Look, the odds were stacked against me ever reading this series. First off, the edition I saw turned out to be an omnibus edition, and I don’t like reading omnibuses (I like a story to finish at the same place the book does, if that makes sense. (Furthermore, while I was putting the books into Goodreads I discovered the odds against me reading them were even greater than I’d imagined, as I didn’t care for the single-book covers at all, so if I’d encountered *them* instead of the omnibus I may well have not picked the books up at all. O the irony!)).
But anyway, Ted likes omnibuses, and I picked it up because I liked the title and the spine image, and then the front said “If you like Scott Lynch you’ll like this.”
So despite the fact that it was an omnibus, I opened it and read the first sentence.
Then I bought it and the second omnibus and came home and put them on the shelf, where Ted immediately imagined he’d bought them because he likes omnibuses and it was epic fantasy and overall it didn’t look at all like something I’d have bought. And he read them and said they were great and I should read them.
So early last week I started them, and they were charming frothy light epic fantasy with a sense of humor and entertaining characters and not a lot of depth, and they were very enjoyable reads and I read the first omnibus in about a week and y’know, when you spend a thousand pages with characters in a week you get pretty involved with them, so I immediately picked up the second omnibus and
OH MY GOD.
Holy shit. They lost none of their humor, charm or entertainment, but the first three books are basically suckering you so that author Rachel Aaron can drop a bomb of depth, high stakes, world-shattering war, personal sacrifice, morality, trust and love. I’m seriously talking edge-of-my-seat reading here, people. Breath-holding, wide-eyed knuckle-chewing excitement with a payoff *totally* different than the one I expected and so, *so* much more satisfying.
But what’s even more beautiful is that Aaron delivered all of that without the popular grim-dark facade of a lot of current big fat fantasy. In fact, they’re *so* light, going in, that they’re kind of easy to dismiss, I mean, not that I wanted to stop reading, because I was enjoying them greatly, but they weren’t going to leave any kind of impression other than a fond memory of charm, you know? But that makes the ratcheting-up of stakes SO much more effective, and it gave me so much time to fall for the characters that their reversals just absolutely seized me and just OH WOW, guys, OH WOW.
There are other things I want to say but they’re spoilery, and one of them is so unlikely that it’s a shame to spoil it, but let me just say the romance in these books is subtle and surprising and I love it.
also i just found out she also writes space opera under Rachel Bach excuse me i have to go buy some new books o.o