First Reading (June, 2009):
Great prose, good characters, intriguing plot twists.
In fact, I spent the first part of this book in total confusion. I love maps and Janny’s website has a great interactive map of Athera. Before I’d read forty pages, I had minutely scrutinized the online map in total frustration. I could not find the places Janny was referencing!
Eventually, my questions were answered (I should have had more patience).
I absolutely loved the first half of this book, riding along in the headlong rush to the first climax. I struggled a bit with the aftermath and could only watch in disgust and horror at the damage done to the characters I’d come to know and love. It made for great drama, sometimes almost melodrama, but boring it was not.
It’s one of the longest books I’ve read in quite some time – nearly seven hundred pages as a mass market paperback. After finishing it, I wondered if it wouldn’t have been better as two separate novels. I really should have taken a break after the first climax to let my mind and emotions come to grip with the consequences to the characters.
I don’t know how I missed this book when it was first released in the early nineties. I’ve been reading fantasy for over twenty-five years and this was too good to miss. I’ll have to chalk it up to having toddlers and no time to devote to reading.
I highly recommend this novel to fantastic fiction fans everywhere.
Second Reading (July/August, 2010):
Since I gave away my older Roc MMP edition to spread the ‘good news’ of Janny’s Wars of Light and Shadow series, I took the opportunity in mid-May to purchase the re-released MMP edition while at DemiCom, where I had the privilege of meeting and visiting with Janny Wurts. I felt compelled to complete my collection of the series so that I could re-read Curse of the Mistwraith repeatedly to refresh my memory of the unfolding layers and complexities that comprise Athera.
I highly recommend this book and this series for the devoted lovers and perspicacious readers of complex multifaceted myriad-layered epic fantasy brimming with inimitable characterizations and sublime universe craftsmanship.
March 2013 Update: HarperCollins is still running a sale I referenced in a previous blog posting on the first three ebook editions for the Wars of Light and Shadow series. For just under a buck, you can start on your journey to find the Paravians in The Curse of the Mistwraith.