❮PDF / Epub❯ ★ Sing the Four Quarters Author Tanya Huff – Agedanna.info
To Call The Kigh Was The Height Of Bard S Magic Only Those Born With The Gift Could Learn To Sing These Spirits Of Earth, Air, Fire And Water Into Doing Their Bidding, And Even Someone As Gifted As The Princess Annice Must Spend Years Studying At The Bardic Hall To Truly Master The Art And For Annice, One Of Those Rare Talents Able To Sing The Elemental Spirits From Each Of The Four Quarters, The Call Of Magic Was Too Strong To Be Denied, Even If It Meant Renouncing Her Royal Blood And PrivilegesBut Annice Might Have Made A Different Choice If She Could Have Foreseen That Ten Years After She D Transferred Her Life And Loyalties From The Royal Palace To The Bardic Hall, She D Find Herself Fleeing From The King S Guards For Annice Was Twice Guilty Of Treason, First For Imperiling The Order Of Succession By Becoming Pregnant, And Second For Aiding The Father Of Her Unborn Child, The Duc Of Ohrid, To Escape The Palace Dungeons And The Sentence Of Death Hanging Over His HeadNow The Fugitives Only Hope Lay In Tracking Down And Bringing To Justice The Enemy Who D Masterminded The Duc S Downfall, A Dangerous Foe Who Had Found A Way To Tie Lies And Truths Together Into A Knot Even The Most Powerful Of Bardic Spells Could Not Unravel Annice is a bard, formerly a princess, with the threat of treason over her head should she ever bear a child When she discovers that Pjerin, father of her unborn child, also faces a charge of treason for a different reason she cannot believe that he is guilty In order to clear his name and protect her baby, she smuggles him out of the dungeon and they set off on a cross country trek to discover who is truly behind the treason.As with most Tanya Huff books, this one is nearly flawless Huff writes believable, developing characters, snappy dialogue, and fast paced, well constructed plots Annice and Pjerin have chemistry without being sappy and go from outright strangers who hardly like each other to friends as they travel.The thing about the Quarters novels that I find the most interesting is the sexuality Bisexuality is the norm in the Quarters world and goes utterly unremarked narratively throughout the series No explanation, excuse, or apology is offered, leaving the reader to deal with it or not as he or she will Considering this novel was published in 1994, I m sure this was incredibly progressive for its time, and may still be a step beyond what most people are immediately comfortable with But the relationships, regardless of the pairings, are beautiful when built on love and trust and horrible when built on selfishness and greed, just like any relationship I believe that Huff s skill as a writer and care with constructing her world allows for a much smoother mental transition for her readers than might otherwise be possible. Almost Read for the Reads Rainbow Book Club.Let me get something straight first this is in no way a bad or even mediocre book.So if I say this, why haven t I finished it Well, see I tried I actually kept trying and trying I got to like one third of the book, give or take And all I have to say for myself is that I m apparently not a fantasy fan any longer Or at least, a fan of fantasy books that are focused on the world a lot depict it in great detail but also just throw the reader into the high waters and don t bother to explain stuff.I used to take that as a compliment, as the author saying you re smart enough, you can figure it out yourself That s a great sentiment, sure, but I learned that what I m here for in books are characters and their emotions I can piece together the world for myself if I care deeply enough about the characters, if I want to know as much about them as possible Which wasn t really the case here I don t know, my guys I just didn t connect with them So here I am, kind of disappointed with myself for loosing interest in a genre I used to LOVE as a teen, kind of disappointed in the book for not holding my interest for longer, kind of disappointed with my attention span as always. Written over 20 years ago, this book withstood the passing of time amazingly well It s been one of my favorites since I first read it, and its allure hasn t faded still It remains one of my favorites even now, after countless re reads and many new authors emerging into the genre of classic fantasy I can t find even one thing to complain about in this tale The worldIn Shkoder, bards can see kigh, elemental creatures of air, fire, water, and earth With their music and their Songs, the bards of Shkoder can command the kigh to do their bidding carry messages across the land, ignite or extinguish fires, infuse the soil with fertility, or remove water from a flooded path It is an utterly original concept of magic, and the stronger the bard, the powerful he or she is with their elements Some bards can command two or elements Annice can command all four she Sings the four quarters.One of the most talented bards in the kingdom, she is also the most controversial she was a princess before she became a bard, and in order to follow her bardic calling she was forced to renounce her rights to be part of the royal family It all happened ten years ago, but the pain of her family s rejection still smarts inside her It still hurts The protagonistsAnnice, the former princess, is one of the first lesbian fantasy protagonists in America She is strong willed and opinionated, she doesn t suffer fools, and compromise doesn t seem to belong in her vocabulary She can t forgive her brother, King Theron, for ordering her out of the family, but her loyalty to her friends and her country has no bounds Pjerin, Duc of Ohrid, is a simple man by comparison An alpha male, stubborn and arrogant, he loves his distant, impoverished mountain principality and he adores his four year old son He doesn t have time nor inclination for a wife, neither