Medalon (Anglais) Poche – 1 novembre 2004
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The Sisters of the Blade rule Medalon, with an army of elite Defenders to enforce their oppressive rule and keep bordering nations in check. Overseeing all is First Sister Joyhinia. She lives for politics and power and will let nothing come between her and greatness - even her children. So when R'shiel and her half-brother Tarja are caught on the wrong side of one of their mother's schemes, they are forced to flee the capital. Travelling as exiles they see the full extent of the Sisterhood's oppression, and begin to hear rumour of the lost offspring of the legendary Lorandranek, a demon child who will unite the people and vanquish tyranny forever.
MEDALON is the first volume in a stunning new high fantasy trilogy from an author of extraordinary talent and boundless imagination.--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .
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Le traitement des Dieux est très original, certes ils sont Omnipotents mais dans la stricte limite de leur nature. La déesse de l'Amour ne peut s'empêcher de faire tomber les gens amoureux, quel qu'en soient les conséquences. Le dieux des voleurs ne parvient à les aider qu'en volant quelque chose et le Dieu de la guerre ne peut s'empêcher de semer discorde et division. Ces dieux prisonniers de leur nature, d'une certaine façon donc moindre que les humains, est une addition bienvenue à la Fantasy
L'histoire a toute les apparences de la high fantasy classique, avec une élue, l'enfant démon (d'où le titre de la série) dont le destin est de tuer un dieu, des rois assoiffés de pouvoir et de sang, des religions qui s'affrontent, des religieux copieusement fanatiques et des athées qui ne le sont pas moins, de beaux princes et de valeureux combattants, une race mystérieuse et magique, des démons et même des dieux. Il y a de la guerre (mais les scènes sont peu détaillées), de l'amour (un peu), de la haine (beaucoup), de la magie, beaucoup d'ambition et de religiosité. Les actions s'enchaînent les unes derrière les autres à un rythme haletant, surtout dans le premier et le dernier tome. Aimant les longues descriptions psychologiques, j'ai aussi apprécié le deuxième tome qui s'attarde plus sur les caractères et les motivations de chaque personnage.Lire la suite ›
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The Sisterhood of the Blade rules Medalon ruthlessly, stamping out any hint of heathen beliefs. With the First Sister having just been assassinated, Joyhinia thinks that she's going to be named head of the church. When that doesn't happen, she works a scheme to make it happen. Her daughter R'Shiel and her son Tarja get caught up in it, and find themselves on the run. They fall in with a rebellion against the Sisterhood, and end up even deeper into a massive change that will befall the world. Brak, a Harshini outcast, brings news that the Harshini, long thought dead, may be coming back. And worse, R'Shiel may be the Demon Child that has been foretold. War may be coming to the world, religious or political, with R'shiel and Tarja caught in the middle.
Fallon has created yet another fascinating world, with the various politics and religions thought out and explained. There's Medalon with the Sisterhood, the Hythrun who believe in all of the gods, and Karien, where the War God is the only God, and worshipers of all others must fall to the sword. The Harshini, long thought wiped out, commune with the gods and even have some power (at least of persuasion) over them. The world these people live on seems so real and the events of the novel follow logically.
Fallon does wonderful work with the characters as well, with almost all of them being perfectly three-dimensional. R'Shiel and Tarja are especially good protagonists, with R'Shiel understandably having trouble accepting her parentage, especially considering her upbringing as the daughter of an ambitious Sister. Tarja has been exiled and is brought back at R'Shiel's insistence (though Joyhinia fought it every step of the way). He's a great military leader and an extremely intelligent man. I did find that R'Shiel's attitude during Tarja and her's initial flight from the capital to be a little bit grating and shrill. She seemed just a little too haughty, but she did mellow a bit as the story went on. Jenga, the captain of the Defenders, is also quite well done, considering he doesn't have a major role (at least not in the first book). Joyhinia has him under her thumb because she knows the truth about Jenga's brother and is quite willing to reveal it if Jenga moves against her.
The gods are great characters, too. The goddess of love (I won't name them because some of them travel in disguise and thus naming them would be spoilers) adds complications as she casts a spell on R'Shiel and Tarja that can only make matters worse. The god of thieves is mischievous but can help matters if Brak manipulates him well enough. All of the gods have just a little touch of dimension that makes them stand out, and they are never boring.
