"Impressive… Melanie Rawn is good!" —Anne McCaffrey, bestselling author of The Dragonriders of Pern
"I am mad (petulant, in fact!) that I can't immediately read book number two in the Exiles trilogy.... Melanie Rawn has established beyond doubt that she is a great writer of fantasy and The Ruins of Ambrai will join the Dragon series in my library of favorites for years to come." —Realms of Fantasy on The Ruins of Ambrai
"Rawn's talent for lush descriptions and complex characterizations provides a broad range of drama, intrigue, romance, and adventure. Her depiction of Lenfell's unique matriarchal society adds further texture to this densely woven fantasy tapestry." —Library Journal on The Ruins of Ambrai
"Romance, intrigue, magic, and myth mingle freely in this first of a series that should appeal to readers of fantasy and epic romance." —Library Journal on The Dragon Prince
About the Author
MELANIE RAWN is the three-time Locus Award–nominated author of the bestselling Dragon Prince trilogy and of the Dragon Star trilogy. She graduated from Scripps College with a BA in history and has worked as a teacher and editor. Rawn lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.
This book is the first in a new series by Rawn called the Glass Thorns. I loved Rawn's Dragon Prince series and was excited to see what she's been up to all these years. Well I was sorely disappointed. I read the first 120 pages of this book and finally just gave up. The beginning is confusing and there is no real goal driving the plot forward.
Cayden Silversun is trying to put together a troupe of players that will rise to the top and eventually end up on the Royal play circuit. He ends up bringing together a group of diverse individuals (both in temperament and race) and starts having some success at creating really awesome plays. Then the group is invited to partake in a contest to see if they can stand up against other troupes.
I don't really even want to spend time writing a review for this book; I was just so disappointed in it. The beginning of the book throws a ton of terms at the reader; each of which is a special part that a member of the troupe needs to perform to make the show a convincing whole. They each use special magical tools that have strange names to do this. I tried to just go with it, but for the first fifty pages or so I had no idea what was going on.
Cayden comes off as a weak character; he is easily swayed and constantly struggling to keep his troupe under control. I found him uninspiring. Some of the other players are equally obnoxious; for example Mieka who is the new member to the troupe is very annoying and likes to drink a lot...but because he is very good at what he does is tolerated by the rest of the troupe. None of the characters jumped out as especially easy to relate to or interesting.Read more ›
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I'm a big fan of Rawn's Dragon trilogies and was eager to read Touchstone, but came away greatly disappointed. The story was mildly entertaining, but for the most part it is wasted potential. There is one main plot, and it isn't suspenseful in the least. A whole lot of nothing really happened, and the ending was greatly disappointing. She tried to sort of leave it mysteriously open-ended, but instead it was just unsatisfying and left me wondering what was the point behind much of the story - this is seemingly a short story taken too far. I also think this probably belongs in the young adult category, based on the style of writing and the age/personalities of the main characters.
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Melanie Rawn has set Touchstone in a world with humans and humans mixed with the older races like the Elves, Trolls, Giants, Wizards, and Fae. The four main characters are a theater troupe working to become the best troupe in the kingdom. All theater troupes are composed of four members who use magic to create the illusion in each play. Each member has a specific role to play. When the story starts Cayden, Rafcadion and Jeschenar are old friends who are searching for a fourth member who will fit into their troupe. Mieka joins them in a trial to see if he fits and they finally have the four members who fit together. From there it is a journey to become the best in the land. Cayden is the main character in the story. He has dreams that tell a possible future. Some of his dreams are about the members of the troupe. Those dreams and his actions after dreaming as well as his interaction with Mieka are the heart of the story
This is the first time I have read a Melanie Rawn book. I was in a world where I was lost for most of the first third of the book. This is the first book in a new series but I wonder if this is an extension of a world she created in a previous series. Touchstone is filled with dialog and is very character driven. There is conflict but it is mostly internal. There were hints of external conflict but nothing was developed. I was left a little puzzled about where the series is going. I guess I will read the next book to see if my question is answered.
Touchstone is an ARC I received form Amazon Vine.
Tor will release Touchstone by Melanie Rawn in February of 2012.
There are only two good things about this book: the sweet vocabulary (Rawn pulls a bunch of Old-English words and gives a fun vernacular feel to the dialogue) and the not original but nonetheless interesting use of fantasy elements (that is, the magic is original enough and the history and usage of a broad range of fantastic races makes for a rich social world).
Other than that, it sucked.
The homoerotic overtones would be fine if she didn't also go through so much effort to dehumanize women. There are more instances than I can count of the men lauding each others' sexual prowess, and the only woman with a hint of a character gets flatter with each appearance.
Basically, the book is Jersey Shore in a fantasy setting. Half of the book is oh-my-head-hurts-so-much-what-did-I-do-last-night, touting the fun of alcohol and drugs. The other half is the bromance between the main characters as they live the actors' dream, with most of that besties-with-testies part composed of them switching narrative voice to marvel repetitively (not kidding. Dunno who edited this, but it was like a Nanowrimo novel without the "oh, I said that exact phrase already" cutting stage) about how beautiful the other is and how much he changes everything about his life, oh elf my love, oh beautiful wizard...
The writing is just bad. Melanie has never really been a poet, but it's like she didn't even try in this book. The characters might have been written by a 14-year-old girl for all their depth (and it was utterly irritating to have to listen to the protagonist ponder how much he has grown up as he realizes various things about himself... never heard of show, don't tell, Mel?) and there are more exclamation marks than witty retorts, of which there are also too many.
I could go on, but I won't. I rarely review books, but this one was so bad I had to get it out of my system. Travesty. If she wasn't already famous, it wouldn't have gotten published.
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