The Drowning City (E–pub New) Ý Amanda Downum
Y magically wards holding back certain annihilation The dearly bought peace allowing revolutionary fever to seethe to the surface threatening to blow the city apartWhen Isyllt Iskaldur and her two bodyguards Adam and Xinai sail into the grand harbor they know that the city is a ticking time bomb In fact that is why they have come for the Assari Empire s covetous yes have been wandering toward her northern neighbors and only internal problems will stop the Empire s inevitable invasion And Isyllt master necromancer and spy intends to fan the flames of unrest until just such an vent rips Symir apartOnce settled Isyllt s local contact with the rebels uickly becomes an idealistic youth named Zhirin This young woman having been caught up in the revolutionary spirits of the city by her relationship with a young man And though Zhirin s family has grown prosperous by cooperating with the Empire she is willing to risk it all to aid Isyllt in providing aid to the rebels unaware that her benefactor s motives might not be completely altruisticMeanwhile Isyllt s guard Xinai finds that returning home to Symir has affected her than she ver imagined Her path taking her away from her companions and back to the people who aided her A Warlocks Dance (The Cursed Princes, escape to the north after her village was massacred by the Imperials and their local collaborators so long ago The unexpected ghosts of the past uickly catching Xinai up in the spirit of revolution and leadinghr down a road she never xpected to takeFrom this combustible mixture circumstances uickly spiral out of control More than one revolutionary group fighting against imperial occupation Their methods very different one willing to kill nemy and innocent alike while the other seeks a less destructive path to freedom Isyllt forced to fight against her own conscious as her actions My First Kitten escalatevents pushing the unaware citizens toward a struggle that will cause untold destruction and death Her use of the unsuspecting Zhirin causing than a little guilt Events leading to a near inevitable Seeds of the Spirit 2000 endWithout a doubt Amanda Downum does anxcellent job in The Drowning City of creating the living breathing city of Symir It is vividly described amazingly realistic and hopelessly wracked with division and revolutionary violence The clashing views of the citizens whether Imperial rebel collaborator or neutral individual wonderfully Pin-Up exploredspecially the motional struggles of characters after suicide bombings kill innocents The senseless deaths the catalyst for much soul searching and than a little self justification as characters reconcile their own guilt with their desires to free their city or protect their country from invasion I can t say I always agreed with their decisions but they were powerful and grippingAnother triumph here is Isyllt and her necrotic talents This smooth as silk spy one cool customer calculated yet motional deadly yet compassionate Her talent for necromancy deftly done by Downum with Loyal to His Lies enoughxplanation to give her ghostly magic a feel of reality yet not so much as to strip it of its tantalizing mystery With so much still unrevealed about her I can t wait to read about herBut this was not a perfect book Far from it From tedious beginning to uninspiring romantic plots to unrealistic outcomes there were than a few The Favorite Daughter elements which caused this narrative to underperform And toward thend Fitness for Geeks even the mesmerizing local itself served as a distraction than a compliment to the narrative draining whatever momentum the story had achieved As I saidarlier Amanda Downum aimed high with this novel but she just wasn t uite able to pull verything together to reach the full potential of this storyFilled with mystery and magic set in a wonderfully nvisioned world The Drowning City was an ntertaining look at terrorism in a fantasy setting and its lead character Isyllt has all the traits of developing into a memorable character No the novel did not completely satisfy me but I will still be searching for the next book in the series interested to see how Amanda Downum continues to develop this intriguing world I can t read this It sounded great so great I spent wasted one of my precious 2011 book buying slots on it don t ask Or do if you want a long xplanation The setting is interesting seems like there is a political intrigue plot and the tone of the story overall reminded me a bit of arly Flewelling All of these are good things for Me But The Writing Was But the writing was me mad till I finally decided to just uit and go read something lseProbably it s me not the author lots of people seem to have been able to process the writing on this book Me I just had to reread paragraph after paragraph to make sure who a pronoun refers to or if the strange made up word is one that already has been referred to or is a place in the map or what on Naked Choke earth it means It was almost a chore to read this since I had to make a conscious concertedffort to try to understand the foreign words with little pay off for that Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good effort Examples Short jerky sentence structure Like this But worse Sentences without verbs Erratic