Sadly, the only character who doesn't quite work is Joyhinia. Being the main villain of the piece, that's a let-down, but she is just this side of two-dimensional. She's the typical power-hungry woman who won't let anything stand in her way. She's ruthless, willing to torch a whole village to keep a secret safe. She rants and she raves and she really isn't that interesting. If Jenga and his other Defenders weren't so beholden to their honour and their oaths, it would be a wonder that they would obey her at all, as she is quite clearly out for her own power at the expense of the Sisterhood and its Defenders.
Whether it's the lack of a credible villain or perhaps the quality of writing, Medalon didn't grip me like the Second Sons trilogy did. Perhaps that's the fault of the book being Fallon's first, but I didn't have the incredible urge to finish that I did with the other series. Don't get me wrong, the prose is very good and I found the situation interesting. I just didn't think it was as interesting as it could be. The prose isn't quite as polished. Still, for a first book it is quite good and shows flashes of brilliance at times and definitely indicates Fallon's potential. I wonder if perhaps my thoughts on Medalon have been influenced a little by reading her subsequent work first?
Whatever way it is, I can thoroughly recommend Medalon, and I can't wait for the next book to come out.
The Harshini, a race that is believed to be extinct, are beings whom pocess powerful magic; the heathens are the only ones that seem to only believe in the existence of the Harshini, whilst to most they are a myth. There is a legend that says that the last Harshini king had sired a child with a human, the child has become known as the demon child, who was created to annihilate a god named Xaphista, the Incidental God.
R'shiel is the daughter of the First Sister of the Blade (the leader of the sisterhood), Joyhinia. She has become a disappoint to her mother because she shows no remote interest of becoming a Sister or following her orders. R'shiel's half-brother, Tarja is a captain for the Defender cause and a more greater disappointment to their mother. Joyhinia is the type of person that one will love to despise, she only attained the position of the First Sister by upsurping another, Mahina, who was more qualified.
While on duty guarding the northern border, Tarja finds out that his so-called little sister isn't who she was led to be, heritage-wise. Joyhinia has decieved many. Tarja confronts Joyhinia in front of many others and ends up having to flee for his life, along with R'shiel, whom he already disclosed Joyhinia's horrible deceit to. Tarja and R'shiel get caught up in a rebellion against the Sisterhood.
Those of you that enjoy Greek Mythology will enjoy the devine interventions from the heathen Gods in this series. My favorite God so far in this series is Dace, a boy god of thievery; he is just so darned amusing!
In the last couple of pages there is a character glossary. There's a lot of characters for one to memorize, so the glossary is quite helpful.
Is a wonderful read for all fantasy lovers. Fallon is now one of my favorite authors. Her sense of humour in this book is quite amusing, even during serious moments. I can't hardly wait to get hold of her 2nd book.
Check out Fallon's official site --> [...]
What prevented a five star rating is that Fallon does at times slip into formula rather than stay true to her characters. At certain points she dumbs down her characters to get through to a certain plot point. On such example is one of the main characters going through the "but I don't want the responsibility of these powers, I just want things to be normal again." which is completely incongruous with an otherwise strong, perceptive and driven character.
One also wonders how the supporting character Brak can be so incompetent. His capacity to lose his charge and completely miss the obvious time and time again is rather amazing for someone with his supposed lineage and history.
The last criticism is that the USA cover is HORRIBLE. It makes the book look like any other generic, yawn inspiring fantasy epic. If I hadn't been in London and seen the UK cover I would never even have picked up the book.
Overall a great book and I was able to overlook the weaker spots, hoping that the rest of the series grows stronger as it matures.
Speaking of names and telegraphed plot twists, do you suppose that the only Citadel dweller whose name contains an apostrophe might not be from the Citadel (even though her adoptive mother, had she had any brains, would have changed her name to conceal her origin)? Do you suppose this character might be the "demon child" referred to early on in the story? Well, duh.
Place and other names are often English words with suffixes tacked on to make them seem exotic (Medalon, Harshini) or weird spellings of perfectly ordinary names (Davydd, Wilem). Have mercy! A courtesan is a "court'esa," a word supposedly adopted from a foreign (to the Medalonians) language that "just happens" to look like the English word "courtesan" with a letter chopped off and a gratuitous apostrophe inserted. Some of the names are too similar (e.g. Tarja and Trayla -- fortunately the latter is dead as the novel begins and isn't mentioned much after the first 50 pages; there were also two other characters whose names both begin with "M" that I couldn't keep straight). The characters themselves are right out of fantasy central casting and don't really have distinct personalities, except for the main villain, who is a caricature of evil and not a real person.
