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Cobweb Forest Hardcover – December 31, 2013
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Once I got past my own self restraints I allowed myself to be open to the fact that this journey of Percy, the destined savior of her world, was worth taking. Percy's self-deprecating view of herself makes you cringe sometimes. It is annoying that she never appreciates herself and can only press forward her need to save/protect/love others. She is, especially at the ending, a disappointing "everyman" in her ordinary-ness. But that is precisely her charm. She is not special. She is only human. She is none of us and all of us at the same time. Ordinary, compassionate, willful, and clever; where every choice she makes in the story propels her towards an inevitable end. Then you are confronted with the paradox of free choice in a world of inevitability and get a headache.
The romance in the story made me blush and made me cry, and it was worth following the stories of the Infanta, Percy, the goddess Persephone, Hades/Death. There is no sex in any of the books, but the love between mortals and that of immortals was lovely and each unique in their own way. True love is a real, tangible thing in Nazarian's universe, and for me it left a warm and fuzzy feeling. I read all three novels over one weekend because I simply had to know what became of true love.
My holding back a glowing review comes from one point: Everything is so complicated. Too many things, too many people--too much of everything going on at the same time; and an oft too complex plot that weaves into a very great tapestry. You get lost in the details and I think the author does too in her exposition of trying to force the threads into the story that is too big, too wide at times, for the reader to even comprehend. I found myself reading and rereading passages to make sure I understood the meaning and complexity of what was being told.
Make no mistake, Nazarian is an excellent storyteller. But in the Cobweb series she is extremely ambitious. Magic, queens, dukes, ladies-in-waiting, immortal gods, princesses, elementals, Death, zombies, kings, marquises, emperors, war -- all collide, combust, and break apart and are consumed around our little heroine who is just trying to stay alive long enough to complete the tasks Death asks of her.
The heroine and her true love don't really come out of it the same, suffice to say, and the villains don't really get their comeuppance. In the grand scheme of things, karma is perhaps the best way to describe the end theme. No one gets what they want, but everyone gets what they deserve. Then the world moves on as if the events of story never happened, and the author tells us that everything and everyone is where they should be.
The Cobweb Bride was just a red herring. Not all the gods got involved for some reason. The One God is just a divine watchmaker. Only human choice can change the world. Once I accepted these points, I could finally enjoy the story, but alas I was at the end. I was neither disappointed nor content, but something left an unfulfilled feeling. I was simply at the end. Now I return to my dreary mortal coil.
It was so fast paced that sometimes it felt a little rushed. It is difficult to really point out a specific example of why I think this, but one thing that sticks out in my mind is Vlad's brother. I felt like (and expected) MUCH more drama should have come out of that situation and I found myself waiting for the meeting. Well, it was wrapped up nicely anyway and it worked in the context of the story so I guess I shouldn't be complaining. I just think it was a bit of wasted opportunity. There are also a few tiny errors here and there that would shock me out of the story for a moment (mainly misspelled words), but it is such an interesting story I started right back reading again.
If you enjoy fantasy, historical fiction, or even romance you should definitely give these books a try because they are a thoughtful blend of these three genres. They are affordable and for the price a very good deal. Give it a try, I doubt you will be disappointed!
Gorgeous descriptions, intriguing characters and a compelling plot made this trilogy the most enjoyable one I've read in years, and the first one I've been invested enough in to finish in quite some time. Now I'm off to see what else this author has written!