Sunday, October 2, 2011

Review of Feast of Souls by C.S. Friedman

C.S. Friedman, acclaimed author of The Coldfire Trilogy, returns to the epic style which has made her one of the most popular fantasy writers in the genre. In this first book of the trilogy, Friedman introduces readers to a world of high fantasy, replete with vampire-like magical powers, erotic interludes, treachery, war, sorcery, and a draconic creature of horrific power and evil that will have readers eagerly awaiting the next novel in the series.
I have to start this review out by stating that C.S. Friedman is one of my favorite fantasy and science fiction writers in all my years. I have read her Coldfire trilogy countless times. In Conquest Born and This Alien Shore have both been on my shelf for quite sometime and always come highly recommended when asked who and what to read in the science fiction / space opera realm. So when I seen that she was writing a new series I got all drooly and fanboy like and bought Feast of Souls the day that it went on the shelves. Needless to say, I devoured it. It was awesome and so much more. This blog didn't exist then and my Goodreads account didn't exist so, basically, I was a reading nobody. Not to say that people who don't blog or share their reading adventures are the pariahs of the reading world because I used to be on that boat too. Probably like most of us were. Anyway, to my point (what was my point again?). My point is this. I use to shread books. No, I don't mean I got the scissors out when I was finished and cut them up into little pieces or anything, that would be something like sacrilege, right? Yes, yes it would. No, what I mean is that I would read a ton of books and not really care what I liked about them. I just thought, man... that was fricken' awesome, ok, on to the next. Now, I guess you could say that I have matured... YEAH right, who am I fooling? Just call me Peter Pan. But seriously, this is the reason that I write a blog. C.S. Friedman is the reason I am writing this blog. I still re-read my favorites like everyone does on occasion but, I re-read this one for the specific purpose of talking about it on here. I don't even really know how I am. But I am going to give it a shot. C.S. Friedman deserves that and so much more from me.

I stated above that I was going to try. Why "try"? Because this book is massive. Not only massive on a page count level, I think the MMP weighs in about 576 pages. And when I say heavy, I am not talking in pounds here either. The scale of the story is large as well. That is why it is so captivating. I have always felt that in all her books Ms. Friedman's writing opens up into this huge spectrum. This vivid picture in my mind of a world so large. These masterful settings just enhance their inhabitants to the nth' degree. The realms of the Magister Trilogy are no exception. The backdrop is secondary of course but also necessary in knowing where our characters come from. Out of these realms our characters have back-story that gives a reader freedom to imagine what doesn't come out of the book. It is imagination in a bottle. So where do you even start reviewing a book so compelling. So thought provoking. Well, I don't know where you would start but, I am going to start with Kamala.

Kamala, Kamala, Ka-ma-la... Sounds a lot like Lam-ba-da. That is right folks, the dance of love. Wait, where am I. Oh yeah. Kamala. This female protagonist is the exact reason why I read fantasy. She knows exactly what she wants. And she knows exactly how to get it. Tormented from a past that she cannot forget or live in any longer she hunts down a magister to make something of herself. Kamala is flawed in so many ways that it isn't even funny but, that does not stop her in getting what she wants. Albeit early on she doesn't have any idea as to what that is yet. But hey, who really does. Kamala is upended into a completely new life and sure she is scared to death of what is out there but she knows that after all the unfortunate events that have happened to her, nothing can hurt her anymore. Although, Kamala's character is fueled by so much revenge and hate she maintains  a caring for humanity and an urge to protect the innocent. This makes her an uber-character in my book. You know the one... That one book of characters we all carry around with us. Yeah that one. Even if you don't know it, you have one too. You just might not be to proud to admit it. Were talking seriously flawed here people. I mean come on! Her and Andovan, dark traveling wagon, limited to know space and THAT happens. And she already knew what he was to her? AWWWW!!! Come on now, you thought I was going to tell you what happens? NOPE go read it yourself. I mean that is some horrendously screwed up AWESOMENESS there. So, lets move on to Andovan. I can only talk Kamala for so long. She literally drives me crazy. Anybody else hear Fine Young Cannibals in the back of their head like all the time?

Andovan is another character that has so much going for him as a great character. Flawed physically but so strong spirited (no pun intended). Being the third son of the King of all the realms he's pretty much left to his own devices. But after the brief descriptions of the two heirs ahead of him. His brothers seem to pale in comparison to the natural kingly qualities he has inherited from not only his father but his mother as well. Let me pause here to point out that our wonderful author is killing to birds with these semi glimpses of the other two brothers. This gives the impression that there will be more of them to come and your just going to have to wait and see. And it let's you know just how broad the scope of the story can evolve into. But for now our focus is on Andovan and Kamala and a few other sub-character plots that are revolving around the two mains. One of which are the Magisters. But in the beginning there is not really a focus on one in particular. I think this was done mainly to describe how their society works before any one is really brought out into the spotlight. But by the end, Colivar stands out to me as the Magister that is going to stir up the most old people dust. I am not going to touch to much on Andovans Mom but she has a presence in this book that is worth mentioning but, I have a feeling were not seeing the last of her.

At the end of Feast of Souls on both occasions I am left with a feeling of, how is she ever going to wrap this story up in only two more novels. When you are taking into account that this world is coming full circle and things that once were are now here again. The legend of it is magically massive and it is hard to conceive that is already a third of the way over.

Another reason that I am reading this one again is that I have just recently procured the second book to this series I know... I am a little late but life happens and books like these are the treats of life and are meant to be savored. Plus it has been a little while that I thought I needed a refresher before I dive into Wings of Wrath. Please stay tuned and as always, a final thank-you to Celia S. Friedman for without your words to fill my imagination and entertain my life, I would most certainly not be who I am today. Thank-you. You are one of the major reasons reading THIS is even possible.


I leave you all with a music artist and his video that I was recently introduced to. It is as epic as the book I just reviewed. I have to pass it on so it can hopefully reach some people who have not already seen it. It really is made of win on so many different levels.... Enjoy.