Elfsorrow by James Barclay
One of the greatest and most often committed faults of English literature, specifically of the fantasy genre, is the emotional attachment to characters by their authors. Though budding and experienced authors alike may start out with all intention to realistically treat their characters as they should, more often than not, by the end of the story, everyone has miraculously survived.
James Barclay suffers no delusions when it comes to his characters. In fact, in my various conversations with the author (one of my favourites, and a genuine gentleman), I have often referred to his apparent disregard for his characters.
But only a fool would really believe that Barclay disregards his characters. In all reality, the opposite is true. By allowing his characters to suffer from realistic ills, he entrusts them with a measure of respect that many authors fail to grant their characters. In this, Barclay’s characters live and die on their morals and intentions.
It may be possible that I am attributing a little too much life to fictional conjurations, but still...
Elfsorrow, Barclay’s fourth book (fourth concerning the Raven but first in the Legends of The Raven trilogy), exemplifies this faith in his characters to the point of tears for the reader.
In Nightchild’s review I mentioned that it was “possibly the best he [Barclay] had ever written.” The “possibly” refers to contention for “best book” with Elfsorrow. Both books, the centre of Barclay’s sextet, reveal the above mentioned respect for his characters, and for his readers. He doesn’t coddle us for a moment, and in so doing strips away the illusion that “everything will be ok.”
And for this, I am eternally grateful.
Until now, the elves inhabiting Barclay’s Raven-verse have been mysterious in their origins, ambitions and lives. Now however we finally get to visit the southern continent from which they came, Calaius. Barclay also provides us with – finally – a race of elves that aren’t from magical New Englandish pine forests. A jungle – complete with deadly snakes and insects, rain, and interminable heat – awaits the reader as we journey south.
Elfsorrow is a brilliant departure from what Barclay had already suggested was the entirety of his work. The threat is different, the terrain is different, and the methods with which to fight are different. You will love some of the villains and hate some of the heroes.
By the end of the book, you will weep. If you don’t, I condemn you to having no soul and no ability to lose yourself within fiction. Additionally, by Elfsorrow, you will need to have read the previous three books. This is not an onerous task, or one that is bound in an authors need for more funds. The simple fact of the matter is that Elfsorrow’s heart and soul, the core to what moves the readers heart, is in a long and healthy relationship with these characters. Without that, the book is diminished. It is not less entertaining, but the emotional impact is lessened – and that is something that I would not wish upon anyone.
This Elfsorrow book review was written by Joshua S Hill
All reviews for: Legends of the Raven
Legends of the Raven: Book 1
The Raven travel to a new continent in search of mages to help the ruined college of Julatsa rebuild and find themselves in the midst of ancient curse - a curse that has un...
Legends of the Raven: Book 2
The Raven are tested to the point of destruction when a savage war is unleashed across their world and the magical colleges of Balaia tear the land apart in their struggle ...
Legends of the Raven: Book 3
The dragons have gone home, the elves are safe. The Raven have kept their promises. But fate has not finished with them. As the war between the colleges rages on, an old en...
Legends of the Raven: Book 4
The Unknown Warrior has spent last ten years mourning his dead - those of the legendary mercenary band, The Raven, who fell in battle. As the reluctant ruler of Balaia, he ...
Have you read Elfsorrow?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Elfsorrow reader reviews
Zahid from India
I think, here, the book review is a futile effort to conjure up the reviewers rapport with the writer. Not relevant, not worth of any appreciation. The reviewer is not clear.
8/10 from 2 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen
Bled dry by interminable warfare, infighting and bloody confrontations with Lord Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, the vast, sprawling Malazan empire simmers with discont...
A Brightness Long Ago
Guy Gavriel Kay
International bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay's latest work is set in a world evoking early Renaissance Italy and offers an extraordinary cast of characters whose li...
Chronicles of the Black Company
Darkness wars with darkness as the hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must. They bury their doubts with their dead. Then comes the prophec...
On the world of Kuf, the Macht are a mystery, a seldom-seen people of extraordinary ferocity and discipline whose prowess on the battlefield is the stuff of legend. For cen...
Shadow Ops series
Army Officer. Fugitive. Sorcerer. Across the country and in every nation, people are waking up with magical talents. Untrained and panicked, they summon storms, raise the d...
The Great Reawakening has left Latent people with a stark choice: either use their newfound magical powers in the service of the government, or choose the path of the Selfe...
The Divine Cities Trilogy
Robert Jackson Bennett
A special omnibus edition, collecting all three books of Robert Jackson Bennett’s acclaimed Divine Cities trilogy in a single volume. &nbs...
The Rigante Novels
Born in the storm that doomed his father, Connavar grows to manhood among the mist-covered mountains of Caer Druagh, where the Rigante tribe dwell in harmony with the land ...
The First Law
Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: