The Tempering of Men by Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear - My Thoughts

The Tempering of Men - Elizabeth Bear, Sarah Monette

The first thing that pops to mind is that this book is perfectly titled and that's not something you'll really get unless you read it.  :)

 

Once again, Monette and Bear throw you in the deep end of their intricate and perfectly wonderful worlds.  The names are strange to the tongue and eye, there are words that on first, quick look appear to be the most alien of languages, but soon you're immersed because the storytelling is just that good.  

 

I have to say, that this volume of the Iskryne Saga, the second one, seemed fairly calm and almost uneventful, compared to the first one, A Companion of Wolves.  But a ton of stuff really happened, things that 'tempered' the young men we met in the first book.  

 

See, 'tempering' means the following:

 

1. To modify by the addition of a moderating element; moderate: "temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom" (Robert H. Jackson). 
2. To bring to a desired consistency, texture, hardness, or other physical condition by blending, admixing, or kneading: temper clay; paints that had been tempered with oil.
3. To harden or strengthen (metal or glass) by application of heat or by heating and cooling.
4. To strengthen through experience or hardship; toughen: soldiers who had been tempered by combat.
 
So you see why the title is perfect.  :)
 
I love how the authors present the wolves.  They're wolves.  Not people in fur.  They are wolves and they act appropriately for wolves.  Yes, being as they're trellwolves, they are smarter than your average lupine, yet still wild and unpredictable and, well, wolfish.  :)
 
The characters we follow are all superbly drawn and real.  They all have flaws and as they grow, as they are tempered, they don't lose the flaws that are so much a part of them - rather, they come to acknowledge and come to terms - for the most part - with them.  

 

One of my favourite TV shows is Vikings and I found in reading this book, the world felt far more familiar to me than the first volume did when I read it before Vikings.  Things were a little easier to picture in my mind's eye.  :)

 

I have the 3rd book of the Saga in my TBR.and I'm very much looking forward to reading it.  :)