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Showing 1-10 of 67 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 77 reviews
on July 24, 2016
I read Patricia Wrede's books as a young adult years ago and read these because I hadn't gotten to these yet. I liked the first one but the ones that followed weren't quite as fun as the first one. They got kind of dark. I think for young adults, there is enough darkness in the world, and I feel and think the same way even though I am a senior citizen. I wish the books had continued like the first one, a little less dark. As for the author's craft - she's a great writer. Don't let my personal dislike of darkness stop you. After all, it's not nearly as bad as Game of Thrones. I'm just using books as my escape from reality and want my escape to be as far away from current living as possible.
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on October 21, 2015
This is a collection of Wrede's early novels placed in the magical world of Lyra. They are varied in quality with the Harp of Imach Thyssel perhaps the most complex. Shadow Magic, and Daughter of Witches are straight forward adventure fantasy with good strong characters with basic fantasy worlds. Caught in Crystal is the most interesting in terms of characters and adventure, but suffers from poor editing. It is too long and drags badly in the middle. The Raven Ring was written later and shows Wrede as a mature writer. It is the best written technically, but the story though fun is not innovative in way. It is a great collection for the young reader just coming to the genre or the older reader wanting to revisit old friends.
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on September 26, 2012
If you're familiar with Patricia Wrede's The Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Dealing with Dragons / Searching for Dragons / Calling on Dragons / Talking to Dragons you'll find the Lyra books to be written in a very different voice, but just as well crafted. Wrede certainly takes advantage of the world-building she's done for Lyra, particularly as these books are not directly sequential. There's a sort of quest/adventure to each one, but there's nothing repetitive or cookie cutter about these character driven books and all of the heroes come to their individual journeys in widely varying fashions for different reasons. Protagonists from one book are occasionally mentioned in one of the others, but each book is primarily set in a different section of the world. World changing events from one story have impact on the others, but it's not our own overly wired modern world and Wrede's handling of knowledge sharing reflects that. Careful readers will find hints as to what happened to their favorite characters later in their timelines, but explaining any of them here would be an incredible spoiler. I'm impressed at how well she ties it all together--the reader benefits from information on places in the other books, but it isn't required as any destinations in the various characters' journeys are shared through their perception and time. I'm used to suffering through a bit of repeat exposition when I read an entire series over a very short period of time, but not ONCE was I jostled out of the story by that "blah blah heard it before" feeling. When taken together, the layered viewpoints are fascinating--views of one culture/nation are gathered from various characters and cities across a few books, then the reader finds a new angle on them with a supporting character in The Harp of Imach Thyssel, which makes seeing THAT culture from inside the protagonist's head in The Raven Ring all the more interesting. Of course, if nuance isn't your thing, the books are just as enjoyable without my gleeful puzzle piecing. :)

I already owned Shadow Magic, but this kindle "box set" version was too good a deal to stress over duplicating one novel. After spending the better part of two days tearing through the Lyra Novels, I consider it money well spent! I look forward to reading them again to find more of those hidden connections.

Please note: At the time of this review, Amazon's description of this set only includes the summary for Shadow Magic. Hopefully this will be corrected soon to reflect the content of all five books!
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on April 17, 2017
I've tried several times to get through these novels. I've managed three of them and I just can't bring myself to go further. They are superficially written, despite the authors extensive notes at the beginning. I've no doubt she spent a lot of time developing her world and characters and how to move them around, but she failed, utterly, to imbue any of them with life. At the end of the first one, the princess and the trader become a couple. There is no real foundation for this to happen, unless we readers make it up in our heads. There's no intimacy, no shared moments, no substance.

I just wish the author had spent as much time building characters and relationships as she did building her world.
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on December 26, 2014
This was an engaging set of novels. I'd thought that the novels would be more connected, but pretty much, the only connection was that they are all set in the same fantasy world. That said, they mostly take place in completely different lands within the world anyway, and there were a few little clues as to other characters. Of course, in a set like this - especially when they are all stand alone novels and not sequels - there will be some that are your favorites more than others. But overall, I thought it was a great set, definitely worth the price.
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on May 14, 2014
I was somewhat surprised when I read the authors forward that focused on how she had edited Shadow Magic, first in the Lyra series. I was a bit worried when she showed how seven paragraphs were brought down to two or three lines. The forward was too long but I was glad to read that Shadow Magic had been edited wasn't.

I was so annoyed with Shadow Magic that I almost didn't read the rest of the series. I am a technical writer, not a novelist and I wanted to get out a red pencil and edit, edit, edit. Shadow Magic was also an incomplete, inconsistent story as far as I was concerned. Two characters get married at the end after spending all of an hour or two playing a knife game. Really? And one of the main characters is a trader but he is always in on the meetings with the head of a noble family and seems to know military maneuvers better than trained soldiers. Again..really? I realize it is fantasy but there has to be a back story to explain all of the parts. The lack of adequate dialogue coupled with rambling explanations drove me crazy in Shadow Dancer and made me wonder where all the author's editing went. As a result I almost didn't read the rest of the series. After a couple of days I decided to give it one more try and was pleasantly surprised by the next book in the series.

Characters began to have depth. They became more believable and likeable. Dialogue, action and description were crisper and the stories moved quickly. I liked the authors' decision to write a stand alone story but one that linked with all of the others in the Lyra series because it was on the same world. As the series continued the stories and the writing continued to improve.

I liked the strong female leads who had to make some tough decisions. It was easier to understand the emotional underpinning to some of their decisions that appeared to be contrary to logic. I also liked the balance between the male and female characters.

Teenage readers who like sci-fi fantasy, because this is fantasy, and are not ready or don't like the complexities of Tolkien or Herbert, will probably enjoy this series. Just don't read Shadow Dancer until it is fully edited by the author.
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on April 17, 2017
This is actually five books so the check boxes probably don't represent all of them the same way. I enjoyed all the books but Raven Ring is definitely my favorite. These are some of Wrede's earlier works. You can see how her writing improved with the later ones.
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on April 25, 2017
I enjoyed these as a fun travel read and enjoyed how fleshed out the world of Lyra became via these stories that span different times, places, and characters.
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on May 18, 2017
Read the first book thinking I didn't have to finish it if it started to drag although the characters change from story to story Lyra holds them together and each adds a little dimension to the whole which is Lyra itself. Great read, worth your time.
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on December 29, 2012
I initially bought The Raven Ring separately, and enjoyed it so much that I got the entire Lyra collection. The books are a fairly easy read, but I found myself getting completely caught up in the people and stories of Lyra. One thing that I particularly liked about these books was the strength of the female characters. The women in many fantasy novels are afterthoughts or accessories to the main story, and I appreciated stories that centered around strong capable women.
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