The Map Of All Things (Terra Incognita) by Kevin J Anderson
|The Map Of All Things (Terra Incognita) by Kevin J Anderson|
|Reviewer: Loralei Haylock|
|Summary: An epic fantasy with gruesome battles, great adventures and a smattering of sea monsters. An engrossing and easy read, despite the size. Recommended to fantasy fans.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 624||Date: June 2010|
|External links: Author's website|
Now, where to begin with this one? So much happens to so many people in this book that it's difficult to try and summarise the plot in a couple of paragraphs. Which tells you something about the book in itself – it is epic. Fans of lengthy epic fantasy, you are in the right place! Here goes…
After years of religious war between the Aidenists and the Urecari, with multiple atrocities on both sides, the known world has been divided. For each loss there is a retaliation, an upscale of the damage until the war becomes a crusade. In the centre of all this is Ishalem, a city that bridges the divide. Captured by the Urecari, who are now building a wall to defend it, the Aidenists want it back, no matter what the cost.
But both sides are engaged in other ventures too. According to the different scriptures they follow, time is running out to explore beyond the reaches of the known world. Both sides have ships and ambassadors, both have religious artefacts – one a compass, one a map – that are believed to lead to the magical land Terravitae and both are embarking.
On the Aidenist ship, Captain Criston Vora, still mourning the loss of his beloved wife and unborn son, leads his crew out into the unknown. But the shadow of a past expedition haunts him, and the Leviathan that sunk his previous ship.
On the Urecari vessel, Saan, adoptive son of the leader of the Urecari people, has been tasked to Captain the ship for more than just the quest itself. His life is in danger because of his Aidenist mother – Criston Vora's long lost wife.
And believe me, there is a whole lot more going on than that.
I confess, I didn't realise this was a second in a series when I picked it. My bad - I should have looked closer. I was intimidated when I received the book – because of its size, and the size of its glossary of place names and people names in the back, and the size of the previously on… section in the front of the book. Anderson dedicated a whole chapter's worth to describing the events of The Edge of the World. I thought I'd never keep up.
It is testament to Anderson's readability that I did, and that after about 10 chapters I was actually hooked. The writing is simple and unembellished, focused on action and pace rather than unnecessary detail. There is a bit of exposition, especially in the early chapters as the characters are reintroduced, but it soon is over and done with. Anderson takes the reader and pretty much dumps them straight into the middle of the conflict. This is disorienting at first, but ultimately more satisfying.
The conflict is brutal, and Anderson doesn't shy away from the contradictions war creates. Both sides think they are in the right, and both sides think they are being unjustly targeted, and yet both sides continue to commit atrocities against the other. But there's enough character drama, and good deeds to make the book not a depressing read.
If you like your fantasy sweeping and epic, with a smattering of giant sea monsters, this is the ideal book for you. Although, I would recommend reading The Edge of the World first.
Many thanks to the publishers for sending a copy.
Fans of epic fantasy series will also enjoy A Feast for Crows by George R R Martin.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Map Of All Things (Terra Incognita) by Kevin J Anderson at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Map Of All Things (Terra Incognita) by Kevin J Anderson at Amazon.com.
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