[A.A. Attanasio] free The Dark Shore PDF

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E desert while seeking his soulmate the waif Tywi whose protectors are the thief Dogbrick and his mysterious capable companion Ripcat Two aristocratic children few others have survived Wrat's onslaught Jyoti and Poch while trying to locate their aged weapons master Caval learn how to kill cacodemons without using Charm Finally Caval recollects his own sojourn on the Dark Shore and his companion the magus Reece who returned with him to Irth as Ripca. I was unaware of Attanasio until very recently and I think it s a shame he isn t read Stylistically The Dark Shore is reminiscent of Jack Vance The prose is elevated sometimes florid and some of the imagery is strikingly original as when twilight rain fell in harps over the distant isles The world building is informed by Attanasio s almost mystical cosmology which regards the primordial singularity as the blissful union with the Divine from which the Big Bang was the fall from grace


The Dark Shore

First entry though complete in itself of a fantasy trilogy from newcomer Lee Upon the Bright Shore lie the dominions of Irth; above the Abiding Star emanates magical Charm; below in the Gulf exist the cold heavy Charmless worlds of the Dark Shore Irth's entire socioeconomic system from wizardry to healing depends on Charm Once the wizarduke of the ruling Council was challenged by the rebellious Bold Ones; their chief Wrat seized Drev's magic sword. First off I think its fair to note that Adam Lee is a pseudonym for apparently semi popular SF writer AA Attansio who I d never heard of He s been nominated for a Nebula Award several times but appears to have not published any novels in close to ten years He does still update his website however and answers comments posted on his blog which is neat Also in the interest of stating all my biases before I get going it looks like he s also a fellow Jerseyan having been born in Newark although it appears he lives in Hawaii these days and for perhaps the first time in any writer I ve read possesses a uality that my wife can admireI ll also say I have no idea why I have this series Published in the mid nineties it appears to have been well reviewed at the time but I have no idea at what point I got it and buried the trilogy at the bottom of a pile or what even caught my eye about it Its the first book of a trilogy entitled The Dominions of Irth and while it does seem like we re one typo away from having Gene Wolfe s Severian show up unlike Wolfe s tetralogy this series is straight fantasy However the back cover description doesn t even hint at how strange this book actually is and anyone expecting to walk into a world of knights and wizards fighting evil overlords are going to be surprised Whether that will be a pleasant surprise or otherwise probably depends on their tolerance for ornate descriptions and a philosophical based approach to all the heroingThe basic setup is definitely straightforward unused indie band name Wrat and His Cacodemons have broken through from beyond the Dark Shore to terrorize the eight dominions and by terrorize that means killing everyone in sight The head ruler of all the dominions Drev once punished Wrat and his crew of merry marauders called the Bold Ones for assassinating his sister the previous ruler by throwing them off the edge of the world and banishing them forever However forever wasn t as long as anyone would have liked as Wrat appears to have made a deal with forces beyond the shore in order to get the ability to control the numberless cacodemons who can t be hurt by conventional magic and are pretty good at tearing people to pieces and destroying everything In the wake of all this destruction Drev resigns his rulership and heads out to find a solution while Wrat takes great pleasure in doing things that evil warlords love doing destroying cities forcing people to do his bidding killing at the slightest pretense crossing streets against the light and so onGot all that Because everything prior to Wrat killing everyone is the backstory and if you thought that George Martin s body count happy fantasy series had an extensive history only told through expositions and conversations you haven t seen anything yet not only doe Irth have its own detailed history but its own set of physics and magic as well all of which gets crammed into the same space as the plot making for a somewhat dense read at times And while the physical nature of the place is extremely odd at times people rarely sleep and when they do they float like they re all starring in their own mini arthouse films whose meaning is tangible yet elusive what will probably strike even regular fantasy readers the oddest is his depiction of magic Based around a concept called Charm it appears to power everything and come from the light of the Abiding Star and not uantum physics I think it can be stored in amulets and necklaces and how much of it you have or can store can determine what kind of feats you re capable of But its not like some video game magic meter in execution adhering to a definite logic that the author seems to have figured out in great detail but probably takes a few reads to really figure out the particulars A lot of it seems to be based around philosophical concepts of energy and lifeforces so while it isn t dippy its a far cry from the standard magic works for magical reasons that we normally get although given we have place names like the Calendar of Eyes the Ladder of the Air the Cloths of Heaven and so on you start to feel like you re in a shopping mall run solely by New Age proprietorsThe very strangeness of the setting makes it fascinating in itself especially in the early chapters when cities are falling from the sky cacodemons are everywhere and the entire cast is in various stages of running for their lives The prose is extremely baroue filled with detailed descriptions of pretty much everything with at least one word per page forcing you to search your memory of all the vocabulary units you did in high school English class I didn t have to run for a dictionary that often but people who aren t on speaking terms with words like uotidian and sclera might find it rougher going the density of the prose strangely doesn t bog the book down but the pace even during fight scenes never seems to rise about languid as if even at its fiercest and most violent its some opium laced dream that is only arriving in gentle waves It adds a distance to everything except for the most visceral scenes that some people might not appreciateIt also doesn t help that most of the cast is geographically spread out and barely sees each other for most of the book You have Drev forging his best path but you also have sibling lone survivors from a fallen city Jyoti and Poncho attempting to stay alive while glorified street urchin Tywi gets to hang out with Ripcat and Dogbrick in their own version of the let s stay alive contest also to add another wrinkle Tywi is apparently Drev s soulmate despite never having actually met Interspersing this with Wrat being evil here and there you wind up with a book where the thrust of the plot consists mostly of everyone running for their lives Thanks to the author s ability to conjure an atmosphere of general strange doom he keeps it interesting despite the emotional distance at times between the reader and the action especially when it starts to get so abstact that you start to lose the impact of revelations that the book clearly thinks should blow you away But it also means you don t always live or die with these people its just a story you re being toldEven so he manages uite a bit of imagery that lingers in the mind While Drev isn t as amazing a hero as we d like Jyoti winds up being the breakout character of the set a young girl thrust into rulership by battlefield promotion essentially doing her best to scramble her away across a landscape filled with stuff that wants to kill her while doing her best to keep her extraordinarily whiny brother alive Her scenes sparkle with a triumph that the other heroes can t uite approximate He does do darkness well though with Wrat being uniformly creepy and sickening in eual measure a weasel who gets elevated through luck and viciousness and barely has the weight to carry off his own petty yet lofty aims We have bizarre witches and strange creatures a ruler who is literally an evil sack of skin The cacodemons kind of stop being frightening after a while but they do lead to some funny moments like a group of heroes realizing that while magic won t work on them beating them to death works amazingly well the book leans toward the idea of everyone relying so much on Charm they forget how to swing swords but I feel like he abandoned wherever he was going with thatIf the book succeeds its due to that strangeness with the geography resolutely amorphous even with a map the locations strung together with odd names that suggest at culture and history and myth without having the usual fantasy of we have in the nomad land now or this is the city of thieves Having just watched Tarkovsky s Stalker for the first time maybe I m just developing a toleranceappreciation for people wandering through eerie landscapes for the sake of metaphor but it seems like the kind of world where the less you try to pin it down the interesting it becomesAnother plus is that despite it being part of a trilogy the story started here also finishes although not with a climax that comes anywhere near to rousing Its realistic but after nearly five hundred pages I thought we d get a somewhat epic confrontation But the journey to get there is probably like no other fantasy book I ve ever read in terms of overall atmosphere and setting and what larger hints he does drop about the structure of the world and the possible link to our world give you an idea of the bigger picture he appeared to have explored in the remaining books of the trilogy Fans of standard high fantasy whether of the Tolkien variety or the Game of Thrones style may find it either too weird or too cold but for readers looking to venture off the beaten path this might do nicely