pronouns Or nonxistent ones Sometimes you do not know who the pronouns in sentences are if it is the character we started the paragraph with and who is the PoV for the scene or if it is somebody Murder at the Mansion else mentioned in paragraph I think sometimes it s one sometimes the other Particles also sometimeslided And now Rahal al Seth sat the Lion Throne Uh Sentences which just seem clumsy to me things like Ward posts lined the road simple charms to keep predators away and something Healing Souls else a spell to hold the stones steady if thearth shook Or things like Whatever native families had lived there were long gone I do not think the native families were indeterminate or in infinite number Whatever anyway Personal pet peeve it might very well be just me some repetitiveness in the first lines of chapters Chapter 2 Isyllt and Adam crossed chapter 3 Isyllt and Adam found chapter 4 Isyllt woke chapter 6 Isyllt and Adam returned Later it changes to consistently Zirhin something hopefully Zirhin develops a brain in the later parts of the series I had some problem with the plot in bits of Zirhin s PoV I made my way through And last but not least the total overdose of made up words and concepts with very little contextual information to allow us to remember what is the meaning or to keep track of what Sivahara Selafa n or meliket refer toSo a few chapters and I do not care to keep reading There is a story here almost surely but the way that story is being told here almost surely but the way that story is being told put me off Next Again I wish Goodreads had a slightly granular rating system because this novel is a very solid 35Amanada Downum s debut is of Seductive Surrender everything than I was honestlyxpecting strongly Seductive Surrender (Highland Heather Romancing a Scot, executed vividly described willing to blow anything andverything sky high in a startling climax Not many first time novelists are willing to smash an intricate setting but Downum fuses confidence with unpredictability and goes for the gusto in her last act The Drowning City is an intriguing blend of spionage murder mystery culture clash and colonial criticism Some of the moral argument loses its tension when one of the story s factions drops all pretense of restraint and goes on a kill crazy rampage but as far as first novel problems go that s a mild blemish This is a brisk well calculated and atmospheric novel I wish I d read it sooner Isyllt Iskaldur Necromancer and not to put too fine a point on it spy sent to the city of Symir with a couple of bodyguards to stir up trouble and incite the locals to rebellion against the rival government that rules the area Because that always works out so well Naturally complications nsue There are wheels within wheels factions within factions ghosts rebel and otherwise and all manner of unexpected challengesThis was one I ve had my ye on for a while I m glad I finally took the plunge I m also glad that I waited long nough that after finishing the first book I could jump straight to the second and then the third The characters are interesting complex and often conflicted the setting has a distinctly Southeast Asian feel that s well conveyed by carefully chosen details and the magic although present is never without cost. And the longer she stays in this monsoon drenched city the intrigue she uncovers ven the dead are plotting As the waters rise and the dams crack Isyllt must choose between her mission and the city she came to sav.
Amanda Downum · 0 READ & DOWNLOADWell it started okay this review will be rather short and lame because honestly the good parts of the novel were fairly short and the rest was rather lame the first third starts out well and i was willing to suspend any criticism of the surprisingly weepy protagonist because the atmosphere was wonderfully voked and the protagonist s profession a necromancer who is also a rebellion fomenting spy is fascinating The Drowning City itself is an absorbing place and the freuent use of magic was well done learned magic is separated into various arts and seem to also be based around various The Deepest Sin elements as well as charms that non mages can use the supernatural is also present in a wide variety of beasties spirits and ghostsspecially ghosts the confusion and irritation started coming during the second section where the mishmash of cultures rather stereotypical depictions of oriental culture that are coming into conflict with a rather less stereotypical depiction of an imperialistic arab culture began to seriously annoy me the coincidences also began to arrive to ye rolling ffect and finally the third portion far too rushed far too sentimental far too clich d in the nd the overall feeling i was left with was xasperation instead of the curiousity i should have had for further adventures still the use of magic was plentiful and njoyable so if that is what you are looking for this novel will not disappoint in that regard I forgot xactly how I first came across The Drowning City by Amanda Downum but I m sure it was from browsing online rather than in a brick mortar bookstore I might have been checking out Orbit s the publisher website Either way the cover art was attractive and what immediately grabbed me was that it promised an Eastern setting No offense to the 