The Black Wolves Trilogy - Book 1
I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK.
Black Wolves has been on many 'best of' lists since it's publication back in November of 2015 and I'm here to say it's totally earned. :) This is epic fantasy done right. 780 pages of it and none of it was tedious. (That can happen a lot even in the best of epic fantasies.)
The setting of Black Wolves is an Asian-flavoured world as we're seeing more and more of lately - and that's okay because it's fresh and often surprising in unexpected ways. Yes, it's reminiscent of Ken Liu's The Grace of Kings but I think a large part of that is that I've read few fantasies in this setting. Kate Elliott's world-building is amazing! She brings this world to life with deft artistry - really! - we learn through the actions, thoughts, speech and memories of the characters and it never feels burdensome and as a reader I was never tempted to skim.
The characters were delightful and even the bad ones had depth and motivation and shadows and even lightness at times. I LOVED that two of the main antagonists were a woman in her fiftes - late fifties, I would say, and a man of over seventy! And they're both wonderfully vibrant and wise and rigid and biased... and their bones ache. :)
The young characters were just as marvelous in their own ways. We grow with them and feel their triumphs and their pains and their uncertainties and their sometimes blind beliefs. They all rang true to me. And there is still so much more to learn about them and more for them to grow (or not in some cases, I guess.).
I am in awe of the plot. How the author managed all those twists and turns and didn't really give anything away until the story wanted it given away was masterful. I was surprised time after time. I had suspicions, sure, everyone will I think, but the few times my suspicions were confirmed there was always a little thing, a little twist that I had never even thought of! Amazing plotting. Amazing.
This is a terrific beginning to a new fantasy epic and I can't WAIT until the next book in the trilogy comes out!
If you loved A Song of Ice and Fire and The Dandelion Dynasty, you must read this book! You won't be sorry.