Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Edge of the World by Kevin J. Anderson

The Edge of the World
Book One of Terra Incognita
Kevin J. Anderson
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 978-1-84149-663-4
574 pages

This is a big book. Roughly 140,000 words, and it is the first book in Kevin J. Anderson’s Terra Incognita series. As with Epic Fantasy’s there are a host of characters (thankfully all names are pronounceable--unlike a lot of fantasy books I have read), so many that there is an eight page glossary in the back.

With so many characters it could be easy to get lost, correct? Nope. All up there are only a few main characters: Criston Vora and Adrea Vora (his wife), Prester Hannes, Aldo (chartsman), Princess Anjine Korastine and her childhood friend, Mateo Bornan.

The story revolves around the aforementioned characters with a lot of extras that add weight to the plot and help head the book in the direction it is intended. In Edge of the World, there are two nations trying to live in peace, but an unfortunate death of an officials son and a fire that burns down a main city, sparks a war that both sides fear they cannot win.

For 13 years the two nations take pot-shots at one another, attacking small villages and ports. The two nations: Uraba and Tierra follow the same god: Ondun. The Aidenists (Terraians) are blamed for the fire in Ishalem (though it wasn’t them) and when the Aidenists return to Ishalem they are murdered by Urecari (Urabaians). There is no turning back. Each side starts preparation for the war to come, they build ships, they build armies, the Urecari kidnap children for a special project, that in the end pushes the war forward.

What’s special about this book are the characters. You will come to be addicted while reading about them and the lives they lead during the 13 year build up for war, and the changes they all go through, some are major, some are minor but they all work to form strong characters with a distinct voice.

Although I did not like the style of writing at first (the ‘show don’t tell’ ratio doesn’t match), it slowly grew on me and once several of the characters had been formed, I was flying through this book.


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