- Paperback: 342 pages
- Publisher: Norilana Books (15 July 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1607621134
- ISBN-13: 978-1607621133
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
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Cobweb Bride Paperback – Import, 15 Jul 2013
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About the Author
Nazarian left the former Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, a refugee at the age of eight, and arrived in the U.S. a month before her 10th birthday. She is an active member of Science Fiction Writers of America.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book and I got off on a rocky start. The premise sounded intriguing to me so I picked it up. The problem I had with it was the over description of every tiny detail. I got lost in all the words, they were good words, well written poetic words. There was just too much time spent on every detail and my head was swimming with unnecessary words that didn't move the story forward. Three different kingdoms in the Imperial Realm are examined in minute detail.
In Lethe, the old Queen lies on her deathbed unable to die. Death appears and states his plea for his Cobweb Bride to the Prince. The Prince sends out a decree in search of the Cobweb Bride, all families must send a daughter of marriageable age to Death's Keep that stands in the Northern Forest.
On the frozen lake of Merlait to the north there is a battle raging between the forces of Duke Ian Chidair, known as Hoarfrost, and the armies of his neighbor, the Duke Vitalio Goraque. From a single moment on all the causalities become the walking dead, including both Dukes. Hoarfrost is unwilling to give up his status because he is undead and begins a campaign to capture the jail the girls who have been ordered to seek Death's Keep in an attempt to prevent Death from finding his Cobweb bride as a way to keep his dead self undead.
Death's third stop was a poor dwelling in the Dukedom of Goraque where a peasant woman lay dying. Percy's grandmother, whose whole history is given. Persephone is described as a somewhat dull-witted, slow, sickly anemic, plain, unbecoming, and willful. She becomes our heroine as she leads a band of girls to Death's Keep. This small band of girls is where the story finally gets interesting as we follow them on their trek to Death's Keep. They are joined by her Imperial Highness, the Infanta Claere Liguon, the princess and Heir to the Realm, who has been murdered by Marquis Vlau Fiomarre. The Marquis, in a twisted sense of duty, also accompanies Claere in order to protect her. I found this Stockholm type syndrome to be quite disturbing as they are becoming quite fond of each other.
Here is an example of one sentence that shows the author's writing style and the relationship developing between the living Vlau and the dead Claere.
"And now, here he was, and here she was, and it seemed at rather odd moments that the carriage was closing in on him, on her, and they were sharply aware of one another again, relieving that moment of greatest closeness and intensity, the stroke of death, the drawing of life that bound them together."
Hmmm, I seem to have captured a typo here also. I do believe the word "relieving" is meant to be "reliving". There are a small number of proofing errors that didn't detract from the story overall. What was aggravating was the loose story ends that were not addressed. I can only suppose that they will be picked up and explained later in the trilogy, but with as much jumping around as there is in this book why even bring them up at this point at all?
My assessment is that as the author became more comfortable with her story the writing improved. I think much of the set-up could have been handled in flashbacks and improved the flow of the story. Ms. Nazarian also took an interesting aspect of death to the extreme by including crops and livestock in her no-death scheme. As the stores of past harvests were depleted the newest grains became tasteless and the meat from the livestock never died or cooked properly. It was all rather chilling to read.
What will be interesting now is to see how our heroine Percy, who develops a strange connection with Death himself after reaching the Keep goes about finding the true Cobweb Bride. It seems that Death can't see her because she contains a piece of him, however, Percy will be able to. Out of her small group she is the only one who could actually see Death and communicate with him. She is not the incompetent that her family saw her as. She has caught the eye of Beltain, the son of the Duke known as Hoarfrost. The quest for the Cobweb Bride is now on with Percy leading the way and Beltain at her side.
**Originally written for "Awesome Trilogies and Series" book blog. May have received a free review copy.** 12/09/2013
On the technical writing side - the descriptions were beautiful or intense (fighting scenes and the murder are far from beautiful). A good balance between dialogue and information narrative. The characters are multidimensional. Loved the fact the dead also had personalities and went in different directions. The group of Cobweb Brides were both a group of women travelers and individuals each shining with their own personalities.
Best of all, the understated worldbuilding. Ms. Nazarian took the obvious "Death stops collecting" and added a layer when it happens in the middle of a battle (witchcraft! rises the cry when the dismembered keep fighting) ... and then added the layer of when you can't slaughter animals ... and then another layer to the food, and illnesses, and peoples reactions to death not being a consequence of risky action, and ... and... Every time I think the final layer is revealed, Ms. Nazarian peals off the next. That is what worldbuilding is about.
I simply must find more of her books!
This NOT a vampire book despite the fact that some the dead bodies move around and are aware that they're no longer alive. Many of the living characters are young girls who are compelled to go seek Death and discover whether they are his Cobweb Bride.
It took me the first couple of chapters to decide whether this book was just too strange (there's that word again) to continue reading but the story kept pulling me in to the point where I was compelled not only to finish it but to also buy the other two books in the trilogy.
I loved the characters. Through them you get to see the various ways that death, or the lack there of, has impacted the world that Nazarian has built. Also because of how the story is written the identity of the cobweb bride is kept a mystery throughout the book. I know that quite a few times I thought I had the mystery solved only to be surprised again and again.
I also love the world building and amazing descriptions that Nazarian put into the novel. The parts of the world that I visited made me want to explore it more. The descriptions made the people and places come to life on the page.
I love the way the stories of each character are slowly but surely sewn together by the end of the book. Of course there are lose ends, but that's to be expected since there are two more books in the trilogy. However I think that Cobweb Bride is a solid start and I'll forgive not all the questions being answered at the end since it turned into such a pleasurable read.
I definitely recommend picking it up, especially since all three books in the series are out now. It would make a great summer read.
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.