Gastreich was able to weave recognizable bits of fairy tale, folklore and legend into the stories that surrounded Eolyn's childhood and education of her mystical inheritance. There's also a very strong thread of Feminism that runs through this book; and I mean that in an awesomely good way....The characters were so rich and intriguing, I absolutely loved them.
-Trish Heinrich (3 stars)
The threads woven throughout "Eolyn" are not, as with most other books in this genre, neatly tied off and snipped, and they do not form a perfect tapestry depicting "Happily Ever After". Some of the most important characters in the story are portrayed as complex personae with ambiguous morality and hidden motivations that are never revealed. It is this aspect of the book that readers will find at once disturbing and disturbingly realistic...
I cannot recommend this book highly enough, and it has already earned a place on my "Most Treasured" shelf. It is in a class of its own, and I hope to read more soon from Karin Rita Gastreich.
-Yin Haan (5 stars)
As a reader, there are certain topics or themes I really like in a book, certain tropes I particularly love no matter how many times I encounter them. Eolyn has a great many of my favorite fantasy tropes....The thing that made this book a joy to read and not just another familiar, commonplace fantasy novel is that each of these tropes were thoughtfully and deftly handled by Gastreich, often tweaked in satisfying and unexpected ways, and not just invoked as trite clichés that don't offer anything new or interesting to a reader...
I especially appreciated the feminist themes and questions of this book, which echo real life themes and questions in our world. (And isn't that precisely what good speculative fiction should do?) In the context of this particular fantasy world, Gastreich comments on sexism, sexuality, autonomy and personal choices, work vs. relationships, our relationship to our bodies and the natural world, and more. Her romance between Eolyn and the Mage-King feels true in its messiness and difficulties, and not just like a stereotypical fairytale.
-Julia Dvorin (5 stars)
Thank you Trish, Yin-Haan and Julia. I am delighted that you enjoyed the read, and really appreciate you taking the time to write such thoughtful and detailed reviews.
In other news this week:
Author Terri Guiliano Long is hosting the celebration For the Love of Love on her blog. Over forty authors are posting short vignettes about the experience of love. The event started on February 14 and will continue through February 22; I will be posting on February 22. Please stop by to read the different contributions. You can vote for your favorite every day, and by doing so will be entered in a raffle to win some fun prizes. More information is available at Terri Guiliano's blog.
On Heroines of Fantasy this week, we've been talking about heroes, and especially heroes in love. Please stop by to read everyone's thoughts and to share yours. As always, it's been a fun discussion. I'm looking forward to seeing you there.
Wishing everyone a great weekend!