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The Serpent (The Atlan Saga, No 1) Mass Market Paperback – January 2, 1985
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Cija was one of my favorites of the sexy little heroines who seemed to populate so many of those fantasy series as a preteen. I liked her better than Shebat. I liked her better than Estri. I thought that she had a beautiful name and I re-read the Atlan books multiple times.
I'm happy to say that The Serpent held up better over time than other similar books. Gaskell is a talented writer, and even when she works in stereotypes she manages to make it interesting. The book does have something of a dated quality, but it was written in 1963-- so I guess that's allowed. In all truthfulness, it is probably more of a three star read than a four star read. That extra star is for the nostalgia value.
By the way, I read this as a very young teenager and am a little bit shocked by that now. There is some very adult material in The Serpent. Parents may want to consider its appropriateness carefully.
The Serpent starts off very interesting but turns into a series of episodes that don't really lead into anything. The story ends rather abruptly with no real resolution- but not a cliff hanger either. I'm not really compelled to find the sequel.