he cares about money His stone fortress guards the only pass through the mountains that separates the smaller Shkoder from the much larger and aggressive Cemandian empire, and Pjerin would give his life protecting the pass from any invader The plotTen years ago, when Theron banished Annice from the Palace, he declared that to become a bard she must forfeit all her princess s rights, including the right to have children If she did, it would be considered treason, punishable by death As Annice was is a lesbian mostly , she accepted his conditions with lofty unconcern, but now, after a chance encounter with Duc of Ohrid, she realizes she is pregnant Was her brother serious in his pronouncement ten years ago Would he go through with his threats and execute her and her baby for treason They haven t met nor talked after that fateful day She can t really believe he would have her killed, especially because her pregnancy was an accident, but how could she risk her innocent baby s life The Duc has troubles of his own Framed by his enemies as a traitor, he must clear his name before it is too late Their two lives intersected only once, resulting in a baby, and now both are fugitives, dodging the king s guards and trying to figure out how to clear Pjerin s name and what will happen to their baby And they don t even like each other.The impressionsThe story flows swiftly, like rapids of a mountain river, with unexpected plot twists at every turn, and the reader frets together with Annice how can she keep her baby safe Funny that personality wise, I liked neither Annice nor Pjerin Both are too pigheaded for my taste, but I definitely respected them both, and my deep sympathy ran with them I wanted them and their yet unborn baby safe I wanted them to vanquish their enemies and triumph over all adversities I was a silent partner in their madcap escapades, and I enjoyed every minute I spent in their company A wonderful story. I ve read enough fantasy involving music based magic that it was neat to see it treated as magic, not music Music theory is interesting, I suppose, but not always what I want a lecture on.This also may be the first fantasy novel I ve ever read where the main character s pregnancy is central to the plot for the entire book And one of the very few where the bi woman and her lesbian partner don t end up splitting up so the bi chick can end up with the dude Or where the lesbian dies This is why I love Tanya Huff.Political issues aside, this is a solid middlebrow fantasy along the lines of the Valdemar series, with less wish fulfillment and fundamental queer friendliness Right up my alley. A bard returns to the capital to find herself the wildcard in a political plot Huff s balance of gratifying character dynamics, distinctive characterization, and easy reading action political plots has grown on me She s not a strong technical writer, and this isn t flawlessly balanced there s some subplots here which I could do without nor flawlessly written her penchant for headhopping muddies the narrative and means spending time in poorer rendered antagonist PoVs But it s satisfying Queer characters immediate immersion into the world successful marriage of character arcs to plot developments It s engaging and rewarding stuff I m reminded of Tamora Pierce s Emelan books, despite their different intended audience they feel as good, share similar elements, and I appreciate the focus on the local, non mythic world. This was a lovely story and very progressive for something written in the 1980 s I really enjoyed it Thank you Allison Katie for the recommendation Ancient review that I thought Goodreads needed I started reading this one out of sheer curiosity How would one write a traditional fantasy book where the heroine is pregnant for much of the plot Would the heroine s impending arrival dampen the action required to move it along The answers to those and other questions are easily solved by peeking at my rating for this book although it did have plenty of awkward moments that were broken up with a distinct injection of humor.The magic system of this book relies on the four elements water, air, earth, and fire If you are born talented, you can control the individual Kigh elements that populate the world by singing to them, and generally you specialize in one or two of the particular elements Annice, the heroine, is one of the few who can sing all four quarters, but her strong suit is generally air For some reason, I was confused about the magic system for the first hundred pages or so, but that was resolved after I reread some of the previous passages Sometimes my mind wanders a bit too far when I devour fantasy novels.The key element to this book is the characters Although the plot itself is very interesting, without the character interactions particularly between Pjerin the Duc and Annice it would be a bit plain Annice is stubborn and unwilling to compromise with just about anyone Unfortunately, the Duc Pjerin is the same way, leading to much of the action of the book being fought with words There is also Stasya, who is a devoted friend to Annice and perhaps I wasn t paying that much attention in the first 100 pages , who helps enable her sometimes ridiculous schemes I was surprised to find the attention to detail personality that was infused in each character even periphery ones were given an unmistakable voice.Annice s pregnancy is a key part of the book, but it also helps explore and abolish some fantasy cultural norms Throughout the book, Annice is given advice she doesn t necessarily want, and constantly told she mustn t do this, that, and the other thing, which given her personality, she naturally does anyway Never once does she consider giving up the baby, though it would make it a lot easier on her if she considered it She basically epitomizes the trials and victories of single motherhood throughout the book, but