In contrast to the original, which had perhaps one plot event per every one-hundred pages, "The Outlanders" includes at least one significant event per chapter, and often more. There are a lot of action and fighting scenes in this book, all of which are presented in an exciting and believable way. As I mentioned in my review of "Children of Amarid", I can't complain about Coe's writing skills. He has an excellent ability to choose the right words at the right time when describing a scene and also a decent ear for dialogue, qualities which many of today's fantasy writers lack.
However, there are a number of things that bugged me throughout the book. One that's difficult to ignore is that so many of the characters are so incredibly stupid. The book is set four years after the ending of the previous volume. The Children of Amarid are still unable to agree on anything because half of the order, for no apparent reason, doesn't believe that they should worry about another attack coming from Lon-Ser. To break the deadlock, the Mage Orris decides to visit Lon-Ser himself, and he also helps the only surviving Outlander, Baram, escape from prison. Jaryd and Baden help him cover up the prison break, but they don't have any plan for dealing with the situation when their enemies find out about it. Orris takes Baram to Lon-Ser, but the prisoner simply runs away as soon as they reach their destination. The point is that none of the characters seem capable of thinking logically or planning for the future. This trend continues throughout the book.
Also, Coe stumbles into the pitfall of trying to tell the story from too many different perspectives. The book could have been more compact if he'd focused on Orris and a couple of other main characters, rather than saturating the book with extra scenes featuring extraneous minor characters. As it is, we'll often read a chapter about one person and then not seem them again until several hundred pages later, at which point we've almost forgotten about them. While well-developed characters are, of course, good, Coe doesn't really give them any depth; he usually just spends page after page hammering home the same points about some particular person. My final complaint is that much of the book seems dumbed-down and oversimplified. For instance, there's one scene where the leaders of the three big cities ("Nals") in Lon-Ser meet to discuss some important issues, and they just rush through the meeting without any real debate or scheming. I felt that it was a remarkably bad representation of how politics in such a society would work. "The Outlanders" isn't a total loss. As I mentioned, the author controls the nuts-and-bolts issues of writing quite well. I just hope that he'll put a little bit more thought into his next series.
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on November 22, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This second book in the Tobyn-ser chronicles series was very difficult for me to put down. I forsook quite a bit of sleep in order to finish it quickly, and I can't say that about very many fantasy genre books that I've read lately. The historical setting that the novel takes place is very interesting, but certainly not new, i.e., a high-tech society existing in the same world as a society steeped in magic. There certainly were enough plot twists to keep me coming back. What I really enjoyed was the character interaction and politics of the magicians in the Order. I came to really care about what happened to the main characters, and the action was very fast-paced. I also got a very strong sense of the history and culture of the two lands that the book takes place in. Unlike quite a few fantasy books, it is easy to picture what the author is trying to say as opposed to some other books I'm struggling with that have long and run-on sentences. In other words, it was easy to enjoy just reading both this one and the first one, and not having to work hard just to understand it. The author took a character, Orris, who seemed pretty arrogant and distasteful in the first book and matured him and gave the reader a whole new way of looking at him. The only thing that bothers me about the plot is, if the technolgical society is so advanced and would certainly explore and fly over the oceans, why wouldn't the pristine, unspoiled, resource-rich Tobyn-Ser come to its attention far sooner than this? I'm not sure that this nagging question is answered adequately, but it may just be me. Certainly doesn't spoil the book, nor keeping me from recommending it wholeheartedly.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 1998
Format: Hardcover
David Coe has written a masterpiece! The story involves you so you feel as if you are actually there! The character development is absolutely fantastic! So many unpredictable things happen. This is definitely a book to be remembered!
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on February 11, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
I'm giving this a 4 star rating because it's a great book. I still have the paperback edition of this book and was thinking about reading the series again, but I don't read "dead tree" editions any longer. I wanted to load the series onto my Kindle and would have paid for the book again even though I already own it. But $10 for an ebook that is out of print is just insulting. You would think the publisher would look at this as an opportunity to provide (at a negligent cost to themselves) a book to a small but interested segment of the reading public without having to worry about things like print runs, remainders, unsold copies, etc... Nope. They went for the Money Grab.

Guess what Tor? I got the book anyway. For $0. Way to look out for your authors.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The Outlanders is one of the best books I've ever read, it's outstanding! Jaryd, Baden, they're all back to fight, or alli, the strange people from another world. Coe uses the perfect words at the perfect times to put you in the setting, he makes you part of the story. If you loved the first book, I garuntee you'll like the continuation just as much!
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