Book Review: Tears of the Sun by S.M. Stirling

Roc

530 pp.

Tears of the Sun continueson from The High King of Montival with Rudi now High King and the various changes the various regions that makeup the new kingdom are going through. We also get a good view of howpreparations are going for the war against the Church Universal and Triumphant,the war itself, and how everyone who had been previously nonreligious are nowsuddenly finding religion now that magic of some variety works.

A lot of the story is centered around Huon and Yseult Liu, the siblings of Odard as they deal with the consequences of their mother and uncle’s treachery. Other parts of the book deal with Fred winning over soldiers from Boise, and Rudi running around being High King. Other characters rush about on very important missions, the results of which are explained later through flash backs, and various villain characters act in ways that are creepy and scary.      

Most of the storyline in this book is told in flashbacks, lots and lots of flashbacks. I did not like the flashbacks on top of reminiscence very much,even if the chapters had time/place stamps. I found it to be a little confusing and even somewhat annoying, since it gives this book the feel of someone tying off as many knots as he possibly can before the next (possibly last) book.

Another reason I didn’t like the nested flashbacks and reminiscence is because I felt the framing scenes filled up too much of the timeline in comparison to the events taking place in the flashback. (Or at least, that’s how it felt.) A major example of this is the case of Tiphaine. We learn little bits of information on her story line, and she’s a major character throughout, but what I felt should have been the most important point–she’s nonreligious and suddenly finds one–is shuffled off to a very brief scene near the very end of the book.

I caught at least one shout out to Andre Norton in this book. There were probably other shout outs to other stories/authors but I did not catch them. (He has been sprinkling references to various science fiction and fantasy writers throughout his Change novels from about The Sunrise Lands if not earlier.) The book ends on a cliffhanger involving what will probably be the climactic battle.

Tears of the Sun manages to be pretty engaging, despite the problems I had with the book.     

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Filed under book, fantasy elements, Review: Book, S.M. Stirling, science fiction

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