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Threshold (Tor Fantasy) Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 1, 2003
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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. Learn more
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Douglass presents an original variation on the theme of the man, or in this case, magus, who must undo the harm he unwittingly put in motion. On the plains of Ashod rises the great, glass-encased pyramid Threshold, a mathematical and architectural wonder that has taken the Magi and multitudes of slaves eight generations to build. Nearly completed, it awaits only its capstone. Meanwhile, the glassworker Tirzah, a slave, hides a secret from her masters: she can communicate with glass, and has heard the glass in Threshold scream in pain. The glass knows what Tirzah can but feel and the Magi wouldn't believe: that, more than a building, Threshold is a gateway. When it is completed, something from another dimension will come through it. Already, it has started taking lives. Can Tirzah and her fellow slaves halt the construction? Will Boaz, the magus whose alternating kindness and sternness to Tirzah leave her hoping but confused, accept the truth before the capstone is placed? Full of original touches, this is very good storytelling. Frieda Murray
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
A stand-alone novel by the author of The Wayfarer Redemption series--"Sara Douglass is a powerful voice in high fantasy that readers can equate to the likes of Robert Jordan, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Anne McCaffrey."
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Others have pointed out the issues of an abusive relationship that quickly gives way to unhindered devotion, but since Threshold itself influenced the abusive character toward their darker side, I found it easier to accept than other people did. Once or twice Tirzah becomes too weepy and passive when I wanted to see her take charge (as much as she can while being a slave). And while the climax is remarkably well done and satisfying, the denouement seems too abrupt and focused on tying up the plot, but not the relationship between her and this character.
Overall, Douglass has crafted a solid novel that grabbed my imagination and kept me interested. Despite its minor issues, it certainly takes your imagination for quite a ride.
Elementals are a group of people who can hear the elements speak in things. They tend to be craftsmen, because they can talk to glass and pottery and gems. But they and their mysterious religion of the gentle beings that live in the place beyond has been mostly whipped out. In the land of Ashdod this religion has been all but banned and replaced with the worship of numbers and mathematical formulas, mostly that of the number one which is seen as perfect. And so, the priests of the One have been building a giant temple to the One for two hundred years, a pyramid covered in glass. Work on this used to be voluntary but now they use slaves.
This is where Tirzah comes in. She's from the north, sold into slavery with her father when they fall into debt. They both make glass, but Tirzah, though only 19 years old, can cage, which is the most difficult part of glass carving. They are sent to work on Threshold, which is the giant temple/pyramid. But there Tirzah discovers that other people can also hear glass speak, and that there is something wrong with Threshold. The glass inside screams for help, and not even the gentle beings from the place beyond know why.
Somehow something evil is coming through threshold, and the only hope for the land is Boaz, a priest of the One, who hates his one gentle side but appears to be an elemental as well. Strangely and beautifully, Tirzah must make this man into someone who will act to save the world.
This is a great story, and a great book about the redeeming power of love. When you finish it you'll find yourself whispering for days: hold me, sooth me, touch me, love me. I disagree with the reviews that say this book is a feminist's worst nightmare, this is a book about never forgetting that everyone can change and love can conquer all, if you nurture it. It does appear that Sara Douglass almost always has an abusive relationship in her books that is blindly ignored-and then somehow fixed but not in a way that always seems healthy, so maybe she has some issues there to work out in her own life. This book though, does do better in the fixing of the abuse than her other novels (Ie "Hades' Daughter.")
Unlike in her other books (all I've read) the darkness and kind of gloomy setting that permeates this book works for Sara Douglass. Be warned-in her other books it doesn't and so they can be not only depressing but actually manage to drain you of life. I don't know what it is, but I havn't really found, with some time to put distance between me and them, reading her other books to be a good experience for me.
Five stars. I liked this better than any of the Troy Game books.
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Shifts from a tale of rebellion against slavery to one of elemental magic.Read more