21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
The Best Volsky Since "Illusion!",
This review is from: The Grand Ellipse (Bantam Spectra Book) (Hardcover)
Combining the entire map of Volsky's world with Jules Verne's "Around the World in Eighty Days" and a hint of the Imperialism of World War I and the atomic power of World War II, "The Grand Ellipse" is most likely Volsky's best book, second only to "Illusion."
We follow Luzelle Devaire of Vonahr, an independent woman living in the third generation from the revolution of "Illusion." Always an adventurer, she jumps at the chance to join the Grand Ellipse - a race around Volsky's world - on the sufference of her government - who hopes that, should she win, Luzelle might be able to weasel away from the race's sponsor, the King of Lower Hetzia, the secret of the sentient Masterfire, in order to repel the advancing army of the Grewzians who are quickly taking over the land.
Full of Volsky's excellent wit, an interesting romantic tangle, and lavish worldbuilding, The Grand Ellipse is a joy to anyone who has ventured into Volsky's world before, and a great primer for those who have not. Readers who are familiar with other "quest" or "travel" fantasies (see especially High Fantasy authors), will particularly enjoy Volsky's highly realistic "take" on what it means to travel. Rather than littering her pages with idealised, happy-go-lucky travelling companions who are somehow able to walk with little to no discomfort, or better, to ride without saddleburn, Volsky's characters are held-up by weather, hostile natives, and delayed trains. Finally!
Unlike Volsky's previous three books, "The Grand Ellipse" involves relatively little horror or gore, and the one attempted rape scene is intense but in no way gratuitous. Those who have been leery of reading Volsky due to her post-"Illusion" books should certainly invest in her latest offering, while those who enjoyed the previous three books will still find the grand scope of this novel invigorating. Recommended *heartily* for everyone - even if you don't generally read fantasy! There are very few great authors in the market; Volsky is high among them. So why delay?!