Modesitt, Jr., L.E. 1997-98. The Spellsong Cycle (The Soprano Sorceress and The Spellsong War). New York: Tor.
Reviewed 06 May 1998
One significant difficulty with these books could have been solved with a
hard edit. At times, the author seemed to forget what series he was writing.
For example, Anna (the protagonist; given the stupidity of her enemies, I
hesitate to call her a "heroine") begins "spelling her water clean" in The
Soprano Sorceress. Fine. Why, then, does she later "orderspell" her water
to perform the same function? This isn't Recluce, with its (incomprehensible)
magic system based on "order" and "chaos." This is far from the only example
of insufficient editing, by either the author or the publisher, in this series;
it is, however, the one that's easiest to demonstrate in a review this short.
To list a few more:
To top it all off, there's essentially no character development, a "newly desertified" milieu that would probably have been a near desert without any magical intervention, an idiot plot, stilted writing, cliches . . . you get the picture.
Once last comment: the cover of The Spellsong War is an absolute disgrace. The "bridge" being raised in the background is not as described in the book and is an engineering impossibilityit's so narrow that nobody could use it; the slope is impossibly steep (and the wrong shape); even solid stone would require lots of piers; the approach (near) end is anchored on air. Even if this is supposed to show the bridge being raised, these mistakes are unacceptable. Cover artists, please do a little more homework. I know that you don't always get to read the entire book before illustrating it, but this is ridiculous.
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