Summary: slow but gratifying
Comment: Having read some of the other reviews of this clanbook i have to agree that yes it did take me longer to read this one than some of the other ones. And in places i did seem to get confuised as to what was actually going on but i found that the Inquisitor's and templars represented here show a great aspect of the Dark Ages game. I for one am going to try and pick up a copy of Dark Ages Inquistor at the first possible oppertunity after reading this book. You wont find any deep insight to the workings of the clan in this book cuz well i dont think that as a clan they are organised enough and Zoe is a rather uneducated ravnos fledgling, at least shes not as annoying in this book and has grown up a bit.
Summary: Tinkers and Saints
Comment: This book picks up the story of Zoë, who was Gregory the Wonder Maker, a character developed originally in Settite. With Gregory's death, Zoë left Andreas' caravan, and not she is on her own, making her way across the face of Europe toward Paris. Only her determination to take revenge on the red-robed monks that took the life of her second father, gives her the motivation to proceed with her life. Taken too young, and by Gregory, who despised his own vampire nature, Zoë can only hunt successfully in the heat of her beast. Control of her vampire nature still eludes her.
Not only are the obstacles of daylight and vampire territoriality in her way. Those she seeks to kill are by no means amateurs in the game of killing the undead. For all the compulsiveness of her bloodlust her odds of killing Isidro and the other Red Brethren are minimal and her story is one of fruitless searching and frustrated attempts at execution. When her path crosses that of Anatole, the mad Malkavian from Lasombra she is at her wits end.
Anatole steps in as a substitute father, but he has his own agenda as a vampire seeking to put an end to heresy among his king. Zoë, who has already been introduced to the basics of Settite religion must now cope with the peculiar Christianity of Anatole and the vampires who follow his path. Zoë's own feelings are often lost in the welter of conflicting ends and means. Yet eventually she is ready to make her own coming of age voyage and find those bits of love that are a vampire's due.
As a story, Ravnos moves slowly. It takes a while for Zoë to move beyond her initial haplessness and take an active role in the story. In addition, the intricacies of both human and Cainite church politics are best suited to those who love fine detailing even at the cost of action and flow. Still, Ravnos is no dry catalogue of facts but one of those tales that actually focus on the character development of a vampire. Since the book extends the story out of the limited arena of Constantinople it is also a key turning point in the series and a statement of broader themes.
Summary: The problem isn't in the writing craftsmanship
Comment: Blame the publisher -- this book is very hard to read because the font is extremely thin (narrow lines) and they have printed it very, very small -- and then used paper which isn't quite white enough.
The net effect is a terrible headache while trying to read under artificial light. Many people would not be able to get through it just for that.
The writing however is entirely competent, strong, controlled and forceful. The author has used all the correct imagery -- carries the scenes forward with dispatch -- gives enough but not too much description and emotional interaction.
The subject matter is -- well, it's part of this Dark Ages series and if you like this kind of thing, this has to be a winner of a novel. It is however, very very dark.
The protagonist, Zoe, is a vampire who has seen her sire murdered by a religious fanatic whose order stands against vampires on principle -- nevermind THIS vampire sire made beautiful things and that there are some vampire sects that don't always kill when they take blood. This religious sect murders all vampires without a second thought.
So Zoe sets off across the landscape of an alternate 13th century France to chase down and take revenge on the man who murdered her sire.
We join her near the end of her quest when she meets another vampire who takes responsibility for her vampire education, and she becomes attracted to him and his philosophy.
I won't tell you what she does when she confronts her moment of revenge -- but to get there you have to somehow decipher 283 pages of invisible print (and yes, I squinted my way through it page after page, I admit, couldn't quit until I knew) -- but all through those pages the main, repeated, obsessive subject is revenge.
There are other points of view given, but the story doesn't wander and the revenge theme is tightly focused through everything in the book. If books about revenge interest you, I'd recommend finding a copy of this in a library before buying it -- just to be sure you can see the print.
Live Long And Prosper,
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