I also found a few instances where the author used a completely wrong word -- for example, one character objects to something "on principal." At another point a grisly task is referred to as "grizzly." This is a clear sign that the author simply didn't know which words are the right ones and couldn't be bothered to look it up. Worse, there were probably a lot more of these in the original manuscript, judging by the number that managed to slip through editing. On one of the section dividers "Grimfield" (another "imaginative" name for a, well, pretty grim prison town) is misspelled as "Grimfiled." This book had at least one Australian edition and a US hardcover edition before the paperback I read, so there is really no excuse for these errors to have persisted.
The spellings do seem to have been successfully Americanized, except for one place where a character jarringly refers to a "gaol break." Readers who are not familiar with British Commonwealth spellings may not know that "gaol" means "jail" (and is pronounced the same) -- this is one word that the author didn't make up!
There are some imaginative ideas in this novel. For example, I liked the idea of magic being derived by harnessing the power of the gods, and of entire nations being in denial of the existence of the gods and persecuting those who did believe. Medalon certainly has some gruesome skeletons in its national closet. Of course, nobody in that country really seems to be ashamed of having committed genocide. One nation believes in a different god than the rest and that god really seems to hate the other ones, and vice versa, which will no doubt figure into future volumes in this series. There even two different kinds of gods, those which exist regardless of belief and those who require believers. This is an interesting backdrop against which a fascinating story could have been written -- but unfortunately "Medalon" is not that story.
I also liked the bit about dragons not being real animals but being agglomerations of shape-shifting demons, subject to coming apart in mid-flight if too far from their home. (Although a word other than "demons" might have been used -- they aren't evil, as readers might expect, and they have no real relationship to the "demon child." I suspect that here, as elsewhere, the author simply used the first word to spring to mind and nobody made her change it to something stronger.)
I don't mean to harp on Fallon. She shows some promise as a writer. But this book's publication was premature -- it should have been returned to the author with a rejection slip, and probably was more than once until it encountered an editor who realized it could be a bestseller despite its many flaws. Still, the fact that a lot of people will obviously buy an unremarkable fantasy like "Medalon" is arguably no excuse for actually foisting it on them.
I'm mystified that this book has received, on average, four stars -- have the other reviewers never read any other fantasy, or are they simply unable to distinguish good writing from merely adequate? People are describing this work as "epic" almost as if they think it actually is! Really, there's much better fantasy to be had out there, and some of it really is grand enough in scope to be referred to as "epic." If you give this book four or five stars, what is left for books that are much, much better than this one?
The country of Medalon decided a couple hundred years ago to be an atheist nation run by women known as sisters of the blade who are businesswomen and politicians. To bring about this perfect nation they killed off most of the pagan people who worshiped Gods (a little linguistic lesson from a real pagan-the word Pagan means "from the fields" and is essentially a nice way of saying hick) and these semi immortal fairy people the Harshini. The Harshini then went into hiding and are in the present of this book presumed dead. There are a couple other countries, two of which are pagan and hold with the gods (who are real by the way) and one which is monotheistic and ruled by a God who apparently needs to be killed-or so the other gods think. But they won't do it and the Harshini can't kill so there is a prophecy that a demon child will be born who will be half Harshini and who will kill a God.
Meanwhile in the present day in Medalon, in the citadel of the sisters of the Blade political power changes are taking place. One sister is scheming to be in charge and her children, Tarja, and his half sister R'shiel rebel and run away, find out they're not really related at all (can you see where this is going?-yeah, somehow the author manages to make it not creepy because they're not brother and sister at all and he's ten years older so they didn't grow up together...it's actually kind of sweet) and organizing the pagans into a rebellion. Meanwhile one half Harshini is searching the world for the demon child alternately helped and annoyed by the gods (who are hilarious.)
This is a pretty decent book and I really enjoyed it, except for one really annoying thing. Tarja and R'shiel are constantly having to rescue each other. I mean CONSTANTLY! Like one of them would rescue the other and then it would fail and they'd be a in a worse situation and they have to start all over. It's like that for the entire book. It gets old. I mean there is some interesting stuff in the rescues and while waiting for them and in between them there's some romance and good mythology and political maneuvering and funny scenes with the Gods, but it doesn't really break even.
In the end, three point five stars. I'll definitely read the next one though, which will hopefully have less running and chasing!