This is an imaginative, somewhat unconventional, and generally well written fantasy series. Abraham puts forward a world in which talented individuals (poets) can instantiate abstract ideas in the form of beings with tremendous powers (andats). These beings are controlled by the poets, who are servants of a very hierarchic set of city-states. The presence of poets-andats guarantees the security, prosperity, and traditional social structure of the city-states. Other states wish to conquer the city-states and this set of books is partly the story of efforts to destroy the poets-andats and its consequences. Abraham has some clever plot construction. He uses a basic conflict between the 2 major protagonists of all 4 books to mirror, in sometimes ironic ways, the underlying political conflict. Inter=generational conflict and in particular, the costs of subordinating women, are important themes. Abraham is a solid writer with decent characterization and prose skills. The major problem with this series is that it is repetitive. This is essentially a single novel stretched out to 4 smaller books with considerable repetition of themes and plot devices. A single, individually longer but cumulatively shorter book would have been preferable.
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