what really clinched it for me was her fortitude in defending herself, even when she knew she didn t necessarily have to Her conversations with Pjerin were priceless.Sing the Four Quarters is an unusual take on traditional fantasy The heroine s pregnancy only benefits the plot, enhancing and invoking drama wherever she goes Though the magic system sometimes takes the back seat to it, it provides the perfect spectacle for a fitting finale As soon as I finished this book, I ordered the rest of the series, despite the lack of Annice and Pjerin being present the author simply grabbed my attention so well If you re in the mood for fantasy that has both a sense of humor and an uncompromising heroine, you should consider Sing the Four Quarters for your next read.Rating 4 of 5 Stars for an excellent fantasy that proves pregnant heroines are for the win As seen on my blog, Victorian Soul Critiques. Sing the Four Quarters is one of those books that I enjoyed reading but probably wouldn t read again If you re looking for a warm, character driven fantasy story with a queer lead, you may very well want to read this one.Annice is a bard, able to work magic by singing to the kigh, the elemental spirits She also has the rare gift of being able to sing to all four types of kigh Only, she wasn t always a bard She was born a princess, and in following her dream she was exiled from her family According to the terms set by her brother, she would not be considered royalty, and if she ever married or had children, she would be charged with treason for endangering the line of inheritance.Annice is totally fine with this Then she gets pregnant, and she decides she wants to keep it That s already one potential charge of treason, but then she learns that the father of the child who she wasn t planning on being involved has been arrested for treason and sentenced to be executed Which means her pregnancy is now doubly treasonous Only, she thinks he s innocent, and she s not about to let him be executed for something he didn t do.The narrative doesn t hew closely to Annice Pjerin, the father or her child, receives quite a bit of page time, so you know from off the bat that he really is innocent and that he s being framed as part of someone else s treasonous scheme It s one of those stories where you see the villains plotting, so you know way than the protagonists You also know that Annice s brother the king is unlikely to actually charge her with treason and that if she would only talk to him, the entire affair could be reconciled This isn t a spoiler Literally everyone in the book knows this except for Annice, and they keep trying to tell her It could have fallen into one of those very annoying plot devices where the characters won t actually talk to each other but in this case, I thought it fit with the characterization.I mentioned at the beginning of the review that Annice is queer Specifically, she s bisexual word not used She s in a long term relationship with a lesbian woman who s also a bard, but it s an open relationship Annice has flings with other people while she s traveling around the country on her work as a bard That, plus some sloppiness with birth control, led to her current situation Oh, and I should also mention that Annice and her girlfriend remain an item through the book The relationship with Pjerin isn t romantic, which goes against almost every narrative expectations The relationship arc isn t Annice realizing, Oh, I m in love with him More like, Oh, he d actually be a good father and maybe I should try to figure out a co parenting situation In terms of world building, there s no sexism or homophobia present in Annice s society There s gay, lesbian, and bi characters, and their sexuality is never an issue in terms of how they re treated If you like Laurie J Mark s Fire Logic, then this might be a good book for you The lack of homophobia sexism was probably the biggest world building appeal Otherwise, everything seems fairly standard Western fantasy with elemental magic uh, again fans of Fire Logic might like this or vice versa There wasn t anything really memorable about the culture or setting Very generic.On the plus side, it is a warm book Definitely not grimdark The heroines and heroes might have flaws, but they re good people There s some suffering but nothing that gets too bad Everything turns out all right in the end If you re looking for a book that won t emotionally drain you, then Sing the Four Quarters would be a good pick.That warmth is what made me enjoy Sing the Four Quarters, but I don t know if it was enough to balance out the weaknesses I found with world building and plotting I don t regret reading it, but I won t be picking up the sequel.Review from The Illustrated Page. Review also on Reads Rainbow Rep bi mc, lesbian li, gay side characterThere s something to be said for the kind of understated fantasy that this book is The conflict here primarily revolves around family Yes, there is a subplot regarding a battle between two countries, but it s mostly about family And understated fantasy books about family like this are my favourites Sure, big bombastic fantasies are great, but there s something you get with understatement.And because it s understated, I guess I felt of a connection with the characters I don t know how best to explain it really I think it comes down to this it s a character driven fantasy, so I fell for the characters If you know me and my attention span, that s a very rare statement most of the time, I have neither the attention nor the patience to get through character driven books So that this one stuck That s a good sign.It also helped that I already knew I enjoyed Tanya Huff s books The Fire s Stone is another good one, just FYI So this, and it s found family, was always going to be something I liked It was a bit of a slow start, to be fair, but I got into it And really liked it.