Customer Reviews: The Shining City: Book Three of the Warriors of Estavia
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on April 15, 2011
In Anavatan, the Gods walk among the people. Most of them pledge oaths to one deity or another. The more supporters a God has, the stronger that being is; and in turn the more that essence can do for his or her followers. The God of prophesy Incasa, the Chief God used the thousands of supporters especially the boys Brax, Spar and Graize six years ago to create the fledgling God Hisar.

While the seer Spar became young Hisar's chief priest, Brax the warrior is pledged to the war god Estavia. In turn seer Graize became bitter enemies of his two former friends. He left for another land to fight against the warriors of Estavia while seeking allies to return in order to conquer Anavatan. He may get his wish as war is coming since Anavatan has hostile relations with neighbors Volinsk and Roctov, who were once adversaries but now are united against a common foe. Other counties jointhe planned invasion of Anavatan who lacks the military strength to prevent an invasion on several fronts. The only hope is for former friends turned foes to reunite behind Hisar, but Graize resents his two ex buddies and his homeland

The final Warriors of Estavia (see The Golden Tower and The Golden Sword) is an exciting climax that ties up all the major threads to a strong epic fantasy trilogy. Although readers may be disappointed with the way the invasion is given a short amount of pages Fiona Patton's heroes insure a gripping entertaining High Noon finish.

Harriet Klausner
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on September 2, 2013
I read the first two books of this series, and was impressed with the world-building in particular, and was anxious to learn more. &Unfortunately, this book doesn't seem to be of much help in that; if anything, I'm more confused now than I was before starting it.

Perhaps this is due to the large number of both literal and figurative dei ex machina involved. Now, the literal ones at least make sense; the gods here are very present- one might even say meddlesome- so that they are highly involved in pretty much everyt6hing is not a surprise... except that they are far more meddlesome in this volume, in both large and small matters, than they were in the previous ones where it was better balanced.

The plot twists, though- they're often the figurative kinds of deus ex machina, and so are as unsatisfying as this convention usually is. "And then a miracle occurred!" might sometimes make sense (especially with meddlesome gods involved), but it grows increasingly unsatisfying when it happens over and over.

Also, this volume suffered from a veritable infestation of seers. In the first 2 they were rare, and powerful ones even rarer; here, it seems like every other person is a seer of some kind. Worse, in the previous volumes the seers Saw possible threads of the future; in this one, they not only See, but also seem to be able to actively pick and choose. Since various seers have differing agendas, I do not see any way this could possibly work in practice... but it does go far to explain the routine miracles that keep happening.

Because of all these things, I am not at all sure the endings are coherent. Yes, the threads do- mostly- get tied up- but almost at random! The resolution is not a necessary part of the problem as a whole; it just happens.

And while I find the idea of gender-changing people and gods to be interesting, it is past annoying when the pronouns for the same individual keep changing, sometimes within a sentence. If the culture has humans and gods who routinely change genders, I suspect they would have pronouns to cover that and not just change from she/he/it. I found this particularly irritating since Patton often makes up words to replace perfectly good ones we already have- she doesn't use "parent" for instance, or "brother" or "sibling"- she makes up new words for those (and there's not a glossary). So why not use alternative pronouns?

Another review here seems distressed by the sexuality. I will add: while sex is sometimes talked about, I am not sure that even a kiss is described, and certainly nothing more explicit than that. So- while it's discussed that people have sex, no sex is described.

Anyway- if you've read the 2 preceding books, you'll probably want to read this one. If you haven't- I'd say either don't bother with the series, or stop at #1. #3 here is chaotic and ultimately not very satisfying, at least to me. I wish it had made more sense.
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on February 7, 2013
I've been following this series, since the first book, 'The Silver Lake'. Actually, I've been reading Fiona Patton, ever since I picked up 'The Stone Prince' in a bookstore. I've been reading her books ever since. Well developed bromances, romances, and rivalries have been heating up since the first book, among a cast of memorable characters. I've enjoyed making the journey with them and seeing them come to a resolution in a unique world that seems tied to her other worlds in a mythology that may explain the making of mythology.
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The Shining City (Book Three of The Warriors of Estavia) includes all the lovely aspects that made the previous books so outstanding. The exploration of bonds and relationships is exquisite. The characters come alive as surely as if you could see and speak with them. The setting is both alien in nature and entirely natural-feeling.

One thing that has impressed me throughout the series is the way in which Fiona uses terminology. Authors sometimes sprinkle capitalized or made-up terms throughout works of fantasy or SF haphazardly, but in this trilogy, each one is carefully thought-out. Each new term represents a concept that would be common to the people of that world, but for which we have no single equivalency. Each capitalized term is something that the characters would view as a proper noun.

The depiction of the divine in these books is dazzling. It's so original and fascinating that even without all of the emotion, heartbreak, and action, I'd still find this series completely engrossing. It's the best look I've ever seen at what it might be like to live with gods who consistently interfere in their followers' lives.

Fiona also presents an unusual, very fluid examination of romantic and sexual relationships. She handles concepts such as same-sex relationships and bi-gender characters with a grace and thoughtfulness that allows those things to simply act as a natural part of the world, rather than some sort of bald, obvious statement.

Despite all of the above, I feel as though I've barely scratched the surface in describing The Shining City and its predecessors. The plot has so many twists and turns that it's tough to see how it'll get where it's going. The characters certainly have their surprises waiting for the reader--particularly Panos, the very unusual seer who showed up earlier in the series. There's action aplenty, tense scenes that will leave you worrying terribly about the characters, and moments that left me tearful. Graize and Brax definitely get good air time--I felt as though all of the main characters were rounded out in any way that remained necessary after the last two books.

I would eagerly recommend this series to any fan of fantasy! Just make sure you start at the beginning, because the series is too rich in detail to begin in the middle. Since it's a trilogy, however, rather than a more open-ended series, that isn't a particular problem.

[NOTE: review book provided by publisher]
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on May 5, 2011
"The Warriors of Estavia" trilogy concludes six years after the initial installment with "The Shining City". The unusual grammatical structures and poor plotline contribute to a novel overwhelmed with prophetic characters, wacky visions, and unnecessary sexual discussions. Minimal political maneuvering and no significant combat scenes further reduce any redeeming value to the story.

The fact there is character dialogue about a 15 year old having sex instantly places the author and publishing company in question. Many of the sex discussions are thrown in for shock value, such as an abrupt change in topic between individuals where one basically says "you should go out and have sex". I don't see any value added with those comments and no idea why they are relevant other than appealing to a fantasy audience seeking any sex reference.

As a reader, the "he" and "she" adjustments to the constant gender changes during a sentence are annoying. Characters are flung, jolted, and shot down constantly from powerful prophetic images. Only one character I can think of does not use prophecy in her daily life, simply too many seers patrolling the prophetic streams. A city prepares for an invasion not by training troops or building war machines but by surfing the prophetic streams. How about sending out scouts to see if there is an invasion coming as opposed wading through a foggy prophecy? The recurring dreams of gulls or the cavern waste space in an already weak novel. The author squanders the potential of developing a newly formed God to finish a half-baked series.

Sexual overtones may not be suitable for young readers or those intolerant towards same sex relationships. A better detailed map of the significant terrains and comprehensive appendix would have been useful.

Thank you.
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