Review: An Apprentice to Elves by Elizabeth Bear

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Publisher: Tor

Publishing Date: October 2015

ISBN: 9780765324719

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.0/5

Publisher Description: The warrior culture of Iskryne forbids many things to women—and most especially it forbids them bonding to one of the giant telepathic trelwolves. But as her father was no ordinary boy, Alfgyfa is no ordinary girl. Her father has long planned to send his daughter to Tin, a matriarch among the elves who live nearby, to be both apprentice and ambassador, and now she is of age to go.

Review: Say “Alfgyfa” 20 times. Roll it around in your mind-mouth. Now do it over 500 times. One of the joys of reading is the seamless ease at which we can move through the chapters without contorting our minds to make sense of contrived and overly ornate names and places. In this novel you may have a hard time with the elaborate naming convention. 

This novel was really good. Where the novel excels is in the world building. The evolving life and culture of a myriad of beings draws you into an intricate world. The Aettrynalf stone shapers was an inventive interlude and somehow proximal to where Alfie grew up. The Rhean threat and the subsequent buildup was well patterned to an evolving story line.  Additionally the writing is superb and the characters evolve to suit the story line.

“So why you no give 5 stars!” The novel gets a bit mired in the social structures of the various cultures and the war is not rendered in enough detail to be believable. 

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