Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.75 shipping
The Straits of Galahesh: The Second Volume of The Lays of Anuskaya Paperback – April 3, 2012
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
"With The Straits of Galahesh, Beaulieu returns to the vibrant fantasy he introduced in The Winds of Khalakovo. A gritty book packed with big ideas and Byzantine politics, [...] Straits is the sort of fully realized epic one can sink into for days. [...] The perfect second act in a brilliant series."
--Rob Ziegler, Author of Seed
"Anyone who believes epic fantasy is stuck in a familiar rut, devoid of innovation, needs to strap on a scimitar and stand next to author Brad Beaulieu on the deck of one of the windships which soar through the pages of The Straits of Galahesh. [...] You're in for a wild, exhilarating ride."
--Gregory A. Wilson, Author of The Third Sign
About the Author
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $0.99 (Save 78%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This series is a cross between George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series (you know HBO's Game of Thrones, right?), and Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea series, but with a Czarist Russian flavor.
I really enjoyed the sword fights, ship-to-ship canon battles, and all the gunfire--with muskets of course. There is also a Persian influence (The Aramahn) and in this book we get a Turkish-like culture, led by the Kamarisi (the emperor), who is the most powerful man in the world, and is the overlord of the freezing, windswept islands where the Anuskayan (Russian) culture lives.
The Kamarisi is going to crush the islanders and take over, unless the heroes are able to find a way to prevent war. There is also the problem of the wasting disease and the rifts that are opening all over the world, slowing destroying it and threatening the ley line trade routes that the windships use to navigate from island to island.
The worldbuilding is top-notch, and the strength of the setting really anchors the book and makes it feel real. The characterization seals the deal, and I was swept up in the turbulent winds that blast through this novel leading to an epic conclusion that left me wide-mouthed and in awe.
Few finales are as remarkable as in Straits. Beaulieu (pronounced: bowl-yer) writes three character threads and they come together brilliantly and go in unexpected directions. There is a serious body count in this book, and no one is safe. The large cast of secondary characters is painted expertly, making you care, then they are . . . well, killed off with gusto. Sigh.
All the action keeps you riveted to the rich, detailed, and unfolding storyline, and the fascinating world. As the book goes forward the confrontation between the Kamarisi, the Anuskayan islanders and their windships, the powerful Sariya and Muqallad who are trying to tear open the rifts, and our protagonists, Nikandr, Atiana, and
Nasim build and build until the mystery of the rifts and the antagonists plans are slowly revealed.
This is an expansive story told through the eyes of three main characters. Nikandr Khalakovo, heir to the Duchy of Khalakovo is one. Atiana Vostromo, a strong woman and princess who will do anything to save her people, even if it means sacrificing her love for Nikandr, and Nasim, a teenage boy who is the reincarnation of a man who once wanted to bring about the destruction of the world.
In Straits, Nikandr is trying to stop the rifts from spreading, as they are tearing the world apart. He is a dynamic and complex character and his chapters are my favorite. He spends a lot of time on the amazing windships and I very much looked forward to Nikandr's chapters. He is actively trying to save his islands He is in love with Atiana, and their first chapter together will leave you in shock.
Atiana is one of many strong female characters in this series. Her chapters, especially the ones where she goes into the drowning basin and her spirit wanders the aether, are incredible. In Straits she has become a Matra, and her abilities to navigate the aether make a huge difference in the book.
The third story thread belongs to Nasim. He is the reincarnation of Khamal, a master of the elemental magic, who along with his two friends, Sariya and Muquallad, wanted to bring about a tremendous change in the world. Nasim/Khamal), Sariya and Muqallad, are the reason the rifts have begun to destroy the world and it is they who have brought about the Wasting disease that has claimed the lives of so many, and ruined the land itself.
The Nasim chapters are the most challenging to understand, and the most obtuse. Not all of them are hard, but the memories/dreams that Nasim has of his previous life are purposefully hard to decipher. Luckily there are many Nasim chapters side by side, so you can understand them better and get into a flow with them before Beaulieu switches to another storyline.
