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All the Windwracked Stars Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 2009

3.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Edda of Burdens Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Hugo winner Bear (Undertow) perfectly captures the essence of faded hopes and exhausted melancholy in this postapocalyptic melodrama based loosely upon Norse mythology. On the Last Day, the historian Muire fled the battle, leaving her sibling Valkyries to die. More than 2,300 years later, only a single city, Eiledon, has survived as the dying world slowly turns into ice. Ashamed of her cowardice, Muire now vows to keep the last humans safe, but as she slowly pieces together the horrific truth behind the magic that has kept Eiledon standing, she must decide whether it's worth the price. Readers will be captivated by Bear's incredibly complex, broken characters; multilayered themes of redemption; and haunting, world-breaking decisions. While stilted prose slows the beginning of the tale, its finale is both rewarding and compelling. (Nov.)
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* Bear creates a world with an astonishing depth of mythology in a tale that begins with Ragnarok. Though Muire was the least of her sisters, she is the only one who survived the battle between the Light and the Tarnished. One of the sisters’ steeds also survived, in part because of the last miracle of the Light. Two thousand years later, it is nearly the end of the world again. This time, Muire stands to fight to the end. In the last city remaining on a dying planet, her enemies are old friends, one of whom was there the last time the world ended. The Technomancer, ruler of Eiledon, has gotten her power from a most unfortunate source, and the swords of Muire’s lost siblings are reappearing, as are their spirits. In an epic battle for the survival of life, Muire must overcome her conviction that she is the least of the Valkyries and transform into someone who can take on ancient powers. Bear’s world building echoes the best of Zelazny and pulls the reader into the story and the history until it’s over. Muire is, despite a certain difficulty in the beginning, one of Bear’s more interesting and likable characters, and the mythology Bear deploys promises further satisfying stories based in it. --Regina Schroeder --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Fantasy; Reprint edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765358514
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765358516
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #946,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When the battle (Ragnarok) is over, only three immortals are left alive: Muire, the smallest waelcyrge, the valraven, Kasmir, a two-headed, winged war-mount, and the one whose betrayal damned them all. Together they live through the coming ages to play their roles in the very last days of the world.

I needed something really different to read and All the Windwracked Stars was just what the doctor ordered and more. Elizabeth Bear combines Norse mythology and apocalyptic science fiction to create a dark dreamscape, and also invents a very intriguing concept: angels whose god is either dead or has gone missing.

The desperately savage combat at the beginning of All the Windwracked Stars drew me right in and I soon found myself liking characters that I normally would not. The prose is somewhat surreal, and this story has a rather strange flow which, at times, made it a little difficult for me to follow. Usually I'd find that a little irritating, but for the EDDA OF BURDENS series, this wistful style works perfectly because the characters themselves are lost souls struggling to understand their own destinies.

I was once a big fan of Apocalyptic Sci-fi, so it was a refreshing thrill to lose myself in Elizabeth Bear's dying world. The outcome of doomsday comes down to a handful of unique misfits in a truly original story. I especially liked the conclusion and I was so gloomily fascinated that I immediately downloaded the Kindle version of the next book, By the Mountain Bound.

I almost never jump into the next book in a series without a break between, but By the Mountain Bound is the story leading up to the battle of Ragnarok -- the beginning of All the Windwracked Stars -- and I just had to know the answers to some of the wonderfully tantalizing mysteries left unexplained in this book
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"All the Windwracked Stars" starts after the end of the world with a cowardly angel and a wounded steed. It turns out it takes a long time for worlds to die, and the rest of the story takes place several thousand years later when only one (human) city is left, sustained by the power of a Technomancer who combines science and magic to keep it alive.

A lot of readers say this book is hard to get into it, but for me, this is one of the few books I connected with quickly in a while. From the very beginning, I connected with the main character Muire. She's made a big mistake and her guilt is overwhelming but she finds the will to fight through all the ages to come. She is quite a tortured character - which can at times verge on the annoying - but she does grow through the novel.

The story does rely heavily on Norse mythology, which can make some of the names and terms difficult to keep track of. My knowledge of Norse mythology is sufficient to follow Avengers, but I wasn't able to appreciate the deeper analogies of this novel. Nevertheless, I found it accessible and it also draws on quite a few themes from the science fiction genre as a whole - despite having lots of fantasy elements as well. For instance, the Technomancer's animal-human servants are called moreau - recalling the Island of Dr Moreau and his experiments to create men from animals. It also draws on the rich literature on scientists and the ethics of playing god. So, even if you don't appreciate the Norse aspects, the novel is still multi-layered.

The characters do have a fairly fluid sexuality, which may trouble more sensitive readers, but it makes sense within the context of Bear's world-building.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I was so excited when I found this book listed on Amazon, because I love Norse mythology and thought this book sounded so very interesting.

But unfortunately, having read 60 pages, I am forced to give up. By this point, I feel I should have made some sort of connection to the characters and their world - I should care for them and their conflicts - but I didn't.

The prose didn't work for me. Whilst there are some vividly described environments in this book, and the atmosphere is certainly not lacking, I felt that more time needed to be spent on the story itself. There were times, when due to rather clunky and abrupt writing, I was completely lost as to what was happening.

Others who gave this book a poor review have said it, and I agree with them: I kept feeling like maybe I had missed a book or something. The author throws names and events around like I'm supposed to know what they mean. I didn't.

At page 60, I found myself feeling lost, unable to connect to the characters and not really drawn in or hooked by the plot. I also had trouble with the names themselves - yes, I know that the book is based on Norse mythology, so names are going to have definite Nordic inspirations, but this one threw so many different and strange names at me at once, that I had trouble keeping track of so much new information at once. I couldn't even work out how to pronounce half of the names and found myself wishing there had been a pronunciation guide included somewhere.

I'm sorely disappointed that I didn't like this book more. I thought I could, if things had been made clearer. There was a lot interesting about the story and its world and characters - just not enough to warrant me reading through to the end. I will check out some of the authors other works though; I do feel that she has great potential.
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