Bear, Elizabeth -- Range of Ghosts

We recall that Windwracked Stars started with a protagonist lying in the middle of a battlefield, covered in blood, surrounded by two armies' worth of corpses plus a magic pony. Apparently Bear wasn't done with that trope.

This is the most conventional fantasy novel Bear has done. I'm not quite sure what I mean by that, but I'll try to pin it down... the book has a plot and the characters pursue it? No. That makes all her previous books sound like plotless wonders, which they're not. But Bear's characters have a tendency to be buffeted by history, come to rest, spend a few years making ironmongery, and then get walloped by another few events. It's the way life actually works but it's outside convention for fantasy novels. This one has a more familiar structure. I wonder if it will do better in the market.

Mind you, it's the start of a trilogy, so possibly the structure will veer off my expectations. I'm not hoping for or against that, I'm just noting the possibility. For the moment: you want a quest story with a band of heroes (mostly women) kicking various kinds of ass through Central Asia, this is the one to read.

I'd bet some money that Bear got into an awesome-flinging contest with Amanda Downum. Kingdoms of Dust had manticores and zombie cobras; Range of Ghosts has rocs, bloodthirsty ghosts, cat-people (not the cuddly kind), and ninja assassins. Also a legitimate usage of "the sun rises in the west", for which I give great credit.

My only quibble here is that there's fractionally too much "let me show you my research" detail. No instance is obtrusive, but the total was a little distracting.

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