The Nasim chapters are written in such a way that you will mostly understand, but this series is not spoon fed to you. It made me think hard and sometimes I had to just pass some things by and hope I figured them out later. Even Nasim didn't understand it all, as he struggled with remembering things from his previous life as Khamal. He's a very interesting character, and he's like a villain who is turning over a new leaf in a new life. He's young (a teenager) though he really has the experience of a much older person buried inside him, but he is impetuous and kind of annoying with his stubbornness at times. He doesn't like what he did in his past life, and escaped that life to fix things that he did in this one. A hard road to follow.
Understanding this book can be a challenge, but the glossary in the back is a lifesaver. When I was stumped, I would look at it and be reminded of what I'd forgotten. There are a lot of unfamiliar names (Persian, Turkish, Russian) and they don't stick in my mind that well, but the glossary helped a lot. Also, there is a great summary of book one before chapter one, which really reminded me of what had gone before, as it had been a year since I read Winds.
It was great being back in this world, and one of the big features in this book is The Spar, a bridge that will connect the two halves of the island of Galahesh (from the book title). The Spar made my imagination soar. It would be an awesome painting, golden light reflecting off the titanic arches that connect the sheer cliffs on either side, and the raging sea beneath.
So much of the imagery in this novel blew me away and Beaulieu is a very gifted writer, worthy of the accolades he's achieved and all the great reviews. He's attempted an extremely ambitious trilogy and book two delivers on the promises made in book one. The Winds of Khalakovo (link to my review of Winds) was an incredible achievement, and Straits makes it clear that Winds was no fluke.
There area a multitude of epic fantasies set in white, Medieval European settings, and if you're getting a little bored with those, and want a flavor you've never had before, please check these books out. I love how Beaulieu broke out of the mold and created such a unique world. I love the cultures, the windships, the mysterious and cool elemental magic, and all of the action. Mostly, I love the characters, especially Nikandr, and Atiana.
If you'd like to take a ride on windships, see the amazing elemental magic of the Aramahn, fall in love with strong characters who drive the story, and lose yourself in a fantasy world the likes of which you've never seen before . . . explore the dangerous and mysterious Straits of Galahesh.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by Paul Genesse
Author of the Iron Dragon Series & Editor of The Crimson Pact anthology series
View an interactive map of the Lays of Anuskaya World on quillings.com. Zoom in to learn more and watch little videos and much more, including Brad reading from his books. I've never seen a map as cool as this one.
View the book trailer or download the 15 chapter sample of book 1, The Winds of Khalakovo on Night Shade Books website: [...]
Overall, I was happy with Straits. Though it's a long book, it was a quick read. There are some books I've read lately that have sat on my table for days before I got around to finishing them but this book wasn't one of those. I did have to refer to the glossary from time to time to remind myself of some of the specialized vocabulary (e.g. types of hezhan), but that was easy to do. I'm actually quite grateful for the glossary because there are a lot of new terms in this novel, and it's been a while since I read Winds.
I'll admit to not remembering EVERY character (it's been a while since I read Winds), but I remembered the main characters and could figure out most of the rest from context. I was impressed with the female characters last time, especially as these books were written by a man. I still liked Atiana (the main female viewpoint character, a Landed woman) quite a bit, but there weren't as many strong female characters in this book as in the previous volume. Atiana's sister Ishkyna gets more time on the page in Straits, but we're never really inside her head. Other female characters also have only supporting roles.
One of the chief villains is female (Sariya) and I go back and forth between two different opinions of her. On the one hand, she's a classic manipulator who associates herself with a powerful man and steers him towards helping her achieve her own ends; we've seen villains like this in other books. On the other hand, she is not all-powerful and her motives are not always clear. So we don't know whether or not Atiana should trust her. I like that Sariya has weaknesses, and I guess she couldn't have manipulated Hakan (ruler of Yrstanla, a neighboring land) if she'd been a man. At least, not in the same way.
There are really three viewpoint characters in this book: Atiana, Nasim, and Nikandr. So some of the lesser female presence comes from Rehada (an Aramahn woman featured in the previous volume) being replaced by Nasim as a viewpoint character.
