Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Review::The Shifting Tides of History by Shiva Winters

The Shifting Tides of HistoryThe Shifting Tides of History by Shiva Winters

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Shifting Tides of History(Book 5 of the Salak'patan Series) by Shiva Winters

I love this series.

I enjoyed the MageWorld series of Debra Doyle and James D. MacDonald; so it's easy to see, with all the magic creatures and magic land with magic crystals and magen objects, that I might really enjoy this book because it's peopled with characters that I found to be much more interesting than those in the above mentioned series. I also have mentioned my love for both the Amber Universe of Roger Zelazny and the World of Tier Universe of Philip Jose Farmer, so its just as easy to connect these books because they are peopled with characters that all start out the same way, in a normal life on a normal earth like planet only to find that they are something more than normal and to discover they not only have a history in the strange new land, but they have family there.

One wide difference is that in the Tier and Amber universe the family were almost as deadly to each other as they were to anyone else, and though that might hold true in theory with the Salak'patan series, there is less deadly squabbling among the family members than the Tier and Amber families, or at least I should qualify that it seems that way to me. There is still squabbling.

Monorth the (most) main character (there are too many outstanding characters in this book to name them all) of this series starts in humble beginnings on an earth that looks much like the one we have here. Just as with the Tier and Amber series the hero starts with another name, Raven Sinclair, but unlike those series this might be considered his real name and the name of Monorth is a special name he takes as his public identity. There are a few other differences in the beginning, mostly in that there are a group of people with special abilities, on his earth, who are being abused by the government-slash-military and Monorth is attempting to keep those people free and safe and nicely hidden from those potentially evils agencies. It's while protecting them that Monorth encounters people from the realm of Salak'patan and the Center and through this meeting he is inducted into the group to begin training and it's a considerable amount of time before he discovers that he has actually gotten his family roots from this place. All this is in the first book of this series and if you haven't read it you should, although you won't need to read it or the many that are in between in order to understand what is going on because it is all presented here in a most fantastic and entertaining way.

That brings me to a major difference in these stories from the three comparisons I have made, Shiva's style of writing: it's rightly so that this should be; and for me it has made her stand out not only from these three but from many others. Shiva has mastered a style that I found so endearing in Charles Dickens writing, the long sentence. Now anyone can write long sentences, but for many of us it might begin to sound forced and inept, to the point of creating run-on sentences, because it takes a specific talent to craft these things in such a way that they contain the one continuous thought from front to end and perhaps carry the reader with a tide that sweeps them through a pile of useful information, which makes this style an important tool for this book; because Shiva brings us up to date and offers back-story and character development while the action is taking place and this style helps her do it all at once in a coherent and entertaining manner, which is something not everyone can pull off that easily. Now as to sorting through and finding how many or few qualify as run-on as opposed to long sentences is another matter and it would seem an exhausting and useless task to take on since Shiva chose this as her style of writing and we should just enjoy it.

This story takes up with the search for Monorth who is lost in time for reasons that are explained eventually within this story but also show up in a previous book, so if you go back to the beginning and read them all you will already know this though it's not vital to this story because much of the past is explained within the heads of the characters as the narrative gives the new readers a feel for each character and their own thoughts and motivations while the action of the present is taking place. This is a form of exposition at its best. It entertains, keeps the story running, keeps the reader informed and makes this book a complete book within itself that doesn't have to rely on what the reader knows about the rest of the series. That means it contains a lot of spoiler for new readers and I really suggest that if you enjoy this you will love the rest of the books and should read them all.

As always with Shiva and her world building and her style of writing we obtain a rich picture not only of the worlds the characters visit and the people they meet, but the very magic that drives the action of the story. Shiva mentions that to do this book, number five, and the next one five point five she had to traverse a dark place that she wasn't happy about treading through. If this is so, then I will expect it is in the five point five book as this one does not strike me as all that dark.

One word of caution to those who are pernickety. If you are one who tends to bleed when encountering grammar problems, missing words, extra words, and I hate to say incorrect or missuse because this is creative writing maybe we should call it creative use of words, I will warn you that they do happen here as they do in other of Shiva's writing. I do not grade my stars on that unless they get too annoying.

There is no way that Shiva's writing is going to annoy me.

(I only wish I could say the same about my writing annoying her... but Alas ... C'est la vie.)

If you like SFF, Romance, Time Travel and epic tales this one has it all

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

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