- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Roc Trade; First Printing edition (July 3, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451461495
- ISBN-13: 978-0451461490
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,459,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Whiskey and Water: A Novel of the Promethean Age, Bk. 2 Paperback – July 3, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Addressing such wide-ranging topics as absolution, kindness and cruelty, Bear mixes classic and modern supernatural archetypes to craft a beautiful tale whose reach exceeds its grasp. Seven years after the antifairy Promethean Society was nearly destroyed (as chronicled in Blood and Iron), Fae, devils and humans begin further duels for power and their immortal souls. Seeking vengeance, Christopher Marlowe leaves Lucifer's household and challenges the Promethean Mage Jane Andraste to a duel. Meanwhile, Lucifer enrages Satan by requesting an audience with God, and Àine, the queen of the Unseelie Court, tries to unseat Jane's granddaughter, Elaine, as Faerie Queen. These battles occur simultaneously, straining the reader's ability to keep track of each character's multiple machinations. In fact, so many fabulous characters appear (Morgan le Fey, Fionnghuala, the archangel Michael, etc.) that the book desperately needs a complete list of its dramatis personae and their multiple aliases to give the reader a fighting chance to fully enjoy this idiosyncratic fantasy. (July)
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Seven years after Matthew ended the age-old war between the Prometheans and Faerie, matters are heating up again. Promethean archmage Jane Andraste is trying to rebuild her power, starting with some new apprentices. The Faerie queen rests uneasily on her throne, with both her son and Cat Anna, queen of the unseelie fae, plotting to take her place. The devils of Hell grow tired of damnation, and play their own mysterious roles in the whole matter. A certain poet, lately of Hell, has left to seek personal revenge. As protector of New York, Matthew no longer controls his own power yet does what he can. After he's first on the scene at a murder that looks like a fae matter, he tangles with Jane again, trying to prevent her from using the killing as pretext for renewed war with Faerie. A byzantine plot, in which politics become ever more complex, and fascinating, occasionally infuriating, never-dull characters make this a worthy successor to Blood and Iron (2006). Schroeder, Regina
Top customer reviews
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It is rare to find a book with characters as disparate as this. Bear’s protagonist is an urban mage, broken but still tied to New York. Other characters range from Lucifer (much of the action takes place neither in New York nor in Faery, but in Hell), to Merlin the Magician from the Arthurian legends (and Morgan le Fay as well), an Australian bunyip, a unicorn, a Swanmay, three Goth kids, and a cop. Remarkably, none of them seem thrown in as decoration; all are integral parts of a story both moving and, in its own way, beautiful.
The novel takes place seven years after the events of the previous book, and now Jane Andraste, the head of what's left of the Prometheans (she lost a war to an army of the Fae led by her own daughter Elaine, who's now their queen) is busy rebuilding her forces in order to take one more whack at her daughter's forces. Once again Matthew Magus tries to stop her.
A great deal of the action takes place in New York City, which seems to have survived the dragon attack that occurred in the climax to "Blood and Iron." And--as only New Yorkers can--the citizenry seems to have shrugged at the idea that dragons do exist and has moved on. (One of the Fae has even made the cover of "Time.")
All in all, the book's almost as much fun as the first volume, although it does bog down a bit in places (things screech to a stop for a ratatouille recipe) and several of the exhausting parade of characters--many of whom spend the time finding ways to betray each other-- might have been left out. But on the whole it's a satisfying tale. 4.5 stars.
NOTES AND ASIDES: In one scene a character sports a tee shirt reading "Science Fiction Is Dead." I hope this doesn't mean that proflific Ms. Bear is done writing in that genre. She's very good at it.
Of all the book's many characters, Lucifer is probably the most interesting, but he becomes predictable after a surprisingly short time. I felt like this book was a paint-by-numbers fantasy, where most characters did the expected things at the expected times, the good guys took losses but won through in the end, and all the plot threads tied up neatly at the conclusion. It's a satisfying book but not a great book, and that's too bad because I absolutely love Elizabeth Bear's short works (such as the Cthulhu story "Boojum") and was hoping to find the same high imagination at work there. Whiskey and Water is a competent book, definitely, it just doesn't rise above.
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