Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Seasonsofwar Seasons Of War
The Long Price - Book 2
by Daniel Abraham

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Jacqui Smith

We have an even higher page count for the second half of the Long Price, and it’s a hefty tome indeed. This is Books Three and Four, published in the US as the separate volumes An Autumn War and The Price of Spring back in 2008/9, but in the UK as a single volume. One thing I wish said publishers wouldn’t do is to slap a glowing appraisal from another writer, who is known to collaborate with the author in question, right on the front cover. As far as I’m concerned, that’s no recommendation.

That said, there is much to commend here. In An Autumn War, our hero Otah has become Khai Machi, and now the Galts are about to invade. Which wouldn’t be much of a problem, except that the Galtic General, Balasar Gice, is a man with a mission. He wants to get rid of the andat, the magical personifications of principle who are the both the Khaiem’s weapon of mass destruction, and vital to their economy. Moreover, he is a man with a plan, and he’s figured out how to achieve that objective. With the aid of a renegade poet, he succeeds… and with their deterrent gone, the Cities of the Khaiem topple like dominos before his armies. He kills the poets, and burns their books… It all looks hopeless. And in desperation, Maati, one of the last poets, in the far mountain city of Machi, succeeds in summoning an andat. But it isn’t quite bound, and it exacts its price on both the Khaiem and the Galts.

Which brings us to The Price of Spring and a truly messy situation for Otah, who is now the only remaining Khai, and Emperor of a very literally dying empire. He tries for a political solution, beginning with marrying his son to the daughter of a senior member of the Galtic council. Meanwhile, Maati has gathered around him a secret school of clever young girls who are developing a new, women’s grammar, in the hope of summoning and binding new andat. Naturally, neither of these plans go particularly smoothly, and there is a lot more pain, suffering and death, before a wise and brave young woman brings it all to a satisfactory conclusion, bringing a very literal healing to both nations.

I remember one writer declaiming to us at a convention that classical fantasy was a dying genre, and that the life was now in the offshoot genre of urban fantasy. I’m glad to report that he was wrong. While writers like Daniel Abraham are producing great, innovative work like the Long Price, fantasy surely has to be one of the liveliest, most creative genres in literature today!

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