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Winterbirth (The Godless World) Paperback – September 10, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Scottish author Ruckley's outstanding fantasy debut, the first installment of the Godless World trilogy, introduces a sprawling realm abandoned by the gods after two races united to destroy a third. The peoples left behind struggle with centuries-old prejudices and unresolved conflicts that threaten to destroy them all. The start of winter is traditionally a time of celebration, but when the elflike Kyrinin and religious fanatics called Inkallim interrupt the festivities at Castle Kolglas with a masterfully planned attack, the bloodshed is just the first move in an apocalyptic war that won't end until the world itself is unmade. As Ruckley chronicles the plight of numerous characters through an increasingly chaotic landscape, he develops unsubtle allegories to recent world history and some of humankind's more obvious shortcomings like bigotry, greed and apathy. The author's unapologetically stark yet darkly poetic narrative displays a refreshing lack of stereotypical genre conventions, ensuring a fervent audience of epic fantasy fans looking for something innovative in a genre that can be anything but. (Sept.)
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Scotsman Ruckley's first novel launches a promising trilogy set in the unromanticized medieval Highlands. The gods and their magic have departed, and grim feuds and endless skirmishing prevail as the weather gets ever colder. Chief among feuding clans are the Haigs, and chief among their warriors is a thane in whom some of the old powers may be awakening. This isn't necessarily good news for the Haig clan, for those powers will make their already murderous battles even grislier. But it isn't bad news for readers, since it makes the book much more difficult to put down. Green, Roland
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The cast of characters are intriguing and easy to relate too as you follow them from event to event, the good and bad, and how they handle their situations to survive. The dynamic of Roth and Orisian, the mystical Inurian, and the mysterious Kyrinin are strong elements for things to come throughout Winterbirth.
I really enjoyed this story from the beginning with a defeated people through their long road to retribution. If you are looking for a adventure through war torn lands that show the best and worst of people then this is an excellent story for you.
I can truly say that this story gets better as it moves along. More so as you pass through the next 2 books.
I give four stars because I appreciate the courage to handle a fantasy novel in a realistic way.
Given the situation at the very beginning, realistically things can get very bad very fast.
In many classical fantasy epics, heroes tend to defy all odds and salvage the situation, giving the bad guys no real chance to bring about their schemes.
In the Godless World, we stick instead to the grim reality. It is a refreshing way to enjoy our fantasies, albeit at times a little depressing.
But you will get hooked nonetheless, thanks to strongly built characters and a different take on magic.
I found these reading a perspective changer, and felt enriched by it.
I will; not because of the cliffhanger, but because, although not in love with the story and its characters, it has got me interested in the developments.