90% of fantasy that isn t of the urban subgenre but I tire of stories taking place in medieval Europe no offense to Europe ither The prospect of something different shot this book up to the top of my list The fact that it was a debut novel didn t deter me With the string of pretty decent debuts fantasy fiction has been getting lately I actually jump at themSettingAs mentioned the setting isn t the standard fantasy backdrop It feels very South Asian in all respects landscape clothing food names of places people and ven greetings What I njoyed most about the setting was that it really came alive there was a good deal of personification used to describe aspects of the nvironment There were always vivid nough descriptions of the nvironment to maintain the cultural feel and a good general sense of place and time And the author did this without slowing down the pace So I d say all bases were covered as far as setting is concernedMagic SystemAfter Brandon Sanderson s Mistborn spoiled me I ve been picky about magic systems Anything that doesn t seem original Le valeureux guerrier enough or doesn t have logical rules turns me off So I wasn t tooxcited about the fact that certain tropes like necromancers ghosts Snowflakes on the Sea etc were used However thexecution of these things was nicely doneThe author never got into the science of how things worked like Sanderson does and the range of what is possible in the magic system was wider than I would have preferred but it wasn t as loose or underdeveloped as some fantasy I ve read I suppose one could say it was closer to the way superhero abilities work where characters specialize in a singular realm of abilities rather than the Gandalf anything goes type of magicCharacters The characters were pretty dynamic They spoke differently acted in different ways felt differently about issues disagreed with one another lied to Wrathful Chaos: Five Books of Satanic Philosophy each other Each of the viewpoint characters was likable and I could understand their decisionsven when I disagreed with them The latter part applies to non viewpoint characters as well There were some who were dislikable but still understandableWhat I found in this novel were antagonists rather than villains What I mean is there is no character that I really hated or was annoyed with ie no conventional madman villain who kills arbitrarily However I would have liked to have had a character that I was really afraid of That to me makes a good villain I suppose the trade off for the author of offering both sides to a conflict and making disparate viewpoints understandable or relatable is a reduction in the antagonists intimidation factorOn another note from what I can remember all if not just the major viewpoint characters were female Each voice was distinct and ach journey intriguing but I d like to see the author delve voice was distinct and ach journey intriguing but I d like to see the author delve male viewpoint character writing in a subseuent novel Not that the story suffered from a lack of it just for my own curiosity of the author s courage and skill and my preference for mixed viewpoints This story was written well nough that I think she could do it Amanda Downum may have written short stories with male viewpoints but I don t venture into that format very often to be honestPlot ConflictAs mentioned before no conventional villain nor a conventional Tolkienesue setting This plot was a recipe for originality Sure stirring up a revolution to fight the power has been done before but these days originality is really just a measure of how much the market is saturated with a thing Another measure is how predictable the plot points are and this one had me anticipating yet still guessing the whole way You can read the back cover for the premiseThe story looks to be divided into three acts ach of which contain plenty of drama The beginning wasn t as slow as some fantasy I ve read I d say things got jumping fairly Humanism: The Greek Ideal and its Survival early The pacing was steady didn t stagnate and didn t overwhelmither Plots were weaved well when paths collided it didn t feel tossed in out of nowhereTension built from the very beginning and continued Love 2.0 (A Cates Brothers Book, ebbing and flowing throughout The characters were definitely challenged with a decent balance of internal andxternal conflicts The story didn t follow the recent trend of characters being horrifically tortured and gutted and the like but the main characters including the protagonist do not The Fix escape unscathed And I do mean permanent conseuential damage not just a flesh wound here and thereThe climax was action packed There was no cliffhanger or major loose thread at thend This novel felt complete and satisfying with a general sense that there would be to come later in the characters livesRomance I say this all the time usually when two characters meet for the first time in a story I don t find it believable that they fall deeply in love by the nd This author may be of the same frame of mind There "are a few relationships already stablished at the outset and the new ones that form aren "a few relationships already stablished at the outset and the new ones that form aren sappy They are complex and love is not asy for the characters It suits my taste