Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club


ALL THE WINDWRACKED STARS
by
ELIZABETH BEAR
All the Windwracked Stars hardcover All the Windwracked Stars (2008)

Tor hardcover (left)

Tor paperback
368 pages (right)

cover art by Jean-Sbastien Rossbach
All the Windwracked Stars paperback

From the back cover of the paperback:
       IT BEGINS WITH RAGNAROK, the end of all things, the battle between the Children of the Light and their tarnished brothers and sisters.  But in Valdyrgard, three survive: the least of the Valkyrie, a valraven to be her steed, and the Grey Wolf whose betrayal sparked the final battle.  And because they still live, Valdyrgard is a very long time dying.
        More than two thousand years later, Muire still walks the streets of Eiledon, the last human city, while her valraven hides in a distant valley.  But the Grey Wolf has come hunting in Eiledon.

Read for group discussion on February 24, 2010

RATINGS:
How we each rated this book
Dan 5 Amy 5 stack of books 10   Wow! Don't miss it
8-9  Highly recommended
7    Recommended
5-6  Mild recommendation
3-4  Take your chances
1-2  Below average; skip it
0    Get out the flamethrower!
U    Unfinishable or unreadable
-    Skipped or no rating given
Cheri 3 Barb -
Aaron 3 Cynthia -
Jackie - Ron 4
Bob 4 Molly 5

Aaron's Commentary   Elizabeth Bear - All the Windwracked Stars

This novel is a bit of a mess, far below the standard of other Elizabeth Bear works I've read.  I like the concept of combining Norse mythology with a far future SFnal setting, but Bear fails to pull either off.  She didn't give me any sense of the essence of Norse mythology, and her future world is a vague blur, with no effective explanation of how this society works or who lives there -- it all feels like a movie set of unconvincing facades painted over with a random mishmash of fantasy and SF elements, which never combine in any interesting way.  Worst of all, the characters are cut from the same cardboard.  I had no sense of what was motivating any of them or why I should care what happened to them.  Still, I won't give up on Elizabeth Bear, because I know she can do a great deal better.

What do you think? Your comments are welcome. Please send them to vanaaron@excite.com

Bibliography:
Elizabeth Bear (1971-    ) (Sarah Bear Elizabeth Wishnevsky) is a US science fiction and fantasy writer.

Awards
2005 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
2008 Hugo Award for Best Short Story for "Tideline"
2009 Hugo Award for Best Novelette for "Shoggoths in Bloom"

The Jenny Casey trilogy, science fiction
-- Hammered (2005)
-- Scardown (2005)
-- Worldwired (2005)

The Promethean Age, contemporary and historical fantasy books
-- Blood and Iron (2006)
-- Whiskey and Water (2007)
-- The Stratford Man Volume I: Ink and Steel (2008)
-- The Stratford Man Volume II: Hell and Earth (2008)

Jacob's Ladder trilogy, science fiction
-- Dust (2007)
-- Chill (2010)
-- Grail (forthcoming)

The Edda of Burdens, Norse fantasy
-- All the Windwracked Stars (2008)
-- By the Mountain Bound (2009), prequel to All the Windwracked Stars
-- The Sea thy Mistress (forthcoming 2010)

The Iskryne Series, co-written with Sarah Monette, Norse fantasy
-- A Companion to Wolves (2007)

New Amsterdam series
-- New Amsterdam (2007), alternate history mosaic novel
-- Seven for a Secret (2009), novella
-- The White City (2011), novella

Other books
-- Carnival (2006), science fiction
-- Undertow (2007), science fiction
-- Bone & Jewel Creatures (2010), novella

Short story collections
-- The Chains That You Refuse (2006)


Links:
Elizabeth Bear website
Elizabeth Bear's LiveJournal
Elizabeth Bear - Wikipedia
Green Man Review: Elizabeth Bear, All the Windwracked Stars

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This page was last updated April 22, 2010