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The Sword of Maiden's Tears (Twelve Treasures) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1997
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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From Library Journal
An elven lord's search for a magical sword stolen from his household leads him to the wild streets of New York in this crossover fantasy suitable for most fantasy collections.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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At first, I didn't like any of the characters except RM - the stranger in an even stranger land. They didn't seem to ring true, their speech patterns or something didn't seem right for their ages, or maybe they didn't behave as my college friends and I did. But gradually, once the background of some of the characters was revealed, their behavior became more understandable, given their flaws. (Though I still found myself checking the copyright date a couple of times.) There was still a little too much pretentious quoting and epigram-throwing for them to be believable, but I guess the author had to get it out of her system. The mugger who wound up with the sword was a tragic character, slowly taking that one extra step at a time that was leading him away from his dreams.
I wasn't all that happy with the ending until I realized that it was just the set-up for the sequel, which I will try to read. It was an interesting book, worth reading, but the characters could have been a little less stereotypical.
It's rare to see urban fantasy done with humor, although it happens. I've almost never seen horror done with humor, so mixing the three together was a very nice touch.
The character that struck me the most was Michael, an ex-cop graduate student in library science. (Well, all the friends are studying to be librarians, and none of them are truly suited to it.) Michael has a depth, weight and richness to him that makes me wonder what happens to him after this novel; as I've skim-read the next two in the series, so far Michael has not reappeared. I'm hopeful that at some point, Ms. Edghill will find a way to write a book about him, because that man still has much to say.
As for Ruth, the titular heroine, and Melior, the titular hero, they aren't usual by anyone's standards. Melior is either a raving lunatic or an obsessed fanatic, take your pick; he's likable because he doesn't want the Earth to disappear (even though he doesn't like New York at all), and it will if the grendel-thing isn't stopped, and because of his nearly instantaneous passion for Ruth.
Ruth, however, is a bit of a cipher. She spent eight years in a coma, is now biologically thirty but acts much younger and has almost no self-confidence and little to no experience in dating (as she spent almost all her time since "awakening" in school, preparing to become a librarian). She's smart, tough, and witty, but there's something just a bit off about her . . . something that is disclosed in the contents of "Sword of Maiden's Tears."
The others of the circle of friends include Naomi, a sort of earth mother who cooks, cleans and mother hens everyone within reach; Jane, who's another character I'd dearly love to find out about, as she's young, smart, tough, nobody's fool, and trying her best despite not believing much in herself; and Philip, a computer hacker with much agita and angst, who sticks around mainly because he likes Naomi and wants to figure out what the rest of them will do next.
There are several ways to interpret this book; in a way, it's like Maeve Binchy's "Circle of Friends," except done in 1980s New York amongst a bunch of library students, rather than in Ireland in the 1950s. The relationships and interrelationships between the students and Melior are what makes this novel; what adds immeasurably to it is the wittiness and sarcasm that permeates this book.
This isn't Ms. Edghill's best book; that one remains (in my opinion) the recently released "Vengeance of Masks." It's also not quite as good as the Bast novels, and I'd rate it a shade below "The Warslayer," too.
But there's much to recommend it. It's humorous, good natured, witty, and engaging; what else can you ask for, really, when you're looking for entertainment?