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Book Guardians of Terath: Seeking Sorrow by Zen Dipietro (2015-12-09)


Guardians of Terath: Seeking Sorrow by Zen Dipietro (2015-12-09)

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  • Soul Mate Publishing (1815)
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Review Text

  • By Diego Padilla on February 29, 2016

    The first installment in the Guardians of Terath series, Seeking Sorrow is first and foremost a Quest fantasy. The characters we encounter, and there are several, both women and men, embark upon a journey to investigate the causes for the destructive disappearance of Sorrow, sizeable town, whose causes appear to be magical.Our position as the reader is essentially that of companion-audience, as Mendelsohn puts it in Rhetorics of Fantasy, and we latch on to Luc, primarily, as our eyes to discover the world of Terath and the many wonderful things it holds. We discover that it’s a sci-fantasy setting, seemingly post-industrial, far advanced to the point that it’s left behind fossil fuels, but also adopted mana as a means of creating limitless (to a degree) clean and renewable energy which is maintained by magic users.The story, and I won’t spoil it in any way, gives the group of characters a purpose which they follow to the very end of the book, all the while getting to know one another and interacting with each other in a believable, and comradely way. In many respects this is Seeking Sorrow’s strength: the ability to relate to the characters so completely that you feel as though you could be their friend too.Often when stories of groups, parties, fellowships and so on, make their journey across vast swathes of geography, you wonder if they ever sit down, shoot the breeze and poke fun at one another. While we do get some of this in Tolkien, to name someone highly recognizable, it’s nowhere near the level we would want. DiPietro manages this seamlessly, representing all of the aspects of friendship that develop organically between people who are bound to a single purpose, and this includes both the positive aspects: leaning on a friend, offering support, caring for their feelings; as well as the negative aspects: the pressure we place on our friends to change, to alter how they look, to behave a certain way, or to conform to various societal norms.There’s quite a bit of romance that develops because of these interactions. The characters don’t all hook up by the end of the novel, as one might assume from the close-knit relationship they all have, but there are gestures, flirtations, unexplored intentions and bittersweet pairings that do add depth and expand the scope of the interpersonal relationships that make the characters more vivid and realistic. They aid in drawing the reader in, and certainly left me wondering as to whether this character or that character “would” or “wouldn’t” reciprocate this way or that.I can’t quite emphasise enough how carefully DiPietro formulated her characters, with each of them having distinct personalities, but none of them being antagonistic or otherwise grating to the reader. Often in books there’s one or two characters you can’t stand, and while we might argue whether this is a good or bad thing, the dynamic doesn’t exist here. The antagonism and conflict come from without, and it helps create a cohesive bond between the characters that let you know, especially by the end, that “these are friends, first and foremost”.I hope I’ve managed to keep my review to zero spoilers, so that you’re encouraged to read Seeking Sorrow. A wonderful read, and definitely providing you with ample incentive to pick up the next one, Facing Fortune to find out what happens next!

  • By Lomeraniel on December 6, 2016

    I was offered a copy of this book in audio format from the author in exchange for an honest review.Imagine a world where the main form of energy is called mana, an energy which works in a similar way to electricity, powering vehicles and appliances. Imagine that part of the population has a genetic variation which permits them to control and even transform mana. Terath is this kind of world, where everybody lives in peace because there is no scarce of food nor commodities. But what happens when one day a city is completely destroyed by what seems a great amount of mana? the kind that only somebody with great capabilities of holding mana could accomplish. In trying to avoid a civil war, a small group of people are secretly sent to investigate this and try to find the culprit.I like fantasy, but very often I avoid it because I have high standards. Many fantasy books do not live to my expectations, but 'Seeking Sorrow' is not one of them. The world built by Zen DiPietro is rich, with very well thought principles, a society, and even special words specific to a guild. And there are real badass girls in the story too, which contributes to make the story more interesting.There is a love story in this book, but I really appreciate that it did not become one of the main topics. I do not need a romantic story, and in some cases I find it distracting from the real topics that should be touched, but when it is done in a very subtle way like here, I think it adds value to the story. I would describe the book as moderately slowly paced, and the romantic parts contribute to this, but it is also one of those books where you get immersed in a different culture, and you need some background that will inevitably slow the story.Taking account that Terath is a very pacific world, we have been shown an atypic part of it, places where the civilization did not reach. I wonder how cities and normal life were. From what I have listened to, they have 'modern' appliances but very rustic (even medieval) weapons, due to the little conflict they find. Taking this into account, I have troubles to imagine how the live is in towns and cities, which level of technology this society has reached. I hope DiPietro elaborates on this subject in future books of the series.There is a point in this book where everything falls into place and it is easy to know who destroyed Sorrow. I would not say that it was a predictable story, but it would have been better to find it as a surprise.One of the things that took me longer to get used to was the narration. Nikolai Porter has a clear voice and he makes decent character voices, but the narration was so 'aseptic' that sometimes I had the impression that I was listening to a Text to Speech App. I tend to prefer when narrators put their personal touch when narrating, and I had troubles to find that here.I really enjoyed this book, and I think DiPietro has created an original and interesting world. I hope the rest of the books will be soon available in audible.

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