Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book Info: Genre: Pseudo-historical Fantasy
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Those who enjoy the journey, the process rather than action
Book Available: July 15 in Paperback and Hardcover editions (Kindle format has been available since June 22)
Trigger Warnings: violence, fighting, murder, assassination, treachery
My Thoughts: The story is couched in somewhat flowery language, matching the pseudo historical, Renaissance setting. This is something that has always impressed me about Vera Nazarian. Her books cover a variety of times and places, from her parodies of Jane Eyre to her far-future science fiction, to her complex and beautiful world-building in her fables, and she changes her style and language to match accordingly. In this instance, she has switched styles into a beautifully lyrical and almost poetic style, and it works beautifully.
The food situation seems to me to be a bit of a logic fail. I can't quite grasp how one cannot cook anything; after all, isn't lobster thrown in the pot live traditionally? And if absolutely nothing dies, it would do truly disturbing things to hair and skin and fingernails, among other things. How about germs and viruses? How about the small, microscopic creatures in the air? I can't be the only person to whom this doesn't make sense. It reminded me of her far-future story in which humans have evolved to be more efficient on a desert planet by losing all their hair... including their eyelashes. That still doesn't make sense to me, although the author insists it is based upon scientific principles. I guess, as Joss Whedon would say, it's phlebotinum.
Much of this story is very profound, especially some of the conversations with Death. I found this of particular interest.
“Since the dawn of existence, you mortals have feared dying, feared the unknown and the pain of it, and yet, pain is a part of life, not death. And I—I am the first moment after pain ceases,” he [Death] pronounced. “It is life that fights and struggles and rages; life, that tears at you in its last agonizing throes to hold on, even if but for one futile instant longer... Whereas I, I come softly when it is all done. Pain and death are an ordered sequence, not a parallel pair. So easy to confuse the correlations, not realizing that one does not bring the other.”
This is slated to be a trilogy. Book two is to be called Cobweb Empire and I, for one, definitely plan to read it. This book will not be for everyone. There is little action, few “events”; it is, instead, about the journey, and about the thoughts and identities of some of those who are sharing that journey. I do not know what the future will hold for those involved in this particular journey, but if you enjoy a story that isn't all flash and bang and sword fights, this book might appeal to you.
Disclosure: I received an ARC copy of this e-book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I later noticed it was available on NetGalley and accepted that to provide another place to post my review. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: Many are called... She alone can save the world and become Death's bride.
Cobweb Bride is a history-flavored fantasy novel with romantic elements of the Persephone myth, about Death's ultimatum to the world.
What if you killed someone and then fell in love with them?
In an alternate Renaissance world, somewhere in an imaginary "pocket" of Europe called the Kingdom of Lethe, Death comes, in the form of a grim Spaniard, to claim his Bride. Until she is found, in a single time-stopping moment all dying stops. There is no relief for the mortally wounded and the terminally ill....
Covered in white cobwebs of a thousand snow spiders she lies in the darkness... Her skin is cold as snow... Her eyes frozen... Her gaze, fiercely alive...
While kings and emperors send expeditions to search for a suitable Bride for Death, armies of the undead wage an endless war... A black knight roams the forest at the command of his undead father ... Spies and political treacheries abound at the imperial Silver Court.... Murdered lovers find themselves locked in the realm of the living...
Look closer — through the cobweb filaments of her hair and along each strand shine stars...
And one small village girl, Percy—an unwanted, ungainly middle daughter—is faced with the responsibility of granting her dying grandmother the desperate release she needs.
As a result, Percy joins the crowds of other young women of the land in a desperate quest to Death's own mysterious holding in the deepest forests of the North...
And everyone is trying to stop her.
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