but I can see how some readers may find the romance lacking I imagine it would be due to personal taste or from being used to lovebirds pining over Desire in Seven Voices each other being the drivingngine of a story Alas it is not so in this storyProse On a scale of conversational to poetic I d say the prose was poetic but not overwhelming or pretentious I found myself rereading things because it s not my favorite style but I got through it well nough that I didn t feel it was a chore So I d say that is an accomplishment The thing that slowed me down was the cultural or theme specific vocabulary which may just be ignorance on my part I didn t mind learning new wordsGripes The first 34 or so pages were a bit tough for me to get through There were dozens of new words including names of characters places and cultural or magical concepts to memorize and distinguish The author skillfully used context to show the reader rather than tell what these new "Words Meant I Appreciated The Lack Of "meant I appreciated the lack of dumping to xplain the world and who The Casa Mono Cookbook everyone was but I would have preferred these things to be served up in manageable portions It s not so much the foreign words as these are common in fantasy it s that there were so many in such a short amount of timeThere wasn t an appendix in the back of the book nor on the author s website that I could find so I just opened up a word document and typed up my own notes on the words and characters After that Symir the Drowning City home toxiles and xpatriates pirates and smugglers And violent revolutionaries who will stop at nothing to overthrow the corrupt Imperial governmentFor Isyllt Iskaldur necromancer and spy. T was smooth sailing for me This however might not be an issue for a lot of fantasy readers who are used to keeping track of these things mentallyMy only other gripe was the occasional dialogue hiccup for which I ll provide an xamplePage 127 128Kiril smiled spiderweb wrinkles deepening around his yes Maybe later An old argument a joke by now Isyllt swallowed But how are you How goes the trip I ve spoken to the people I needed to and made arrangements ndFirst of all the wrinkles around Kiril s yes mphasizing the sincerity of his smile was a great image and the book was full of descriptions like that After that though I knew it was Kiril speaking the next words but having Isyllt s reaction in the same paragraph made my brain switch to thinking she spoke the words that followed Lachlan's Protg (English Edition) even though it was still Kiril s paragraphSo I suppose that glitch is my own fault but it would have been a muchasier read if it had been written like thisKiril smiled spiderweb wrinkles deepening around his yes Maybe later An old argument a joke by nowIsyllt swallowed But how are you How goes the trip I ve spoken to the people I needed to and made arrangements ndUsually a writer is taught to use a separate paragraph when a new person speaks which is correct but I prefer it when a separate paragraph is used for any type of response not just dialogue Though for all I know it could have been the copy ditors or someone lse who arranged the sentences that way to save space in the printing I only mention it because it felt like it happened often nough to make me reread dialogue on occasion There were also times when two consecutive paragraphs were the same person speaking which confused me as wellOther than these two complaints which are probably just brain farts on my behalf the novel was pretty solid And two hiccups is actually pretty impressive for a debut in my opinionOverall Reading Experience What can I say I njoyed it It was rather good Conflict in Blood even without taking any debut sympathy points into account However bare in mind my bias attraction to Eastern fantasy I do plan on reading the next book in the series when it becomes available and this volume wasnough of a good read that I wouldn t mind going through it again before reading the seuel Solid 45 starsDisclaimer I m a pretty tough criticpicky reader My posted reviews doesn t nearly cover all the books I ve read There are a good number of books I won t review publicly because I have too many complaints about them So I ssentially only post reviews of books I really like and ven then only when I actually get around to writing one I would say 3 12 stars and the reason I am being generous this was the writers first novel There was definitely room for improvement My biggest complain was the lack of a glossary so I found myself a bit twisted around by the names and words she used in her story If you are going to create a world with as much culture as she did WRITE A GLOSSARY Seriously It was frustratingI like the main characters because she doesn t sit around feeling sorry for herself however I felt that there could be about her I think that she created too many characters of focus that she kind of neglected the important one her main character Also when you are creating a story line that is based upon myth of the people you have to spend time than some obscure referencesFor a first novel it held lots of promise and I think with time she will become an amazing fantasy writer The Crucified Ones: Calling Forth the End-Time Remnant especially if she adds a glossary to her books Like who