A Thousand Glass Flowers (The Chronicles of Eirie Book 3) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Imagine the magic, exotic world of "A Thousand and One Nights". Add a dark, damaged, doomed hero whose attractiveness is magnified by his power to mesmer. Make him engaged in an adventurous quest to save not only his dear but the whole world from his wicked antagonist. Let him meet an extraordinarily beautiful, brave young woman and join forces with her in his fight. Accept that they discover and face their fate, united against their evil opponent. Enjoy their magic company of djinns, afrits, siofras. Prepare to a thrilling ride through bittersweet, romantic, gothic, tragic, funny, frightening, moving moments. Do you think you can make all that?
The two protagonists are two lonely souls, brought up experiencing very little love in their lives. Fear has always been their mute only companion in their respective solitudes.
Finnian was raised by his grandmother, Isolde, who hated him and punished him with her whip at any little sign of disobedience.
Lalita was left to the care of her loving uncle and aunt after her parents' death. But while her caring uncle and aunt were away on business, she was left with her greedy, wicked uncle Kurdeesh who sold her to the Grand Vizier for the Sultan's harem.
Lalita is a scribe with stunning talent in her craft. She can't renounce her freedom, she can't bear being taken as a slave in that golden cage which is the Sultan's harem. Moreover, her beauty and her talent soon bring enemies to her among the other women there.
Finnian is a Faeran, one of the Others. He can mesmer and make himself invisible. "An eye for an eye" is what he believes in. He doesn't believe in Fate, but he will have to change his mind. He has no other ambition in life that revenge against his evil grandmother. He doesn't feel guilt or regret. In order to totally defeat Isolde, he has to find the magic Cantrips and then destroy them . But then he meets Lalita and his task becomes even harder.
"A Thousand Glass Flowers" is a magic tale which has hold me hooked not only while reading it but even after that. It was not so easy to get out of its atmosphere, leave Eerie or farewell Finnian and Lalita. They stay with me as unforgettable. I'm sure they'll stay on for long. In my memory and in my heart.
In this one Lalita and Finnian move through a finely-described, extraordinary world. There are traces of the familiar, from different times and cultures which meet in this world. Djinns move about elements of renaissance Venice. This multiculturalism reminds me of the pre-renaissance, where Greek thought and learning returned to Europe via Arabic learning. In this way, the world of Eirie is a world of multicultural cross-pollination and consequently entirely familiar. But with the heavy mix of magic and "other" possibility, make it unfamiliar and exciting.
It is a credit to Batten's writing that these disparate elements are so easily and convincingly melded together to support what is a heart a great adventure story. Highly recommended read.
A Thousand Glass Flowers is the only novel I've ever read that seems to be told from inside a fairy tale. The prescriptions of the form are the laws of nature here, inherent in the physical world and in the speech and actions of the characters. Prue Batten's world-building in her Eirie novels has always been minimalist; every carefully rationed and delicately stitched detail is all the more memorable and effective for it. World-building can become the writer's biggest self-indulgence in a fantasy series, a case of literary all-dressed-up-and-no-place-to-go. If fantasy novels in which every map, medicinal herb, language, genealogy, recipe and law of magic is cataloged can be thought of as a 15th century Flemish painting, with a highlight and shadow on every pearl, Batten's world is watercolor.
In A Thousand Glass Flowers Batten picks up the story and characters of her two earlier novels. The Cantrips of Unlife must be hunted down and destroyed before the Big Bad finds them first and uses them for evil (a more modern fairy tale trope). In two parallel stories, Finnian and Lalita each seek the Cantrips for their own ends, and in their journey discover connections to each other and to the past.
In a wood full of malicious enchantments, Finnian leaves Lalita to find horses at a nearby farm. The farm is deserted, which made me realize that the whole novel feels eerily empty; as in a fairy tale, no unnecessary characters appear except as set dressing. And scenes typically involve only two or three people, as in a story from an older oral tradition, where reporting dialog is awkward. And all this despite Batten's generosity with evocative and pinpoint description: in one sentence describing an Eastern city, she moves from the watermelon and apricot sky to the heated dust of the streets to the fetid stink of the alleys. The novel is filled with breathtakingly skilled moments. Lalita and Finnian are besieged in an empty house by a flock of vampire-like Strigoi, but in the middle of the battle, one of the Strigoi speaks. The six or seven words he says bring the temperature in the room down to zero.
Having read the two previous books and knowing some of the characters, I was tempted by the novel's style to remain carefully detached from Lalita and Finnian, having had my heart broken on several previous occasions by Batten's notorious ability to lead even her most central and appealing characters into unforeseeable situations from which there is no escape. But in vain. Warmth and understanding and sadness grew with every page, as the characters souls were revealed in their selfishness, their sacrifices, and their acceptance of Fate.
Batten is also a master of the heart-in-your-throat ending. By the end of the story, Lalita and Finnian and all the well-loved characters from the earlier books (who turn up at the end) had involved me in their lives in a way I'd never expected. A series of beautifully plotted revelations, decisions, secrets and unforeseen turns had me eying the last ten pages with alarm, the novel speeding toward a cliff with vital knowledge still unrevealed. But Batten brings the story to a smooth stop with the front tires brushing the lip of the precipice and sending a single pebble over into the abyss. Fortunately, and unfortunately, everything ends as it should.
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