As for the multiple viewpoints, I thought this was pretty well-balanced. Usually there are about two chapters dedicated to any one character before a switch; there are something like 80 chapters in all. A lot happened to each of the three main characters during the same periods of time, and Beaulieu does a good job of allocating pages to each storyline. Also, the storylines intersect and events affecting one character also affect the others. A lot of chapters end with cliffhangers, but I actually think this is a good thing. You know the characters are in peril and you want to keep reading to find out what happens next.
I haven't said much about the male characters. Nikandr is still sympathetic, though he's a little bit of a do-gooder here - making peace with former enemies and trying to heal children afflicted with a wasting disease. Agreeing to command ships to protect the Grand Duchy of Anuskaya (the country ruled by the Landed, and modeled on czarist Russia) even though his family is not in favor. Etc. But, he's not always successful in his healing attempts. He gets short with Atiana when he finds out she's planning to marry someone else (for political reasons), then regrets it. Sometimes he gets knocked out in fights. So he's not perfect. And that's a good thing. I'm a little tired of reading about heroes who win every fight and always know exactly the right thing to do.
Nasim is also fairly sympathetic. He recruits Sukharam and Rabiah, two other children, to aid him in his quest to stop Muqallad (a villain not already mentioned) and Sariya, although then he's hesitant to use them. I guess I can see why he needs his companions; he can't touch the hezhan himself anymore, but can through others, and both of his companions are able in that regard. In a way, this serves to differentiate Nasim from Khamal, his past incarnation. Khamal regularly used children, even turning them into ahkoz (facially disfigured children who are bonded with fire spirits), killing them if need be. Nasim is reluctant to do such things, so even though he *is* Khamal, he's also not Khamal. Being young, and having spent most of his life between the corporeal world and that of the hezhan, he is also inexperienced, and he makes some mistakes, so he's also not perfect.
Beaulieu has killed off major characters before, though I have a feeling Nikandr and Atiana will stick around until the end of the series. Still, because they had flaws and weren't omnipotent, I wasn't always sure how they were going to get out of sticky situations.
I've spent a long while talking about characters. What else? I believe this book is meant to be the middle volume of a trilogy, but I don't think it suffers from the usual "middle volume syndrome." While some big problems have not been solved by the end of the book, others are. So stuff still happens, and it's important to the flow of the series. There's enough content that it couldn't really be folded into other volumes. (That's not to say that the book stands on its own, you definitely need to read The Winds of Khalakovo first!)
I really didn't find all that many grammar or editing problems. Part of that may have been getting caught up in the story. But in a book of this size, if I can only find about three specific instances that inspired me to nitpick, well, that's an accomplishment on the part of Beaulieu and his editor that's deserving of mention.
I haven't said much about magic or plot. Magic is basically the same as in the last volume, with the Aramahn being able to call on the hezhan, and the Landed (some women, at least) being able to take the dark, which allows them to see events occurring far away and communicate with others who are distant (usually by possessing rooks). I've seen magic that's physically draining in other books, but not a lot that's been physically uncomfortable. There are other risks to taking the dark, as well, including losing oneself in the aether, never to return to one's body. At any rate, it's not simple; there are real costs to magic and it's not always an easy way out.
Also interesting with respect to magic is that previously, taking the dark had primarily been for the Landed, whereas now Ushai, an Aramahn, can do it, and communing with the hezhan had been for the Aramahn, but now Nikandr gains the ability to do that. We don't see the consequences of that in this volume, but I'm sure that we'll hear about it in the next one.
The plot was pretty complex, with a lot of switching allegiances. I could follow most of these; every once in awhile a character would do something I didn't really understand, but it was usually made clear after a couple of chapters. I was surprised several times, but that's a good thing. I hate it when I can predict the ending of a book well in advance, and I definitely couldn't here.
Overall, I'd definitely recommend The Straits of Galahesh, but start with The Winds of Khalakovo first, if you haven't read that one already.