A.A. Attanasio ✓ 1 SUMMARY

Slew Drev's sister and attempted to conuer Irth Drew cast them bodily into the Gulf While upon the Dark Shore Wrat nursed his rage acuired a black magic powerful than Charm and formed an unholy alliance with a gremlin Now seeking a frightful revenge mad Wrat has returned to Irth as the Dark Lord accompanied courtesy of the gremlin by hordes of dreadful cacodemons; these being creatures of the Dark Shore are invulnerable to Charm So Drev hides in th. Further review to come later

10 thoughts on “The Dark Shore

  1. says:

    First off I think its fair to note that Adam Lee is a pseudonym for apparently semi popular SF writer AA Attansio who I'd never heard of He's been nominated for a Nebula Award several times but appears to have not published any novels in close to ten years He does still update his website however and answers comments posted on his

  2. says:

    To say that reading liking this book as a guilty pleasure is not fair It's good First of all AAAttanasio is the author using a pen name for some reason probably contractual and Attanasio can really write His prose

  3. says:

    I first read A A Attanasio's The Dark Shore when I was in my early teens At the time I read the science fiction and fantasy genres v

  4. says:

    This book is classic Attanasio a truly uniue setting prose as evocative and dense as William Gibson characters who transcend their own humanity and familiar tropes revisited in new ways I consider Attanasio the Terry Gilliam of fantasy fiction he creates images that are shot into your head mythical in dimension and simultaneously familiar a

  5. says:

    Further review to come later

  6. says:

    I'm not normally a fan of high fantasy horror hybrid stories but this was pretty good A blend of steampunk elements are thrown into

  7. says:

    A fairly generic sci fantasy novel loaded with tired tropes and written in a overwrought manner littered with unnecessary purple prose that stifles rather than elucidatesVery disappointed after enjoying the utterly fantastic world building of 'Last Legends of Earth' which led me to read this book

  8. says:

    I was unaware of Attanasio until very recently and I think it's a shame he isn't read Stylistically The Dark Shore is reminiscent of Jack Vance The prose is elevated sometimes florid and some of the imagery is strikingly o

  9. says:

    I first read A A Attanasio's The Dark Shore when I was in my early teens At the time I read the science fiction and fantasy genres very sparsely The Dark Shore immediately captivated me Now some 15 years later I don't read sci fi or fantasy at all preferring books and novels that try harder to recreate and lend i

  10. says:

    An excellent read Fantas