is who what the heck that word means and the different groups Pre RBRS 12This is a serviceable fantasy There was nothing I can point to that was awful or wrong but it was justplain If I d read it a few years back I probably would ve liked it uite a bit I m just not wild about multi volumepics just because they re multi volume Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age (Lemelson Center Studies in Invention and Innovation series) epics anyThe author renames cultures for her world mostly Filipinos and Egyptians but there were also Romans and I think Russians maybe that one popped up in the 2nd book I can t remember the new names so I ll use the old ones A Roman necromancer comes to the Egyptian conuered Filipinompire in order to stir up rebellion See the Romans feared indications of the Egyptians continuing Logic, Labels, And Flesh empire building turning towards them and thought to premtively halt these Dialogue: Relationships in Graphic Design expansionist plans before they re acted upon The necromancer her name is Isyllt is accompanied by a pair of bodyguards a native American tank of a man and his Filipino co warrior They meet a half breed magic student who has what becomes an important connection to the river and another mage who is than he seems The Filipino warrior abandons her charge to join the rebellion There is a nearby volcanoDownum doesxplore patriotism with her rival rebel groups one pursuing conomic disruption and the other using violence against foreigners and collaborators Is the connection to the land important than family Is it a betrayal to make the best of the situation instead of fighting and dying Also just about all her strong characters strong in will strong in power not too strongly described are women There were uite a few different combinations of mother daughter conflictI thought many most of the revelations were too convenient someone coming in with an overheard remark or vital piece of info just in time It took uite a while for things to unfold which could ve been compressed with writing as in
"Not Chewing Over Every "chewing over very but using transitions such as and then or a few hours later Isyllt was injured and for most of the last half of the book and it was wearying to read of another burn on her already slashed arm with the stabbed handAh I forgot about the necromancy There are a bunch of rules of what can and can t be done with that power It just didn t glow I don t know that it was because of the author s style but it felt as mundane as pulling out a hammer to nail something down instead of awe inspiring despite Modeling and Analysis of Communicating Systems everyone turning white with fear when they realized what Isyllt could do I think it s meIt was an okay book I hear the next one is much better Two things make this book for me 1 interesting worldbuilding and 2 oh my god the female characters They reverywhere Doing Inventing the Medium: Principles of Interaction Design as a Cultural Practice everything With like complexity And depth And differing motivationsIn fact I think this book fails the reverse Bechdel test I don t think there are two male characters who have conversations about anything other than the women in this book and I find the change so unexpected and delightful I m beside myself Extra bonus of all the women but one who is the mainest of the three or so main characters but omg not the only woman being non white There s pretty clear parallels here Europeans East Asians Arabs and some of the broad sweeping racial generalizations constructed by the plot of this book Arabs are the oppressingmpire the Asians are oppressed downtrodden and vicious Europeans are the outsiderspotential saviors skirt the line of being dodgy However given the work the author has done in pushing women beyond the context of the stereotypical Female Fantasy Novel Tropes I m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt to the next book to see how things develop with these various cultures All in all a political intrigue plot driven by strong worldbuilding and an intriguing system of magic and death with heaps and heaps of female characters doing interesting things I first read this ages ago and uickly followed it up with the second book but then didn t get onto reading the third book So I felt like I needed to refresh my memory The first book wasn t my favourite and I still think the refresh my memory The first book wasn t my favourite and I still think the is probably stronger but the idea of a spy necromance Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths The Drowning City by Amanda Downing is an ambitious book with a penchant for compelling prose and a gray characters centered in a beautifully rendered city with a Southeast Asian flavor While it did not fully realize its potential I must give credit to the author for aiming high and nearly reaching her lofty goalsSymir The Drowning City A trading metropolis filled with pirates revolutionaries and spies constantly in fear of being washed away by the mighty Mir River or destroyed by the lurking volcano nearby Onl. The brewing revolution is a chance to prove herself to her crown All she has to do is find and finance the revolutionaries and help topple the palaces of Symir But she is torn between her new friends and her duties.